Saturday, September 13

Rain, rain go away............

All was in place - vendors for food and antiques were all set up, costumed residents were strolling Main Street ready to share their stories of Henderson in the late 1800's, the wagon was ready to take folks on a ride, and the quilts were set up and awaiting visitors. The day held promise for another great Heritage Days Event but Mother Nature had a mind of her own......................

There was a hint of mist in the air as my friend, Diane portrayed the school marm from the 1850's. Here she is telling this young guest about the school that once stood in the woods near the library. Then the hint of mist turned to rain . The weatherman predicted it would end by noon but instead, it just rained harder in the afternoon. It didn't take much thought for me to be very happy that I was volunteering for an indoor activity. Instead of standing out in the rain, I was surrounded by quilts and in a warm, dry place. Diane soon left her spot outside and joined me in the library. Lots of folks wandered in to look at the quilts as it was a great way to get out of the rain. They really enjoyed the wide variety of quilts that I had set up for display. Even Pastor Kathy stopped in to dry off. She didn't stay long, though, as she was on her way again to visit with parishioners around about town. (Wait til I tell you what she'll be doing tomorrow - be sure and check back tomorrow night.)
While the rain really put a "damper" on the festivities along Main Street, I think it actually helped our attendance at the Library. Silly me, I had brought along some handwork in case it was quiet and there were no visitors. I managed to stitch one little decorative piece on one of my crazy quilting blocks and that was it. By the end of the day we had 86 visitors who came to see the quilts and I talked with almost all of them. And what fun I had visiting with them!
It's always amazing to me how a quilt can get people to talking. I found this out especially when I worked at Murphy's Landing (now just called The Landing) and whenever I was demonstrating quilting to guests who visited the history site, I often learned more from guests than they did for me. All it takes is for someone who sees a quilt like mom or grandma made and they start telling you their story. Like the gentleman and his wife who came to visit this morning. His eyes lit up when he saw the wool quilt in the chair on the left side of the fireplace. It's made of wool suiting swatches and has a very thick batting. He said that as a child they were two of these quilts that his mom made and boy, were they heavy! He said this one looked almost like those quilts. He really enjoyed talking about those quilts.
Lots of ladies and their husbands wandered in to look at the quilts but almost all of the guys found it as interesting as the women did. Most of these were old quilts that I had assembled to show the changes in fabric and quilting from the past 100 years or so. From my collection and three from the Sibley County Historical Society, I was able to share quilts from the mid 1800's to the present. I'm going to try to do a little "slide show" of some of the pictures and see if I can't get it done to post tomorrow night.
Back to today and the visitors that I so enjoyed......... Two young visitors who took shelter from the rain were a brother and sister, young teens. They were dressed in costume and had been playing music of the 1800's on Main Street until the rain drowned them out. The brother was happy that his sister wanted to see the quilts. Her favorite was this quilt on the left that is from the 1920's. It came from my brother in Iowa who got it from his sister-in-law in Illinois who got it from her husband's great great aunt who lived near Chicago and my brother gave it to me. Got that? :-) The young woman stood and studied the variety of fabrics that still survive in the quilt. It's very worn in the center but the blocks in the perimeter of the quilt are in great shape. I asked if she was a quilter and she said "oh, yes". Ah, the torch will pass to the next quilting generation.

Here's another young quilter who may carry on the tradition of quilting. This is Alyssa and here's how I know she has a fine appreciation for quilts and fabric. Once I set up all the quilts, I had placed a few little cards here and there that said .......
To protect our quilts, please do not touch.
Want a closer look?
Put on a pair of white gloves and you can touch the quilts.
I saw her read the sign and then look over to find a pair of gloves (I picked up some cheap stretch gloves at Target last year after Easter). She was slipping them on when I walked over and asked if I might take her picture as she looked at the quilt. We got the okay from her mom and she was so pleased to have her picture taken with the quilt and know that she will be featured here on my blog. It made me smile to see what care she took with the quilts and how much she and mom and family enjoyed seeing the quilts.

From the young to the "young-at-heart" I want to introduce you to my friend, Carolyn. She walked up the hill to the library just before it rained and sat to visit. She is a joy. Would you believe she will celebrate her 95th birthday in January? One gentlemen guest wasn't sure we were telling him the truth on that but I told him I could vouch for her as we are in a Bible Study group together. I told him, yes, she really is 94 and he said "well, she only looks like she's in her 70's." Could living in Henderson keep one young? Hmmm......Anyway, Carolyn quilted for many years but vision problems keep her from stitching these days. Her daughter Barb has most of her quilts so I took a picture of her in front of one of the quilts that was on loan from the Sibley County Historical Society (I wrote about these quilts back in June so click here if you want to read more) . This quilt was donated by a local family who has given information that dates the quilt to about 1825. It is extremely worn and yet it is lovely. Just before Carolyn arrived at the library, I had been tracing the applique designs on the quilt. I find it lovely and am convinced that I must reproduce it. Think I will have to bump a couple of projects so I can make room for this one. We began to discuss the faded color of the fabrics and wondered were they always muted or were they much darker. So with my gloves on and with visitors watching, I found a couple of spots to check for the "real" colors. The blues, of course, were once darker but not quite navy. And the green was also a just a wee bit darker. Interestingly, the green fabric has remained well stitched while others have pulled away or disintegrated completely. The center of the flowers appears beige but in fact was once a mustard or "cheese" yellow as one visitor called it. The pink petals on the flower were really a deep rose. What was the pattern called we wondered? So I pulled Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Quilt Blocks from the shelf and began searching. The closest pattern we could find was an Oak Leaves pattern that was only slightly similar. I'll be doing further searching for sure because I definitely will be making this quilt!

The rain continued and more visitors popped in to see the quilts. This happy couple told me they loved coming out to Henderson and really enjoyed the Heritage Days weekends. I asked where they were from and they said St. Paul. We chatted about the quilts and all the while, I am thinking - something about this woman is familiar. We talked some more and they enjoyed not only looking at the quilts but other items in the library because the building was once an Episcopalian Church that was built in 1856. The more I heard her voice, the more I knew that I knew her so finally I just said - "I have the feeling I know you........and bingo, we both realized we had worked together several years ago at Murphy's Landing!!! So a dozen years later and no longer coloring our hair, we didn't recognize each other. Well, then we really began to visit and what a great time we had. Just as they were leaving, in came this lovely group of ladies who were out celebrating. They are "The Birthday Club" and they had been to Sister's in Winthrop for lunch (about 25 miles west of Henderson) and came on to Heritage Days for more fun. Three in the group were actually quilters and their friends willingly came along to the library when they all learned of the quilt exhibit. Smart friends! I loved listening to them talk about the disease of quilting that the three quilters suffer from (me, too) and seeing the fun they were having, I asked if I could take their picture. So, here they are ------The Birthday Club from Hector, MN. In the conversation, we discovered that the three quilters in the group have also been to my favorite retreat place, Bonny's Quilt Haven in Hutchinson. I'm betting we'll cross paths again. They were too much fun!

It was almost 4:00 p.m. and time to close the doors, so I locked up and grabbed my umbrella and headed out. The rain had stopped just long enough to watch the trainer with the eagle that was entertaining the crowd outside City Hall.

I walked down Main Street and checked out some of the window displays. This is my favorite and is located in the Poehler building, once the town mercantile and now home to "Closing the Gap" and "Henderson Feather", a bird-watching organization. More on these things in a later post.

At this point, I was very hungry because all that I had brought for lunch was a half a ham sandwich. So I headed to Toody's Sweets and satisfied my sweet tooth with an excellent peanut butter Rice Krispie bar with fudge frosting. It was delicious! I took one last shot just outside Toody's. Main Street was pretty empty and the banner advertising Heritage Days had been wound around the cable by the wind. Hopefully tomorrow will be a sunnier, better day. Either way, I'll still be inside, out of the rain, out of the wind and ready to talk more quilts!

See you all tomorrow night!
Sandi who will most certainly have "Sweet Dreams" of quilts and friends tonight!


Red Geranium Cottage said...

Love the cute little Young quilter with the white gloves on.

MouseChirpy said...

How wonderful to spend the day surrounded by beautiful quilts. The photo of the little quilter made me smile.
I've enjoyed browsing your blog and seeing pictures of the lovely town that you live in. I adore the architecture of the beautiful old buildings and would give almost anything to live in a town as picturesque as yours.
Take care.

Jacquelynne said...

Too bad it rained, but it sounds like you made the best of it and had a good day anyway!

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

I can't believe what a fabulous celebration you have in Henderson. It makes our little community celebration look like les than nothing! How wonderful for you and the whole community. I'm sure it is a lot of work to prepare and set everything up. The quilts look lovely. I'd like to see more of them. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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