Thursday, October 3, 2013

Looking for a Needle . . .

A busy travel season is moving along. Last week I visited the Quilters Unlimited guild that meets in Reston, Virginia. Following a fun evening trunk show at the meeting. An intimate group of enthusiastic quilters worked diligently on their Stained Glass projects from the book, ScrapTherapy, Scraps Plus One!

And here they are, using their T-shirts as design boards to show their progress. Our class included a first-time quilter! She seemed to fit right in and had a successfully first-time-ever quilter experience.

The weather in Virginia was picture-perfect, so it was difficult to head back north into cooler Fall temperatures. But I was scheduled to do some demonstrations in the Millcreek Fabric and Sewing booth at the Quilting Around Chautauqua, a large celebration of quilts at the Chautauqua Institute in western New York.

Before heading to the show, I was invited to stay at the nearby Needle in a Haystack Retreat. For the last twenty-some years, Judy and Jeff Fenton, our hosts, have been renovating a dairy barn built around 1900. They've converted the barn into a fabulous quilt retreat center. My pictures and those on the website simply don't do it justice. It is absolutely perfect!

Rocking chairs on the porch seem to call for a stitcher to relax with needle and thread.

Every detail feels like home.

On an Autumn morning, the mist hangs over the valley as the sun starts its ascent.

Of course, you have to have quilts on the line!

This sign was directly over my bedroom. Cracker was a dairy cow and this was her spot in the original barn!

It seems appropriate that my room had this quilt featuring hummingbirds and fuchsia on the wall. The design is from Pine Needles.

On Saturday morning, our caravan of quilt teachers, demonstrators, and helpers headed to the Chautauqua Institute. The Chautauqua Institute is a whole community of houses built in close proximity to each other that comes alive in the summer with various programs. The activities quiet down after Labor Day, and the community becomes the perfect spot for a quilt show. Four or five buildings in the community become the setting for quilt and vendor displays. It's quite unique and very difficult to describe. But the uniqueness of the experience lends to its charm.

For winter, the docks are stored along the shore of picturesque Chautauqua Lake.

This is the Anthenaeum Hotel, centrally located on the Chautauqua Institute grounds, it is the hub of the quilt show activities, and where I spend my time demonstrating and signing books in the Millcreek booth.

The main entrance of this grand old hotel features a beautiful fountain. The grounds are full of late summer blooms, still untouched by frost.

I had a great time chatting with quilters and visitors, and after staying at the Needle in a Haystack retreat, I'm even more excited because I'll be leading a retreat there in March 2014, March 20-23, 2014 to be exact. We're still putting together some of the details, but you can hold the dates on your calendar and watch for more information to come.

If I have to look for a needle, I surely would have a good chance of finding one at the Needle in a Haystack Retreat in Findley Lake, NY. I might need some help searching, though . . . why don't you join me in March!??

Happy Stitching!

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