Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Down a Winding Mountain Road…

What’s a few more miles under my feet??

I’ve been itching to jaunt around with my friend Martha and when she suggested a country drive over to Mountain City, Tennessee for a round of antiquing fun and lunch out – a great way to explore roads I’d not been on, see the fars and the wildflowers, rivers, creeks, and abundant green – how could I say no?

She showed up bright and early yesterday at Quiltville Inn, helped me unload Charlotte's treadle machine into the Post Office, and down the road we went – oh what an adventure ahead! Across the Virginia state line back into North Carolina and not a far piece off – Tennessee.

Oh, old homestead – what is your story?

Can you see the green appearing?  It’s so bright and fresh – things are a few weeks behind up in this elevation what they are at home in Wallburg, NC.  It’s like revisiting spring’s awakening all over again.

Gorgeous old stone church with dogwoods in bloom.

My two choices for this day were – Stay at home and catch up on deskwork, or wander – is it any wonder that wandering won out?

I just love this little church!

Perhaps this was – we are guessing – a boarding house at one time?

My favorite stop of the day – Highway 88 grocery!

There are little places like this tucked around bends, at crossroads, and at places you don’t expect to find them.  Can you see the couple of old gents in the door way – one sitting, one standing?

It’s what we do in these parts. 

Martha told the story of stopping here every chance she gets just to do her part to keep this place open.  A Dr Pepper, a Little Debbie’s oatmeal cream cookie.  A “How’re Youn’s Doin?” from the old guy behind the counter letting us know that we are in Tennessee country – a bit different from the “Y’alls” found further south east.

I grabbed my bottled iced tea, followed her purchase with my own and we were back on our way. “Have a great day!” we waved as off we drove.

If you see little independent places like this – STOP! It’s worth it.

Oh – you can also get bait, tackle, and ammo here should you need it.

Antique Mall Ahead!


This maker understands my need to piece.


Oh, lovely!

Look what she did with a very meager scrap bag, alternating pink backgrounds with muslin ones.

Tiny quilting stitches with black thread through warm, thick batting.

Winters can be cold and snowy in these parts.

Do you see the dancing girl?

This was stamped on the back of the quilt – part of the home-dyed backing fabric – was it part of a feed sack?  We couldn’t find a label anywhere- just this one lone fancy girl.  I love how delicate this dancer is, all in lace and ruffles – at a time when times were so hard and quilts were made by every scrap you could possibly glean, hoping it would come together in something pleasing to the eye.

Look at those stitches – so even and straight.  I would love to meet this quilter!

And then for those seams that refuse to lay flat – LOL.

Oh honey – you poor thing!

The take up lever was broken off – this one will need serious love and care -

It stayed behind.

Pink dogwoods from underneath -

Pink dogwoods from above -

Isn’t it obvious why these are my favorites?

Fun humming bird or periwinkle star – it goes by both names.

Both Martha and I loved this setting and the hand quilting!

Methodist church
(also seen at the top of the photo)

The little country churches just touch me – this is where the heart of the people have come for more than a century.

Old abandoned place up the road from the church.

We spotted it from the church parking lot.

How imposing are these chimneys!

Oh, I wish I knew the story.

While this place was once abundantly grand -

Many made a wonderful life in places like this.

And I smiled at nature’s carpet of abundant green sprinkled with yellow wildflowers and wondered who cooked inside this cabin, smoke curling gently, escaping upwards through this chimney built by hand.

I love this corner where Tennessee and North Carolina join together at the Virginia border.  This is Appalachia.  This is magic.

Some sewing happened last night.

I am in love with these blocks and hope to do more today.

Maggie Malone's 5500 Quilt Block Designs book shows a similar design as Jack's Delight. This is slightly different than the traditional Anvil block and I am in search of other sources!  Whatever it is, it has captured my fancy and the need to make more is consuming me.

I cut these out the last time I was up here at the cabin, and I just felt the need to sit and stitch a couple. Recycled shirt plaids, utility muslin, shirting prints and whatever scrap I have on hand in my Scrap User's System that compliments the block colors as the center.

Today is my day to sew.  Late this afternoon I am headed back to Wallburg, NC to spend tomorrow packing for our trip to Mackinac Island.

This came up in my news feed on Facebook today -

Flash back to 5 years ago!

Remember when the lake was still clogged with ice and we had to take a prop plane from St Ignace to the island because the ferries couldn’t get me there?  This year should be DIFFERENT!

It’s my 3rd time back – I am so excited to be going.  I am looking forward to seeing so many of you there!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Let your first thoughts about yourself today be kind and encouraging!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!


  1. You really do find the most beautiful things to photograph, I love the vibrant greens against the beautiful church and even the abandoned homes. So interesting to think of how the3 buildings were used and who may have lived in them so long ago.
    Hope you have a wonderful trip to Mackinac island. Safe journey
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

  2. It is so great to travel with you on your day trips. You bring out my love of old buildings and what the history might have been in these homes. The quilts you find and the old machines. Thank you for all that you share.

  3. Love that block with plaids!

  4. ...Bonnie, your thoughts and photos are such a wonderful way to start the day...due to the time zone difference, everyday has been so blessed since I discovered "Quiltville"...Thank You !!!

  5. Maybe you should dedicate this block to the Hubster or Jeff since they wind beneath your successful wings....

  6. thank you for sharing the simple , sacred,and precious life tucked away in your part of forgotten America.Wish I could travel along. Have an awesome day doing what you want.From me here in Iowa.

  7. Thanks for taking us along on the beautiful early spring drive through the back roads. Discovering the old abandoned relics and capturing them in photographs is such a wonderful way tp spend a beautiful day.

  8. Happy May Day! I am going out to smell our Dogwoods soon. There is a project that is calling me and I need to Blog first. Love your wandering day!

  9. Thank you for your picture of Mackinac Island i went there last year for needleart seminar. Had an absolute blast even my husband enjoyed wish i were going this year. You and your lucky students will love it, as you know. Looking forward to your blogs from there

  10. There's so much beauty tucked into every hollow and hillside. I love Appalachia too.

  11. Love the vintage quilts and buildings. Love driving through such areas.
    Brackman's Encyclopedia also lists that block as Jack's Delight. To me it doesn't just look similar--it looks like that block. Her source is listed as Practical Needlework: Quilt Patterns, by Clara Stone in 1906.

  12. Hope to see you at the Grand even though I did not get in any of your classes. Think we will have a cold ferry ride but so much fun and good food ahead I can hardly wait!

  13. That starburst has 9 points ! In the 80s I found a lone star top with 7 points - gave it to Helen Young.

  14. Bonnie, the house with two chimneys is “Silent Shade.” It belonged to David Worth, a wealthy local merchant in the 19th century. He also gave the money/land for the little church, called Worth’s Chapel. Many of his family’s possessions are on display at the Ashe County Museum. My ancestors, were friends of the Worths and lived nearby. David was the executor for my 4-great grandfather, Sidney Maxwell’s will in 1855.

  15. What a lovely country drive-about. I love doing things like that.. Wish we had more of these where I live.

  16. I really enjoy your trips in search of vintage quilts. As above, I found your block named Jack's Delight in "The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns" by Jinny Beyer. It is credited to Clara Stone, "Practical Needlework" ca 1906. Hope to see your completed creation soon!

  17. Oh my, love those pictures! Headed to the thrift store today to see what they might have. You always make me more eager than ever to investigate my new town and area and we are not even completely moved in yet! Thanks!

  18. Have a onderful trip!

  19. Love the photos Thank you for sharing

  20. Hi Bonnie:

    I am like you, I love the little old churches. The stone church reminded me of the old stone church between Redwood Falls and Morton, close to the Lower Sioux reservation. The little country store reminded me of the two we used to frequent in Bechyn,MN.

    I love the old country homes, and that is why my home is fashioned after an old Midwestern farmhouse.

    Kasilof, AK
    Where we had rain, sun and now lots of wind, today.

  21. Hi Bonnie,I love your blog. My husband and I own land in the CreekSide Meadow Development in Fleetwood, NC (close to West Jefferson). Anyway when we are there we explore also and two of the photos posted today are places that I have almost the same exact photo of. We have been past the future retreat center many times in the past. Love all your photos and can't wait for my next visit to NC and hopefully someday to your retreat center. I also took a class with you in Denton in 2016. We live in Texas.


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