Thursday, February 06, 2020

Quilting and Basketball!

This came off of the machine yesterday afternoon!

As much as I love to hand quilt, a large quilt like this could take me at least a YEAR to complete, if not longer.  If that was the “only” sewing I did with no piecing on anything else at the time I might be able to get it done sooner. 

I started out as a hand quilter.  But as motherhood and busy life took over, I became a machine quilter on my domestic machine inspired by Harriet Hargrave. 

Bigger quilts became a problem, and I still kept a quilt in hand quilting frame in my dining room for years.  And because THAT wasn’t something that I could take time to sit at every day, it took longer and longer to get any kind of hand quilted project to completion.

I bought my first long arm quilting machine in 1995 and have never looked back.

However you quilt – no method is “better” than any other as long as it gets the job done for you allowing you to move on to the next quilt!

Close up!

The neutral triangles at the edges of the blocks and the cornerstones are all scraps of Essex linen – the scraps left from cutting up the stitchery kits for my Twiga and Warm Hands, Warm Heart patterns stitched on our trips to Kenya and Germany/Austria.

The linen texture really helps this quilt with that vintage appeal.  Great stuff!

And the moment you’ve been waiting for:

Those backing lovelies! LOL!

They are so “medium” in value -

Those kind of fabrics that are neither light nor dark -

The kind of fabrics you can’t cut into small pieces without the print running amok.

They are PERFECT here, in all of their 1990s wonderfulness.  LOL!  And this left a bit more breathing space in the bin of fabrics I brought up to use up as backings.

Bye bye, 7 yards of MEH!

The binding was applied just before leaving for the dentist, and is waiting on my comfy chair for me to start the hand stitching TONIGHT.  Last night, we chose another activity:

Oak Hill Academy Basketball!

They played Franklin Prep from Charlotte, NC in a home game so we could attend.  We had a blast, and these kids are phenomenal!  I’ve never seen a game so intense. 

The Oak Hill Warriors won the game scoring 107 points against the Cardinal’s 53.  Just insane basketball for high school aged kids.

Many of the seniors on this team already have scholarships to universities – they are THAT good.  It’s as if Oak Hill is a training team for university teams.

The gal behind me must have been rooting for Franklin Prep.  LOL!

Grayson county may be small, but there are folks of world-renowned fame who are still choosing to make their living here in the Blue Ridge mountains of Southwestern Virginia.

If I could have turned the camera to the person sitting just to the right of me on the bleachers, those Bluegrass fans amongst us may have recognized Wayne Henderson!

Wayne Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His guitar playing has also been enjoyed at Carnegie Hall, in three national tours of Masters of the Steel-String Guitar, and in seven nations in Asia.

In addition to his reputation as a guitarist, Henderson is a luthier of great renown. He is a recipient of a 1995 National Heritage Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts. He produces about 20 instruments a year, mostly guitars; he is almost as well-known for the mandolins he has made. Good friend Doc Watson owned a Henderson mandolin. He said, “That Henderson mandolin is as good as any I’ve had my hands on. And that’s saying a lot, because I’ve picked up some good ones.”

Some of Henderson’s instruments are intricately decorated but are most respected for their volume, tone, and resonance. Blues guitarist John Cephas said that Wayne Henderson “is probably the most masterful guitar maker in this whole United States.” There is a waiting list for Henderson’s guitars made up of the famous (and not-so-famous). [source]

And and there I was standing for the National Anthem with my hand over my heart right next to Wayne Henderson, whom I had heard lived locally, but had never met in person.

“I heard there was a Quilter taking over the Old Field’s place!” was his reply after our introduction.

And then he proceeded to tell me of a quilt made for him by his sister for Christmas, with all of the t-shirts from his festivals and how much the gift meant to him.  My heart was warmed – quilting is alive and well in Grayson County, Virginia!

And it turns out that he used to WORK as a postman at my Quiltville Post Office back somewhere around 1968!  That lead into my asking if he know how long the Post Office had been there.  “As far back as I can remember” was his reply.  “So 1950s?”  I queried.  “Maybe even further back.” was the reply.

The quest is on to find out when my post office was built. Inquiring minds MUST know.

I pulled out the following photo on my phone, shared to Facebook and Instagram a couple of days ago:

L. Brown send a letter to me including an envelope addressed to her mother on January 24, 1961. Postmarked Mouth of Wilson, Virginia!

In talking to the postmaster at USPS the other morning she confirmed that the letter would have been postmarked here at my Quiltville Post Office before I was born.

I don't know about you but this kind of thing just tickles my fancy!

I am thinking of the cars and the fashions in 1961 and wondering what was going on next door at the Old Field's Mansion, now known as Quiltville Inn.

On January 24th 1961 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by the Shirelles had just reached the top of the charts along with Are You Lonesome Tonight by Elvis Presley.

If you were a TV fan, you might be watching such shows as Bonanza, Gun Smoke, Hazel, Perry Mason, and Lassie.

The Misfits starring Marilyn Monroe was just hitting theaters.

If you were in the market for a new car, absent in 1961 where the big tail fins that the 1959 and 1960 Chevys sported. Fins had become a thing of the past.

If you were purchasing a new sewing machine, a singer 500 Rocketeer may be your purchase of choice.

Of course featherweights were still being made in 1961, and they came in a luscious tan color. I'd still love to find one of these!

And the confirmation from Wayne Henderson himself was that – Oh yes, this definitely would have been postmarked in the same building that is now the Quiltville Post Office.

I am finding this community to be more and more fascinating with every person I meet!

For those here on retreat the 3rd weekend in June – The Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition will be happening just up the road at Grayson Highlands State Park.  Maybe a break from quilting, and some enjoyment of Bluegrass is in your future for an evening?

That would be THE STITCH MOB coming out of Missouri/Colorado! 

And through all of this excitement, things have come full circle for Mrs. Evangeline Vickers, the sender of the above envelope/letter.

She passed away in 2008, being buried at Young’s Baptist Church cemetery, on the campus of Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. Yes, where our basketball game was last night.

I was able to find her memory guest book online, and uploaded the photo of the envelope above so that those who knew and loved her could once again get a glimpse of that elegant handwriting.  I LOVE how she slanted the word ‘and’ between the Mr. and Mrs.  So stylized.

And then my thoughts lead to how we are truly losing our touch with the written word – where we knew people by their penmanship, recognizing signatures and addresses.  This electronic age of email and text has been so great in so many ways – but the individuality of hand writing, and the connection to people in our past will just not be the same with type and text, delete.

And it looks like I’ve waxed very wordy this rainy Thursday morning!  And the one thing we have left to do is draw for the winner of our March/April 2020 Quiltmaker gift-away.

These goodies are going to:

2237 of 5049 entries!

Congrats, Deborah! Please reply to the email I have sent you using the address you provided with your entry.  I’ll be getting these items on their way to you!

And be watching for future gift-aways to happen here within the next couple of weeks.

Today – Some order filling, and then over to Quiltville Inn to get everything ready for tomorrow’s Quilts of Valor Sew Day.  I can’t wait to have the Quilting Quarters rocking with projects for such a great cause!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

It's your road, where will it take you today?

Having friends and family along to share the way makes the journey that much sweeter.

Vintage Broken Dishes quilt circa 1920 from my collection. Another in the back of my mind that has me running for the recycled shirt scraps. (SQUIRREL!)

Have a terrific Thursday, everyone!


  1. Preparing for my mother's funeral on this rainy day in Southwest Virginia. I, too, had to be the baddie in throwing away boxes of cards and letters as I cleaned. Always, as with that generation, you had to open each one for there might be the monetary gift still in the envelope as it was received. Reliving 101 years of memories.

    1. So sorry for your loss. I had to do the same for my mom when she passed. She saved every card, letter and photograph. Still going through photos three years later. She lived in SE Virginia, near Williamsburg.

    2. My Mom died last Dec. We found 2 full filing cabinets filled with letters and cards filed by name. So I took home a big box It's been fun to read letters I wrote to her over 50 years ago from the convent when I was in the Novi tate .

  2. Glad you shared the time you met Mr Henderson. Those are times to remember. He most likely doesn't know how famous the Quilter is running the QPO and The old Fields place. I miss watching my Grandsons play Basketball this Season. Thank goodness for videos of their awesome 3 point shots. What a Happy Quilt that came off your longarm. I agree that's the way to get more quilts DONE!! Happy Thursday.

  3. Thank you for sharing the letter. How sweet that it was sent to you! Did you notice the lack of a zip code? That wasn't introduced in the US until 1963.
    The music festival sounds wonderful. Wish I could be there!

  4. Along with your quilting, I truly love your stories.

  5. Like you I started hand quilting, in fact my first quilt was a king sized sampler that was hand pieced and hand quilted. I eventually realized I’d have lots of quilt tops if I didn’t start machine quilting. I continue to do both. Hand quilting is very relaxing. I love reading your blog and following your adventures.

  6. I just enjoyed so many things about this post, I don't even know where to start. I'm glad you were wordy today - I enjoyed every bit.

  7. Great story, I just love these serendipitous shared memories.

  8. I live 30 miles from Decatur, IL and your letter made me smile. The memories of the 60-s are part of my memories. Thanks for sharing your story.

  9. What a wonderful post. I am an avid history buff and love when people and places connect. The letter you showed had an original address of Decatur, Illinois where my Aunt and cousins and my grandmother lived for many years. Conincidence? My Aunt will be 94 in March. Her husband was a Branson.

  10. Did somebody say, "research project"? (Narrator: No one did.) Good! Here's a few things...
    If you haven't seen this, you'll be interested in this blogpost about the "abandoned" town of Mouth of Wilson, which includes pics of your post office and your house from 2004: http://www.peterlabau.com/blog/entry/virginia-ghost-town#sthash.S4u1sigX.dpbs Also, at the end of that blog post a book is mentioned that has a chapter about Mouth of Wilson and the history of some of its buildings. The book seems to be available at three different libraries within 35 miles of Mouth of Wilson.
    You may have seen this one, from when your house was for sale, with a very old picture of it, and in the comments you're mentioned!
    This site gives you the name of postmasters and when they started: https://www.newrivernotes.com/grayson_government_1823-1971_postmasters.htm For Mouth of Wilson, the postmasters are listed as starting on 9/13/1837 through 12/7/1956. The data in the file apparently goes up to 1971, but there's nothing said there about what specific building is being used.
    Well, that's all I get from some quick Googling. I don't suppose there's a year carved anywhere, like into the foundation of the post office?

  11. One of the contests on radio in our little town in 1961 was that if you turned the date upside down, it read the same. Our radio station wanted to know what other years did the same and got a lot of interest.

  12. An amazing post! All that history coming to light - wonderful. It makes me very sad to see that the written word is a thing of the past. My daughter is getting married in November in a civil ceremony - they will still be signing the register but as from next year no signatures will be needed as it goes digital. That makes me sad because I have such a kick from seeing my ancestors signatures on their wedding registers - well, those that didn't mark a cross and even they are charming in their own right, mostly agricultural labourers. We didn't have a phone and neither did my grandmother so letters were sent back and forth. I still have some and when I stayed with them, I have letters sent from my parents. I write better than I talk!

  13. Thanks so much for your blog, Bonnie! You always give me a little something to look forward to and you start my day off with a smile!

  14. Interesting forwarding address. I moved to Huntington, IN to finish my undergrad degree. That was in 1981. I was there for 3 years. Market Street was only a couple of blocks from where I lived the last year I was there.

  15. I sure love that quilt. What is the name of the pattern you used for those blocks?

  16. Bonnie, I always enjoy reading your missives, but this one was really special. I also love seeing pics of all of your quilts, but especially love this one - it grabs me and is calling for me to dig out my scraps!!!!!!! Hugs!!!!!!

  17. I was at a house concert in Niwot, Colorado last year where Wayne was playing! Awesome and such a down to earth fella. Also there was Dr. Banjo, Pete Wernick, a local Niwotian, from the infamous Hot Rize. Love me some good bluegrass!


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