Monday, April 26, 2010

Paducah, Kentucky

Two drivers with horses and elegant carriages waited in the parking lot to drive visitors through the old, picturesque part of Paducah.

Paducah, Kentucky [named for the chief of the Indian tribe displaced from that area by white settlement] is located on the Illinois/Kentucky border near the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers and near where they empty into the great Mississippi River.
It is an old city with bricked streets, shade trees, planters crammed with flowers, intriguing small shops.
It is also a mecca for quilters.
Our neice, an excellent needlewoman, recently purchased a long-arm quilting machine and signed up for classes given at the annual quilt expo.
We made plans to take a day off from house renovating and drive the three hours to Paducah to meet SA and her husband, B.
J. and I had breakfast [late] at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Bowling Green, KY.
These are a chain of restaurants housed in distinctive buildings fronted with a wide porch full of hickory rocking chairs.  One enters through a gift shop and is then escorted to a table in a long room decorated with all manner of antique and vintage items.  Old portraits in ornate frames share space with collections of everything from colorful tobacco tins to washboards hung on the latticed walls and a fire burns in a huge stone fireplace.  The food is down-home style and excellent.
J. took this photo of me with SA and her husband--after we had trudged the streets for several hours.
Don't we look inspired?
I took this of SA as the two of us toured the quilt show and vendors' hall.
I taught her the basics of sewing when she was a teenager. She and her younger sister [whose work I showed in a December post] both do stunning hand applique.  SA is a busy nurse-practitioner in a dermatology clinic in TN. She says that hand sewing helps her to de-stress after long days at work.

One of the prize-winning quilts at the show.

A detail of the above quilt.  While I deplore the mess that mice can make [having so recently removed that huge mouse nest from beneath the old kitchen cabinets!] they are so "cute" as depicted in stitchery or art work. This one has a look of having stepped from a Beatrix Potter sketch.

Another ribbon winner.

I liked this one with its use of shaded Log Cabin variation blocks as a background for the bold appliqued sunflowers.

This quilt was made in softly colored woolens.  Click to enlarge the photo if you would like to see the hand embroidered details.

Stunning, but not something I would likely attempt. I suspect it may be an example of paper-piecing.

While SA and I "did" the quilt show and vendors' stalls, the men betook themselves to a Railroad Museum. We met late in the afternoon and found a coffee shop where we could buy lovely cold drinks. It was in an old building with pressed tin on the ceiling. The whole place smelled richly of freshly brewed coffee, green tea and fruit smoothies. The scent of pastry wafted from racks of tempting goodies.
Our last stop of the day was at Hancocks of Paducah.
This is a huge retailer of quilt fabrics, patterns and tools. Their "wishbook" is sent out to quilters all over the country and we tote it around as the ultimate source of delectable fabric.
Did I need more fabric?  NEED?
My stash of fabric has been packed away since January when we knew we would be moving. I can't open a closet door and gloat over shelves of beautiful stuff just waiting in color coordinated stacks for me to have a burst of creative energy.
SA is more sensible than I am when it comes to fabric purchases.  She selects a pattern or plans a project and then shops for what she needs.  I snatch at fabric that catches my eye or suggests possibilities. Working part time in a quilt shop for 5 or so years, I was part of the team that viewed new lines of fabric when the fabric reps came around.  For a number of years I made a habit of buying [with my shop discount] any that I loved of the selection on our shelves, then purchasing other patterns or colorways from the same line through catalogs or when I managed to sneak into a quilt shop on trips I made with J. for building materials.
SA and I had a wonderful hour at Hancocks.  We limited our selections to batiks, each of us delighting to spy a bolt which would coordinate with the stacks already in our shopping carts. What fun to pull out a bolt of a glowing sunset orange or a muted purple and trot over to SA's cart to see if it was one she could use. She in turn, chose several colors to coordinate with my choices.
Our long-suffering husbands sat outside happily grousing over politics and the lamentable state of the world.

How could I have resisted  batik fabric printed in a cat motif? And since it was in two colorways I decided that I needed some of each and then the other pieces to pick up the beautiful colors of the felines. The two books came from a shop which had tables and bins of surplus pattern books. They were at such a reduced price that I chose two--whether or not I ever make up one of the projects, the books will provide some pleasant dream time. 


  1. Some beautiful quilts there! It must be fun matching colors. I like to do that in some of my medallion painting. Haven't done any of those for a while.

  2. Sounds as though you had a really good day - I haven't come across any Cracker Barrel places when I've been in the US so maybe they are just in the South? I love that prize winning quilt, perfect for a child's bed.

  3. What a FABULOUS day out. I would love to go to a quilt festival like that. All my sewing is on hold at present as I am running round like a headless chicken, so I guess it will be autumn before I start on another project (our new bed quilt, you know the one having sent me some gorgeous materials for it and shared the pattern).

    I was just blown away by the thousands of hours of work in some of those quilts. . . Superb. Thankyou for sharing.

  4. What a womderful time you had that day ....your neice looks so like you.
    That horse and carriage is almost fairy tale. The quilts were unbelievable ...all so all different and so complex.... Wow. I loved the cat material and toning designs too.
    Must finish now as China ia trying to help me write this and if she puts another claw into the back of my hand, no matter how lovingly she is purring, I may not be responsible for my action lol

  5. What a nice day out you had, it must have felt wonderful to relax and enjoy, after all the hard work at your new home.

    I really enjoyed visiting the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, I'd love to visit one in each state that has them! My favorite was an exhibit of a very old sewing machine, and above it was displayed a small quilt depicting the sewing machine, with flowers as the background, it was so beautiful!

    So now it's back to work for you, and at the rate you both are proceeding, I think by summer's full heat, you'll be able to just relax and admire all the things you've accomplished. May it be so!

  6. Thank you for sharing your lovely day out MM. Beautiful quilts which must have been an inspiration, and so good to have your niece to share your enthusiasm with.