Pioneer Cosplay

Heritage Day Logo_SB

Logo by Simone

Recently a few of us here were involved in the Heritage Day Celebration, honoring the early pioneers in this valley. It happened last Saturday, on a mildly hot day.  Good day to be wearing all these layers, right?

pioneer dress 2018.jpg

Didn’t Thoreau say something like “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes”?  I think the dress looks like a cross between Mary Poppins and the mother from Little House on the Prairie, an ancient TV show that forever colored our view of what women in the 1850s wore around the farm, and notable for the final show: they blew up all the set houses with dynamite to keep them from the local evil corporate guy.

We hosted a “quilting booth” but instead of that tired old trope of setting out a quilt top so people could mangle it with their stitches, we ran a hexie booth, based on the research I found that quilters at the time were doing English paper piecing.

Quilt of the Mormon Migration_EPP (1)(1).jpg

We had some work to do.  We, meaning, several of us who have attended our quilting group for many years, plus some others we conned into asked to participate.


First, combine four patterns to make a pioneer outfit (seen above). Then start working on the demo goods: hexies.

Pioneer Hexies_1Pioneer Hexies_2

I appliqued them to a tote bag I picked up a couple of years ago at Quilt Market, figuring the “maker” theme was a good fit for hexies.

Pioneer Hexies_0

l to r: Julie, Melissa, me, Laurel, Simone, Lisa. (PS Simone doesn’t really look like this. She likes to pull faces. Her texts always make me laugh.)

Pioneer Hexies_0aPioneer Hexies_0b

We figure we glued up about 500 hexies, total, between this and what Leisa did later on.  It was so good to have these!


It was a team effort: our friend Dennis brought us tables and chairs, and Leisa was the “set decorator,” using quilts from near and far. We arrived at 7:10 a.m. and left at 2:20 p.m., the right amount of time.


We also had some modern hexies there to entice the participants; that is Laurel’s beautiful Modern Millefiore Hexie quilt on the left, with Simone’s hexie pillow (pattern here), and other props.


We had Color-A-Quilt pages for the littlest visitors, as well as create your own quilt block (below).  We had to remind them that it was a visual treat–take a photo with your phone sort of thing–as people kept walking off with my design boards.  That is Julie’s hand you see there, making a mock-up.  She kept these two sections rolling the whole day.



from l to r: Cindy, Julie, Denese, me, Laurel and her husband Ralph, Leisa, Simone

The original crew, plus my husband, Dave (who is taking the photo).  We swapped out two for four others mid-day; we were swamped, so were glad to have them.  Here are some photos from our day:



We were suprised by the number of teens — and teen boys — who sat down and made a three-hexie patch from start to finish.

Pioneer Hexies_3.jpg

Most did not look like this–they sewed them up properly, although sometimes with an interesting twist or two, but we thought this won the prize for “Most Interesting Hexie” of the day.  We had to teach many how to tie knots (about half had no idea how to do that), and we saw that lots of youngsters (and oldsters) liked to be able to sit and sew, a skill not often available to them in other places.


We had a sample quilt set up in a hoop in case anyone wanted to try hand-quilting.  Most were more fascinated by the hexies.  And most wanted to pick through the baskets of cut fabric squares and glue their own shapes, too.



Wee Pioneers


I love sharing our craft with some new quilters!

tiny nine patches

Stats: 3,000 paper hexies purchased
60 needles (only 35 were brought home–don’t know where the rest went)
3 needle-threaders: one from Clover, my friend Laurel, and my husband Dave
2 ten-gallon jugs of water
4,000 cut squares prepped up: fabric donated by Paintbrush Studio and Primitive Gatherings
Project boards that are not dusty: 0
Number of pioneer outfits that will never be used again: 7

Dusky Tones on the Comeback Trail?

Over Labor Day weekend, I headed up to my nephew’s wedding and was completely entranced with the flowers on our tables.  No brights anywhere.  Dusky hydrangeas, mossy-textured greens that were soft as baby’s ears, pastel roses, grayed down tones everywhere.  The bridesmaids’ dresses were a pinky-tan color.  The bride was in a rich ivory dress.  This is a couple who is on the cutting edge of everything, including fashion and design. Now consider this:

This is the latest from the Moda design team and the collection is entitled “Little Gatherings.”  While the tones and colors are similar to what I bought in the 1970s, what I noticed was the design: little bitty designs.

So the question that some are asking around on the blogs, as they drag out those uncompleted quilts from the 1970s is: are the dusky tones from that era making a comeback?  I would have said yes to the colors and the tonality but no to the itsy bitty calico-type prints, until I saw the Moda line above.  So, are we returning to that era?  Have we tired of the brights and bolds and large scale prints and heading back to the 1970s? 1880s?  If we look to fashion for inspiration, it’s often said that short skirts are a sign of a healthy economy and that long skirts indicate that we are all in for tough times. Since our economy is pretty much in the tank, I wonder if we can make the same predictions based on fabrics.

And by the way, here’s a view from the runways.  Even those with shorter, body-conscious clothes had a few longer skirts in their line-up.  In many shows, that’s ALL they had.  And judging from some of the fabrics being used, looks like we’re still in love with large-scale prints, although in fashion, I think only those who are 6 feet tall pull them off really well.  That lets me out.  And the colors?  They trended to the dusky, darker tones, but hey–it is the FALL fashion shows, which of course will be shown in deeper-toned fabrics. (Designers’ names are under the picture, newspaper-caption style.)

L’Wren Scott





Quilter T-shirts


I should get one of these and wear it around the Road to California Quilt Show which starts next week.  Or not.  Somehow I think quilters can wear pretty interesting clothing without any assist from an online shop.  But if you want one of these (and to read other funny slogans) head to Cafe Press.


Fall Fashion Shows in New York

File this under Another Good Way to Waste Time on the Web. Along with this week’s Olympics, which I’m crazy for, are the fall fashion shows held in New York City. I love heading to the New York Times website and looking at all the clothes. I kept finding things I wanted to share with my sister Christine, who is there in New York currently serving a mission, as she has such style and embraces different ideas in fashion easily.

This is not representative–just what I like this morning.
First up is Anna Sui:

Ralph Rucci had some interesting things going on with accents of textures. The jacket is pretty straightforward, until it comes to this gridded jacket front. Detail below.

 Okay, carry on. I’ve done enough time wasting this morning. I had a late night last night, staying up to watch the Men’s Figure Skating Finals, loving that Lysacek’s style of skating won out over the jumping Russian Plushenko.

As I watched I was also able to quilt on my long-long-long-term quilting project: my appliqued Medallion quilt that I began in Washington DC. For some reason the quilting is taking FOREVER. One reason is because I was trying not to use pencil to mark up the quilt top, trying to use masking tape to keep my lines straight. Last night I said to heck with it, and with a ruler, drew the quilting lines. It’s amazing how much faster I can go if I’m not struggling with strips of blue tape all over the place.

Last bit of news: we had an earthquake this morning, rattling my nerves. Ever since I was in the HUGE earthquake in Lima Peru as a child, any little shaking makes me tingle all over.