Tuesday, May 30, 2017


(Note: If you're new to this wonderful fictional group of quilters, read the first six installments by clicking on the 'We're Still Kicking Quilters' in the side panel.)

I was sitting at Martha Kerine's kitchen table while she put the finishing touches on her desert. Ida Rose was coming early and the three of us were setting up Jenny's quilt for the final quilting. The applique work was done, the borders were on and with the quilting today, all that would be needed was to finish off the edges.

“I really glad that we are finishing up Jenny's quilt today.” I said. “Anne Mae said she would finish the edging so that Ida Rose wouldn't have to worry about it.”

“I'm happy for Jenny,” Martha Kerine said as she sat down. “But I know that it will be bitter sweet for Ida Rose, actually, for all of us. Just think of all the weddings we have worked on. Jenny's will be the last.”

“Not really, Martha Kerine.” I said. “It won't be long before the next generation of weddings will begin.”

“Well, with today's youth, who knows when or if that will be. But, you know, in some ways, I think that they are smart. Just think of how we wound up getting married. And how inexperienced we all were. We really weren't at all ready for marriage. Our heads were in the clouds being fed the fantasy of life after the wedding. I sometimes wonder how all of us managed to make it work.”

“I guess perseverance. We didn't know any better. Nor was there any real options for us at the time.” I said with a sigh. “But, you know, I wouldn't really change anything. Would you?”

“Well, now that you mention it, I guess not. Oh, I would have liked a more realistic picture of what life would be like. But then, knowing in advance all the ups and downs may not be the best either.”

“Hi guys,” Ida Rose said as she walked into the kitchen. “Last push to finish quilting today. I will be happy to have it done. But with Anna Mae finishing up the edges, well, I am kind of worried.”

“Don't be.” Martha Kerine said. “She's already let us know that she will be extra careful with her stitches. And when she wants to, she does an excellent job.”

Ida Rose smiled as the three of us took the quilt and placed it on the quilt frame for the last time. The center of the quilt with all the applique was already quilted. All that needed doing now was the border and Ida Rose had already marked the quilting lines so finishing it up was a cinch.

“So, what do you think of Wanda Kay's shop idea?” Martha Kerine asked.

“Well, until the wedding and the fall festival are both memories, I really can't comprehend another major idea.” Ida Rose said.

“I can understand that, Ida Rose. But you know, the more I think about it, the better the idea sounds. Just think about all the quilters who have to travel so far for a fabric fix. I do order online but it would be so much better if I could actually see and feel the fabric.” I said.

Wanda Kay and Anna Mae entered the room while I was talking.

“And,” Wanda Kay added, “If I have other craft supplies there, especially yarn, I think the store will have an excellent chance of succeeding. I have been talking to the 'yarn ladies' who gather at the library about what type of yarn they would be interested in. Guess what? It's just like us quilters. Everything from less expensive for beginners to better quality for folks who cherish what they make."

“That's a lot of inventory, though.” Anna Mae offered.

“You know, Anna Mae, you're right.” Wanda Kay answered. “But I really am not looking at a bare bones store. I think if I have large enough inventory, folks won't become disappointed. But if they can't find what they want, I am going to offer the service to order it.”

“Sounds like you have your bases covered, Wanda Kay.” Ida Rose replied.

"Sure have," Wanda Kay started, "and that includes some mystery books. Do you know how many fiction books there are about quilting...not too mention, scrapbooking, weaving, knitting?"

"Are you planning on keeping a lot of books also?" I asked.

"Enough for folks to enjoy browsing through."

"Is this going to be a one stop shop for crafts, books and coffee?" Ida Rose asked.

"You know, Ida Rose, I'd like it to be a gathering place for crafters where they can relax and do their crafty thing with friends, enjoy some coffee or tea and maybe a scone or cookie, as well as have all the supplies they need in one spot. I want them to be able to try out new things as well. One of my ideas is to have a day, maybe once a month, when folks can drop in and try several new projects for a nominal fee."

"You know, that's a great idea," Ida Rose added, "because I would never have become a quilter if I hadn't given it a try at one of the guild quilt shows several years ago. I've always wanted to give spinning a try...the yarn type, not the bicycle type. I bet there are other folks who want to try new things...or new to them things."

"You'd be surprised at how many of my friends are beginning to ask if I am going to include one thing or another. My next door neighbor asked me if I was going to include anything about drawing botanical artwork last week. So, now I am thinking that maybe I should include some supplies for drawing and painting.'

"You could wind up going down the rabbit hole if you don't watch it." I warned. "I think you should pull back a bit and think about what really interests you and go from there."

"You're right, Gert. I realize that if I added everything that folks have asked about, I would need a warehouse. Right now, I am focusing on keeping things for fabric and yarn crafts well stocked along with some mystery books and the coffee bar. But, I am also considering that I may add a small area with miscellaneous supplies for other crafts. Still everything is in the planning stage."

"How about the location? Are you still looking at the old bank building?" Martha Kerine asked.

"No," Wanda Kay answered with a sigh, "It's not available anymore. The clinic has signed a lease and the modifications are already underway. So now I am looking at the old drug store. In some ways I like it better because it has a large window for display. The floor space is also much bigger so I would be able to have a gathering area. The really great thing is the rent is cheaper than the bank and I don't think I would have to do much in the way of modifications."

"Well, if we're all going to be involved in this little venture, I suspect that we will have to include planning on our agenda from now on." Anna Mae mused. "We may have to give ourselves a new name..."

"Knowing you, Anna Mae, I can see that you want all the bases covered..." Martha Kerine added.

“Speaking of bases covered, Ida Rose, how are the wedding plans coming?” Wanda Kay asked.

“Well, I think we have finally talked Daniel out of most of his projects. He is still set on putting a sliding door in the dining room. And, he is going to build a water feature. But he does see the benefit of not have permanent seating and not redoing the patio nor erecting a permanent archway, thank goodness.” Ida Rose answered. “Martha Kerine has the buffet all set and Gertie has come up with the table decorations. All the dresses are sewn. The flowers are ordered. The invitations sent out. So, all that's really left is the cake and it's too early to start on that. And if we finish quilting Jenny's quilt today, well, all that's left Anna Mae is doing. So I guess it's all in hand.”

“That's great news, Ida Rose,” Wanda Kay said. “I always gave a big sigh of relief when things were basically in the can.”

“I know what you mean Wanda Kay.” Anna Mae remarked. “Once the plans were decided upon and finished, it was like a heavy object was lifted from my shoulders.”

“How about the fall festival. Ida Rose?” I asked.

“Well, all the publicity is done. The brochures were distributed, the radio and tv interviews have been taped, the raffle quilt is making the rounds to the other guilds and business groups. So, my part, thank goodness, is done.” Ida Rose responded.

Elsie Jean walked into the room. “Hi all. Are you talking about the fall festival?”

“Yes, we were, Elsie Jean.” Martha Kerine answered.

“Well, I have the latest information from the guild,” Elsie Jean added. “and it looks like things are working out with the exception of a few of the classes. But, I think they will be worked out soon. Instead of using the covered picnic areas, the Grange has offered their space for classes. Free! Since it's right across the street from the park, it won't be a hassle getting there and back. The hangup was going from two days of classes to one day. I think they have it almost worked out. If you've never been in the building it has four separate rooms plus the big main room which can accommodate two separate classes so the two all day classes will be held in the main room. The rest of the classes will use the four separate room.”

“Wow, I wonder what struck the Grange to make that offer?” I asked.

“Well, I guess free is not exactly true. They want us to make a quilt to hang in their main room. Something to do with farming in the area.” Elsie Jean replied.

“Well,” Martha Kerine added, “that's not a bad deal. Just think, we will have another opportunity to advertise our guild.”

“True!” Elsie Jean continued, “That's what the guild officers thought. I think they will be asking each of us to create a farming scene block. The blocks will be different sizes so the fun will be to put it together.”

“I like the idea of farming,” I said. “And different sizes will make the quilt stand out.”

When the conversation died down, we all trooped into Martha Kerine's living room to finish up the quilting on Jenny's quilt. We were so absorbed in finishing up the borders that when Martha Kerine announced that refreshments were ready, it took us by surprise.

“Wow,” Martha Kerine went on, “when you're all are concentrating hard, I can – and did – hear a pin drop. Gert, I think it's somewhere by your chair.”

“Thanks, Martha Kerine,” I said. “I'll find it. How's everyone doing? This side is all done. I can help anyone out to finish.”

“Looking around,” Martha Kerine continued, “I think everyone is finishing up. As soon as Wanda Kay finishes off and hides her thread, I think we can say that the quilting is done.”

“I can't thank you enough,” Ida Rose cried. “It looks so beautiful. And without you all, it would heve never been completed in time for the wedding. Thank you all again so much...”

We all smiled at Ida Rose, many with a tear or two in our eyes. And with that Martha Kerine shooed us into her kitchen to try out her latest concoction. Something to do with chocolate, caramel, coffee and cream...what's not to like about that combination. Well, maybe the chocolate, only for Gert, that is!!!

That's all for today folks,
Hope all of you had a great three day weekend,
And remembered those who serve and served our country,
Talk to you later1!