gratitude, quilt shows, teaching

Quilt Show and Jazz concert a very quilterly day

Saturday morning as my sweet husband was looking around on the internet he found 2 events: the Heritage Quilters of the Hudson Valley quilt show at the library in Pearl River, NY and a jazz concert by Fred Smith and the Masters of Swing at Arts Westchester in White Plains.

Rose of Sharon by Helen Cooper
Rose of Sharon by Helen Cooper

First stop the quilt show at the library in Pearl River.

When I walked through the door I was smitten by this quilt.  I hid my giddiness, working my way around the room before looking at “Rose of Sharon”.  This quilt is different than the other quilts in the room and I got to meet the quilter, Helen Cooper.  Helen shared with me that she meets every 2 weeks with a group of quilters to just sit & stitch and they have lunch together.  When it’s a quilters birthday the hostess provides lunch and the quilter receives 1/2 yard of fabric from the other quilters.  Sweet deal I say.  When it was Helen’s turn she asked for the black & white prints you see here.

In making “Rose of Sharon” Helen had to make a few changes from the pattern as she couldn’t find the wide rick rack and the thought of tacking down prairie points just didn’t thrill her.   Helen and I started talking as I was on my way out the door and I very nearly missed this opportunity to spend time with her and this time was priceless.   The quilt is for her granddaughter who’s getting married soon and she’s just happy to have this done!  I learned a lot from Helen yesterday afternoon.  How she’s not happy with h

Hospice QuiltCaroline Higgins
Hospice Quilt
Caroline Higgins

er stitching, how one of the threads she used gave her a fit and so much more.   I told her that her quilt is beautiful just because it is!

There is a bit more to the conversation with Helen and that part of the story is for me to remember.

The quilt on the right, Hospice Quilt by Caroline Higgins, is a memory quilt.  There are over 100 names of people who were in hospice at some time.  Each name represents a family, a story, a journey through grief that the kind folks with hospice helped them journey through.  My sister-in-law J has been a hospice nurse, as has a friend of mine and I think that they’re some of the most amazing people.


The last part of the quilt show I’ll share for now is Quilted Memories by Liz Van Wynen.  I read some of the older books when I was a kid and after reading Cherry Ames I thought I wanted to be a nurse when I grew up.  I went so far as becoming a Certified Nurses Aide and decided this was not for me.

And then onto Fred Smith and the Masters of Swing at Arts Westchester last night.

Fred Smith
Fred Smith

These guys were just off the hook amazing!  Fred moved from Virginia to Westchester County to study music in the City a long time ago.  Fred plays trumpet and flugelhorn and can even play them both at the same time.  How cool is that?!

quilt show and swing 039Accompanying Fred are a bassist, drummer and pianist.

They’re very good and the concert was just amazing.





quilt show and swing 050

If you ever get a chance to see Fred Smith and the Masters of Swing,  just do it.

It may sound weird, but the music was beautiful.  Simply beautiful.

A few weeks ago we attended the Fine Arts Orchestral Society/Yonkers Philharmonic’s concert where they played Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. This concert also included a choir consisting of two separate choirs.  A-maz-ing!

While wildly different styles of music they were both just simply beautiful.

Complex     Full of life

and  wait for it

I’m going to relate this to quilting.

Wildly racing thoughts went through my head last night and at the break between sets I nearly sought out the pianist to ask him the following question, “how grounded do you need to be in the basics to do what you do with jazz/swing?”  and the follow up would be, “How much time do you spend practicing?”  Almost sought him out because I know the answer to the questions.

quilt show and swing 051To be able to get your hands to fly across the keys like this

To be able to play a trumpet and a flugelhorn at the same time

To play bass and drums well

To be able to quilt well

means that hour



making mistakes

learning where and how

mistakes are made

how to fix said mistakes

hearing, seeing what’s going well

is essential

learning to improvise is essential or in more quilterly language, make design decisions

be willing to put in the hours!

ask questions

use your seam ripper, learn to use your machine

and most of all learn how to have fun

because fun, joy, excitement, happiness is what quilting is all about

just like this jazz/swing concert last night

Happy quilting!




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