QUILT CORNER: A Quilter’s Vacation
by BILLIE RUTH STANDBRIDGE | ‘The Quilt Lady’ - Lone Star Heritage Quilt Guild

July 23, 2006 -- How would you define a quilter’s vacation? To some it might be something as simple as staying home and having undisturbed quilting time. No guilt. Just freedom to quilt. Someone else might get several friends together and do a shop hop. But just in case you don’t know, quilt vacations/tours have become big business in the tourism industry. You can open any quilt magazine and find numerous advertisements by well-known quilt personalities who are offering quilt-related tours. These generally include class instruction in the field of expertise of the quilt personality who is the draw for the tour. It’s a way to visit a foreign country, take a ship cruise, a paddle boat up the Mississippi, or even a bus tour in our own country, as some of our quilters did. The tours are usually about the same cost as other tours; it’s just that in this kind of excursion, you already know you are going to be with kindred souls. You can talk the same quilt language and recall some of the same major shows.

I talked with Jan Bartley and Deanna Hasten, who were among about a dozen of our quilters who have been on one or more of Rita Linquist’s tours. Since I’m always on the lookout for timely material for the Quilt Corner, I called them up, and thank goodness for the detailed scrapbook that Deanna kept. That girl is one scrapbook keeper extraordinairre! Nothing escapes her eye.

Rita, as an experienced tour coordinator who was thoroughly knowledgeable of the area to be covered, planned a trip that was very organized and a memorable one for all. She started right off with something of an assignment. All were to bring a “white elephant” item, no bigger than what could be put in a cake mix box that would later be won "Chinese Auction" style. Everybody could bring along projects they wanted to work on while riding since every quilter had two seats, providing plenty of space to spread out their work or to stretch out. 

Rita’s tours were different from most in that the focus was not on teaching by a well-known quilter, but rather visiting outstanding quilt shops and points of interest. Each day had highlights for them to look forward to. Even with their heaviest travel day, they still had time in Little Rock to visit the “New England” home and gardens, “Twigs” shop and Martha Stewart-like hen house of Nancy Porter, featured in Southern Living for her special gardening. In Illinois, they visited Rend Lake Artisans Center and dined that night at the Lone Star Saloon.

Throughout Ohio and Kentucky, it was like a trip that looked back in time, traveling through the land of our early settlers, through the cultural villages of the Shakers and the Amish. It would include staying overnight in a Shaker village, enjoying the quaint historic places that showcased their early way of life.

On the route through northern Ohio is the world’s largest and most beautiful Amish settlement. There would be a visit to the Amish farm of Anna Stulzman where they could buy handmade baskets and have a delicious dinner in an Amish home. There were “dry goods,” famous Longaberger Baskets, many antique shops, a stop off at the American Quilt Society quilt museum, the Adsmore Mansion, and for the main purpose of the whole trip, the best quilt shops any where.

“As much fun as it is,” Jan said “after about the 15th quilt shop, things really began to blur.”

Blurred or not, everybody came home with their fair share of shopping.

I know that I’ve left out many items of interest, but there were too many to cover them all. But something of special interest was on their next to last day, when they toured the American Quilt Society Museum’s current exhibit of the prize-winning quilts from the last 20years. The last day was finalized with a stop in Little Rock at Blossoms Quiltworks before arriving at the Best Western parking lot in Sulphur Springs. What an eight day trip!! I’m sure that it took extraordinary research and planning to have come up with this quilters’ tour. Makes you want to start out tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, it’s only a couple of days until our next guild meeting on July 24 at the Senior Citizens Center. Don’t forget that’s the last guild meeting at which entry forms can be turned in and have the pictures taken of your quilts. The actual deadline date is August 14, and if you cannot come to the guild meeting, mail your entry forms to Rose Hillsamer, 429 Junell St., Sulphur Springs, Tx 75482.

Tammy Olague will have another interesting program lined up for our enjoyment. Come join us at 5:30 pm (earlier if you’re having pictures taken), followed by refreshments and program. The Welcome sign will be out.

P.S. If you have any questions about entry forms, call Billie Ruth at 903-439-0862 or Rose Hillsamer at 903-885-6228.

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