This past weekend was a two-day event, A Quilter’s Showcase, sponsored by the Conejo Valley Quilters, and held in the gym at California Lutheran University. I went Saturday afternoon, to get out of the house, and to find some way to ignore my cold. Of course, the main goal was to see the quilts!
Quilts are both works of art, and practical ways to use up small bits of material to make useful objects, such as bedclothes or pillow coverings. Over the years – probably from the 80s on – wall hangings and other forms of quilting have evolved. Not being a quilter does not mean I do not admire the skill, patience, and creativity involved in their making. I don’t know if I have the patience for them in particular – I need to be moving, not glued to a sewing table or indoors. Anyway, enough about me – let’s look at some of the offerings!
First, the set up was really nice. Along the periphery of the gym were the vendors, mostly quilt stores, some local, some from further away. Everyone was really nice. Locally, we have Cotton & Chocolate Quilt Company. I liked their display, which was colorful – I especially liked the quilts hanging up.
The inside portion of the gym was somewhat of a labyrinth. Individual quilts were hung up, like paintings on a wall. Clothespins attached to the side of the quilt allowed the viewer to peer at the reverse of the quilt by using it as a handle – a good idea to keep quilts clean, and to satisfy the curious. There were a variety of quilts, from pictorial to traditional, most new, but some from the 1800s and 1900s.
The vendors were mostly quilt stores, but you do need machines and thread and needles besides material to quilt. Businesses selling sewing machines were there – I didn’t see my favorite store, Art & Jenny’s from Ventura there – but there were plenty of other local businesses with great machines and friendly, knowledgable staff. My favorite featured hand crank sewing machines, and quite a few of them.
This store is called Sew Cranky, and as you can see in the above picture, they had oodles. If I didn’t have a couple of hand crank sewing machines of my own, I would have gotten one. If you have never used a hand crank machine, it is very peaceful – no long electrical cords, slow motion, and you can take it outdoors, even if it does weigh a ton. The decals are wonderful, and the click-click sound of the shuttle is soothing. Treadle sewing machines are just as nice, but a bit less portable. And, they do have attachments which compensate for the straight-stitch only of many older machines.
Communities, such as the Conejo Valley Quilters, connect people to arts and crafts, to resources, and open one up to the variety and talent found within one’s own neighborhood. Their value may seem neglible, but in reality, our own lives become enriched from such venues, much more than we can appreciate in the moment.