Saturday, July 21, 2007

Quilt Iowa

The first thing I noticed about Des Moines was the lush greenery, not a big surprise after life in the desert southwest. The second thing that stood out about this fair city in the heartland of America, was the friendliness of the people, and their fierce pride in their state. In fact, Iowa is known for its agriculture as well as the outstanding pork and beef they produce. I got to sample some of the wonderful foods including the locally produced, famous bblue cheese burgers, and their yellow carrots, which were a complete novelty (to me).

I was here to teach for Quilt Iowa, the annual retreat for the statewide guild.

Quilt classes were well received, and in the Circular Borders Class, some ingenious students, shown here, quickly grabbed their cameras to photo-document each step of the process.

The following day, students designed and stitched Mariner's Compass. Although no quilt tops were completed several progressed quite a long way, including some with 'fussy cut' centers, shown here. One diligent student managed to complete all of the sections of her original design, in just one 6-hour day!

One of the great things about traveling to new places is the fascinating information gleaned from life in a new town. I just happened to be here on the weekend of the Ride Across Iowa, in which bicyclists from around the world travel a route that crosses the state in one week, averaging 50 or so miles per day. It began in 1973 as a challenge between Des Moines feature writer, John Karras, and avid bicyclist, Don Kaul. Karras challenged Kaul to ride his bike across Iowa to experience the state on a more personal level, and to write about what he saw from that perspective. Today, the race "Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) is limited to 8,500 participants in order to maintain control and to reduce injuries. Makes me wish that I'd brought my bike too.

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