Monday, February 21, 2011

Kerrville and Fredericksburg, February 2011

One of my favorite things about quilting is the sisterhood of like-minded women who make up this amazingly supportive community. Some of my best friends in the whole world are those that I met in quilt class. At the Kerrville Quilt Guild, Holly Nelson showed her quilt, Galactic Migration that she started in one of my classes in 2003. Beautiful! Thank, Holly, for sharing.
At the Verein's Country Quilt Guild in Fredericksburg, I was particularly touched by the story behind this quilt, made by Laura Killenwald. Laura was born in Mexico,but moved to Texas when she married. She became a citizen in 2000 and made this quilt to celebrate her new country.
The Verein's Country Quilters make a mean raffle quilt. They don't have tickets yet, but I left my $5 with the program chair, Kate Hunter, who promised to get them for me as soon as they are available. Simply a stunning quilt!
One of the wonderful things about Texas Quilt Guilds is that they welcome other guilds to their meetings to sell raffle tickets for their groups. I left some $$ with this group too.
And, the final stop in Kerrville was to the quilt shop, Creations, owned by Julie Milam and Kathy Thompson. Creations is located in an old Victorian building and each room has a different them. They have GREAT STUFF! Check them out next time you are in the area.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Along the River

Female Merlin. Photo by David Powell.

My favorite time of day to be out along the river is the few hours after dawn, before the human masses take over the day and the wildlife goes into hiding. Last week, when it warmed up (finally!), was particularly eventful. As I walked south along one transect, I saw what appeared to be a Cooper's Hawk eating something. Upon closer approach, I looked up to watch in wonder as a female Merlin dined on a small bird, right over my head. Sadly for me, I was sans camera that day.
Common Merganser image by David Powell.

At dawn, I watched two male Common Mergansers idling along the North Diversion Channel in Albuquerque - spectacular!
Bald Eagle image by Doug Brown.

Along the more remote stretches of the river, I frequently observe Bald Eagles and Red-tailed Hawks that roost overnight in the large trees. At one location, I've observed a black morph red-tail on each and every survey. Amazing!

American Coots in battle. Image by Doug Brown.

Although it might not feel like spring to we humans, for birds it is courting time. Males battle for females. Two male mallards in the main drain were showing off for a female, dipping and diving. She returned the display. Sadly, I didn't get to stay long enough to see which was the victor.

And, lastly, coyotes, beaver and porcupines are among the many mammals that call the bosque home. I am privileged to be able to watch them. It sure makes getting up so early worth it!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hawks Aloft Raffle Quilt Retreat 2011

It took a team of 13 makers and three dogs 1 and 1/2 days to make the top for this year's raffle quilt. The design is by yours truly and inspired by my new fascination with Navajo rugs. The 13 humans are Donna Barnitz, Ruth Burstrom, Debbie Caffrey, Ed & Mary Chappelle, Steve Elkins, Mike & Michele Hymel, Anita McSorley, Chellye Porter, Lizzie Roberts, and Sam Sanborn and me.
Each year we retreat to the cabin in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico for a weekend of, not relaxation, but . . .
Sweat Shop Central!
In short order, we got down to business working on the center design.
Mike and Ed are the official cutters.
Ed does double duty as a paper remover. The entire quilt is paper foundation pieced (except for the bird's heads that were appliqued by Anita).
Steve and Lizzie make great sewing partners!
All that paper has to go somewhere!
Laney helps hold down the paper while she guards her favorite toy, a pumpkin, that she never leaves out of sight.

Debbie displays the center diamond.

We started on Friday afternoon and by late Saturday the top was stitched. So, we switched from serious sewing mode to New Mexico relaxation mode with a traditional dinner with the traditional pre-dinner drink -margaritas! It was quite the festive evening.
Sunday morning is a time for sharing stories as we sit in front of the windows, drinking coffee and watching the birds outside.
Pogo, who was attending his first quilt retreat, wasn't so sure about all the people and all the activity, so he took to hiding in the closet.
Shoes and jackets in the mud room, outdoor wear abandoned for inside activity.
Sunday morning after coffee was set aside for a hike to the overlook where the snow was only ankle deep.
Here, Chellye and I pose with the two unwilling dogs, Gabby and Laney. There was so much to do and so little time. Why waste it holding still for a photo!
The view from the overlook of Jemez Springs. We look forward to returning for our 2012 retreat. The quilt has now gone home with Michele Hymel, who has a longarm quilting machine and a very talented quilter! We hope to finish all of it in time for the Monte Vista, CO Festival of the Cranes in mid-March. We'll have raffle tickets very soon.