Friday, March 27, 2009

A Very Good Day

Yesterday was a very fun day. My sister, sister-in-law and I all got together to celebrate said sister-in-law's birthday. Up until the last we weren't sure of the weather or what we would do, but knew it would be good, because we'd have a day together, a great rarity.

The photo above is us at the end of the day--still smiling.

We began the day with some show-n-tell by my sister. She's a new quilter and is doing some amazing things. This runner was her first project. It only uses one piece but the way the fabric is cut and pieced, to make the kaleidoscopes, is quite complex, imho.

Here's a close up. The original fabric was a poinsettia print. The color flow is just lovely.

Her second project is more like what I think of as a beginner project--the piecing is simpler. But the colors were out of my sister's range so even simpler, she's pushing her boundaries and gaining skills. (I am sooo happy, my sister finally has a "stash" of her very own! I helped her add to her stash yesterday. )

After that we headed out to lunch. We went to Swordfish Contemporary Sushi. The birthday girl had never had sushi (she's married to our stick-in-the-mud brother). We got bento boxes so she could have a sampling. I think it was a hit.

On the way we visited Prairie Shop Quilts. I first learned of this shop when I noticed they were on a tour set up by the International Quilt Festival (coming up in Chicago). I knew of the other shops on the tour and decided this one must be worth visiting, too. Of course, the quilting sister knew about it and took us there. It is a lovely shop. So much to do, so little time...

Then we drove a little ways west to Esther's Place. If you like wool, this is the place for you! We had a blast. Esther's is in a Victorian house and you step in to a world of vivid color when you open the door. Wool yarn, tops, batts, locks, roving, and the tools to do things with it are everywhere. There are also loads of inspiring models.

The wools are from local shepherds and spinners. It's really cool to know the provenance of what you're buying like that. Just about to the name of the sheep the wool came from! When we got there there was a group washing fleece in the kitchen. Later on a spinning class taught by the owner/founder Natasha.

My day was made when Natasha's mom (sorry, I forgot her name) sat us down at a table and handed us wool roving, a foam block and felting needles and set us to making flowers. We all had fun sculpting our flower in wool. Here are our creations at the end of our impromptu session. I think we all plan to add some beads to the centers, maybe bead dangles. Mine is the orange one. My sister's is the purply one and my sister-in-law's is the pastel purple with the orange center. Is that cool or what?

Felting in all it's forms is very popular in the shop and there were models of wet, needle, nuno, shibori, knitted and just about any other kind of felting you can think of. The models, classes and kits are very creative.

We toured the upstairs, which has three bedrooms for retreats. We're thinking about going for a couple of days to do a project (a nuno collar shawl that combines a wool felted collar with a chiffon drape).

I took this as we were leaving with our stash.

What was in those bags? Well, my sister got this Nativity felting kit. I got these trees to felt. Felting needles, yarn, a book, and some lovely bits of wool fabric all jumped into our bags.

One last stop, we got mini pastries at a bakery in Geneva, IL. I didn't catch the name but the treats were wonderful and the soup was highly recommended by the gentleman at the next table. (If you're in the area and want to find out, let me know and I'll ask my sister.)

I'm going to bask in the smiles from this one for a long time. (which is good because snow is predicted this weekend, sigh...)


Karol said...

Sounds like you had a lovely day. The nativity set is really cute.

Anonymous said...

What fun and such treasures. How nice to spend time with your S and SIL. You always seem to have such a good time!

terryb said...

Looks like your sister is a "natural." How beautiful her first project is! Most of us don't do heirloom-quality work the first time out. Congratulations to her.

Anonymous said...

your sisters first project is awesome (i mean that literally). the colour play across the runner is great.

how lucky you all are to have sisters and Sil who all get on so well. what a fun day that sounds.

susan m hinckley said...

What very good day, indeed! I loved the show and tell -- alas my first quilt didn't look quite as sophisticated as hers. And I really miss all the great shops in Illinois (we've lived in Chicagoland 3 times). Thanks for inviting us along and sharing your treasures.