Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sometimes things happen in the most unexpected places....

Have you ever met someone with whom you have felt an immediate bond?  Such is the case with Vickie, who I met two weeks ago when we were in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Knowing that I'm a needleworker, the people we were visiting arranged for me to meet their friend Vickie who is also an avid needleworker.  Oh my what a treat that was!

The first thing I saw upon entering Vickie's lovely home was this quilt. Vickie has it hanging from a curtain rod so she can easily change to another quilt.  On a table under the quilt was a small framed sampler.  I have stitched the same sampler, so that made it particularly fun to see her version.  Sorry--I forgot to take a photo of the sampler, but here is the quilt.

Vickie asked if we would like a tour of her home.  I think you can guess what we said without a second's hesitation. 

To the left of the entry was a small room full of goodies.  Here are some of Vickie's dolls, and look at the coverlet in the second photo.  She got the coverlet from a friend who was cleaning out things.

Then we went into the living room where Vickie had a small spinning wheel and also a small piece she  had woven.

Also in Vickie's living room was one of her current "works in progress"-- a bobbin lace bookmark.

Knowing that the others probably had never seen bobbin lace being made, I asked Vickie if she would demonstrate the technique.  Boy, did she make it look easy (but I know it's not).  I don't know if I could concentrate enough to make bobbin lace.

Here is a beautiful quilt that was in Vickie's kitchen.

Vickie has several stamped cross stitched pieces on display in her home.  She calls these her "orphan" needlework pieces.

I asked Vickie if she would explain her Orphan Needlework Philosophy so I could share it with you, and this is what she wrote.

Like many women who spend their lives on never ending tasks like cooking and laundry I long to leave something tangible behind when I leave this earth that shows I was not only here but that I had a love of beauty and form. I want those who come after me to see in my handwork that I lived my life, was showered with blessings and beauty, I loved and was loved and showed love. My careful stitches, personal color palette, and unexpected adaptations all speak of me, the creative woman who through faith in God and sheer determination walks this life of troubles and triumphs, sorrows and joy, hopes and broken dreams and can still create something beautiful.  

When I walk into a "second hand shop", thrift store, antique store, flea market or heaven forbid "Goodwill" and see a hand stitched piece that now has no family to love and cherish it, and in the case of "Goodwill" has been thrown out by someone it breaks my heart. So I honor those women who created those pieces by giving a home to their "orphans". By coming to join my family I'm giving voice to their lives. They were here and now so am I. May we all look around and value those who walk with us right now, see their color and beauty, listen to their dreams while they're still here to speak audibly. For those who I never knew but speak through their stitches to me, I give honor. I see their work and think of them and smile and pray that someday my work will do the same.

Boy, that certainly gives me something to think about the next time I'm out antiquing and I see a piece of needlework that no ones seems to want.

Next we went into Vickie's studio.  Oh my!  I was not prepared for what I was about to see!  It was like being in a fabric shop!  Fabric, fabric, everywhere!  And look at all the cute things on the walls and on the shelves.

Here is a display cabinet with lots more goodies.

Here are some pieces of crazy quilts that Vickie "adopted".

I forgot to take a photo of all the books on the shelves, but look at these wonderful button flowers Vickie made!  Aren't they wonderful!  I really want to try my hand at making some of them.

Then it was off to the master bedroom where there were some antique quilts on display. Here is Vickie with her lovely smile telling us about the quilts. I believe the top one is the one that her husband bought when he was a bachelor.  I thought that was pretty cool that a young man would buy himself an antique quilt.  I don't think that happens very often. 

Here Vickie is showing us the details of one of her quilts.  A quilt authority has called this one and several of the others "significant" Virginia quilts. There is talk of a new quilt book on Giles County (Virginia) quilts, and some of Vicki's quilts will be included.

We saw lots more beautiful things, but perhaps I was on overload, because I neglected to get any more photos.
Vickie loves to  share her joy of needlework as you can see in these photos.  She also  lectures and teaches classes on hand quilting, hand applique, hand English paper piecing, crazy quilting, surface embroidery including silk ribbon, knitting (both English and Continental technique as well as multiple strand color and lace knitting), crochet, tatting (both needle and shuttle), bobbin lace, and drop spindle weaving. She is active in her local EGA group and demonstrates the techniques mentioned above at local historical societies while dressed in period dress (which I would guess she has made herself).  WOW!!
I think you can tell what a great time I had getting to know Vickie.  We hit it off from the very first moment we met.  I just wish we didn't live so far away. 
Yesterday I received a package in the mail.  You can imagine my shock, and delight, to find that Vickie had sent me the bobbin lace bookmark that she was working on when we visited. I am greatly touched by her generosity.  This is my first piece of bobbin lace.  How special it is to have been made by my new friend.  Thank you, Vickie, for the beautiful bookmark!  Seeing it will always remind me of you.
Sometimes things happen in the most unexpected places.  I never would have thought that when we went to Blacksburg to see Tom's friend that I would meet a distant cousin (Larry--see my last blog post for details) and also make a new friend.  (Vickie and I plan to stay to stay in touch.)


Margaret said...

Oh Ellen, that is just so cool! What a treat to see Vickie's home and all her treasures! Wow! You must have been thrilled to find a new friend too. And how special that she sent you her bobbin lace bookmark too!

LynnO said...

LOL, I think I love her!! What a treat to have met such an interesting person.

Nancy said...

A very enjoyable post to read Ellen! Thank you for sharing not only the beautiful photos, but your wonderful experience and Vicki's words. There is something about needleworkers sharing their passion that is so special!

Barb said...

Life has so many fascinating turns. Thanks for sharing Vickie's home, quilts, etc. with us. I feel that same pain when I see so many lovely crocheted things at thrift stores.I have a box of those unwanted things in my craft room.

Catherine said...

What an amazingly talented new friend you have. That bobbin lace is amazing! I have never seen it all layed out like that before!

woolwoman said...

Now if Vickie had a blog - we could all be friends with her LOL - thanks for sharing this Ellen - it was very neat to see her wonderful collection of needlework and I love how she integrated everything together like the cast off needlework and antique dolls and so forth. great post ! mel

Elizabeth said...

What a fantastic room she has for her fabrics and 'toys'! That's a woman's cave right there. I've really enjoyed your writings the last few days of your travels around Virginia, especially this one having been born in Blacksburg - on this day 27 years ago, no less! I'm out in the NW stationed with my DH, but I will always be a Virginian at heart. Thanks for sharing all the lovely pictures.