Friday, April 6, 2018

A Visit to Brentwood Tennessee

I had the pleasure of visiting the fine quilters of the Cumberland Valley Quilters Association in Brentwood, TN recently.  Joyce, their President was getting ready to convene the morning meeting. About 125 people were in attendance and they had much to see and do before the meeting:

This is an active guild, with a quilt show every other year, two retreats a year, charity quilts always in the making. bus trips--Paducah is coming up next. Lots to do and friends to talk to.

The Program chair, Eileen, has been my contact for some time now and it was a joy to meet her in person. After we got the technical side ready, hooking up the laptop to the church's projection system, I was able to talk to many members who came up to see the quilts and tops I brought.

It is fun to talk to other quilters and I am still surprised when quite a few came up to tell me they follow my blog. My Lifetime quilt segment I brought was quite a hit:

20" square, 1.25" finished half square triangles
One of the nice ladies, Jane I believe her name is, asked if she could show me some hexagon blocks she has been working on, made from men's silk ties. I was thrilled to see them as I have collected silk ties for quite some time but hadn't yet seen a project that inspired me to use them. These certainly did. She is making them with the English Paper Piecing method. Thank you, Jane, so much, for showing them to me:

Brentwood is in Metro Nashville and traffic seems to grow daily. I chose to come up the day before so I wouldn't have to worry about being delayed for the morning meeting. The Drury Plaza Hotel is very nice, I've stayed in Drurys several times, but my view wasn't all that exciting:

Of course, I'm only in the hotel to sleep so there is no need for much of a view. This is the important part:

The bed was very comfortable.

Since I arrived the day before I had time to stop at Stitcher's Garden, a well-known quilt shop less than 3 miles from my hotel, in Franklin, TN. It is quite the place and most first-time visitors are quickly overwhelmed:

You must watch your step, there are bolts everywhere, high and low. If you are looking for a specific fabric, one that is several years old perhaps, you might just find it here. I stumbled on the Kaffe Fassett stripes aisle and did a little damage there. I also found a bundle of pretty brand new dark green Civil War fat quarters I just had to have.

I would love to know how many individual fat quarters are in this shop--a half a million maybe? Who could ever know?? There are far more than you could count, that's for sure. This is just a very small portion:

My main reason for stopping there was to pick up some fat quarters that potential students could use if they decided to take the day and a half Smitten Workshop that started in the afternoon, just after my lecture and a quick lunch. More than once I have decided to take a workshop after hearing the speaker at our guild meeting and have to quickly prep for the class. They would not have time to go get their machines and fabrics so I brought extra cutting tools and those purchased fabrics to make it easy for a person to join us immediately. One person did when she found out she had the afternoon off--she was glad to get fabric hand-picked for this class and was able to cut out her blocks as she learned the sewing steps needed.

The Lecture was "Color and Quiltmaking--Don't Be Afraid" and it was well-received. After the PowerPoint, I talked about the quilts and tops I brought--quilters do love to see real quilts "in the cloth". An excellent lunch was provided for me and the students who were game to take on Smitten:

We got a good start with 3 hours of class time that afternoon. We ended promptly as there was potential for bad weather that evening. If you live in the South long enough, you know to heed the warnings--we left the building at 4 p.m., it was over 80 degrees, the wind was really blowing and the sky was full of heavy clouds. Eileen and I had a wonderful dinner at the Granite City Brewery adjacent to my hotel. Even though there are many great restaurants in that area, I wanted us to get an early meal, with little traveling so Eileen could make the trip home as soon as possible. You don't want to be on the Interstate when tornadoes could pop up. We ate and had a great time getting to know each other bettter, then she was able to get home early. We did get pretty strong storms through the area between 8-10 p.m. but no damage I could see. And as usually happens, the next day dawned much cooler and clear.

We spent all day working on Smitten blocks. By early afternoon, there were enough blocks to demo the process of assembling this quilt, which is not hard but is SLOW:

The students all seemed to have a good time and learned some things. I enjoyed my visit with them very much. Our class ended at 3 p.m. which was just in time for me to head out as the afternoon rush hour was starting. I made it south of the area with no problems, and was home about my usual dinner time.

When I visit guilds, I often think "If I lived here, I would love to be part of this guild". CVQA was no exception. I enjoyed our time together and hope we get to do it again someday.

My Smitten quilt is now on its' way to San Diego, where I will teach this class again June 17, 2018.

Let's Quilt!



  1. Sounds like a great experience. I hope those women know how lucky they are to receive your presentation and class.
    That quilt shop makes my brain hurt, and I haven't even been inside. :)

    1. Janet, many people find that shop too overwhelming--you really need a plan, a specific search, or it is just too much to take in.

  2. What an amazing lot of inventory in that shop! What a great thought to make it easy for someone to come to class at the last minute! You are a wonder!!!!

  3. Oh, Barbara, what a neat trip. & would you believe it's my bests friend's guild! I can even see her in your 1st photo. She was so sorry not to be able to come to class, but she did buy Smitten. When you showed the photo of the shop w/the half a million fat qtrs, I knew it was the shop she had told me about. I so enjoy your blogs. Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, I'm the GA lady who asked for a contract & maybe 1 of my guilds will someday fill it out! I'd love a class from you. My friend said you were a wonderful & entertaining speaker.

    1. Thanks, glad to know your friend enjoyed the lecture.