Sunday, July 8, 2012

Quilt Walk

I have a friend here in Soldotna. (yeah, I have a friend here!) Her husband is a fishing guide on the same waters as my Fisherman. They work for different outfits but they met on the water and have since become friends. I met his wife last summer and she is so sweet. She's a Christian and a quilter. I mean, she's a Q-u-i-l-t-e-r...with a capital Q. She comes to Alaska in the summer and teaches classes at a local quilt shop. She makes beautiful quilts and is so talented.

Recently I'd finally begun to feel settled enough to spend a day off doing some fun stuff, instead of working extra to get a handle on the demands of the new job, running practical errands, or working to situate our lives into a 7x12 space.

I went to the quilt shop, Robin Place Fabrics.

It's not Robin's place. It's owned by Pat. But it's on Robin Place, the street.

What a beautiful little fabric shop. The ladies are so nice and they carry about 90% batiks. Ooooooh! Those natural dye and resist patterns are the best. I barely look at regular fabric prints anymore, barely even like most of them. Batiks have captivated my heart.

When at Robin Place I learned they had organized a "quilt walk" all around town. It was more of a "quilt drive" but then, it would have been a confusing name. I got my card and had Pat initial the first square. If you visited all 12 shops and got your card signed off, you could enter it at the 18th Annual Quilting on the Kenai quilt show the following weekend. I was behind!

Suddenly, completing the Quilt Walk in this creative town became my mission for the week. I made it over half way that first day. Each shop or cafe had a quilt or project on display. Beautiful works! It was so fun. The grand prize drawing from completed cards was a rather exciting incentive, too. It was an $800 sewing machine.

So, my first stop was Robin Place.

The owner lives next door. In fact, the quilt shop business has become so bustling they've expanded into her basement for classes and groups. Fun.

Next up were two places I'd planned to visit anyway. The first is the Dragonfly Gallery. The back of it can be seen from the main street in Soldotna, the Sterling Highway that runs straight through town. But the front is on a little gravel road off of Birch Street. Dragonflies and Birch; I loved it already.

And then I went inside. Oh my. It's a beautiful gallery full of local art. Watercolors, acrylics, stained glass, jewelry, wood, metal, pottery. Trinkets, garden art, ornaments, wearable art. I nearly melted just passing over the threshhold.

The owner took two years converting the building from one of the oldest houses in Soldotna into a beautiful multi-room, yet very open, gallery. About 9 years ago the owner of the home decided she simply had to sell, having lived there for decades and no longer willing or able to give the old place its proper care. By selling it, its fate was likely that of being leveled and cleared for some business or parking lot. The gallery owner simply couldn't let that happen. So she and her husband scraped together and bought the house from .... her mother. Yes, the artist who owns the gallery grew up in that very house. What a fun story.

What an inviting gallery.

Next on my list was a gallery I've visited often over the years. It's mostly a yarn shop but also has a section devoted to local art including paintings, pottery, jewelry and knitted items. It's called Birchtree Gallery.  You can see the owners' home at the back of the shop, complete with satellite dish. To get from the parking lot (behind me as I'm taking the photo) you walk under a wooden arch and along the boardwalk at left. Charming.

Well, that's all I'm going to share of my Quilt Walk. Most of the other stops are less charming from the outside and I ran out of steam to photograph the ones that are. But I got to visit some new places and enjoy browsing their merchandise and chatting with some nice people. I went to a flower shop/gift shop, a cafe/deli, a sewing machine store (the one who dontated the grand prize), more art galleries and gift shops, a clothing boutique, a familiar book store, a nursery, and a very cool kitchen shop.

Here's my card, all complete.

Oh, and there must have been a mix-up, because that sewing machine
I was suppposed to win went to someone else. Dang.  :-)

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