Quilt Gallery

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vintage Jackson Hole

I have completed my vintage quilt top from the pieces I acquired years ago at a Jackson Hole garage sale.  

Quilt top ready for basting
The original pieces date from at least the 1930s and, based on the fabric designs and level of wear, I am guessing they were made largely from clothing scraps.  Within each larger block are smaller four patch designs, perhaps leftover from another project.  All of the designs and scraps were eventually foundation pieced onto flannel or other scrap backing.  Definitely a case of making do with what was available!  The older pieces were stitched by hand while some of the later pieces were stitched by machine.  I have completed it using both vintage fabrics and new reproduction fabrics, sewing both by hand and machine.  Old and new all jumbled together.  All of these quirks and the history hidden within give it tremendous character and charm.  

Jackson Hole is a lot like this quilt top:  a blend of old and new and richer in character because of it. From very early days it was recognized for its great scenic beauty and value as a destination for recreation, hence the proliferation of dude ranches. There are fewer operating dude ranches today but Jackson Hole remains a wonderful place to explore on horseback. We took a half-day ride from Moose Creek Ranch, just over the pass road to Idaho, so not actually in Jackson Hole, but a great choice nonetheless:  beautiful scenery and not a single other person.

Horses continue to be used for more than recreation. We saw this pack train carrying supplies up Cascade Canyon for trail maintenance.

Pack train in Cascade Canyon
For local flavor of the musical kind head to Dornan’s in Moose for the Hootenanny, or “The Hoot,” a weekly event in which locals and even some brave visitors share their music and songs with all who care to listen. There is some great talent in the valley so it is quite popular. Come early to secure your seat and order a meal.  It is held Monday evenings at 6:00, outdoors during the summer and indoors during the colder months.

At "The Hoot"
Downtown Jackson also is a mix of old and new.  It seems that many of the art galleries are in new buildings in the modern style, but you can still enjoy a meal in an old log cabin, such as Sweetwater’s or CafĂ© Genevieve.

Or a drink at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lots of Bears and Grand Views

Prior to departing for Jackson Hole several weeks ago I heard reports of significant amounts of bear activity in Grand Teton National Park.  This, along with having seen a post by Lucy of Quilting With the Past in which she showed off her knit bear, gave me the idea to knit one of my own.  I rummaged around online for a pattern and in my stash for suitable yarn and knit in odd moments here and there.   And here he is.


To give you an idea of his size, note that the squares on his quilt are one half inch on a side. I have named him "Grand" for the magnificent peak which dominates so many views in Jackson Hole.  He was fun to make, though sewing up the thirteen tiny pieces was a little tricky, especially because the hand spun yarn I used is so fuzzy that it was hard to see what I was doing. Next time I'll choose a yarn with better stitch definition.

Knitting a bear was indeed an appropriate choice for this trip. Altogether we spotted six bears, more than we have ever seen in a single season; in fact, more than we used to see over many summers combined.

The most entertaining encounter was in Upper Paintbrush Canyon, just above Holly Lake, where we spotted a mother and her two cubs.  In no time the cubs scurried forty or fifty feet up a tree, found themselves some comfy branches, and went to sleep. The mother stayed at the base of tree foraging for food and posing for photos, or so it seemed. In my excitement I made rookie photographer errors so unfortunately she is not as clear as she should be.

Black Bear cubs

Black Bear (Note that not all Black Bears are black)

Grand Teton National Park is of course named after its tallest and most famous peak, which is usually called, with equal measures of affection and awe, "The Grand." From every direction it looms up to capture your attention.  Its character seems to change depending on the vantage point, the time of day, the season, and the weather.

Since our overnight back country trip took us to the upper part of North Cascade Canyon in the evening we were able to take sunset photos of The Grand across the smooth waters of Lake Solitude.  For anyone wanting to make a similar trip, keep in mind that the area around Solitude is closed to camping so you will need to secure a permit (at the information center in Moose or the ranger station at Jenny Lake) for the North Fork Camping Zone located below the lake.  Violations can result in a citation and fine of $120.  Yes, the rangers do check.

Mount Owen and The Grand Teton across Lake Solitude

One morning we got up before dawn to take sunrise photos at Schwabacher's Landing, a location which offers stunning reflections in calm waters and a straight on view of a line of jagged peaks such as a child might draw. It turned out to be a great morning for photos with a sky full small puffy clouds.  If you want to go to Schwabacher's Landing note that the road has been closed to vehicles due to sequestration-induced budget cuts and is now being treated as a hiking trail.  We parked on the shoulder of the highway and walked down the road in about twenty minutes.

Sunrise at Schwabacher's Landing

The clouds hung around all day and made a dramatic sunset.

Sunset over the high peaks

From high up across the valley the peaks seem bigger.

Near Jackson Peak

From the south The Grand seems bigger yet.

Hiking down Taylor Mountain

In South Leigh Canyon on the western side of the range the top of The Grand sticks up like a shark fin.

In South Leigh Canyon

And from the upper slopes of Mount Saint John it feels as though you can reach out and touch it.

Climbing Mount Saint John with The Grand and Mount Owen (the darker peak with snowfields) as backdrop

Anyone wanting to see these mountains from a perspective other than the highway turnouts or Jenny Lake would do well to pick up one or more of Rebecca Woods' excellent hiking guides.  They are available at the Valley Bookstore in town, at the visitors' centers in town and in Moose, and online at The Jackson Hole Bookstore.  She describes hikes of varying lengths suiting a variety of abilities and interests so you are sure to find something that will appeal to you and your group.