Quilt Gallery

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Brattleboro and Wilmington, Vermont

Brattleboro, Vermont's oldest town, is tucked into the southeastern corner of the state, where the West River joins the the Connecticut River.  In the mid 1800s it was home to wool, paper and flour mills, along with a variety of other businesses. Today it is better known as a center for artists and artisans, with its sturdy brick downtown buildings now hosting galleries, coffee shops and sporting goods and specialty stores.

I visited early last month for the Strolling of the Heifers, an annual parade that supports local agriculture and sustainable living practices.  Cows are clearly the stars of the parade.

Strolling of the Heifers

All sorts of other participants, including goats, horses, llamas, donkeys and antique tractors, round out the show.

Prior to leaving Texas for this trip, I had cut several dozen squares for the border of my compass quilt so that I would have something to work on during those odd down moments that seem inevitable when traveling. It turned out to be far too few. Not only did I have more time than expected, I have become significantly faster at stitching, and quickly ran through my supply.

So, on a quest for fabric and wanting to see some of the countryside, I hopped on Route 9 west out of Brattleboro and drove to Wilmington, a tiny town in the Deerfield Valley of the Green Mountains.  It was a gorgeous day with a Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream carton kind of sky.

Barns along Route 9

Wilmington's economy has evolved from being based largely on agriculture to one based on recreation and tourism. As in Brattleboro, Wilmington's Main Street is now home to shops, restaurants and galleries, including Jim McGrath's gallery and studio.  Jim is an engaging man and a wonderful artist who eagerly welcomes visitors. Just visiting him and his gallery was enough to make the trip to Wilmington worthwhile.

Jim McGrath in his gallery

He captures in his paintings the essence and atmosphere of New England, from the shapes of the landscapes to the nuances of light and color.  I purchased these two pieces.

"The Shop in Back," Jim McGrath, 2013, 8" x 10", oil on masonite

"Autumn Reflections," Jim McGrath, 2013, 8" x10", oil on masonite

My other stop was at Norton House, a circa 1760 clapboard building crammed with fabric and quilting supplies.

My favorite part is the sale attic, reached via a set of narrow, creaky steps. With so many bolts squeezed together under the eaves, I felt as though I was rummaging around my grandparents' attic.

The sale attic at Norton House

I found plenty to work into the compass quilt, (plus a few others for good measure), and am now well over half finished with this border. I have also completed stitching all twenty five compass blocks together. Whew! As I have mentioned before, with sixteen pieces of fabric meeting at each corner, it was a challenge.  Next time I will strive to be more precise in the cutting and marking stage!

Compass quilt, center and two border sections

No comments:

Post a Comment