Quilters on the Loose in the Palouse

Robin, Sandy, Cindy and me ready to seek out quilting inspiration, fun, and fabric.

What induces four intrepid quilters to pile into a sleek minivan on a rainy spring day and drive through the wilds of Idaho and the rolling wheat fields of Washington for a couple of hours? A quilt show, of course!

This weekend, The Palouse Patchers held their 33rd annual quilt show, “Lattice Fantasy”. The Palouse Patchers guild has about 175 members in northern Idaho and eastern Washington. They’ve been quilting together since the late 70’s and have members all over the rolling farmland surrounding the Palouse River and in and around the university towns of Pullman WA and Moscow ID.  But I’m getting ahead of the story. First I must introduce my companions:

Robin is a talented designer of quilts and published author of quilt patterns. (More on that in a minute.) She is also my neighbor. Not long after we moved to Spokane seven years ago, I ordered fabric from an online shop. A few days later, there were two squishy packages from that shop in my mailbox. Excitedly, I tore the first one open – the fabric was beautiful, but it wasn’t the fabric I ordered! Belatedly, I looked at the address on the envelope and found that it was addressed to the house next door. So I wrote a little note of apology on the most cheerful notecard in my desk and carried the mangled package next door, where I was greeted by Robin’s puzzled daughter and the largest dog I’d ever seen. (Robin wasn’t home at the time.) A while later, Robin showed up on my doorstep and we’ve been friends and quilting buddies ever since.

Sandy is Robin’s friend and co-conspirator. She is a paragon of precision piecing and all-around good woman. Here’s Sandy and Robin holding the quilt Robin designed for the latest issue of Quiltmaker magazine. The two of them assembled that top in a furious weekend of commando quilting to meet the publishing deadline. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Robin and Sandy Quiltmaker quilt

In the real world, Cindy is an attorney. She recently retired after serving 24 years on the local school board. She has a love of fabric that rivals mine and a quirky sense of humor that keeps us all in stitches.

These three wonderful women – and a few more who couldn’t join us on this trip – reared their children together, worked with on PTA committees and led scout troops together, and have laughed and loved and supported each other for several decades now. I’m honored and delighted that they’ve extended their circle and include me in their adventures.

Meanwhile, back at the Latah County Fairgrounds, the quilt show was in full swing.

Robin took picture after picture. This quilt may well inspire our group to exchange charm squares of floral fabrics later this year.

Robin Finds Inspiration

Cindy brought along her latest quilt top, looking for the perfect backing. At one of the vendors, she found a darling floral flannel that echoed the pastels of the top and will make this baby quilt extra cuddly. Believe me, the photo doesn’t do it justice.

Cindy Brought Along Her Latest Top, Looking for Backing

Sandy was intrigued by an amazing applique quilt. We all spent quite a while admiring its perfect palette and beautiful workmanship. The scalloped border of each applique square was done in reverse applique. Does anyone recall who made this? I’d love to give them credit on this blog.

Sandy Admires Amazing Applique

This quilt, called Hyde Park and made by Jackie Greenwalt, was my favorite in the show. I love the subtle way each monkey wrench block is framed by the alternate blocks.

Hyde Park by Jackie Greenwalt

And, of course, we all flocked around to see a demonstration of the latest gadgets. This one was a new twist on a seam ripper.

Demonstrating a new gadget

The Quilt Show featured two small art quilt challenges, one in honor of a guild member who passed away from cancer and another themed around earth, air, water and fire. I was particularly drawn to one quilt in the member challenge display, drew closer to inspect it and discovered that it, too, was made by Jackie Greenwalt. (Jackie, I want to get to know you. You make incredible quilts.)

Dancing Dandelion by Jackie Greenwalt

By the time we’d inspected and delighted in the dozens of quilts on display and investigated all the vendors’ booths, we were ready for a bit of rest and refreshment, and discovered coffee, punch and cookies thoughtfully provided by the Palouse Patchers. Then, digging into our show goodie bags, we found discount coupons for several local quilt shops. What self-respecting quilter could resist 15% off your total purchase? So off we went in search of more food, fun, and fabric.

Lunch was at Stax, a marvelous soup and sandwich shop just across the street from the University of Idaho campus. The sandwiches were huge – my Holiday was stuffed with sliced turkey, cranberry cream cheese, and veggies – and the cream of crab and asparagus soup was smooth and flavorful and brimming with chunks of asparagus and bits of real crab.

Cindy at Stax -- Lunch

Since we’d driven down to Moscow through Idaho, we thought we’d take our homeward leg through the Washington Palouse region. As we drove through the town of Colfax, there it was:

Palouse River Quilts in Colfax WAA brand spanking new quilt shop, Palouse River Quilts, just barely opened in Colfax WA! Of course we had to stop. That’s what intrepid wandering quilters do. We brake for fabric!

We Found A New Quilt Shop on the Way Home -- Owner Patricia Arnold Cuts My Fabric

Shop owners, Patricia and Margo, were friendly and fun to talk to. That’s Patricia, above, cutting the incredible ombre fabric that begged to go home with me.

Sandy Finds Fabric

Sandy found some lovely batiks.

Best of all, Palouse River Quilts is already listed on the Premium Version of The Quilt Shop Navigator mobile website!

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures with The Quilt Shop Navigator


About thequiltshopnavigator

We are the premier directory of quilt shops in the US and Canada. Our semi-annual editions list over 3,600 shops. We verify the accuracy of each listing twice each year and are constantly adding new shops to our data base. Quite a feat, don't you think? Our mission is to bring ALL the quilt shops to quilters!
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2 Responses to Quilters on the Loose in the Palouse

  1. I was excited to discover this great site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this
    particularly wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every part of
    it and i also have you book marked to see new
    information on your web site.

  2. Robin says:

    Lynnie: Thanks for the kind words and the wonderful memory of our great trip. I know you are on the road soon and will update us soon on some of your adventures across the quilted plain.

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