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Notes from the prairie

Something about my lifelong love of needlework...
I have been making quilts since 1971, however I have been doing embroidery for much longer, since I was six.  I was taught basic stitches by my Mother and Grandmother and continued to learn about embroidery all through high school.  At that time crewel was popular and I remember loving all the colors of wool and choosing my favorites to work into small embroidery pieces.  

My quilt style evolved through many stages as the popularity of quilting grew along with my own skills.  By 1976 the quilt craze was deepening and I suddenly found myself teaching - first basic classes, then specializing in the areas of miniature quilts and finally teaching applique techniques and design.  My love of handwork has stayed with me throughout the years and the traditional quilting techniques I learned have blended well with my love of embroidery.

Early on I used embroidery to add details to my quilts then in 1992 I heard about silk ribbon and was intrigued.  A friend gave me some to try, and I was soon hooked. It proved to be the perfect addition to my pictorial prairie quilts and the free-cut applique style I was developing.  By 1995 I had written a book on silk ribbon, geared especially toward quilters for the American Quilters Society.  It is entiteled "Nature, Design & Silk Ribbons" and includes some history and historic uses for silk ribbon.

While doing research for this book I developed a slide lecture of all the historic sites I visited in the eastern part of the country, this lecture is called "Cathy's Silk Road".  Needlework and my interest in fiber has also blended well with the historic re-enactments that I have been a part of for over 40 years now.  While most of the historic festivals I participate in are set in the 18th century - I also do some from the Lewis & Clark Era, one Civil War event.  My listing of these events will be updated as I add them, so check back often If you are interested in visiting any of them.
      Cathy stitching at an Fort de Chartres,                a festival in Southern Illinois    

       Additional dates for 2017 will be added as I know them
    Historic Festivals, Shows & Events for 2017:
  • January 21-22 Am. Heritage Living History, Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, IL
  • February 25-26  Maple Sugar Fest - Touch of Nature Environmental Center, Carbondale, IL
  • March 13, Threads of History, Lecture, St. Olaf College, Northfields, MN
  • April 29-30 - Greene County Master Gardener's Show, Linton, IN
  • May 27-28 Spirit of Vincennes-Commons, Vincennes, IN 
  • June 3-4  Ft de Chartres, Prairie du Rocher, IL
  • June 25-26 - Old English Faire, Wildlife Prairie Park, IL?
  • July 8-9  Civil War Event, Summer Faire, Wauconda, IL
  • July 15 Lincoln Fest - Burr House B & B, BLoomington, IL
  • August 5-6  Shakertown Craft Fair, Pleasant Hill, KY (outside Harrodsburg)
  • August 19-20 - Bishop Hill, Fiber/Clay Festival, IL
  • Sept. 2-3 - Fair at New Boston, Springfield, OH 
  • September RIP- Prairie Celebration, Rock Springs Nature Center, Decatur, IL (Event cancelled)
  • September 16-17 - Koh Koh Mah, near Kokomo, IN
  • September 23-24 - Lincoln Log Cabin Fest, Lerna, IL
  • September 29-30-October 1 -  Feast of the Hunter's Moon, Ft. Ouiatenon West Lafayette, IN
  • October 21 Fall Celebration at Sugar Grove Nature Center, McLean, IL

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Detail from "Redwing" one of my Prairie Quilts