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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    

       Dates added as they get booked - Due to COVID 19        festival dates are being cancelled or changed - this summer seems like there will be few if any festivals. I have lots of lovely silk ribbon pieces made and ready to so, if you are interested, please email me and I can send pictures. Hope to see you down the road.
    Historic Festivals, Shows & Events for 2020:
  • January 18-19 Am. Heritage Living History, Kane County Fairgrounds, St. Charles, IL
  • February 22-23  Maple Sugar Fest - Touch of Nature Environmental Center, Carbondale, IL 
  • March 21 - Silk Ribbon rose workshop, Lincoln Log Cabin near Lerna, IL - pls contact site for info. postponed
  • April 25 - Craft Fair - Pontiac, IL  Cancelled
  • May 9 - Macktown Fiber Fest -silk ribbon/embroidery ?cancelled until 2021 
Please keep watching - dates will be changed as I know more
  • June 20 - Grande Levee, Vandalia, IL cancelled
  • July 11-12  Civil War Summer Faire, ?cancelled
  • July 18-19 Early Am Life artisan showcase at ASL Pewter, Saint Genevieve, MO 
  • August 1-2 Shakertown Craft Fair, Pleasant Hill, KY (outside Harrodsburg)
  • August 22-23 Spirit of Vincennes, Vincennes, IN
  • September 5-6 Fair at New Boston, Springfield, OH
  • September 12-13 Ft de Chartres, Prairie du Rocher, IL
  • September 19-20 Koh Koh Mah, near Kokomo, IN cancelled
  • September 25-26 Lincoln Log Cabin Fest, Lerna, IL
  • October 3-4 52nd Feast of the Hunter's Moon, Ft. Ouiatenon West Lafayette, IN
  • October 17 Fall Celebration at Sugar Grove Nature Center, McLean, IL
  • October 24-25  Market Fair, Locust Grove, Louisville, KY

​       Due to Festival postponement and cancellations for this 
       season, I have many pieced finished and available, please
       email me and I can send you pictures and prices if you 
       are interested. Thank you!
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Detail from "Redwing" one of my Prairie Quilts