Dawn Woo tells us of her weekend at the Homecoming, and likens the event to the color blocks on a quilt. Be warned: you might get the warm fuzzies after reading this!
While driving back into the foothills of western North Carolina towards Ferguson, I noticed nature acknowledging the changing seasons with trees of red and gold, much like a patchwork quilt. I can almost imagine this would be much like the picture Jamie and Claire would have seen as they and others made their way to Mount Helicon in October of 1770 for The Gathering seen in The Fiery Cross. The “family” that accompanied Jamie and Claire to Mount Helicon was also much like a patchwork quilt. Some were blood family. Some were adopted family. Some were old friends, and some were simply new friends brought into their clan on the ridge by faith and trust.
As I got nearer my destination, I began to feel a great sense of coming home–a connection to these mountains as I passed the Brushy Mountains that were once home to my ancestors in the mid-to-late 1700s. You see, much like Jamie and Claire and their patchwork quilt family at Mount Helicon, I have anxiously awaited the patchwork quilt family of Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming that Beth Pittman and her team have brought together since October 2018. I’d like to share with you just a few of the patches in the quilt of Homecoming 2019 that have been faithfully and lovingly sewn together.
Kerry Masarik would be an earthy, natural, and warm multi-colored piece of fabric in our quilt. This gifted woman taught several classes: medicinal plants, basket weaving and drop-spinning. Once again, I had to take a walk to look at plants under her tutelage since I have not been able to stop looking at the ground since last year! She opened a whole new world to the wonders of plants and their benefits. I also chose to try to learn to spin wool with a drop spindle under Kerry’s careful eye and engaging personality. We were taught a method called “between the knees” drop spinning that allowed us to get a feel for drafting out the fibers of the wool. By the end of the class, we all had a sizeable amount of yard wound around our spindle.
Now that I had learned to spin my yarn, I needed to learn how to “clickit like Jamie.” Wanda Noble, the fresh and harmonious-colored patch in our quilt, armed a class of beginning knitters with circular knitting needles and yarn. Much to our amazement and Wanda’s gentle encouragement, she had us casting on in the first few minutes of class!
Imagine the colors of the trees, the sky, rocks stained with burning reds and blues, and you will find the next patch in our quilt: Joe Candillo, our Native American educator and craftsman. After a short ride in the cool, misty weather conditions up the mountain in a hay-filled trailer, we met our majestically clad educator. Joe took us on an exploratory hike and showed us the way he was taught to respect and appreciate what nature had to offer. Joe gave us another reason to pay attention when we wander outside.
By this time, we needed some very practical and sensible patches in our quilt, and Jane Pyatt, aka The Backcountry Peddler, was the one who taught us how to dress “sensibly” for 18th-century backcountry living. Layer by layer, Jane explained why and how each article of clothing was worn. By the end of the hour, a volunteer from the class was dressed and ready for work on their North Carolina mountain settlement.
Chris Grimes’ presentation of an 18th-century physician was the patch in our quilt that is majestic and full-toned. The hour was tightly woven with all sorts of 18th-century medical practices, medicines and tinctures, and surgical/medical instruments and their uses. Healthcare in the 18th century was not for the faint of heart!
What colors do you think of when you think of music? Our quilt would have quite a few of these patches-some soothing and some quite animated. With mountains as a backdrop, the sounds of bagpipes, banjos, guitars, mandolins, fiddles, and even a harp filled our souls. While music filled our souls, the loving hands of the Thankful Goat and Snowbird Mountain Coffee filled our hungry bellies. Food is a language that brings people together. I can only imagine that this patch in the quilt would look unified and complement the patches around it.
Oh, friends, our quilt is far from being finished here! This is only a small section, for it takes many hands and many patches to lovingly complete a patchwork quilt. Many more wonderful patches fit into this quilt because there are many more wonderful people sewn into the fabric of Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming–our quilt would cover the mountain! Most importantly, this quilt is framed by the patches that are each of you. It’s the friendships that have been brought together by Beth and her team that bind this quilt–memories stitched with love.