Kalona Quilt Show: A Visual Tour

April 28 was the opening of the annual quilt show in Kalona. It’s a mix of old and new quilts, and the old ones are definitely the thing that turns my head.

Though there seemed to be fewer this year, there were still a few knock-outs. Unlike years past (here and here), no purchases were made, but it was an enjoyable evening nonetheless. I went with my friend Kristin, who has a much better appreciation and eye for the quilting. I was grateful for her perspective because my attraction to color and pattern often overrides my notice of how much quilting adds (or detracts) from the overall piece.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here are some of the highlights…

Appliqué”Daisy,” year unknown
Pineapple. year unknown (this was my favorite of the show)
Churn Dash, 1900s
Pickle Dish, 1940s
A signature quilt—forgot to take a photo of the information card. Thought the colors were so unusual
Hole in the Barn Door, 1880 to 1900s (This was Kristin’s favorite)
Top left: Hearts and Gizzards, 1880s, and bottom right: Bow Tie—unusual to see blocks set this way

Rhubarb Dreams

I have lots of quilt-related photos to post…one of these days. But for today, I’m touting rhubarb.


Short version: Years ago we made rhubarb simple syrup as a basis for rhubararitas—rhubarb margaritas. They were a hit and I wanted to make them this week for my youngest daughter, who’ll be home for a wedding. Yesterday I combined two cups of water, two cups of sugar, and a pound of cut up rhubarb and simmered for 20 minutes, This morning I mixed the “dregs”— the well-cooked rhubarb solids left after pouring off the simple syrup—in my plain yogurt it was deeeelicious! Looking forward to the simple syrup, too. (This drink sounded also sounds like a good way to use it: The Rhubarb 75.)

My dad and daughter toasting with their rhubarbaritas in 2010

Rhubarb is one of those fruits (really it’s a vegetable) that I just can’t bring myself to pay for—it seems to grow like a weed and lines the alleys of old neighborhoods in Iowa City. I haven’t have success growing it at my house though, perhaps because I planted it in the backyard, too close to three huge walnut trees. So if a friend didn’t share rhubarb from their bounteous patch, I often went without.

Last fall we redid some landscaping in our front yard and I realized that the side of my garage—nearly hidden from view but warm and sunny, would be the perfect spot for rhubarb, which once it’s established can be neglected. The big leaves would help keep the weeds down and I’d have all the rhubarb I wanted. I bought two plants and got two from my friend Anne, who has an enormous patch on her farm, and it’s those latter two that have grown like crazy and that I was able to harvest.

My sister with our 2010 rhubarb simple syrup

I didn’t grow up with rhubarb, as it doesn’t do well in southern California, but I learned to love it at my Aunt Marcia’s farm in Minnesota. Her rule was that you could pick it until the 4th of July, and I’m looking forward to more rhubarb this year, and lots more next year, when it’s all better established. My rhubarb dream—an unlimited supply that I’ll never have to pay for—is coming true.