Rona the Ribibiter: Using Travel to inspire Quilters out of their comfort zones and come alive!


Quilting and the Sierra Nevada’s

Rona Herman

Visiting the Quilt Show Reno and discovering talent in the most remote locations

When your mother’s birthday lands on the same weekend as a huge Quilt Show in Reno, NV… your destiny is written. So, last week I hopped on a plane and headed for the desert!

Rona standing in the Alabama Hills in the Sierra Nevada mountains
Can you see me?
Standing in the Alabama Hills in Sierra Nevada mountains

The Quilt Show Reno did not disappoint. In fact, (bad Ribbit) I got so wrapped up in everything happening that I forgot to take pictures! In retrospect, that’s probably a good thing. That means we were all fully engaged in the show and what we were learning and experiencing. The ladies definitely did not disappoint.

Rona showing off the sign for the Quilt Show Reno at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, NV.

Throughout the day there were several lectures on the main stage given by vendors throughout the show. We caught one on embellishing your bags and how to add ‘bling’ but my favorite was given by one of the ladies from “A Couple of Old Broads” quilt shop. Don’t you just LOVE that name!? Her lecture was fabulous. She showed us all the secrets of using colored pencils to color on your fabric and use Textile Medium to seal it in. I’ll be writing more on that in the next couple weeks.

A Couple of Old Broads demonstrating coloring with colored pencils technique.

I just love the way the colored pencils on her quilts almost give them an ‘old timey’ feel.

Amazingly, I was able to come away from the show without breaking the bank. Honestly, I’m not sure how that happened exactly. Surrounded by all the pretty fabric and patterns I just kept reminding myself that everything I buy I have to somehow get back home. Having a small suitcase apparently comes in handy.

I did, however, purchase these cutey petooty frog patterns. This one has a pocket in the back which will be perfect for keeping control of my remote control. When I’m sewing, I’m constantly moving the darn thing out of my way. So, when Netflix rudely interrupts and asks if I’m still watching (No, I’m listening while I sew, duh!) I can never remember the last place I moved the remote to. Now, hopefully I’ll remember to keep putting it back in the frog. See, frogs are great for many purposes!

"Remote Toad" pattern by Java House Quilts

The second frog pattern I picked up is actually a kit. He is purely decorative and makes me happy. After all, the more things around us that make us happy, the better. I simply can’t wait to get home and put him together!

Buddy the Frog Kit
Buddy the Frog Kit

After browsing through all the fabulous vendor booths and talking with a few of the local Guilds being represented, we wandered through all of the quilts on display. The talent represented in Reno was simply amazing!

The Prince wall was one of my favorite displays in the quilt show. In 2018 Cherrywood Designs held a contest where quilters were asked to make mini quilts inspired by Prince’s music. They all used the same fabrics to make the same size quilts. They received quilts from all over the world and the results in this travelling exhibit would make the Artist proud!

Note to self: never ask my sister to take a picture of me with my phone. Her pictures are like potato chips, she can never take just one. As we were leaving the show I realized that I hadn’t gotten a picture in front of the sign. So, I dutifully handed my phone to my sister and asked her to take a quick pic to share with you all. Meet my sister, Arianna.

We put the “fun” in dysfunctional! Hahaha!

After the Quilt show ended my mother and I decided to test out their new motorhome with a quick overnight trip down to Lone Pine, CA. If you’ve never been, it’s a time little desert town located in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s about 4 hours south of Reno. If you are ever travelling in this area may I recommend you add this to your itinerary. The views alone are spectacular!

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think the pillows I made for the motor home are the perfect accent in the kitchen table area!

About 20 miles outside of Lone Pine we stopped at the Manzanar Historical Site. The Manzanar War Relocation Center is one of the ten camps that held Japanese Americans and resident Japanese aliens during WWII. Many of them came from near my families home town on Bainbridge Island in Washington State.

One of the Blocks at the Manzanar War Relocation Center in World War II.
Manzanar War Relocation Center outside Lone Pine, CA

Locked behind the fences of Manzanar, the Japanese people found a way to thrive. Among the despair of their situation, many of them found a way to bring a bit of joy and positivity to their lives. The ladies built a spectacular garden near Block 14, complete with walking bridge and ponds. The guys formed their own baseball teams and held tournaments. One gentleman is quoted as saying at least they all had the “home team advantage.” Finding the best in any bad situation is a great reminder, at least to me, that no matter my struggles, things can always be worse.

In 1988, at the Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, a lady by the name of Hannah Takagi Holmes presented this wall hanging quilt to Sue Kunitomi Embrey. Hannah was born in 1927 and sent to Manzanar from Elk Gove with her parents and family. The beautiful hand made quilt looks to be made of wool, cotton and string. Standing in front of it you can truly see the love and emotion stitched into this piece.

I’m currently sitting here waiting to head to the airport for my trek home and reflecting on the last week’s adventures. The high desert of Reno was my home for 10 years and I always enjoy coming back to visit. The dry air and beautiful mountain views always bring back fond memories. Now it’s time to head back to reality. But, as always, I’ll take back with me a little piece of all my adventures carefully tucked away for future inspiration. Have an amazing week my friends!

As always, Hoppy Quilting!

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