West Union woman loves to express herself through ‘all things fabric’
By RACHEL BARDUSON
Linda Pallow of West Union has a passion for creativity, and it is something she likes to express every day. What to see for yourself? A good taste of that creativity will be on full display later this fall at a big arts and craft show in Alexandria.
Linda believes her creativity very likely first developed in her childhood, and books helped bring it out. Books were her escape to the possibilities of adventure, and the possibilities of what a creative mind could do.
“My mom made every Saturday morning about cleaning the house. I loved to read; it would take me places and let me dream of doing other things.”
When her mom would say it was time to clean the house, Linda would take a book and hide.
“She would find me hiding behind the furniture or in the tree behind the house,” Linda said. “I loved to read, especially westerns and mysteries. I read all the Nancy Drew books, the Bobbsey Twins, Hopalong Cassidy, Louis L’Amour westerns. My favorite book was Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey.”
Looking back, Linda said, “Creative people don’t necessarily like to be pinned down to a schedule. I guess I didn’t particularly like the house cleaning schedule. And with that said, as a creative personality, I have always liked being self-employed and working from home.”
Linda attributes those reading days of childhood as the time when her creative juices began to flow. The western novels and the mysteries she read may even have led her “West.” Born in Connecticut, Linda was raised in West Virginia, and once grown, headed west to New Mexico, living in that state until 1980. When she met her husband John, the couple moved to Arizona to become apartment complex superintendents.
“After I had heat stroke twice in Arizona, John said, let’s move to Minnesota, I bet you won’t get heat stroke there. So...that’s what we did,” Linda said.
And so, after John visited his brother near Osakis, the couple put a bid on the old District #3 school building in West Union, won the bid, moved to the quaint community, and began a renovation to make it a home. “I love where we live. I love the slower pace of the country, and I love the friendliness of the area,” Linda said.
The old schoolhouse was not ready to live in when the couple arrived in Minnesota.
“We came in May of 1990 and lived in a tent trailer for six months. The old schoolhouse had no water and no electricity, so we had a bit of work to do. One thing we did not have to do was gut the house because it was one big room,” Linda said.
While living in Arizona, the couple had visited the home of her favorite author, Zane Grey. His childhood home had a hand pump in the kitchen and a wood stove.
“I loved it. I think I was born in the wrong century. Seeing his home definitely inspired me as we worked on our home. Sadly, Zane Grey’s home burned down in a forest fire, but I do remember it well and I am very thankful we had a chance to visit it.”
The first thing the couple had to do was get electricity and plumbing up to code. They got electricity and running water in August, and heat by October when they moved out of their tent trailer and into the schoolhouse. The outhouse was filled with sand.
When the couple moved into their new home, the kitchen and the bath were complete, but the rest of the house had to be sheet-rocked, which they did themselves. They continued to work on the house as they lived in it, and today it is a finished two-bedroom, with one-bathroom (located toward the back), with kitchen and open dining room in the front part of the floor-plan. There were no trees on their lot when they purchased the school house, and in 1991, a good friend of Linda’s helped her plant all of the trees which have now since grown. Their creative planning has made this spot a genuine gem.
John and Linda combined their crafting minds throughout their marriage. While living in Arizona they began doing craft shows -- John using his woodworking hobby to make children’s toys, and Linda sewed. She made children’s aprons and other children’s clothing, along with potholders, and even crocheted a baptism gown.
“Our hobbies and the craft shows we did were for extra fun-money...for taking a trip now and then...going here and there. It was crafting for fun.”
As the number of woodworking and sewing items grew, the couple took them on the road to craft fairs. “There are really no differences in craft fairs around the country. The people and the crafts are very much the same whether you are in Arizona, Wisconsin, or Minnesota. Some do it as a business, with a business number and a tax number. When we began doing craft shows we did it for the passion of creating, for the art of crafting, which eventually led to establishing my own business,” she said.
Linda picked up the art of quilting about 20 years ago. Already a seasoned “crafter,” she had begun her own business, Peaceful Acres in 1994. In that business she designed art through the use of pressed flowers of all sizes. “I did a show in Wisconsin in a historical building and I had to haul my things up two flights of stairs. I decided then that if I wanted to do any more craft shows, I needed to do something that wasn’t so heavy to haul around,” she said. Thus began Pallow’s art of quilting.
Linda replaced her pressed flowers business of “Peaceful Acres” to “Joyful Stitches” in the year 2000 at the age of 58. She and John had been settled in their new home, the old schoolhouse, for 10 years by then. She likes to sew, and is going strong at her art as she approaches the age of 80 this coming February.
“I like being self-employed, I like working from home, and I like to sew. I do only one craft show a year now, the Arts & Crafters Juried Tour coming up in November. I work at my business six hours a day, every day except Sunday,” Linda said.
Crafters never get stale. They always have new ideas up their sleeves, and they continue to learn whatever they can to improve their art. Linda is no exception. Even though she is a skilled and experienced quilter, she takes classes to improve her art. “I have taken hand-quilting classes for binding (so the stitches do not show). I still like to go to the ‘block-of-the-month’ gathering in Alexandria. I like to visit with other quilters and share techniques and see new fabrics. When I see a fabric I like, I buy it...not with a project in mind yet...but I know a project will come to mind with the fabric I just purchased,” Linda said. The plan, the project, and the pieces just fall into place as she begins to create and to sew.
I guess, it could be said...that the future project(s) could be synonymous with an old western novel she read as a child. It all ties together. “I’m going on 80 and still going strong. I praise God for my life, and any talent He has given me.”
Linda is currently preparing for her 15th annual participation in the annual Arts & Crafters Juried Tour 2022, which is slated for Nov. 3 - 5. At the show, she has created “all things fabric” from quilted table-runners, large lap quilts, Minnesota-themed quilted items, seasonal runners, potholders, pillows, kid’s aprons, personalized Christmas stockings, baby quilts and more.