Applique at the Pow Wow

Last Saturday, we headed off to the annual Monacan Indian Pow Wow near Elon, Virginia. The Monacan Indians are a relatively small group in central Virginia and are working towards being officially recognized by the government. We have friends in the tribe who were there and it was great to watch their daughter dance and to look at all the clothing the dancers wore.

I imagine the man on the left is what most think of when we hear American Indian, but look at the lovely young lady in the middle. The dress of the participants ran a wide gamut from very traditional (referred by the announcer as old-school) with no metal or non-natural items, to very modern-day materials, and everything in-between.

The young shirtless man in the black hat and glasses was a very energetic dancer. The men definitely get to have more variety in the dancing than the women, which for the most part was a very demure rhythmic step shuffle.
American Indian applique

But what caught the eye of this quilter was all the applique! As quilters, we have a tendency to forget that stitching one material to another for decorative purposes is used for a wealth of beautiful items and purposes besides quilts.

The above isn't pieced, purely applique. It sure was pretty during the women's Butterfly Dance, which involved much turning with outstretched arms and was the highlight of the ladies' dancing that we saw.

From what the announcer was saying, there were more tribes and people groups present than just the Monacans, encompassing a large portion of the Mid-Atlantic area of the USA.

I wanted to get a better shot of this woman's skirt, but she wasn't too pleased with me. So I took this shot and moved on. I had accidentally asked if I could take a picture of her costume. She took offense at the word costume, for which I apologized profusely. I didn't ask what I should call it; traditional dress? Regalia?

This girl was absolutely beautiful! Look at those large curvy designs on her cape.  Most of the applique on the garments were zig zagged down, sometimes with a contrasting satin stitch.

Even the men had traditional designs in applique. There were so many beautiful designs that I just might have to add a Monacan inspired quilt to my list of future projects!

I hope you enjoyed these photos! It was a beautiful day for the event too. It has a reputation for being either incredibly hot or raining.

Today starts the voting for viewers choice over at the Blogger's Quilt Festival. You can vote for your favorites among several categories. I recognized Karen's quilt among the pieces nominated for Viewer's Choice. There are so many gorgeous quilts to see and wonderful blogs to visit. Though not in the running for Viewer's Choice, I have one quilt entered and I know several readers of my blog do too!


  1. Amy, you must be in Virginia, huh? I am in North Carolina. Wish we could meet and you could teach me better FMQing!!!

  2. My husband and I had a chance to go to a pow wow a few summers ago, and I was absolutely fascinated by the clothing! The colors and patterns were amazing, not only on the women's, but also on the men's. Even though my husband is part Black Foot, he wouldn't wear anything as ornate, so I doubt I'll ever get a chance to make clothes that beautiful. Like you, I may just have to do a quilt instead!

  3. What a treat that you shared this wonderful event. The clothing is stunning in both color and design. I loved each and every photo.

  4. Thank you for sharing this awesome event that you went to...such stunning outfits to be sure...