Friday, August 31, 2018

More Alaska

So why was I in Alaska?
Mr. Lakeside and I were on a quilting cruise aboard Holland America's Noordam!  

Noordam docked in Haines, Alaska
This was our fifth cruise with Quilt Seminars at Sea, the last one being over 10 years ago before MIL came to live with us. We were thrilled to be cruising again.

I am frequently asked, "What do you do on a quilt cruise?"  I'll tell you.

There are quilting classes, but only on "at sea" days.  Since I don't enjoy swimming in the pool and I'm too cheap to spend time in the spa, what else would I be doing anyway?  When in port it's like any other cruise with all sorts of touring and shopping options.

No, you don't have to bring a sewing machine.  Depending on where the cruise originates and ends, machines may be provided for you by a sponsoring shop or manufacturer -- with the added benefit of purchasing at a reduced price at the end of the cruise.  However, if the cruise originates or ends out of the US, Customs can make it cost-prohibitive for a shop to bring machines on board so handwork projects are offered, instead.  Such was the case on this cruise that originated in the US (Seward, Alaska) but terminated in Canada (Vancouver, BC).

And Mr. Lakeside -- what did he do while I was in class?  The same thing he would do on any cruise:  surf the internet in the Library Lounge or read a book on the verandah and bring me things when I call and meet me for lunch.

When cruising with a group like this there will be special activities, like our sew-and-tell cocktail party and playing R-L-C with strips and exchanging blocks with each other.

Teachers on this cruise were Karen Combs and Kathy McNeil.  While Kathy's work is stunning, I'm not an avid applique-er so I opted for classes with Karen on both days.  In the first class we learned about creating illusion of translucency as if fabrics were overlapping.

The diamonds should look like they are laying on top of the square.  If I had used dark gold triangles in the diamonds, it should look like the square is on top of the diamonds.  The fabrics I had brought for this exercise were not the best but I was able to paste up one decent sample block.  We also learned how to convert a traditional quilt block into an isometric (60-degree) cube.  My pencil sketch on graph paper is less than photogenic. You can get an idea of what we were trying to do on Karen's web page.

While traveling through the Inside Passage on the last day of the cruise, we experimented with several methods of dying using silk scarves.  First, we used a water-reactive tissue paper.

We layered paper in between folds of the scarf and sprayed liberally with water as we went. It was a fascinating technique that I might try again.  Note: this method is not color fast, but how often does one wash a silk scarf, anyway.

Next we tried our hand at Shibori-style tie dying, this time using, of all things, Sharpie® markers!  In this case the color was spread with rubbing alcohol.

I didn't have the patience to do a lot of tying (plus I had serious doubts that this would really work) and I cut my ties before the piece had dried (should have been listening and not talking) so my results here are less than stellar.

Our final project also used Sharpie markers, but in this case we laid the scarf out flat and drew on it.  Then we sprayed liberally with rubbing alcohol to disperse the colors and blend.  Adding salt while it was still wet created some interesting effects.

I just drew a bunch of squiggly lines in blue and yellow and let the alcohol do the work.  I can see making these for Christmas gifts -- in a well-ventilated space.  Six of us were working in a small meeting room and the fumes became a bit overwhelming.  When we opened the door to the promenade deck, we discovered the crew was painting/varnishing just outside our room so those fumes were worse!

So that's the "quilting" part of our quilt cruise.  Next post will be about the other days of the cruise.

Linking with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday

Observed on the Tundra in Denali National Park, Alaska

Dall Sheep
What, you can't see the white dots on the hillside?  Maybe the view on the bus monitor will help.

Not much help, huh?  Well, this is what they look like up close and personal -- not that we got up close ...

These are all rams.  The females horns do not get that big or curved.

Further down the road we saw a grizzly bear and her Spring cub.

Grizzly and cub
You know, some things are just better viewed from a distance.  Maybe the monitor will help.

It looked a lot better in person, believe me.  This is something like what we were seeing:

The female was a light blond like the stock photo, but this year's cub was still a dark brown.

The bus driver/guide had a camera with telephoto to project onto the bus monitor.  I thought that was a great idea since the likelihood of seeing anything up close is pretty remote.  (And, in some cases, preferred.)

We also saw several caribou (reindeer) -- well, actually, their antlers above the weeds and prairie grass ...

Captive caribou seen on another day
... lots of eagles, and ptarmigan, the Alaska state bird.

Though we saw several moose on another outing, this picture of a stuffed one at a recreated Athabascan village will have to do for now.


Alaska is an incredibly beautiful state with so much flora and fauna to observe.  The downside?  It's a long way from Point A to Point B with limited ways to get there.

We had a great time in the 4 days we had on land before heading out to sea for 7 days.  Watch for future posts.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday

Eagle Sighting!

Sorry, he flew by so fast I couldn't get a picture.  
I had heard we had at least one family on the lake. 
Thrilled to finally see it!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Wedding Update

Quite the affair!  

Beginning with the rehearsal BBQ dinner hosted by Son-1 and DIL  ...

Rising Tide craft brewery
... to the highly-scripted details for the day of the wedding ...

Photo shoot in a Portland garden
With vows exchanged in a turn-of-the century railroad repair shop building ...

... transformed into a candlelit wonderland ...

And a good time was had by all!

Mr. Lakeside and Me

A note to my virtual friends:  I will be off the grid for about two weeks so don't worry if you don't hear from me.  I'll catch you up when I can.

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Little Stash Enhancement

Yellows and Grays for the 100 Blocks : 100 Days
Guess where I was

While the rest of the family went to the L. L. Bean motherhouse, I found this sweet shop down the street.  And the best part, one of the clerks had lived in Fairfield Glade!

Seriously, if you are in the area this shop is worth a visit.  
Small but a nice variety of fabric styles.

I couldn't leave Freeport without a visit and remembrance of Wicked Whoopies:

Those of you in the midwest will appreciate this homage to whoopie pies.

Rehearsal dinner tonight.
Tomorrow we go through the minute-by-minute countdown
to the exchange of vows.

GS-2 and his bride

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

One Hundred Blocks - One Hundred Days

Days 4-7

I've had some inquiries about the size of my blocks.  They will finish at 11".  The 9-patch center is constructed from 2-1/2" squares.  But the outside round is cut from 3" strips.  The sew-and-flip star points are 2-1/2" squares.

That allows the star points to "float" or have some breathing room so that I don't have to worry about the points precisely matching when I put the blocks together.

So for one block I need:
     Background fabric
        4 rectangles @ 3" x 6-1/2"
        4 squares @ 3 "
        5 squares @ 2-1/2
     Contrast fabric
        12 squares @ 2-1/2"

Yesterday was only Day 4, but with Grandson's wedding this weekend I thought it wise to stitch ahead.  I devoted most of my time at Devo and Sew yesterday to stitching the sew-and-flip star points because I am never quite happy with the seam allowance on my travel machine, especially when I'm combining parts sewn on different machines (9Ps had been stitched at home) .

However, after prepping about five blocks yesterday, I decided to assemble one to show my progress to everyone.

Day 4
Bad idea!  I forgot that I normally move my needle position to the right on that machine (in spite of the fact that I have a sticker on the machine to remind me), so this block is a full 1/4" too small.  Yes, I could accommodate the difference in the final construction, but I'm not happy with the way the star points don't match up with the 9P seams.

Some frogging will be required at a future time.  Here are closeups of 5 through 7.

Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
You might be able to see that I have duplicated some fabrics, but I am trying not to duplicate the combinations.  With 110 blocks, that might be impossible to accomplish.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

One Hundred Blocks

One Hundred Days

Actually, it's 110 blocks, but who's counting?  

Day 3
The new quilt for the new king bed will require 110 blocks.  I have kitted up about a dozen blocks.  My goal is to make at least one block per day, which might be difficult since I will be away from my machine for about 15 days in August.  But I've gotten a head start on the first three.

With Devo and Sew today, I might be able to get ahead through the weekend.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Wildlife Wednesday - on Tuesday ... oops, Monday

Giant Praying Mantis

Moving very slowly, did not flinch when I went out on the deck to photograph.
(Yikes, please ignore the mildew.)

Female, bigger and prettier than the male.
Does it remind you of the Geico gecko?

Yes, I see you, too!
People keep these as pets!  $28 on Amazon, includes free fruit flies.
Four hours later and she had only moved about 10 feet.

After googling, I suspect she may have just molted this morning and was drying her wings.
She is now on the deck railing, strategically positioned to snag victims from
Charlotte's web .. or maybe Charlotte!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

My Guy

On this date 40 years ago I sold a Kansas house in the morning, finalized a divorce in the afternoon, loaded a rental truck to the gills and headed home to The Folks in Tennessee. 

The following Monday I started my new job as specifications typist at an architectural firm and a bright young draftsman/office boy stopped by my cubicle to invite me to the office canoe outing the next weekend.

Sadly, I was not able to go on the outing but one month later that office boy and I had our first "real" date (lunches don't count).  I never went out with anyone else and after 3 years of "consideration" we decided to make it official.

During the round trip to the longarm quilter near Nashville on Friday I got my hair trimmed (must have been inspired by Jocelyn/Canadian Needle Nana) --

My husband commented that he liked the cut because it reminds him of how I looked when he first met me.  (He forgets I had bangs then.)  He has NEVER commented on my hair (without my asking) in 40 years!


The fridge is here!

After waiting almost 8 weeks the new refrigerator was delivered and installed Saturday. 
 Thank goodness we had a spare in the utility room!

I suppose if we hadn't been so determined to get one like the one we left in Brentwood, it might not have taken so long.  Nevertheless, our experience with Lowe's in Crossville was less than stellar.  Maybe the fridge was on the same Fed-Ex truck as the dress I ordered for next week's wedding that went from Mexico, MO to KC, to Nashville (LaVergne), to Atlanta (Ellenwood), only to be taken to the USPO for delivery!  The jacket I ordered from a different source at the same time came in the mail in half the time.  Sheesh!

After the whirlwind round trip to Nashville on Friday, I settled in for a weekend of sewing and a productive weekend it was.  I first wanted to get started on the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month -- orange.  I had made my geese units earlier in the week, so I spent a little bit of time putting the first 9 together (with Garden Mosaic units in between).

It's partly the lighting, but I went with the more subdued shades of orange in this column so that it wouldn't overpower some of the earlier columns.  I was surprised to observe how many of these were paired with purple or mixed with purple in the prints.  A pairing to consider in future quilts ...

As soon as Mari/The Academic Quilter posted the Squared Away sampler block for the month on Saturday, I went in search of some of my "jewel-tone" orange scraps to stay in the jewel tone theme of earlier months.

Since I have been through several "orange phases," I thought surely I would have something -- not!  So I did the best I could with what I had.

THEN I discovered I had four project boxes with bright orange yardage squirreled away in them!  I guess I still like orange.  If I have time I may make another orange block, but for now it is done.

I have had second thoughts about my plans for the king-size quilt to go on our bed.  I am taking a class in October and my initial thought was to expand that quilt to fit the bed.  But it is mostly log cabin blocks made from 1-1/2" strips.  Not only would it take a long time to make, it would be heavy with all those seams.  So I decided to go with a re-make of one of my favorite quilts (which I would show you if I could find the picture).  Staying with my planned yellow and gray scheme, there will be alternating gray and yellow backgrounds

Though it looks black in the photo, it's really a dark gray.  There will b e a lot of variety in the yellows and grays and in an ideal world there will be no duplicate blocks.  We'll see.  I have been busy today cutting block kits to take to Devo and Sew on Tuesday.

Linking up with soscrappy and Oh Scrap!

Friday, August 3, 2018

Friday Facts

My gas light comes on at 30 miles DTE.

From that point it uses 2 miles for every one you drive.

Walmart has cheap gas.

Ask me how I know.

Free Time

Week in Review

It's amazing what one can accomplish when she stays home and takes a pass on housework.  We've only been here since February so how dirty can the house be?  (My socks, unfortunately, tell the truth!)  But the sun will come up tomorrow whether I dust or not, right?

Early in the week I put the finishing touches on the fall flimsy

I then prepped it and two other tops to go to the longarm quilter.

The third quilt of this trio on the left is one I finished a couple of years ago -- started in a class with someone whose name escapes me at the moment (I'll get back to you with the details later).  We had just returned from a Caribbean cruise so I named this one Sand and Surf because the colors reminded me of the incredibly blue seas down there.

I assembled eight rows (one quadrant) of Garden Mosaic.

And finished tiny hourglass units from leftover corner cutoffs.

To get consistency, I had to trim these to 2.25".  I'm thinking these will become a decorative strip on some placemats for SIL to go with the winter wall hanging.

I also finished the Wedding Quilt but forgot to take a picture before I prepped it for the LAQ.  Here it is when it was still loose blocks.  I rearranged the blocks before sewing them together.

Five and Dime from Loose Change
So we're driving to Nashville today to deliver four quilts to the LAQ, three of which are Christmas gifts.  She is booked through October but thinks she can get them done.  All are on the small side so I'm hopeful.

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Then Foursies ...

Inspired by Gayle/mangofeet and Cathy/Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilting, I have started my own version of Garden Mosaic (a/k/a Totally Demented, a/k/a Fractured Rainbows).  If you want to see what it should look like finished, go to Sally T's blog The Objects of Design.

The big difference is my pieces are cut at 2-1/2", instead of 2".  AND, I am only making one quadrant or one fourth of the quilt.

After making a mountain of HSTs over the last few weeks,

I began pairing a HST with a solid square to make a twosie.  Next, pairing twosies to make 4-patch units, some with light background squares and some with random dark squares.

The way I remember how to orient the pairs is I see butterflies or kissing triangles.

When I realized I had enough 4-patch units to make a 64-unit "block," I paired a light with a dark and churned and chained those little beauties into twosies, then foursies ... and finally 8 together in a row.

I think I need more variety in my scraps so I won't stitch these rows together.

Three more to go! 

There's a wedding and a cruise on the agenda this month so I don't expect to get a lot more done.  My bits and bobs will remain on the table extension so that I can work a few in, now and then, as leaders/enders.