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.


  1. Those are interesting experimentations! Sounds like they are worth trying!

  2. The scarves are beautiful and look like fun to make. Glad you had fun on your cruise!

  3. You made great class choices. Can't WAIT to try the techniques you shared!!

  4. Looks like you had a very fun cruise. I like all three of your silk scarves. Very colorful.

  5. From Maine to Alaska! Coast to coast this summer. Glad you and Mr. Hillside had a good time.

  6. It sounds like a wonderful time spent with very talented teachers and I am sure the making of new friends. What is not to like? I love hearing about the quilting adventures.

  7. hmmm I've done silk painting and it's non toxic. The dyes were set with vinegar and then color fast. What if you get caught in rain, or sweat? And fumes on a cruise... I'd have been done in. Glad you had fun and didn't react like I'd have done, and that you had fun learning. How's the new house? Gotta read back and see what you have to say, I've been wrapped up in my own house stuff and missed a lot of blog posts!


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