Saturday, February 29, 2020

Vertically Challenged

A case for Strippy Quilts

When I mentioned I have been working on a lecture about vertical quilts, I had a request from Diann/Little Penguin for more information.

Our regular guild meeting was cancelled due to snow last Friday, so we rescheduled for the 4th Friday which is usually an open sew day at the same church where we have our monthly membership meetings.  The planned February program was already moved to March so I offered to step in and fill the gap this month.

Here I am in action:

Explaining "Can't cut it"
By my definition, a vertical quilt is actually a setting solution where pieced blocks are assembled in vertical columns which are separated by something else.  Most times that "something else" is a strip of whole cloth. Which is why this type of quilt has become known as a "strippy quilt."

After asking a few pertinent questions like, "Have you ever bought fabric you couldn't bring yourself to cut up?" Or, "Do you have orphan/swap/BOM blocks that you don't know what to do with?"  I then challenged them to think vertically and make a strippy quilt.

Block Swap
The benefits of a vertical quilt are:
     Easy - fewer seams
     Economical - saves time and money (less fabric lost in seams)
     Elegant - simple and balanced composition
     Everlasting - steeped in tradition back to the 18th century (and possibly earlier)

Someday soon I'll post a virtual trunk show of all the vertical quilts I've made.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Bonus Day

... and a laugh 

My whole week had been planned around preparing for guild meeting on Friday.  
Then, on Thursday, this happened.

The officers were in a dither over whether we should cancel the Friday meeting and when the decision should be made.  Since my husband had not been able to make it up one of our hills to get to a meeting at church, I knew the roads would be hazardous for many of us if the conditions didn't improve.  Well, the church made the decision for us!

Even though the roads had improved markedly by Friday morning, I found myself with a free day.  With bonus time on my hands I decided to start cleaning up the fabric/cutting/project storage room.  I have been working on a lecture about vertical quilts so my thoughts were on all the border prints I have collected over the years to make strippy quilts.

Stack o' strippies
I pulled coordinating fabrics for 10 potential quilts!  
I put miscellaneous project boxes back in place.  
And by the end of the day I had at least one surface uncovered.

Room to work!
Today I plan to straighten/restack the fabric shelves.  
The 10 strippy projects will go on a shelf where I can see the fabric in case I need it
for something else before I get around to using it for the intended purpose.  
Do you ever do that?

When I was at the doctor's office two weeks ago, I saw this poster on her wall:

Enjoy the laugh and have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

TOALT - Final Installment

New Zealand

Sorry to be so long getting around to this final installment; I have had the COALT for over a week. 
I averted pneumonia by getting medicines early.  (And no, I haven't had the shots; my bad.)

So what can I say about New Zealand.  Aside from being a group of beautiful islands, it has a fascinating geological and human history.  We circumnavigated the two main islands, beginning with a day-long cruise through the fjords at the south-western end of the South Island.  

We moved at such a leisurely pace it was like floating between the mountains.  These new cruise ships are able to rotate on a dime so at several points we turned-in-place 180 degrees to head back out to sea.

It didn't matter where we were, every sunrise was an experience ...

Sunrise 6/26 - White Island/Whakaari
... as were the sunsets ...

Sunset 1/29 - Bay of Islands
As we meandered up the east coast, each port-of-call was bigger and more developed than the last, ending with the "big" city of Auckland which was much like Sydney, but on a smaller scale.  I think I would have been disappointed to make the trip in reverse order.

Along the way we took a train up a gorge in Port Chalmers/Dunedin ...

... welcomed by steam punk city greeters!  We took a walking tour in Akaroa and shopped for possum wool yarn (more about that later).

Norfolk Island Pine - Akaroa
We took the funicular up to botanic gardens in Wellington ...

Botanic Gardens - Wellington
... and saw interesting Art Deco art and architecture on a walking tour of Napier.

We saw extinct volcanoes ...

Mt. Maunganui, Tauranga
... and active volcanoes ...

White Island / Whakaari
... and things you probably won't see in your own neighborhood!

Get to higher ground!
We visited a winery in Auckland ....

... and saw interesting rock formations in the Bay of Islands.

Hole in the Rock - Bay of Islands
When we returned to Sydney, we took a day trip by ferry across the harbor to the beach at Manly.

All in all it was, indeed, a trip of a lifetime.  We tried to get a lot a variety in the excursions we took.  While there are things we didn't have time to do, or didn't know beforehand that we would want to do, I doubt that I would make that long flight again at my age.  Oh, to be young again.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

TOALT- Phase 3

Quilt Cruise

In case you overlooked the last sentence in the previous post ... My ultimate destination on this trip was a quilt cruise!  From Sydney Australia, around New Zealand, and returning to Sydney.

Holland America Line - Noordam
Many people ask me "What do you do on a quilt cruise?" And more importantly, "What does your husband do on a quilt cruise?"  My answer:  What we would do on any cruise -- find something to occupy our time and attention while at sea, and do all the touristy excursions when in port!  My husband likes to walk the decks for at least two miles and then he finds a comfortable place to sit and read at sea while I am in quilt classes.

The next question is usually "Do you take your machine?"  No.  Depending on where the cruise originates and returns, a dealer may provide machines for classes.  But if the cruise starts or ends outside the US, machines are unlikely, due to Customs.

The best part of a quilt cruise, in our experience, is being with a group of like-minded folks.  We are seated together at dinner (on nights when not dining elsewhere) and there are special welcome and wrap-up events, as well as impromptu meetings at a bar and open sewing in the evenings.

Obviously, on this cruise we were never even close to US soil, so all classes involved handwork, or design.  The teachers were Karen Combs and Sue Nickells.  Since I had taken Karen's classes in 2018, I opted for all three of Sue's classes.  The first two days at sea we worked on wool applique.  The project should look like this:

Mine ...

Sue does her applique with a small satin machine stitch.  Right now I am working on the embroidery embellishments.

The first day at sea on the return to Sydney, we learned how to draw feathers for free-motion quilting (FMQ).  Sue designed a little project that incorporated the NZ symbolic fern in both machine applique and in machine quilting.

Since I knew I would probably never get to the FMQ, I decided to make a mug rug with a smaller version of the fern and some great NZ fabric as the backing

The last day at sea was more cotton-on-cotton applique, another Sue Nickels original design.

I stuck around long enough to prepare a multi-layer bird (no pic) but since my husband was receiving his 100 sea day medallion, I cut out early to watch the presentation and enjoy the Mariner's luncheon following.

I am still marveling at Sue's thorough and thoughtful preparation.  She is great teacher and I would recommend you study at her knee if you haven't already had the pleasure.

Sunrise as we return to Sydney
Next installment - New Zealand

Footnote:  We always book our quilt cruises through Quilt Seminars at Sea.  They almost exclusively use Holland America Lines.  We have never been disappointed in either.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

TOALT Phase 2

On to Sydney!

I had never been south of the equator, so I was anticipating what it would be like to have summer in January.  It felt weird to pack short-sleeve shirts and knee-knockers while wearing Cuddleduds and sweats!

We were also concerned about the effects the bushfires might have on our visit, but the only evidence in Sydney proper was occasional bad air quality from the smoke.  In the end we are glad we were able to support the local economy because, between the fires and Coronovirus, many people had cancelled their trips.

Within hours of our arrival we were surveying the area around our hotel in the old part of Sydney.

Sydney Opera House viewed across Circular Quay
And less than an hour later ...  On our way back to the hotel I tripped on a curb and face-planted on the cobblestone sidewalk. 

Libby in the ambulance
Miraculously the lense of my glasses did not break, but the temple piece got stuck in my head.  Five hours in the ER to determine if I had a concussion, then released with just a bandaid on my forehead. 

I have to commend the citizens of Sydney for taking such good care of me.  Passersby immediately came to my aid, told me not to move, directed SIL to put something under my head, ordered Alex to hold an umbrella to shade me, forebade anyone from giving me anything to drink, and called the ambulance.

Needless to say, I wasn't up for much activity the next two days.  SIL, on the other hand, had booked a Bridge Climb on the Harbour Bridge which proceded in spite of the rain.

Climb group at the apex

A jubilant SIL on completion of the Climb
The next day we boarded the Noordam and departed under the Harbour Bridge on our quilt cruise around New Zealand.

So long, Sydney

Friday, February 7, 2020

TOALT Phase 1

Why not Hawaii?

Since our ultimate destination was Australia and New Zealand, why not stop half way in Hawaii?  It so happened that the Sony Open golf tournament was in Honolulu the Saturday before we needed to be in Sydney, so we booked 6 days at the Disney Aulani Resort in Ko'Olina on Paradise Bay.  We are not Disney Vacation Club members, and I doubt we ever will be, but I certainly would if we still had youngsters at home!

Aulani Resort, Ko'Olina, Hawaii
We chose the resort because my SIL had booked tee times at the Ko'Olina Golf Course right across the street (plus it came highly recommended by a friend who had been there a month before).  The first day -- the only day without rain -- we went to Pearl Harbor.  Very moving.

Arizona Memorial
FYI, it is a National Park and the tours are free, but an advance reservation is suggested.  Only $1 per ticket to book online!

The second day SIL played golf in 20 mph trade winds and occasional rain while Alex and I scoped out other opportunities.  

The quilt shop we were looking for was closed that day.😒  Unfortunately, we had rain every day from there on, but we managed to make a side trip to the North Shore and stopped at a waterfall/botanical garden.

North Shore
Our final day we slogged through the mud at the golf tournament (at least we had pavilion tickets) and saw the famous trees from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  

W for Wailai
And we wrapped up our stay with the Aulani Luau.  Locals said it is the least authentic, but we enjoyed the "Disneyfied" story line.

Next, off to Sydney, Australia!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Truth be Told

Home from the Hinterlands

When last I posted that I was taking a break, I was on my way out the door on a TOALT (trip of a lifetime) and I didn't wan't to alert the world that Mr. Lakeside and I would be absent and out of touch for over a month.  I'll catch you up on our adventures soon.

But once we returned, we faced piles of mail as well as Mt. Washmore.  Then I had to rush to complete a project with an immediate (nearly overdue) deadline.  What project? you ask.  I responded to a little quilt (24") challenge and my entry has been accepted!

Perfect 36
In 2020 America will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment.  In recognition of this historic occasion, the Dakota County Star Quilters are hosting a special exhibit to be displayed at their annual quilt show in South St. Paul, MN March 10-April 3.  Here's the story behind my quilt:

When Tennessee legislators were called back to a special session in August 1920 to vote on ratification of the 19th amendment, they were greeted by suffragists wearing yellow roses, and opponents wearing red roses.  Thus the “War of the Roses” began.  By a single vote, Tennessee became the required 36th state to ratify.  Supporters referred to Tennessee as The Perfect 36.  This quilt has 36 yellow rosebuds surrounding the state.

I hope to visit my little quilt while it is on display in Minnesota, but there are plans to let the exhibit travel during 2020 so I might see it some place near you.   

Michelle McLaughlin/3P & N has a second blog related to suffrage.  Check it out at Pennsylvania Piecemaker.

More on our trip soon, but here's a preview.