Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Backing Fun!!

I SERIOUSLY needed to get on the ball and get some stuff done when we returned home. Deadlines were looming, so much needed instant attention….but we returned home Saturday evening, and I decided that all “ELSE” ((Aka- BIZ STUFF!)) Could wait until Monday. I was continuing my vacation through the weekend, and that was all there was too it!

Let’s face it – I had spent the past 10 days watching 50+ other people taking turns on their days with the machines on the cruise, watched them enjoying their sit n sew time in the evening….did I get to sit and sew at ALL!? Well, only by the grace of my hexies that is!

Here I am stitching in one of the lounge areas during the second group's morning make it and take it time! Yeah...still plugging along on this! Each piece added is a victory, right? Or so I keep telling myself. I did get some work done on this during the cruise, but not as much as I had hoped I would!

I worked on bindings all the way to/from Baltimore and when daylight ran out, that was IT for the hand stitching time ----

Remember me whining about the Orphan bin and what a mess it is? Of ALL the things in the world I could have chosen to do, that was the one Sunday thing that got done…I tackled the orphan bin! I sorted blocks into categories by size. I put them all in large ziplocs by size…and some stuff…I PITCHED! Yes. I did. I don’t know why I have saved some of this stuff over the years, but there comes a time when it’s not even worthy of passing on into a dog-bed stuffing.

And before you say “save it or ship it to someone who might want it”….that SHIP has already SAILED! The trash went to the curb this morning….GONE, Baby, GONE!

Somehow, putting that mess of blocks and parts in some semblance of order was just the ticket ---in just this one small area, I was in essence taking steps to put my life in order. I'm home for 6 weeks now. Traveling is done for the year, and I have 6 weeks to put it all in order, including finishing a book manuscript that I really need to be done by the end of December.

It's time to put it all my ducks in a row!!

While sorting, I knew I needed a backing for yet another quilt for the next book….and I dug. And I found…and combined….several different sets of block quarters from Boxy Star blocks that have been sent to me over the years from all 4 corners of the globe. There was enough for 8 blocks total! Enough to start me thinking of piecing them into a backing…..

I dug into stacks of squares that had been gifted over time as well….some were 10.5” left over backing squares people sent my way, some were 9.5” --- and some…8.5”?! How can we make all of these work together and get them out of here?

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Piece them into panels, that’s how…let them run the length of the quilt, and join the different panels together, letting seams fall where they may, until you have a backing big enough! The only thing these fabrics have in common is the color blue. There is every kind of blue from plaids to florals to batiks and geometrics. There are old calicoes in there…remember the white hearts on williamsburg blue?! It’s in there. And it’s now GONE! Anyone have that blue plaid with watermelon slices on it? Egad! It’s gone too!

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Lots of stars in all different varieties and sizes, swirls, leaves….you name it. I figure I cleared out about 7 yards of unwanted stuff in this backing. GONE! Now I can’t wait to load the quilt and get it going too….

8 stars might not be enough for a quilt TOP…and who wants to make more? It’s the perfect way to use them, down the back of a quilt, clearing out another space in the orphan bin and keeping me from having to go out and BUY 7 yards of something at full retail prices just to back a quilt that was made out of humble scraps to begin with!

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All through the photography Chloe was being her pissy self and hiding out under the picnic table on the deck. Nope. Still can’t pet her….she runs away. I guess I interrupted her sunbathing in the warm sunny spot on the deck. I just don’t GET her at all…free belly rubs? And she turns her nose up at the idea and runs away! Such a huffy girl!

I'm about to load this backing on the machine...along with an undisclosed top that has been sitting around unquilted for far too many years too!

Happy Scrappy Evening, Everyone!

Rockin’ Rollin’ & Cruisin!!

The difference between sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida in August, and Balitmore, Maryland in November?? WEATHER!!

Here is a pic of Pat and myself...along with a random stranger guy in the background! :cD We were just leaving Haiti --

We had waves, baby! And swells that had us rockin’ and rollin’! Our sea legs got well conditioned rather quickly, and some of us applied the help of either the sea-sick patch, or dramamine. It didn’t matter! We were here to SEW, and sew we did!

It made for some interesting rotary cutting, but I think we are all candidates for the Extreme Quilting Games now!

((You do start to worry a bit when the crew is tying down all the potted plants and other items in the ship! LOL!))

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This pic was taken at night, with a flash – so the color isn’t great, and the tilt has been added by tilting the picture, but THIS is what we felt like!

The day we left Haiti, we had to leave a couple hours early due to a storm that was coming off of Bermuda. The Captain did a great job of explaining the whys and wherefores – but it still had some of us nervous. I learned that I do NOT need dramamine..it just puts me in a 24 hour benedryl type coma/fog! I’m better to just ride it out!

What was funny was watching everyone walking around like they were drunk sailors….the ship would pitch this way..and everyone would stumble to the left down the hall…and then it would rock the other way..and pretty soon everyone is going catty corner to the right…I think our core muscles got quite the workout just keeping us UPRIGHT! Being one who doesn’t get sea-sick….it was fun! And I sleep like a baby when the ship is moving, even big babies like me love the feeling of being rocked to sleep!

Oops, I've skipped several days, so let's back up a bit!

We left Baltimore around 4pm, and at 5 pm on Deck 6 in the Spotlight lounge ((Some of us got confused and thought it was Deck 5 at 6pm, but that could be to the abundance of fruity umbrella drinks too..LOL!)) we met for our intro, and everyone was handed their booklet and schedule during the meet and greet.

We introduced ourselves to each other, mingled a bit, and found out who was going to be in GROUP A and who was in GROUP B. And then in typical woman-fashion, we did some switching around because of course we want people who traveled together to BE together.

After dinner, One group got their introductory class with a make it and take it on the machines, the other group had the night off to explore! There were GREAT shows on the ship, and DH and I took advantage of that every night.

The next morning, the second group got to start their day at sea with their make it and take it to learn the machines, and after lunch…we were off and running on the cruise project! We had two and a half days journey until we reached our first port of call, San Juan, Puerto Rico! That’s a good CHUNK of sewing time!

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We had 26 machines brought on board, thanks to Sue & Scott of Citrus Sew & Vac!

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Doesn’t it look like we are having a great time?!

Repeat this scenario twice, because we had Two groups of 26!

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Pat Sloan’s class was up on the top level in the Crowne Lounge working on their applique project…they had Lots of light from the full window and a gorgeous view of the sea…comfy chairs for hand stitching too!

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Doesn’t this look like bliss?! Would you like to see what we were working on? I know the August cruisers have been keeping this under their hats a while longer, but we are ready to show what our project was! You can all feel free to blog and share now!

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This is Mai Tai’s in Paradise! It’s a scrappy mix of EVERYTHING and we had so much fun working with 3 packs of unrelated charm squares from 3 different lines that were not intended to go together. Everyone was instructed to bring fabrics and strips as well, for swapping and sharing and adding to the mix! And because of this, we had 50+ quilts that all look DIFFERENT! Some came with color plans in mind on how they wanted to work their quilt….some quilts evolved as they worked on them…and some went for broke and used EVERYTHING! It was wonderful to see the variety that was coming out of these quilters…

Do you see that SEVERAL tops were completed by the end of the cruise? All that remains are borders! Even on non-class days in port, the sewing room was open for Sit n Stitch EVERY evening from 8pm-10pm. You could sit at a machine, or do hand work...that is if you WEREN'T in the theater catching a great show with singing and dancing, or funny comedy acts-- You had the option to set the quilt straight, or put it on point….we LOVE options that send quilters into trying their own thing…didn’t these turn out great?!

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Pat took this pic of our Captain Gus next to the quilt! ((Yeah, Pat, I had to steal it! LOL!)) Oh, save me from swooning now! I can’t resist a man in uniform, and one with an accent?! WOWEE!! I miss his “words of the day” every morning—and how he said “So for now --- Buh-Bye!” with that adorable Swedish lilt at the end of every announcement. Carry on, Captain Gus!

If you like this quilt and want to make it, never fear….It’s in the works for a future Quiltmaker magazine issue…either as my Addicted to Scraps column, or the full quilt. If they choose ONE block for the column, I’ll publish the whole thing on the blog in conjunction with that…so just hang tight a bit and we’ll get it out there for you.

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As we approached warmer water, the sea took on an amazing deep blue hue…I took a moment on an afternoon walk around the top deck to just admire how our wake stretched out into the horizon…aren’t those clouds lovely?

And we still had so many days of adventure to go!

Be sure to click HERE for Pat's blog to get HER run down on things...you just might catch a glimpse of me doing the Electric Slide on the deck for the sail off party!