Tomorrow I head to Alaska! It is hard to believe that it was two years ago that Pat Tobin of Quilt Camp at Sea invited me to teach on the 2011 Alaskan Quilt Camp at Sea cruise. Of course I accepted – this is my 4th cruise with the Quilt Campa at Sea group, and my 3rd one to Alaska with them, and I am just as excited about this trip as the previous two. The Quilt Camp at Sea staff are wonderful, and run a first-class quilting cruise aboard Holland America ships - every little detail is taken care of, and there are lots of extra events organized. The cameraderie is so terrific that many of the cruisers in our groups have been on multiple cruises with Quilt Camp at Sea. I am looking forward to seeing previous cruisers, and also making some new friendships. My room-mate is none other than Northcott designer Jody Houghton – how exciting is that!?! Jody has designed several collections for Northcott, all around the theme of her Sisterhood of Quilters characters. Today I whipped up a couple of vests to wear on the cruise: one using Jody’s Girlfriends collection in pinks and blacks, and the other in Jody’s brand-new Girlfriends as Sea, designed specially for this cruise. I am also using the Girlfriends at Sea for one of my 2 classes that I am teaching on the cruise. Here is a photo of my Stars at Sea quilt.
The other project that I am teaching is my Simplified Double Wedding Ring. I really like this one, because it is easier than most quilters think. The fabric collection that we are using is Northcott’s Woodland Warmth flannel – yes, flannel for a double wedding ring. You would be amazed how easy this quilt is when using flannel. This one is called Alaskan Circles – doesn’t it look great? The fabrics in this quilt remind me of the raw beauty and majesty in Alaska. The scenery is truly spectacular, and I don’t know if I will ever tire of it. We spend the first 3 days sailing up to Glacier Bay, and it is these days that most of the quilting classes take place. Our first stop is Juneau, where our group will pay a visit to Changing Tides quilt shop. Lat time I was there, Alaskan artist Barbara Lavalle was there autographing our tote bags with her signature caricatures. She was great fun! Then we are on to Sitka, and Abby’s Reflections quilt shop. What I love about these shops is the amazing selection of Alaskan-themed batiks, fishing fabrics and Russian-motif fabrics, especially in Sitka, with its Russian roots. Then we stop in Ketchikan and Betty’s quilt shop in the main waterfront building. Betty’s shop is HUGE! It is really 2 shops. In the winter, one of the shops is the classroom, but in the summer it is filled with Northern wildlife fabrics, and fabrics that have typically Alaskan-theme motifs. I spent WAY too much money at Betty’s shop last year. Our final stop is a quick one in Victoria, BC and a quick taxi ride will get us to Satin Moon Quilt Shop. Brenda will put on a spread, likely with Nanaimo bars. I drool over her selection of Oriental fabrics, and picked up some sashiko supplies there last year.
My next cruise with Pat and Quilt Camp at Sea is next March to the Mexican Riviera – that should be awesome! I will be using Jody’s Beach Babes collection for one of my classes on that cruise. Pat tells me that there is still some space available, so if you think you might want to join us for some sun, fun and quilting, visit www.quiltcampatsea.com for details.
Well, I had better get packing…
I have had several of you email recently asking if the shipment of donated quilts that Northcott sent to Japan had arrived, and the answer is YES! Naomi, my contact in Japan, tells me that she has received over 4000 quilts for the earthquake/tsunami victims, including the 1,603 that were collected from fellow Canadians. Most of these have already found their way into the grateful hands of those who need them. The photos below are taken in the temporary relief centers. I think the smile on the face of the woman in this photo says it all. A HUGE thank you from Naomi and all of the recipients.
I missed thanking a couple of groups that were involved in the effort to send the quilts to Japan: Thanks to Fran Smith and her group from Port Alberni, BC for sending boxes of quilts. Also thanks to Advance Shipping for providing Northcott with clear plastic bags for all of the quilts.
My oh-so-talented piecer Susanne and I have been busy as bees, whipping up 3 quilts for upcoming issues of Love of Quilting and Easy Quilts. I wanted to share them with you – they will be in late Fall/Winter issues, and kits are available from shopfonsandporter.com once the issues are shipped.
As I write this post, I am sitting on the deck at the family cottage, enjoying the last few hours of a spectacular Canada Day. To my fellow Canucks I say “Happy Canada Day!” I am wearing the pre-requisite Canada t-shirt of course. This year, Canada Day falls on a Friday, so we get a long weekend, and our American cousins will also get a long holiday weekend as they celebrate Independence Day on Monday July 4.
Enjoy! And thank a soldier. We very often take for granted the rights and freedom that have been won on our behalf by the brave men and women in our Armed Forces.
I am “sew” excited (I couldn’t resist)! Quilter’s Newsletter magazine put out a call for quilt designs for a special Best Fat Quarter Quilts issue
on newsstands this Fall. I have never designed a quilt with fat quarters, but since Northcott has fat quarter rolls of our Stonehenge groupings, I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to play with the Stone Rolls. I chose the Maui group of 12 fat quarters.
I was allowed to use one other fabric, so I chose a white tone-on-tone from Northcott’s elements by my bud Mark Lipinski.
I downloaded the fabrics into my EQ7 program and began playing. Once I had finalized my design, I emailed it to the folks at Quilter’s Newsletter. Much to my surprise, they accepted it, and sent me details of the deadline for the finished quilt. I quickly wrote the instructions so that my oh-so-talented piecer Susanne could whip it up. Then I quilted it, Susanne bound it, and we sent it off to the magazine. We called it Hawaiian Punch. I think it is such a cheerful quilt, with its bright colors contrasting against the white background. Quilters Newsletter will be having a blog tour early October to launch the issue, and I hope to participate. There will be prizes, so check back around then to participate. The last time I participated in a blog tour was for the launch of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks issue - I showed my block in different Northcott collections. Both I and the visitors to my blog were amazed at how different the block and resulting quilts looked depending on the fabrics used. I’m not sure if Hawaiian Punch would look good in any other fabrics – we shall see!
I’m off to the kitchen now to make some butter tarts, a quintessential Canadian treat – similar to pecan tarts, but with raisins instead. Or shall I make Nanaimo bars, or maybe both…mmmm.