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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Diamond Delight

Diamond Delight is the name of the quilt designed by Carol Doak for the cruise on which she taught this spring. It was originally designed with 6" blocks, but I shrank mine down to 2". I began the paper piecing of the quilt during the cruise, and then I finished it at home.

My next challenge was to decide on what quilting motif I wanted to use, but I eventually decided to try out some curved crosshatching, using a ruler from Accents in Design. This ruler is made for use on domestic machines, and it really works well! I used it with my Bernina, and I'm quite happy with the results — I suspect I'll be investing in more of their rulers soon.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Cruise Projects

During the cruise I told you about in my last post,  I took two classes. There were actually three, but some of my friends and I did take one day off to explore the ship and try the zip line. :) The first class was paper piecing with Carol Doak, and the pattern was called Diamond Delight.

I liked the design a lot, but I decided to miniaturize the pattern, so I printed out foundations with 2" blocks. I like to do minis for some things, and this was no exception. Doing a miniature by means of paper piecing is very doable! This quilt is going to be about 16" square when it's quilted.

The second class was with Marsha Bergren, who was teaching the Twister technique. The pattern she'd chosen came from her book and was very nice. However, I'd seen another pattern online that I completely fell for, so I planned to do that one. Luckily for me, Marsha is very generous and had no problem with my change of pattern. This one came from the Quilt Moments site and was designed by Marilyn Foreman, who accomplishes amazing color effects with the Twister technique.

Again, though, I decided to make it small, using the smallest Twister template. The blocks are 1", and the quilt will be about 22" x 18.5" when quilted.

Now that I have finished these two, I have *four* tops awaiting quilting. The hardest part of quilting for me is deciding on how I want to quilt a top, so this will take some serious thinking.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Quilting cruise

Fair warning: this post is photo-heavy. Click on any of the pictures to see a larger version.

I mentioned in my previous post that I'd just returned from a cruise, and this one was different from the ones I've previously taken with my husband. For one thing, this time he didn't go with me. For another, there was a large group of quilters, and we took classes during our at-sea days. And, finally, we were on the largest ship I've ever been on, Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas. It was an amazing ship, and I finally had to skip one of the three scheduled classes in order to see more of it. LOL!

This old-fashioned car, complete with teddy-bear driver and passenger, greeted us in one of the many "common areas" — this was the Royal Promenade, but there were also others, like Central Park and the Boardwalk.

This is a piece of what was visible in the Central Park area. This photo was taken looking down from the swimming pool area. Can you see that some of the balcony cabins overlook the interior of the ship, rather than the ocean? Mine was ocean-side, but these looked nice, too.

 This is a ground-level view of the same area.

This boat-shaped area is actually a bar — the Rising Tide Bar. The name is quite appropriate, since the entire thing rises slowly, going up three decks and then back down again. When it's up, there are shooting fountains underneath — very impressive!

The selection of restaurants onboard was amazing! Some of us had dinner one evening at Giovanni's Table, which serves Italian food that I think is the best I've ever had. Others had dinner at Izumi, which does Oriental food. And then there are places like Johnny Rockets, with their obligatory fries and onion rings.

The local group I went with — seven of us, out of about 80 quilters — saw a variety of sights during our shore excursions. This was a performance of flamingoes doing military-style maneuvers in Nassau at the Ardastra Gardens.

In the same place, we fed these beauties with slices of apple. The birds flew onto our outstretched arms and snacked. Luckily, they aren't carnivorous, so no one was pecked. ;)

Look at the color of that water! This is Magen's Bay in St. Thomas, and I can't get over the turquoise color.

This was someone's yacht being repaired. Just imagine staying on that for a few weeks of relaxation!

No, we're not really incognito! But the sun was very hot and bright, so we were prepared. LOL! The fellow we're posing with was a little the worse for wear.

The ship sponsored "theme breakfasts" several times in the main dining room. This particular day we were seated with Marsha Bergren, who was teaching her Twister technique in class, so we all had our picture taken with one of the Madagascar characters.

And here we are with Carol Doak, who was also teaching on the cruise and was the main reason we all went along for the ride!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Have I mentioned ...

… that I'm afraid of heights? Yup. I used to take students to Europe every couple of years, and it was such fun — until I had to go up into the Eiffel Tower or something else that was very tall. Cue the wet palms and racing heart — I just tried to breathe deeply and endure. LOL! Given time, I could work my way from the central "spine" of the Eiffel Tower to the outer edge, which is enclosed by mesh to prevent people attempting to fly. ;) However, I wasn't really comfortable.

Fast forwarding to the present day, I've just come home from a cruise to the Caribbean, which I booked with several friends in order to take quilting classes onboard. We were on an enormous ship, the Oasis of the Seas, and they have a zip line onboard. Okay, I figured that, if I was ever going to do a zip line (and I'd heard they were really fun), this would be the best place to do it, since the ship's crew has a vested interest in keeping the guests alive and well, right?

My husband of almost 42 years pooh-poohed the idea, never believing for a minute that I'd actually go through with the plan. But I DID! And I have the video to prove it, courtesy of one of my friends.


That's me in the crash helmet and harness! I have to say that, once I got past the part where I had to look down (way down) in order to plant my feet for the "launch", it was really fun sailing over an open space that ended about a dozen floors below me.