Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Week Aweigh

I've been away on a quilt cruise for the last week or so. With so many good memories, it's really difficult to sort through tons and tons of photos. I've tried to capture the essence of the trip for you. The introductory text is brief to make this post a quick and (hopefully) enjoyable read.

For starters, I left Syracuse a day early ahead of our Saturday cruise departure. I planned it that way far in advance, just in case Syracuse (which is known for annual snowfall levels of 100" or more) experienced a weather event in early March. Turns out, this was a good plan, as a Nor'easter took hold of much of the East Coast (US) on what could have been my travel day on Friday, causing travel delays and headaches!

To make good use of the extra day in Miami, I joined a few of the other sea-going quilters for a visit to the Miami Sequarium. Such fun!

Dolphin, sea lion, and orca shows were quite entertaining. In one section of the park, I had a chat with several macaws and parrots (including the African Gray, below). When given the choice, I'll always choose 'the Highway' (below)--the Hummingbird Highway, that is. . . wouldn't you?

On Saturday morning, we were able to board the ship and say good bye, for now, to beautiful Miami. Look at those lovely yachts! (below). Time for our first of many delicious meals on board, along with a frozen mojito! (below)

Finally. .  . the big reveal of our on-board quilt project. Water Logged (right) is a generous fat-quarter friendly quilt. The project is inspired by classic log-cabin-style blocks which benefits from all four, but especially two of the BlocLoc log cabin rulers.

Everyone on the cruise received, as part of their quilt package, a pre-cut kit. The pieces were purposely cut over sized, so the BlocLoc tools could be used to trim each round to perfection.

We had forty-two very enthusiastic quilters anxious to get started sewing during our first two days at sea.

Our ship, the Celebrity Equinox (below) finally was able to dock at St. Maarten (carved map in the street pavement, below center). Along with a few others from our group, I took a tour of several art galleries on the island of St. Maarten. Ruby (below) tells of her life as an artist on the island.

Our next stop, was St. Kitts. Our group of quilters was split in three to visit Caribelle Batiks on the lush and beautiful Romney estate (right). We got to sample first-hand how batiks are printed.

Using metal stamps and hot wax, the fabric starts out white, the stamps, dipped in hot wax protect the fabrics from the dye in a wax-resist process.

The white fabric with waxed shapes is then dipped in dye, then rinsed in cold water, waxed and dipped again to add to the colors. Once the fabric is dyed the final color, it's placed in boiling water to remove the wax.

Once we got the introduction, we made our very own batik print! Elma applies the wax with a butterfly stamp (below). The group in a room below takes a break from stamping for a cheesy photo (below).

Mary (below) in a different room dyes our waxed fabric a bright orange color. Back inside the main building, we can observe the fabric artists creating larger pieces of waxed, then dyed examples (below). And of course, like any good tour, there was an opportunity to purchase some hand-painted batiks to take home (and we did!)

Both St. Kitts and St. Maarten are such beautiful islands! One of the main streets at the pier in St. Kitts is lined with sunshine and palm trees (below). So nice to see brightly colored flowers again (below).

Time to leave beautiful St. Kitts in the early evening (below) and get back to our project. Murray, one of the quilter spouses sports his new Caribelle Batik tie for dinner (below)!

Back on board in our beautiful classroom for the last few days at sea. You could find all the essentials at each work station: fabric, pattern, blocks in various stages of completion, and maybe a little caffeine (below). On the upper deck you could join Corning Museum of Glass to make a blown glass tumbler or a variety of other items, just like in Corning, NY! (below)

 . . . And did I mention the food?! Delicious meals and desserts each day (below)!

I've said this before and I'll say it again. . . Any time quilters get together--at a retreat, on a cruise, or for an event or show--it's not just about all the food, the tours, and the project. It's about the memories, the mementos, and the laughs that you take with you after the event is over!

It's not about the quilt. . . it's about the people you meet along the way to making the quilt!

Wanna come along on the next cruise? Start saving your pennies now!

Happy Stitching!

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