Home again, home again…

I’ve been back from Hawaii for nearly a week. Jet lag is over, the piles on my desk are mostly gone. The laundry is done and summer is here.

I do miss Hawaii. I miss having a MaiTai under the Banyon tree at the Beach Bar, watching the sun go down.

I miss watching Jack be a kid, doing brand new things in a place so unlike home.

We did a fair bit of waiting for things… like food from food trucks. We didn’t let the wait bother us, we were patient. That is something I am doing my best to hold onto… patience while waiting.

I kind of miss the sound of roosters. I wouldn’t mind free range chickens in our neighborhood but I don’t think they’d last long. Coyotes, birds of prey, and cats would probably love the idea :-).

I don’t miss the roads on Kauai. The main road runs around the island in a U-shape. There isn’t a road where the cliffs on the north side of the island are. If you are in Princeville and want to go to Waimea Canyon, you have to take the long way around to get there. It’s not that far by mainland standards, but speed limits are low, there are usually only 2-3 lanes, and being in a hurry is a bad idea.

The road on the north side of Kauai hugs the slopes in many places. This is an island that gets a lot of rain and sometimes roads and bridges wash out. This is a spot on the 2 mile stretch of road between Princeville (where we stayed) and Hanalei (where we went pretty often). One of the lanes is mostly gone, washed way down the slope. It’s a long drop. Traffic is cut to one lane.

Driving is never risk free. We drove this road in the same way that the locals do. However, every time we were on this bit I said a little prayer.

I miss the colors of the ocean, sky, and sand…

Sadly, not every beach is pristine.

We’ve all heard about plastic in the ocean but finding it on beaches where I’ve not seen it before got my attention in a big way. The amount of plastic on some beaches was shocking. I gathered those big pieces inside a 3′ square space on the beach near Lydgate Park.

I looked for shells on every beach. Instead of colorful beach glass, I kept finding colorful bits of plastic. And, in case you are wondering, the shell gathering was not particularly good. It could be that pretty, whole shells are hard to find, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there isn’t a correlation between that and the pollution.

It’s depressing, right? But this is a real thing and it’s better to see it because ignoring reality changes nothing.

We all do our best to reduce our use of plastic but if you live a ‘regular’ life like we do, it’s impossible to live without plastic. However, I’m trying to do better. I am going to stop being so quick to replace something that is not recyclable just because I want it in a slightly different color or shape. I’m going to pay more attention to packaging. Feel free to give me other ideas.

Back to happier things… we all miss Wailua Shave Ice! FYI: we really aren’t that red in real life. The umbrella and tables are red and we are basking in their glow :-).

I found a shave ice machine on Amazon and it’s not expensive. I could make my own flavoring from coconut milk and fresh fruit. But I have a feeling that after a couple of weeks the machine (made from plastic I’m sure) would be sitting in the cabinet gathering dust. Dang… we’ll just have to go back to Hawaii!

Kauai Road, update…

In between life’s busy-ness, I squeezed in some sewing time on my Kauai Road quilt. Steve says that it looks just like the place which makes me very happy.

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I am sewing the power lines now. The fence posts (that will be in the lower left) are still to come, and maybe some dark windows on the little house.

I leave for Quilt Market in Houston tomorrow. I don’t have time to stay for Festival, but that’s OK because I hope to fire up my BERNINA Q20 when I get home!

Kauai Road, off the wall…

Here it is, with the fabric cut and the overlay in place. The power lines are an important part of the design that will be added nearly at the end of the stitching.

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I’m going to sew all the shapes together by hand, mostly in an applique-ish sort of say. I took off all of the shapes that sit on top of the ‘background’.

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Next, I took it off of my design wall and almost had a disaster. Each shape had multiple pins sticking directly into the wall. I held the bottom of the muslin base layer and slowly pulled the whole thing off the wall. I’ve done this before and the pins held everything in place. This time, some pieces fell off or shifted. It happened so fast I couldn’t even swear at it :-).

I managed to get it on my dining room table, with all of the pieces back where I think they went. That took a little while. Next time I’ll pin much more securely before I take it off the wall.

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You might be wondering why I didn’t just glue the shapes in place. I don’t like glue, that’s why. I may change my mind at some point but for now, no glue for me.

Basting took a while but that’s OK. This project is not about speed, it’s more of a journey.

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Hand sewing this is going to take a while. I’ll post updates as it comes along.

In other news: Steve and I are with Celia and Jeff, in Munich! Watch Instragram and Facebook for news from our trip. I’ll share my best photos on the blog when I get home :-).

Kauai Road, continued…

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Working with only a rough sketch and no pattern shapes is very different for me. In my applique life, I have drawn patterns that many of you have sewn. The pieces are specific, and numbered. You trace around the templates to make a shape that fits the pattern.

I have also worked in the manner of Ruth McDowell, where I started with a photo and generated a pattern on freezer paper. In this kind of quilt, you may hunt for the right fabric for a shape, but you have a pattern for that shape.

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As I work on Kauai Road, I’m thinking about so many things at once: What color do I need? What fabric do I have? What size or shape should each piece be? And on and on…A person can only make so many decisions before her brain has had enough. Even though this is fun, it’s a challenge. So why am I working this way?

I want to construct Kauai Road more in the manner of Edrica Huws. I have mentioned her work before, on this blog post. There’s not much documentation on her sewing methods, but in looking at her work I surmised that she was not strictly bound by a drawing, and that she cut shapes more or less intuitively, by hand, with scissors.

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I am learning new things as I work this way, and it’s invigorating!

Figuring it out…

When designing a quilt from a photo, you have to figure out where to start. I opened my photo in Photoshop and cropped in to focus attention on the part of the photo that I liked best.

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I usually work in Adobe Illustrator where I can make layers and trace over a photo to make a pattern. But there’s a cool filter in Photoshop called Find Edges. I used it to generate this almost-drawing:

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I am not going to fuse or glue this quilt. The pieces will be pinned, then basted on a light fabric base. I projected the image onto a 60″ x 60″ piece of thin, prewashed, white muslin on my design wall. I used a soft pencil to draw a stylized version of the image onto the fabric.

I decided to work loosely, cutting fabric to fill in the different areas without making templates or pattern pieces. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the drawing needed to be on an overlay so that I could still see it as I added fabric to the wall. I cut a great big piece of upholstery vinyl, pinned it over the muslin, and traced the lines with a regular Sharpie marker—the kind that comes to a blunt point.

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I’m not aiming for photo realism here. Instead, I’m working in a looser, slightly more impressionistic fashion. It is both scary and fun!

Kauai Road…

I have been waiting for the right time to turn my quilting in a different direction. Even if I make it to the ripe old age of 111 (my personal goal) I know that there are only so many quilts in my future. Now is the time to do it or let it go.

There are a variety of quilters who who make quilts based on photos. Each one brings a different perspective to the process. I hope to do the same. This is the photo that I’m starting with. It was taken on Kauai, on the road that runs near Hanalei Bay.

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I found the road on Google Street View. You can click around and follow the road if you want to. Let me just say that I love technology :-).

I’ll post more photos as the quilt takes shape.

Oahu…

We are staying in Waikiki. Let me just say that this is a place that is about shopping. Lots of it. If you don’t have shopping where you live, and if you like to shop, this is Nirvana. If that’s not your thing, Waikiki is sort of like hell.

I can love it, in small doses. Let me just mention that Steve and I went to the Apple store and I had a sincerely great time. My wrist is happier than I thought it could be. I know, I said I would resist. Dammit. I could not. More about that in a future post.

The four of us went to Kailua Beach today. This is one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, depending on when you go. In our experience, it’s better in the summer than it is in the winter. I mostly took people pictures for this post but if you check my instagram or facebook feeds, you’ll find more.

The Japanese kids are so very cute! And their parents are cute too!

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This mom pulled her kids going…beckygoldsmith-Oahu-37-1

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And this woman may be the selfie queen. Later, I offered to take a photo of her with her phone but she was all about doing her own thing.beckygoldsmith-Oahu-26-1

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Let me admit that I take pictures. More than I used to. But I am not going to fall into selfie-land. Just how much documentation do we need? I know that the photos I took on this trip are largely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. They are not going to be famous, or noteworthy, or… you get the idea. They are fun! And I enjoy sharing them. But tomorrow, when we hike up Diamondhead at a very early hour, I am not carrying the big camera. And Steve says he isn’t either. Watch for instagram photos :-).

We fly home tomorrow. This has been a lovely trip, shared with good friends. I hope to get back to Hawaii in the future. If you have never been, don’t miss this place. It is truly special.

Aloha!