Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Just checking in from Hawaii. Bored. Going home tomorrow, and it's not soon enough, though I am not enthusiastic to be spending 16 hours to get from hotel to home. (I leave here Wednesday afternoon and arrive late Thursday morning. If only I could keep the 6 hours time difference I gained on coming here.)
Remember those lovely photos I used in my last blog? Well, this is the 'actual' view from my room. I didn't bother to open the sheers. The Hilton Hawaiian Village is much like Disneyworld only not as nice, and for a Hilton, the service and staffing leave a lot to be desired. (And we won't even talk about $5.00 per Coke on the property/$9.00 per beer.) I would like to check out 1.5 hous late tomorrow and so far no one will approve that (the hotel is full, we need you gone, you can sit in the lobby with your suitcase and wait an hour and half for your airport transport) I swear, I'm sure Conrad Hilton is spinning in his grave--like a bad ride at the State Fair.

Back to all things quilty. I know a lot of you cringe at the 'A' word, but that is the traditional Hawaiian style of quilting. There is a most beautiful Hawaiian applique quilt displayed in our hotel that I'm heading down to photograph momentarily. I did seriously consider picking up some reasonably priced pattern books but decided against it, when I couldn't make a decision as to which patterns I would like to make. I'm sure I'll regret that decision later.

I was able to get to one fabric store and they had a very interesting selection of Hawaiian print fabric. I walked out with 11 yards to make a throw and a tote bag. It took me the longest time to make a selection, and I was really surprised to see that the majority of the fabric was a poly/cotton blend. I was able to get cotton, and the prices were excellent...$4.25 per yard. The overall shop experience was quite awkward as the fabrics were on rolls and you had to have some serious muscles to reach back 3 rows and heft a full 4' tall roll of fabric up off of a steel tube holding it erect. Fortunately they had a couple gentlemen working and I assume that their sole purpose is to hand you fabric as they were most accommodating.

They had Japanese fabric, but it was just straight cotton print, nothing special, and as a quilter I wasn't looking for silks, which they had an abundance of.

This was the first shop I was in that had all of the Hawaiian applique bags and pillow covers (and eyeglass cases, tissue holders, coin purses, coasters, placemats, slipppers, breadbaskets......). I started to wonder when I saw the sheer volume of stock. While prices were good, I walked away wondering about their authenticity (not to mention the cardboard shipping boxes the employee was emptying onto the shelves. I left emptyhanded in the Hawaiian quilt department.

For the last few days I made it my mission to visit all the little advertised 'native quilt' shops (trust me, I have walked miles on this Island in doing so), and they all seem to carry the same merchandise that was in the fabric store, though at quite a higher price, depending on which shopping plaza/hotel they are located in. And in my travels I have been able to confirm the fact that all of the Hawaiian quilt applique products sold on this Island are made in the Philippines.

Some of those items are now machine appliqued, which really turned me off. I suspect that eventually there will be no more hand-stitched items, which is why I opted to at least buy one piece, regardless of it's origin.

Bargain hunter that I am, today I did find the best price and I also managed to contain myself and purchase only one large pillow cover that I intend to mat and frame. There was a bounty of patterns, and multiple colors used within a single pattern, but I opted to be truly traditional and chose a pattern with a single color. 18x18m hand appliqued, hand quilted, $19.99 you can't go wrong.

Well, I'm off to take some pictures around the Disney-esque property. We've got a final party in a couple of hours, so that means free drinks and appetizers, though you have to fight your way through a few hundred student plant scientists to get to them.

I'll post a photo of my Hawaiian fabrics when I return. My media card doesn't fit this laptop and it's quite the pain to use the cellphone camera, send to email, download to laptop and post to blog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Hawaiian Itinerary

Okay, so I have to work most of the time, but I will have a couple afternoons off and definitely an hour or two most evenings. I'll be spending those evening hours enjoying the view above, which is the Super Pool at the Hilton Hawaiian Villages. In fact, picture me here Thursday evening as I unwind from my 14 hours traveling. ("Excuse me, pool boy? After you're done lighting those torches, would you mind bringing me another Mai Tai?. You're delicious...errr... I mean THEY'RE delicious.")

The lagoon on the bottom is where we'll be having our end of meeting party Tuesday night. The expanse of white sand beach along the ocean is where I'll be walking every morning before I have to be at work.

My room will be in one of those 3 towers on the left. I'm hoping it's one with a nice ocean view and a balcony.
After being cooped up all day Friday in a stuffy meeeting room at the super luxe Halekulani Hotel,

I've got half an hour to freshen up before the 45 minute bus ride to the Executive Committee dinner here, at the Outrigger Canoe Club.

Beginning Saturday I'll be spending most of my time at the Hawaii Convention Center with it's 2.5 acre rooftop garden with ocean and mountain views. (One block from the Fabric Depot :) )
I hope to have a couple hours off Saturday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon to do a little sightseeing. For the most part, I'm scheduled to work 9-12 hour days so I expect that most of the sights I'll be seeing are the inside of my hotel room, a taxi, and the convention center.

But don't cry for me Argentina.....

My boss tells me that the world's largest open-air shopping center, and the #1 mall in America -- Ala Moana Center -- is just across the street from the convention center, and that they have a must-visit Japanese department store: Shirokiya. I also note that they have Tiffany, Bare Escentuals, Prada, Miu Miu, Na Hoku, Brighton, Hilo Hattie, a dozen surf shops, Jimmy Choo, and about 50 very interesting kiosks worth browsing. And bonus, there's a free shuttle between the mall and the hotel. So, while I may not have any daylight time off, after dark I can cruise the mall. Now, to figure out if I can live on ketchup packets and water and use my per diem to shop :-)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Woo Hoo!!!! I Finished One

Thanks to my sister (I love you, Sandy!), who as left her sewing machine with me until Tuesday, I was able to finish up the Zippity Doo Dah table quilt I jumped ahead on in my online quilting group.

I had a heck of a time with it Friday. I just could not feel the freemotion. I wound up ripping out everything I stitched and did a little double needle play on few squares.

I set my alarm for early Saturday morning so I could give it the old college try before I had to take my machine in for it's spa appointment. Mistake. Had to rip that out as well. I think I was in a big hurry, had crappy thread in the machine, and was just a little too stressed to accomplish anything.

So I packed up my baby, moved my sister's machine to my sewing table, hoping that she had forgotten it was at my house, and started to deal with the onset of separation anxiety. Just before I left the phone rang, looked at the Caller ID....my sister. Uh oh! What if she wants me to drop off her machine on my way to the spa? Keep cool. Answer. Just a friendly call and her telling me that she'd drop by on Tuesday to pick up her machine. Excellent!!!! That gives me a couple days with her Bernina.

I took my machine to Sisto's and was lamenting my separation anxiety to Ron who said feel free to call from Hawaii and he'd put the phone up to my baby so I could say hello (I'm seriously thinking of doing this just to give him a good 'crazy quilter' story to tell). He also assured me that it will most likely be ready before I get back (hmm......you don't think DH would drive there to pick it up and have it all set up and ready for me on my return, do you?....nah!). I spent the rest of the day lamenting my 'loss', self-medicating with copious amounts of retail therapy.

This morning, after making my usual OCD Hawaii To Do and Hawaii Packing Lists, and sorting through travel size toiletries and the like, I finally got into the studio to have a go at finishing the quilting on the table quilt on my sister's Bernina 830 Record.

Oh my!

The first thing I did was call my sister and leave her a voicemail telling her not to bother coming over on Tuesday to pick up her machine, as I was packing it up and we were going on the lam, never to be seen from again.

This machine can freemotion like no other. Granted, Ron had given me a helpful hint yesterday when we were discussing BSRs (though helpful, they aren't magic).....which is that everyone has a tendency to move their fabric around faster than the machine is sewing, which results in long, uneven, and skipped stitches. Get out!! Who knew Ron had been observing me for the past two days!!

Anyway, I knocked out the remaining quilting, hand sewed the binding, and it is done (photo at the top)

The back, with my signature block (which I've learned is called 'Wyoming Valley'):

Close up:

Freemotion close up:

It's about 42" square. It was made entirely of Moda Zippity Doo Dah fat quarters in my stash (which is why the back is 4 different pieces bordering the signature block panel). The front center block is fused applique that I blanket stitched around. The center block is my own design, the rest of the quilt piecing was designed by Tara Kos from one of my online groups. I think it turned out quite well.

Tomorrow night (or Tuesday night), the plan is to label the 3 quilts that were completed in June.

After that, the next fabric fix is scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Honolulu. I've already been on line and mapped out the fabric shops (duh!).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Missing in Action (sort of)

Furiously sewing every night and weekend, trying to finish things up before Hawaii, has left me with no time for blogging. And of course, as much as I've been working, I don't have a whole lot of completion to show for it yet. I was working on the 40" square 'stashbuster' applique/pieced weekly project from my online group, and I'm in the process of doing the quilting on it. Bad night last night, wound up ripping out more than I stitched. I guess I just wasn't feeling the freemotion last night. Hopefully tonight.

The plan is to take my machine in for a spa getaway tomorrow morning. I figure it's a good time since I really need to do some ironing, housework, and general running around before my trip, and I'll be gone a week, so it's a good time to not miss it. I'll be going through withdrawal by tomorrow night. I never did finish my daughter's quilt, and I'm afraid there's just too much quilting to do on it to finish it tonight. Oh well, fresh start on a clean and rested machine once I get back.

I can always work on some crafts Sunday. I've got some shell trees to make for my etsy shop before Christmas, and I really want to make the BeachWalker Santa, though I might be better inspired after having spent a week on a Waikiki beach (if I ever get any time off to get to the beach :) ).

I'll check in tomorrow or Sunday and post a photo of the only quilt I complete tonight, and any crafts I amuse myself with...unless you'd rather see a photo of the overflowing basket of ironing I need to get to before I leave.

Have a great Friday. Enjoy your weekend!