Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Coconut Coast

We are now on Kaua'i, a very lush island where movies like Jurassic Park have been filmed, and we are staying on the Coconut (east) coast which has fabulous plantations of tall coconut trees just like something out of an Elvis movie. Unfortunately the weather is not very Hollywood, it is extremely windy and has rained off and on today, so not very pleasant for sitting outside by the pool. Luckily we have spent the day inside for the first of our workshops: designing a snowball quilt. I was in Kaffe Fassett's class, and Brandon Mably was teaching the other class. They were both so nice, and encouraging, and found something good to say about everyone's quilt - even the people who had not followed the class requirements and had 'wrong' fabric or a white design wall. Kaffe and Brandon both say white is the worst colour to design on, because the colours of the prints fight with the white, and the white shines through in the gaps between patches and distracts. They recommend taupe or cream - mine is a sort of biscuit dough colour which Kaffe said was also good. We started by quickly placing our 6-inch squares up on the wall, before standing back at a distance to see how they were working together. After finessing the squares to achieve a homongenous look where nothing was fighting with other squares, then the cornerstones between the blocks were added. The cornerstones were just left as squares for the purposes of designing, but when we sew we will have to cut 3 more squares for each junction then sew across diagonally to create the snow balls. I was afraid I had all the wrong fabric, as I had brought blue and white prints none of which are 'Kaffe' fabrics, but Kaffe and Brandon both loved my prints and my quilt. I had loads of china plates and teacups and prints that look like china, and used a range of old gold cornerstones. I don't have a border yet, K & B say they always design their quilt centre first before choosing a border. Kaffe suggests a blue and white large scale toile, so I will have to look for one when we get to the next fabric shop in Honolulu.

I have to tell you about the truck we rented on Sunday, which was absolutely hilarious. They had described it on the phone as a 14'x8' truck, and we took it because there was nothing else available. I was picturing a covered pick up truck. So we went to the airport to pick it up, filled out all the paperwork, and the guy goes to get this truck. He drives up in a Moving Van! The 14x8 was the size of the box! It even had a motorised platform at the back which went up and down on hydraulics. We were just killing ourselves laughing, and DH was very freaked out about driving this monster even though it was an automatic gearbox. But he did absolutely great, we put on over 200 miles driving up to Hapune beach, then south to a great historical park with the island's best snorkelling spot next door, then all the way around to the volcano park. There wasn't a lot of room in the cab so we had to keep opening up the back to get at our swimming gear etc. It was a great joke for people when we stopped at places, they would ask if we were moving house then when we explained we were just tourists, they were calling friends over to share the joke. It made for a good conversation starter anyhow. The snorkelling was amazing, there was a sea turtle right at the shore where we got in, I even touched it, and we saw another one just a few yards out. I had only snorkelled once before, but really enjoyed it. I seem to float really well - at last this baby fat is coming in useful and making me buoyant.

We have met some Hawaiian quilters, as Kaffe has given two talks which have been open to local quilters. One resident was saying that it is frustrating for them as they only have a few small quilt shops, and not many instructors come to the islands. We were taken to quite a small shop in Waimea on Hawaii, and here in Lihue we are being supported by the nice ladies of Kapaia Stitchery, a medium size shop. Both shops have had a wide selection of what they call Hawaiian batiks, which look like normal batiks to me except that they have far more of them than I have seen in other quilt shops, with a bias towards naturalistic and marine designs. They have a lot of solids which I guess they use for traditional Hawaiian quilts, but relatively few 'normal' print fabrics like you would normally see in quilt stores on the mainland. Great if you like making batiks or traditional Hawaiian quilts, not so great if you want to do something else. I haven't bought batiks yet but I may before I go. I did buy some touristy prints of sea turtles and fishes and whales (we saw whales out at sea from Hapune beach) to make a memory quilt.

Thank you for all the comments, it is much appreciated. I don't normally get many comments (I always think that I write too much, and people are too exhausted after reading it to leave comments) so it was great to feel that you are all with me on this holiday. Aloha!

1 comment:

Sweet P said...

They really rented you a moving truck? You're kidding, right? Not! Certainly makes for an interesting tale to tell.

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