Many quilters are gardeners. If they aren’t gardeners, they usually have a deep appreciation for botanical geometry and patterns in nature. The color combinations used in formal gardens are often inspiring to quilters and we become aware of the many shades of green and the way that natural colors don’t appear to clash. Many quilters have qualms about choosing colors and values for their quilts. These gardens demonstrate that we can actually get away with putting all kinds of colors together. We just need to move away from the notion of whether or not we would wear these colors together or use them to paint the walls of our houses.
Our final cruise stop was Victoria, B.C., where I took a trip out to the world famous Butchart Gardens. As you can see, the density of color was intense and the carefully planned areas of the gardens could support this. It looked dazzling.
The star-shaped pond was stunning outlined by the green and the mass of pink begonias. An added element with water features are the beautiful reflections. Here is spectacular sunken garden made in an old quarry, with the fountain at the far end.
In Skagway, I had a delicious lunch, including fresh local produce, at the Jewell Gardens. This is a gem of a place about a mile and a half from downtown Skagway. The vegetation is lush and they grow giant vegetables and rhubarb. The growing season is short but the hours of daylight are long. We had a delightful tour enjoying not only the gardens, but their glorious setting with the backdrop of mountains.
There were some glass sculptures tastfully lurking among the flowers and some nice creative touches like this blue barrow of nasturtiums.
Next time you visit some gardens, take note of all the colors and the light and dark shading. As our experience increases, so our quilts become more sophisticated.
The Whale’s Tail Quilt Shop in Ketchikan is an easy walk from the cruise ships dock by the downtown area. I visited the store when I was teaching on a quilting cruise to Alaska. It is located in the Salmon Landing building which is a little mini-mall with several stores. The shop is upstairs in a gallery area and they have an inviting display of several quilts hanging around the edges of the walkway and in the stairwell. Here’s a pictorial tour.
The store is well lit and easy to navigate.
They have a wide selection of patterns, many of which are Alaskan themed.
Then there are the Alaskan themed fabrics with all the wildlife.
Make a point of stopping by there if you are in Ketchikan.
I can’t resist sharing some scenery pictures with you. This was such an awesome cruise. The Golden Princess cruise ship sailed from San Francisco on the 10th August and we arrived in Juneau, after two days of quilting at sea. I opted to go on a whale watching outing and it was fantastic. Apparently Juneau had torrential rain for the three days before we arrived, but we were blessed with a glorious day of sunshine. The boat trip was absolutely beautiful and then there the whales! We had several sightings of hump-backs including a couple of times when five all surfaced with their noses together for bubble-net feeding. These creatures are magnificent.
The next morning we docked in Skagway and had another day of sunshine. I took a train trip into the mountains, over White Pass to Douglas, BC. The building of this track to cater to gold rush miners was quite a feat. There were precipitous drops and wooden trellises supporting the track that looked precarious. The train clung to the steep valley side as we climbed and climbed and had stunning views all the way.
We came back by bus along the scenic Klondike Highway, stopping in a couple of places to take pictures of the incredible countryside and the Alaskan boundary.
In Skagway, we had lunch at the Jewell Gardens and went to the quilt shop, (see upcoming blogs), and still had another three hours before sailing. I took a hike up the mountain side from downtown Skagway affording a good view of the Skagway inlet and on up to Lower Dewey Lake which was breathtaking.
Our next cruising destination was Glacier Bay National Park. I was up at 5:00 a.m. to see the sunrise as we sailed into this world-class wilderness of majestic beauty. We spent most of the day there and once again, the sun shone giving us crystal clear views of the dramatic mountains and glaciers. To give you some idea of scale, the glacier face in the picture was 250 feet tall.
From here we sailed to Ketchikan where the weather was cloudy with mist coming and going, but it was mostly dry. I enjoyed walking downtown and up Creek Street. The creek was seething with salmon moving upstream to spawn. My photos of salmon in the water leave much to be desired, so here’s a fine salmon mosaic sculpture as a substitute.
I was thrilled to be one of the quilting teachers on this 10 day Quilt N’ Cruise trip to Alaska on-board the Golden Princess cruise ship, sailing from San Francisco on 10th August and returning on 20th August. This enormous ship had about 2,000 passengers, 70 of whom were quilters taking classes from the four teachers. Not a moment at sea was wasted! We had a two day class while we were sailing north to Juneau, and then two days of classes on the way back from Ketchikan with a break of a day for a stop in Victoria. The Alaskan scenery was spectacular and the quilting was great fun!
The camaraderie was excellent and my students were enthusiastic and productive. I loved making new friends and acquaintances and the benefits offered by two day classes giving us more time to get to know each other and to make progress with the projects. My concerns about the teaching space were soon dispelled when I saw the size of our dining room classroom. It was a huge room divided into different areas. Despite my large class sizes, my students had plenty of space to spread out if they wanted to lay out their blocks etc. Each teacher had their own area and we didn’t disturb each other at all. We couldn’t have irons in the classroom so used wooden irons which worked out just fine and students could go to the laundry rooms to iron their completed strip sets and blocks.Here I am with my 26 Bargello Quilts with Twist students.
In addition to class-time quilting, students could sew in their own cabins and there was a room available on several evenings for communal sewing. Some people opted to stay on the ship instead of going on land excursions. I was astonished at the work done and the progress made. By the end of the trip, several people had their Bargello blocks assembled into quilt tops. Coline Simmons worked tirelessly and completed 100 Bargello blocks to make this lovely queen-sized top! Coline also took my second class on the way back to San Francisco and completed 49 template-free Kaleidoscope blocks! Here is Marina Muller with her Kaleidoscope Puzzle quilt top. I taught Marina at the South African Quilt Conference in 2013. It was such a delight to have her with us on the cruise, all the way from Namibia!
Thank you to all of my students and to Terry Caselton of Pam’s Travel for giving me the opportunity to teach on this cruise. I hope that I’ll have the chance to meet some of my students again, if I teach at their guilds or we are able to cruise together another time. Here’s my Kaleidoscope Puzzle group.