In the fall of 2010, Phil and I left Grand River Yacht Club and started on our trip to the Bahamas via the Erie Canal and the Hudson River. Something not everyone knows about me is that I’ve been sewing and doing fiber crafts what seems all my life. As an adult, I got tired of making my own clothes and took up quilting. So while we were going on our cruising trip, I thought what better way to remember this trip than to make a quilt and get signatures from people we met along the way. So it started at first in the center of a different quilt I was making – though I quickly realized that I would have to change the format. So I bought some muslin and freezer paper and cut 4 1/2″ squares and iron (YES I had an iron on the boat) 3 1/2″ squares of freezer paper to firm up the muslin so that it’s easier for people to sign with the Micron Pigma Pen. And as we were on our travels, I asked people who we interacted with to sign their first and last name, the name of their boat or town, the date and where we met. This turned out to be great as it helped to meet people and it did help to remember all the people we met (we’ll most of them anyway). At the end of our trip – I had accumulated 142 4 1/2″ squares!!! If you do the math – this would equal (with 2 squares added for the label) 144 squares or a 12 x 12 grid that totaled 4 feet square.
Now I needed fabric that I hoped to buy in the Bahamas, but that was easier said than done. When we were in Nassau I found a fabric store called Home Fabrics Limited. The trick to getting there was that I had to walk there – not a problem right?? Well on New Providence Island there is a rock ridge and the fabric store was on the other side of this ridge. The road is cut into this rock – so the is JUST enough room to have 2 cars pass and about 1 foot (not more I kid you not) extra before you hit the rock. I’m walking up the hill – and going down is so steep that you can’t see the cars coming up coming towards me. So I go down to the next street and find that there is a little more room and get to the fabric store. I wish I had taken some photos. Well there I think – $11/yd for fabric is more than I want to pay – and I don’t buy any. We were also looking for Micron Pigma Pens and were fortunate to get then at a combo – bookstore, art store and office supplies. I made sure to buy many – as I didn’t think I’d be able to get them anywhere else on the trip. Fast forward to us returning from Georgetown and getting to Spanish Wells. There I was fortunate to find one of the 2nd of the 3 Home Fabric ltd stores (the last is in Marsh Harbor, Abacos) – and with Phil’s expert advice – I bought 8 different fabrics – for a little more than what I saw in Nassau. (live and learn) I also bought some batiks – the tone on tone types to coordinate. Once we got in the States while visiting friends in Barnagat Bay, NJ – we visited a local fabric store in Forked River, NJ and I was able to buy most of the other fabrics to coordinate.
It’s been a relief because the design challenges of making this quilt were frankly overwhelming! The Bahamian Batik (made on Andros Island in the Bahamas) needed to have at least 12″ squares so that you could see the design. I also had my to “mountain to die for design element” to have all the signatures on one quilt. The size would be huge given the signatures make a 4′ square quilt by themselves. So we made it home, I started back to work, and the quilt didn’t get made and didn’t get made. I just couldn’t figure out how to design the quilt and I WAS busy working saving for the cruising kitty.
So in February 2013 – I think to myself, how am I going to feel now that we ARE going back the Bahamas and I STILL haven’t made this quilt. Phil was going to visit his daughter for 13 days in California, so I figure if I’m going to make this quilt – it’s now or never. Phil being an engineer, helped me to decide the size of the outer square given that the inner square was to be 12inches. Thanks you to Phil for figuring this out, being math challenged I couldn’t have done it myself. That hurdle over – I finally decided to make the quilt 2 sided (usually you don’t piece the back – only the front) so that I could get it down to a reasonable size – about 83″ square – which fits on a queen size bed. I did get the fronts and back pieced while Phil was in California. Then decided that I didn’t have enough time to actually quilt it myself which is my typical modus operandi so I took it the Quilts and Sew Forth and they machine quilt it. Monique, a former cruiser herself, did a wonderful job. So now I just had to apply the binding which got done last weekend and IT’S DONE!! Below are photos taken outside – and as Phil and I are 5’5″ each, it was not easy to hold it up for you to see.
I’m very happy with the design. I loved when making it all the memories that it brought back which will be with me for a long time. And I look forward to hopefully meeting some of the same people we met on the way down – to show them and also making new friends. To those that signed my quilt squares – THANK YOU SO MUCH.
If you see us, just ask and I’ll bring the quilt out for show and tell.