Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Why My Coins Aren't Done

It's time to link up our Improv pieces to the  Ad Hoc Improv Quilters party at Sew Slowly and Fret Not Yourself. I thought I might have the coin part of my Deconstructed Coins quilt done. But a giant squirrel popped up in the form of 70-degree temperatures. In April!! So I didn't get finished, but I'm going to share what I did and then I'll tell you about the squirrel. 

I do have 4 out of the 5 rows done, so here they are:

A bit floppy because they don't quite fit on my design wall, but good enough. They vary in length, but when I get the fifth one done, I'll figure out what to do about that. 

Last time I mentioned that I didn't have pictures of how I'm joining the navy bits. I took some to share this time. It's really just chain piecing. I cut navy width of fabric strips about 1 1/2 inches wide, lined up the little blocks along the edge, and stitched away. 

I cut them apart and did the same thing along the bottom edge. Then I trimmed them up and staggered them about a half inch when sewing the blocks together in a row.

I'll trim the outer edges even when I get ready to put the sashing between. I had some ideas of how to do that sashing, but I need to think about it a little more, especially after reading Kaja's post about combining two blocks for the next invitational. Maybe I can kind of work that in somehow. 

Meanwhile, that squirrel. Over the weekend the temperatures started heating up to the 70's, and before we knew it, we were on our way to the west side of the state for an impromptu vacation to Lake Michigan and Silver Lake. We have stayed by Lake Michigan as early as May, but never in April. We took advantage of off-season rates at a motel near Silver Lake (one of the few that are open at this time of year) and spent two nights with almost the whole place to ourselves. On Sunday afternoon we wandered the town, and stumbled on a little historic district museum. The buildings were closed but it was fun poking around looking in windows. So, of course, my first photo had to be of a Singer treadle sewing machine through the window of a one-room schoolhouse. (Eew, is that a dead bug on the window sill? Just saw that now.)

That evening, we went about 30 miles north to watch the sunset at one of our favorite lighthouses. (Okay, they're all our favorites.)

On Monday, we planned to hike the dunes at the south end of Silver Lake State Park. We had seen paths on these dunes in satellite maps of the area. It would be really hot and buggy in the summer, but hiking them at this time of year seemed appealing. After a short walk through the woods, we reached the first dune. But when we got to the top, we discovered that the dunes were much hillier than we expected and the trails were actually animal trails that led up and down instead of around the hills. After a few ups and downs we abandoned our plan to hike to Lake Michigan and just sat and enjoyed the view of the beautifully wild area.

At the base of the dunes we hiked a path through the woods.

We visited another favorite lighthouse--Little Point Sable.

Then we went to the dunes at the north end of the state park. Here's a cottage that has waged war against the dunes for years. This year, it finally succumbed. 

More dune hiking:

The sand is fairly firm and cool at this time of year, so easy to hike on.
Lake Michigan in the distance
Silver Lake in the distance
We also visited a little county park along the lakeshore. The lake is high this year, so there's not much beach right now.

In the evening we sat along Silver Lake for a couple of hours while the sun set. The lake is abuzz in the summer, with campers, cottages, stores, restaurants, dune buggies, and boats. At this time of year, it is deserted. There was almost complete silence except for bird calls and surfacing fish. Even the breeze died down, quieting the lapping of the waves. The lake must have been named on such an evening. A silver mirror. Sublime. 

A whole wonderful vacation in just 50 hours. Breathtaking. Lots of pictures here, but I did edit them way down. I really did. Sometimes I think off-season vacations are the best. I hope you enjoyed seeing Michigan's freshwater "ocean" and "desert."

We are back home again, and there is another squirrel scurrying around here, this time of the quilting variety. I realized while we were gone that I have no hand sewing project to take when I'm away from home. I've decided to stitch up a little hanging to try some big stitch quilting on. So for the next few days, I'm setting aside my Coins quilt to get the piecing done. 

I'm linking up this week with Ad Hoc Improv Quilters and Sew Fresh Quilts. I hope you are having fun sewing and chasing squirrels.


Nancy Bekofske said...

I always liked going to the Lake Michigan shore before tourist season, the beaches looking natural and pure. It's been three years since we moved across state, so thanks for the mini vacation!

Linda said...

I had no idea the scenery around the lakes is so spectacular with sand dunes and forests and hills! Beautiful - glad you had such a great "improv" vacay!
Love your coins and is so interesting to see how they are constructed.

Bernie Kringel said...

Your pictures are so peaceful Janine. What a nice, unplanned, getaway.
The quilting projects can (almost) aways wait a day or two.

Louise said...

We love to visit places in the shoulder seasons. Everything is so much more peaceful without mobs of tourists. Your lake mini vacation sounds wonderful!

Lisa J. said...

Hi Janine: Thanks for sharing your vacation photos. It makes me wish I was there with you. I love what you are doing so far with your coins and I might have to join in to this challenge...we'll see.

KaHolly said...

Looks like a perfectly lovely place! Glad you were able to get away! I'm in the process of setting up some handwork to fill my 'to go' bag, too. I'm prepping orange peels for hand applique on low volume squares. Being a 'to go' project, it could be a year or two before I have enough to do anything substantial with, but that's okay! Some of my prettiest quilts were 'to go' projects over time. Another weekend coming up! Enjoy! XO

Mystic Quilter said...

Such a great interpretation of the Chinese Coin theme, so different and I like the fabrics you're using. Your photos are glorious, especially love the shots of the dunes and the sunset.

Kaja said...

What a great way to take advantage of some gorgeous weather. I love your photos (especially the Little Point Sable lighthouse). As for improv, it's looking so good - taking your time is obviously working for you. Can't wait to see what next. :-)

Ann said...

What a wonderful time for a vacation - perfect weather and no crowds. I saw a show recently about Frederick Olmstead that mentioned a park he created in the dunes of Illinois. This looks like the original landscape. Lovely.
Thanks for sharing your progress with the Chinese Coins. It's fun to see how differently people arrange them. Yours is unique and beautiful. Thanks for joining with AHIQ again.

Monica said...

What a beautiful set of photos. Time well spent! And your coins are looking promising -- I know they'll be good. :D