Friday, September 30, 2022

Monthly Mini, Churn Dash SAL update, and Alaskan Adventures

Here is my monthly mini for September. With the cruise prep and participation, I didn't have time to make something from scratch, so I just quilted something that has needed it for quite a while.

This was loosely based on Lori D.'s Sajou SAL, found here. When I chose Abe to go in the center medallion, I didn't know he was going to end up on point. I couldn't leave him tipsy like that, so I reconfigured this quilt 2 or 3 times before I was satisfied with the outcome. This SAL was 4 years ago, and I am embarrassed to barely be getting the quilting done.

It was mostly ditch-stitching around the squares and border triangles, with echo quilting in the triangles, too. The center medallion received a little bit of hand quilting to outline Abe and his frame. You can see the quilting a bit better in this photo.

This finishes at 12 1/4" square.

I chose a splashy star print for the backing. 

A few years ago I had such a stack of unquilted mini quilts that I spent most of the year getting them quilted--almost reaching 50 in number. Dad's passing at the end of that year (2016) prevented my reaching that goal. I am beginning to wonder if I should not allow myself to make any new monthly minis until I have quilted the ones that are piling up around the sewing room now.

I am linking up with Wendy (The Constant Quilter blog), for our monthly mini parade. Check out her post for the links to the other mini makers. And while you are at it, look around her blog at her many beautiful quilts made using the potholder method. Then check out the latest issue of Quilt Mania (#151) for a lovely article about Wendy and her potholder quilts, written by the wonderful Cecile Denis of Patchwork Inspirations blog.

Just this week I completed the very last of my Churn Dash blocks for Chooky's Churn Dash SAL. I am toying with the idea of putting them on point.

I still have quite a ways to go with the switching around of blocks. Chooky commented that the left side all seemed quite dark. They are dark blocks on that side and I will see if I can balance that a bit more, but it also doesn't help that the window is on the right side of the design wall.
These are 9" blocks, and I am thinking of using 1 1/2" wide finished sashing. I have been going back and forth with myself about using neutral sashing and colored cornerstones, or the dark blue I originally bought for the sashing and maybe a red for the cornerstones. I was considering cheddar for the cornerstones with the blue sashing, but that would be such a predictable move for me.
This is going to end up being quite a large quilt if I set the blocks on point.

That concludes the quilty portion of this post, so if you don't want to read about my experience in Alaska, you can stop here.

Well, I survived my first cruise. I have never really wanted to cruise, but hubby has. We ended up going to the inside passage of Alaska, with a group of 10 friends, and we had a great time. Just a little outside of Juneau, we kayaked a total of 5 miles, going across Lake Mendenhall to the Mendenhall Glacier, and back to our docking point. A very cool (pun intended) experience. 
On the left we are the canoe in the foreground. On the right you can see the Mendenhall Glacier behind us.

At Icy Strait Point we caught one of the last gondola rides to the top of a mountain, because it was going to be dark soon. That prevented us from being able to zip line back down, but it was still quite an experience to get to the top and look back at the cruise ship, which looked like a toy boat from that vantage point.
Looking up to the mountaintop. And looking back down to our boat.
On the left I was getting harnessed up for zip lining, in the rain, in a rainforest. It was so fun. One of the platforms even went out over the ocean. I have to say, I don't like heights, so I have wanted to do this to challenge myself. I loved it, and would do it again in a heartbeat.
On the right was our group of brave souls who went snorkeling. It really wasn't cold--we had on fleece "bunny suits" under the dry suits, and Sitka is quite a temperate climate, so the water was near 50 degrees.
I will never forget the amazing sights we saw--starfish in a rainbow of colors and a variety of sizes (even got to hold one our guide pulled out for us), sea urchins everywhere, tiny crabs, several varieties of fish, and lots of shells, and seaweed. I would also do that again, if given the chance.

Our first full day at sea the waters were a little rough. We were out walking laps around the promenade deck when a friend took the photo on the left. You can tell balance was an issue by the wide stance of our feet. On the right we were stopped in Glacier Bay, in much calmer waters, in front of Margerie Glacier, which you can read about here. It was a stunning sight.
Overall it was a very positive experience. Hubby and I decided that we would not use the elevators, after the initial trip to get to our room. My Fitbit recorded between 30-40+ flights of stairs per day, and my record was 57 flights in one day. I am happy to say that I made it through a 7 day cruise without gaining an ounce. I have worked hard to get in better shape this year, and I didn't want to ruin it all in one week at sea.

On the drive home from the airport, we passed this sight on the freeway.  I guess it is getting to be that time of year. Break out the pumpkin spice everything!

Until next time, be creative and be kind!
Janet O.


  1. wow pretty little mini and awesome trip and new adventures! glacier almost doesn't describe them or won't much longer i am guessing....glad you had so many enjoyable "firsts" that were free of disaster...LOL!

    1. The glaciers are definitely not what they used to be, but the Margerie Glacier is still over 20 miles long. So it is still quite a sight as it snakes up the mountain. I ticked several things off my bucket list, for sure--and I am very glad it was a disaster-free trip! :)

  2. Ohhh Janet, your mini quilt is just adorable, the fabric is just darling. I have dropped the ball on the mini quilts the last two months, and hopefully will pick up again next month. And your churn dash blocks are looking super too, they will make a lovely quilt.

  3. (Little Penpen) I love those huge pumpkins on the trailer pic!! Wow! Second, I’m jealous of your Alaska cruise. Great pics and looks like you had fun! And lastly, I love Abe!! What a special little quilt!

  4. This month's mini is fabulous. It was nice that you could complete a project. Dont get too hung up trying to finish only those minis that you've started. Only do it if you love it. Your trip to Alaska looks so exciting. You had lots of new and exhilarating experiences. I'm glad you had an awesome time and thanks for sharing your photos.

  5. YAY! So glad you went and enjoyed it! We didn't think we'd like the Alaska cruise as much as we did! Such beauty! You look fantastic!
    Love the Abe Sajou!! I remember when you had to rework him so he wouldn't be on point. All that work was worth it!

  6. You certainly made the most of your trip to Alaska. Wonderful pictures and I'm sure really lovely memories for you.
    I love the churn dash on point. Maybe you can use one more larger quilt. Surely there's a good excuse out there somewhere ;-)

  7. Looks like you enjoyed your Alaskan cruise.
    Your mini is lovely, you did the right thing keeping the president upright. And your churn dash blocks look stunning on point.

  8. Wow - what a great trip! It’s so wonderful to be able to travel again. I think it is completely appropriate to finish an older mini top and think of it as a “new” monthly mini. You should be set for a while!๐Ÿ˜Š

  9. I remember Sajou! Not sure if mine is done, I will have to check. Yep, I hand Quilted mine and it got a Red Ribbon at our Fair in 2018. I have some minis hanging on my Steel doors- front and back entries. You're more daring than me. No Alaskan Cruise in out future.

  10. Beautiful mini quilt, So long as it gets quilted who is counting the time! So happy to hear you enjoyed your cruise, great photos. Those pumpkins are huge!!

  11. You went on a great fun filled adventure cruise .
    Your Churn Dash is looking great.

  12. WOW!! What an amazing experience!! You look so happy in all the pictures!! Bravo to your adventurous spirit!! And those pumpkins!! They are huge!!

  13. You certainly had some great adventures during your vacation! I love the mini for this month, and you can even use it for Lori's panel challenge. No harm in finishing up an older top for the monthly challenge. We aren't likely to remember an older top anyway, and quilting always adds such a lovely dimension to the finish. Your churn dash blocks are wonderful too, I like the look when they're on point. Gigantic pumpkins!

  14. What a perfect mini!! I too had to redo Lori's sew-a-long because of the orientation. I love your solution. And, I think you absolutely should count your quilting older mini tops as "monthly mini's". Finished is finished. Who cares when you started the top?? Not me for sure! So happy to hear you had a great time on your cruise. What a glorious place. It is on my "someday" list as well. Love your Churn Dashes. Your minis inside some of them is such a wonderful Janet touch! I hope to catch up with you all on Chooky's next Zoom meeting. I'm just starting to get back into the sewing room. It feels so good!! Love those giant pumpkins. Our pumpkin fest is coming up and it is always fun to see who has the biggest pumpkin. Happy Fall!

  15. Wow, it's a great mini! Just so interesting and awesome with great fabrics and a lot of interest in the piecing. I have only been on one small cruise years and years ago. Alaska seems like an amazing place to cruise and it certainly looks like you had a wonderful time! I'm so impressed with your step and stair count!!

  16. I too am afraid of heights and ziplined for the first time many years ago. I went on to zip many more times after that and loved it every time! I love the churn dash blocks on point! :0)

  17. First of all, your mini is gorgeous and beautifully finished. It's so good to hear that your cruise went well - in fact it looks like it went amazingly well! What a fabulous experience and good on you for trying some new things :-) I did that on one of my overseas trips, refusing to use the elevators, etc, and was amazed how healthy I felt at the end of the trip! (As well as only feeling safe eating GF chicken salads!!!)

  18. I love your little Lincoln quilt! I see the one you made me everytime I open or shut our front door as it hangs above the lightswitch plate. I really like the churn dashes on point - very nice! I don't love sewing those long rows, but always like the effect.
    Thank you for the photos of your cruise. You did so many different things than Hanna and I did on the cruise. We loved the visit to to the Mendenhall Glacier and Glacier Bay. I think in Sitka we we went to a small museum and had lunch. I'm so glad you had a positive experience. We love cruising and are thinking about going to Norway next year to see the Fjords. I love to be so close to beauty like the inlet passage.
    What a funny site to see those giant pumpkins driving by.

  19. WOW!!! Your cruise looks amazing!!! and all the adventures!! that is so cool!
    Your mini turned out lovely - and I really really really like your churn dash!!!
    I have never seen pumpkins that big!!!

  20. Your mini is perfect! Doesn't it feel good to finish a UFO? And I think you should make that your goal for future monthly minis :) There is so much to gain in the process! Love the Churn Dash blocks on point. And your Alaskan adventure looks fantastic. You accomplished so much! Wow! those are huge pumpkins--what a sight!

  21. If I did a cruise I think an Alaska cruise would be it. Cold or no it looks like the most interesting. Good you loved it!
    Your mini Lincoln is inspiring...I'm supposed to be doing the new challenge and a little stuck. I don't want something big and the grandgirls suggest a pillow (no!)

  22. Lovely little quilt Janet. There's a lot of work in it and I'm glad you could figure out how to get Abe right side up. The Churn dash blocks look so pretty together. This was a nice project. Wow! Look at you out in the cold ocean. You are really a brave soul - looks like your had a wonderful time.

  23. Your little quilt is delightful, Janet! Such attention to detail.
    I hope I can find a copy of Quiltmania so I can read more about Wendy.
    Your churn dashes look great. When I squint at your layout I don't see an abundance of darks on the left. It may be that they look darker to Chookyblue because there are 3 churn dash inside churn dash blocks almost in a column on the left side. Maybe the third one down in the second column could move up one row and right about 3 blocks. (But don't listen to me! I can hardly get the arrangements of my own quilts tamed.) I'm looking forward to see what you choose for sashing and cornerstones.
    Your trip to Alaska sounds like a wonderful experience, especially the gondola ride and the zip-lining.
    Congrats on not gaining any weight. I understand the cruise ships have wonderful food available all the time. It could be hard to resist, I suppose.
    Those pumpkins are huge!

  24. I have not been very good at visiting blogs lately - lots of things going on. I love your churn dash blocks - especially the triple one! That middle one it too tiny for me to do. Churn dash is one of my most favorite blocks and I really want to make another one. My other most favorite block is sawtooth star. The Alaska trip looks like so much fun!! Alaska is the only state I haven't been to.

  25. Hi Janet, Of course I love your churn dash...the fabrics really appeal to me, just like the wee one you made in the last post. How nice you shared photos of your cruise...I admire your not gaining any weight and staying true to your commitment to maintain your good goals. How nice you challenged yourself and enjoyed those outings...real adventures!

  26. Your Alaskan trip looks like SUCH fun!! It's on my bucket list . . . I want to do a cruise! Or, perhaps a trip to Kodiak to visit my nephew, who's the park ranger there. Your church dash is darling! I love it! Your mini project was nifty...nice finish! And those PUMPKINS!! *swoon*!! :)

  27. loving that your churn dash is on point..............
    the trip looks wonderful you did some really "cool" things............


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