Coast and eclipse

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Summer vacation is ending and we are all in denial about it, except my husband who thinks it will be nice when other people in the house have to go to bed at a reasonable time and get up early. Mornings are a little lonely for him in the summer.

We are squeezing a few adventures in at the end.  My friend Paige invited us to the coast for a couple days (well, one day but then we just didn’t leave).  Beach walks and whale watching, ice cream and sea lions, knitting and puzzles – an excellent couple of days.

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I finished the I-cord binding on my Volt wrap at long last and cast on a simple pair of socks.  Simple once I got a handle on the tension.  The first attempt was way too loosely knit and made a floppy open fabric.  A failed attempt at finding a knitting store on the coast to buy smaller needles led to ripping it all out and cranking up the tightness on the same needles.  Not ideal but it worked out.

From the coast we headed inland to Salem, OR, for the eclipse.  We got there a couple of days early to hang out with my friend Cathy – friends since junior high! – and the other people who had also called her to request a bed in the path of totality.

Cathy and her husband are excellent hosts.  I may never need to eat again.  As an example, one of the nights we had five desserts to choose from.

And the eclipse!  Words are inadequate!  It was beyond amazing.  We all settled in on their deck up in the hills above the city and watched the very first sliver of moon crossing onto the sun’s face.  It gradually got colder, and the light weirder, and the sun beams through the leaf shadows all turned to crescents. So did the little points of light shining through my straw sun hat.  The sun through our eclipse glasses was a molten orange, but the totality itself, when we could look without the filters, was drained of color – a white flaring ring around a black featureless hole in a black sky.  The diamond ring effect as the sun reemerged was spectacular.

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Those aren’t my eclipse photos in these pics – the boys and hat crescents are mine – but they look exactly like what we saw.  Nothing like anything else I’ve ever experienced.  It was truly a thrill to see.

Worth every minute of the five hours it took to get home afterwards on what is normally a one and a half hour drive.  Eclipse traffic also lived up to its hype.

And I made good progress on the beach/eclipse socks:

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At the coast

I’ve taken a break from sewing sea life to go see the real thing.  My cousin and I rented a little cabin and we’ve been exploring up and down central Oregon’s coast with our kids.

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One of our traditions is getting ice cream and then eating it while we watch the sea lions on the docks at the Newport waterfront. My kids choose their ice cream by its color – the more lurid the better. In between bites the kids bark at the sea lions and the sea lions bark back.

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It is such a beautiful drive down highway 101. We saw whales spouting nearby from this high point, but my camera never quite captured them.

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The Yaquina Head Lighthouse stands above my favorite Oregon beach, Cobble Beach, with sea lions, seals, common murre nesting colonies, and round black volcanic rocks that chatter and whisper with each wave. Absolutely unique.

And how about this fabulous view while knitting socks?

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Oceans BOM – February block

The Quilt Art Designs pattern is out for the February paper-pieced ocean theme quilt. This one is a sea lion pup floating in the sea. A great use of perspective. I really liked January’s sea turtle, but I like this one even more.

The pattern comes with layout pics for both colors and piece order.
The pattern comes with layout pics for both colors and piece order.

Lots of tiny little pieces with this one. Also a lot of browns, which I didn’t have enough of so it was off to the fabric store to get three more marbled fabrics is various browns to add to the little I had. For the water I had a great remnant from the bag that my friend gave me of all her marbled and batik quilting scraps.

As an example of how many little bits there are (running A – S, so 19 segments) in the paper pieces, here is one of the eyes in progress:

The start of the eye
More pieces added to the eye – seam ripper added for scale
The rather chewed up paper backing

All told, I think this block took me about seven hours to create. Definitely a good thing that there is only one a month! Of course, if I was more careful, and didn’t need the seam ripper so often, I’d have shaved at least an hour off that time.

Assembly in progress
Assembly in progress
She still needs whiskers, but she's a cutey!
She still needs whiskers, but she’s a cutey!

I’m very enthusiastic about the finished block. Though I plan to do some really simple sewing to give my brain a break!

The finished block!
The finished block!