Thursday, April 30, 2020

Farewell to the islands

Greetings from Jacksonville, Florida! Last time I blogged, we were in the Bahamas, but things have changed. Like the rest of the world, cases of COVID-19 started to show up in the Bahamas, a country with limited medical resources. Their government put more and more restrictions in place to limit the spread, and it was time for us to return to the United States.

While we were very sad to leave, it was the right thing to do to cruise back to Florida. We are grateful for our health and that we can still access the resources we need to continue to live safely and comfortably on our boat. 

Meanwhile, like so many others, we are "sheltering in place" by spending the vast majority of our time on the boat, with only a few trips to grocery and hardware stores, a daily walk for exercise, and an occasional take out meal. We keep an appropriate social distance from the few other boaters we encounter. DH has been working on boat maintenance and repair, and I've been quilting.

The quilts in this post were all finished before we left the Bahamas a few weeks ago, as you can tell by the beautiful turquoise waters in the background. 

This quilt is the twin of one I finished in December, made from a giant batch of flying geese donated to Covered in Love. The other one had a yellow background, and this one is more mellow. 

I was able to use a bunch of miscellaneous navy blue fabrics for the binding and backing, plus the rest of the geese. The quilting is Unitarian fans.

This quilt came to me as a batch of blocks. They were also donated to Covered in Love, and each block was a rectangular four patch of one plaid fabric plus the solid spring green. There was enough extra green for me to add another column using my own plaid fabrics. (I just found out in the comments that these blocks were made by Quilt Diva Julie. Thanks, Julie!)

The back is also all plaid fabrics, using up some nice big chunks. That funky shadow in the photo is a string of patio lights. And the group of clips in the lower left corner are weighting the quilt down in the strong breeze! 

This next one is also made from Covered in Love blocks. These fun spinning stars/flowers are left over from a block drive last year. It was a simple task to add some sashing and cornerstones to get this bright and happy quilt finished.

The back uses a few remaining blocks and more of that plaid green. I tend to use fabrics in batches like this. Once I had the plaid pulled out and ironed for one quilt, I start looking at my UFOs to see if it works for another one. Why fold it up and put it away when I can just sew it? Do you do ever do that?

In this photo, you can see a little bit of the scrappy binding and stipple quilting. It also shows how I had to clip the quilts to part of the boat in the wind. It was relentless in the Bahamas! But that's a big part of why it is so lovely there. The trade winds keep the temperatures from getting too hot, and they blow all the bugs away, too.

Finally, this quilt was made from a mixed batch of orphan blocks donated to Covered in Love. This is one my favorites! I just love the combination of these citrus colors. The "pickle dish" corners are such fun blocks, too. Two were completed blocks and I had to puzzle the other two together myself. It was quite the challenge! I'm in awe that the donor made an entire quilt out of those tricky pickles!

The center medallion is four large log cabin blocks. (Just found out in the comments that they were made by Rebecca for her kids' Christmas quilts last year. Thanks, Rebecca!) Each of the surrounding smaller blocks is set vertically with three stripes of green that were also donated. I'm not sure what to call that. Is it sashing when used in that way? It gives the piece a more up-and-down feel, like the blocks are hanging on strings.

The back of this one is a real mishmash of more blocks and this large scale poppy print. Floppy feather quilting gives it a nice, comfy texture. You can see a fifth log cabin block here. Five is a hard number to work into a quilt, isn't it? That's often how very nice blocks end up on the back!

And as I promised in my last post, here's a quick lesson on how to tell how deep the water is in the Bahamas by color:

This water is about 15 feet deep. We can safely pass over this color in our boat, and it is a good depth for anchoring, too.

This water is between 3,000 and 4,000 feet deep. I love this dark, marine blue. It is crystal clear and looks infinite. Deep water is no problem for travel, but obviously our anchor won't reach the bottom here.

See that strip of very pale turquoise in near the island? That water is about 2 feet deep. Our boat has a draft of 6 feet, so that color is a no-go for us! This is a sand bar near the inlet to Staniel Cay. You can see the very deep water of Exuma Sound in the far distance and the comfortable depths close in. To travel between them, we needed to go around the bar way off to the right of this photo. 

We miss the islands very much, and we're sad that we never got to visit the friends we were going to meet there. Here's hoping that can happen next year.