|I saw three ships come sailing in..
||[Dec. 11th, 2009|01:23 pm]
Well, actually, way more than three. Last week was the first time in a while that we were able to get out in the RV; we went down to Delaware and camped near Bethany Beach for a week so that I could go to Applique by the Bay, a Baltimore Applique weekend seminar sponsored by Mare’s Bears quilt shop and held every December in Lewes, DE.
Delaware Seashore State Park is only about 15 miles from Lewes and at least in the off season it’s gorgeous. Windswept marsh on one side and the Indian River inlet on the other. They’re rebuilding the route 1 bridge so there was construction to dodge around but it wasn’t bad. We had the park almost entirely to ourselves during the week; the few weekenders all headed out Sunday and Monday and aside from one or two overnighters we were alone. Our spot was near the campground entrance, an end site with a small and gnarled pine for company, one of the few trees in the campground.
We filled our fresh water tank Sunday night, which was a good thing because the campground water gets shut off on the 30th and they were out there bright and early turning everything off. We were judicious in our water usage and had very little left over when we had to dump the tanks to winterize. It’s a balancing act, saving water early on but not saving so much that it goes to waste. If we were stringently conserving, I think we could have gone one more day, so our usage rate was just right. And of course as we were preparing to leave someone who works there told us about the frost free faucets they leave on over the winter. Next year we will camp in the far corner of the park; there are a couple of sites that are close enough to the frost free pumps that we’ll easily be able to top off our fresh water tanks with the long hose, and all of the sites have sewer hookups so we can use as much water as we need without worrying about running out of fresh water or waste tank space.
The aforementioned ships were clipper ships, Baltimore Album style; last year’s class by Elly Sienkiewicz was a beautiful clipper ship, and many of the folks in the class finished their blocks and brought them in to show. Mine was finished in odd moments here and there during the seminar. The last thing to complete the block was embroidered rigging lines, and after wrestling with the couched rigging and trying several iterations, I elected to leave it off. I was disappointed that it didn’t look right, and J pointed out that the dark brown I was using was too heavy for the rest of the block. It looks good without it, but I may give manila-colored thread a try and see if that would provide a good balance between the unfortunate effect of having the sails floating in space, and the unfortunate result of negating the clean look by adding rigging. Elly is doing an article featuring interpretations of Baltimore blocks and she asked for a photo, so there’s a possibility that this block might be seen in a quilting magazine; that would be cool!
I think of Applique by the Bay as an informal, less expensive version of the Applique Academy, which is held in Williamsburg in February. The teachers are the same folks every year. The atmosphere is casual and friendly, sort of a kaffeklatch with appliqué blocks. Some of my friends go and make the blocks but they do it their way, substituting styles and techniques. This year I too broke with tradition and used my favorite techniques to make the blocks that they were teaching, rather than using the instructed techniques. Both teachers were cool with that, but I did overhear someone commenting in a censorious tone that ‘when I take a class I use the instructor’s method, and put it aside when I get home if I don’t like it!’ Well, yes, if I was at the Applique Academy, which is much more formal, I would too. But I know how these teachers do things, and I understand the method, and it’s a great method, but I’d rather do it my way. I pretended obliviousness as I think I was not meant to overhear, but it did give me a bit of a chuckle.
J saw wild birds on their migration routes almost every day; brant geese and rusty blackbirds both made pit stops near the trailer. I only saw his photos of the birds, sadly. (I suspect the rumble of the diesel truck drove them off – the only birds which stayed put as I drove by were the gulls, who aren’t impressed by mere pickup trucks.) We had gale warnings and 40 knot gusts Wednesday night. It was blowing hard enough that we brought in one of the slides, which was flexing under the wind pressure. The wind woke us up at about 3 am, and kept us up for an hour or so before it died down. I was grateful that it was a South wind. We were oriented north to south, and if the wind had been broadside to the trailer I think it would have been much more frightening.
We’re back at the house now, prepping for our big winter trip. It’s odd, this half-timing, since packing means thinking not just about what we’ll need for the next week but what we’ll need in two months. In some ways either full-timing or vacationing would be simpler. Layers is the solution, I think, at least for clothing. We’re headed down to Savannah for Christmas with my sister, then we will meander on to the Florida Keys for the beginning of January. After that, it’s over to Baton Rouge for Mardi Gras with friends, and then Easter weekend with J’s co-workers in Virginia.