Blankets Tossed!

At Christmas, Sandy and I discovered the cutest pin cushion ever under our trees!


Santa (a.k.a. sister Sue) gave us each a Blanket Toss Pin Cushion from Alaska.

What is a blanket toss you might ask?  The Travel Alaska site describes it best.  A native Inupiaq hunter was tossed in the air from the hides of  walrus or seal in hopes of spotting game on the horizon.  The blanket toss is now used for celebration purposes…yikes!  Maybe it was the inspiration for bungee jumping?!

I like the fluffy white against the dark blue velveteen fabric.


Here’s a side view — check out those cute, fuzzy, little bright blue legs holding up the cushion!


What’s the story behind your favorite pin cushion?  We’d love to hear about it!

Mushing Meets Quilting II

In my September 19th post, I mentioned the “Left Behind” quilt pattern I bought while traveling in Alaska.  This is a mini quilt by Melinda Dale, an Alaskan designer.  Last week I decided to get started on this quilt project because I wanted to try fusible applique, a new technique for me.  Melinda’s pattern was easy to follow and it started with two different light fabrics.  One is Kona “Snow”  and the other is a sparkly print I had on hand from my quilting travels.

I fused the snow onto the background and then did some machine quilting with my walking foot.  I had fun and think I’m brave because I made wavy lines!


Next came the fun part!  I got to make the Alaskan Husky dog with the teeniest, tiniest pieces!  She turned out pretty cute and so I fused her to the snow!


I sewed around my little musher dog, changing threads several times so the thread colors matched.  Then I fused the trees and added some texture to their trunks.  I used Sulky thread for outlining and texture.  I liked sewing with this thread and was pleased with the results.


As I was getting closer to completion, I added twigs to the trees and the snow.  I drew the twigs randomly with a pencil and then sewed over the pencil lines with black Sulky thread.  Nice!  I made the leash with some decorative stitches on my machine.


To finish this fun project, I made a very skinny flange border that was 3/4 inches of gold fabric folded in half.  Next I added the black binding and that’s it!  Project complete!


“Left Behind” Designed by Melinda Dale

I think I will look for some more fusible applique projects.  This cute girl has given me inspiration!

Mushing Meets Quilting

I am continuing to report about “what I did on my summer vacation.”  Mushing?  What’s that you ask?!  Mushing means driving a dogsled and mushers are the humans who actually do the driving.

While visiting Denali National Park, we had the opportunity tour DogGoneIt which is the home and kennel of Itidarod Musher, Mike Santos and his wife, Caitlin.  This was a highlight of our trip and we witnessed the strong, mutual affection between these dogs and their humans!

Mike and Caitlin provided us with a demonstration of how the dogs are trained when there is no snow.  The dogs are hitched to an ATV and they “pull” the ATV while Mike drives.  The dogs chosen for the demonstration were so happy they got to do their job!  The dogs left behind were barking and clearly jealous, they wanted to work, too!


DogGoneIt, Cantwell, Alaska

So how does mushing meet quilting you ask?  After the DogGoneIt tour, I was shopping in a quilt store in Talkeetna and came across a mini quilt pattern called “Left Behind” by Melinda Dale from Willow, Alaska.  It shows a forlorn looking Alaskan Husky looking like he was left behind and I immediately thought about the DogGoneIt dogs that were left behind during the training demonstration.

This is a fusible applique pattern with some embroidery for texture.  Since I had such good memories of our DogGoneIt tour, I bought the pattern and plan to make this cute mini quilt (sorry Norma and Sadie…I still love you, my dear canines!)


Left Behind Quilt Pattern by Melinda Dale

So that’s the story about how mushing meets quilting!  Another Alaskan quilt in the works with fond memories attached.

Really?! A Duck Neck Quilt?!

Cindy here–I want to get back to my Alaska adventure because there is so much more to tell you about quilting in Alaska!  Our last stop on touring Alaska’s inside passage was the town of Skagway.  I LOVE this charming, historic town!


Railroad Junction in Skagway, AK

Our first destination was the Skagway Museum where I encountered the Duck Neck Quilt.  This quilt is an incredible work of art and was made by Jenny (Olson) Rasmuson who lived in Yakutat, Alaska from 1905 – 1912.  Jenny’s story is detailed here.  With permission from the museum staff, I was allowed to photograph the quilt without a flash.  The quilt is under glass, so there is a reflection, but I was attempting to capture the rich colors and textures of this masterpiece.


Duck Neck Quilt – Skagway Museum


I think this quilt embodies the ultimate pioneer spirit of the women of this time.  They used whatever supplies, skills and talents they had available to them to create useful items for everyday use.  Useful can also be beautiful!

Our next stop in Skagway was the Rushin’ Tailor’s Quilt Alaska Shop.


Skagway, Alaska

This shop was filled to the brim with fabrics to inspire all types of quilters!  I spent a considerable amount of time here.  The batiks had so many nature and northwest inspired prints that I just don’t find here in Ohio.  I did buy some laser cut applique salmon for a future project!

Skagway, Alaska–it was the launching point for many who joined the Alaska Gold Rush.  For me, it was the launching point for quilting inspiration!  I plan to return someday!