Detail from "Rain Dance," an original quilt by Sherrie Spangler

Monday, April 27, 2015

Strolling through Nisqually delta

The Feet & Forks strolled through the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge today, soaking in a gorgeous spring day.

The Nisqually River Delta, near Olympia, WA, is a refuge for wildlife, hikers and photographers. In fact, jogging and bike riding aren't allowed so as not to interfere with the enjoyment of nature.

Besides numerous birds like this great blue heron and Canada goose, we saw frogs, snakes, dragonflies and a muskrat. The freshwater of the river mingles with the saltwater of the South Puget Sound to form an estuary teeming with life.

Since it's a wetland area subject to high water during high tide and mucky mud during low tide, there is a long boardwalk for walkers.

Can you spot Mt. Rainier?
We followed up our hike with the obligatory lunch (after all, we are the Feet & Forks). They didn't give us forks, so we posed with our sweet potato fries and a tater tot. Yum!

Tomorrow I vow to get back to quilting.

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Green for Earth Day

Dave and Julia on Fragrance Lake hike.
Dave and I met up with Julia in Bellingham last weekend on a gorgeous sunny day to hike up to Fragrance Lake and back, and I thought all the green would make a good Earth Day post. Earth Day is officially April 22, so I hope you get outside tomorrow and enjoy some nature.

The trail up is about two very steep miles, so I made a lot of rest stops on the excuse of having to take pictures. The growth in this Northwest forest is incredibly lush.

"Nurse log" supporting four new trees.

Even the lake looks green. The "fragrance" comes from skunk cabbage, which isn't exactly a pleasant fragrance.

Fragrance Lake near Bellingham.

To make this quilt related, here's a collaged quilt I made in 2006 called "Forest" that has the colors of our hike. I made the quilt when I lived in Illinois and our house backed up to a forest.

"Forest" art quilt by Sherrie Spangler.

Have a colorful Earth Day

Monday, April 13, 2015

Quilting "Sedona Spring"

I quilted "Sedona Spring" today in one continuous spiral, using a freezer paper circle in the middle to get me started on the path. Here is the top before I started quilting:

I used the walking foot as a guide to keep the spirals roughly the same distance from each other. I used invisible thread on top.

Now it's done, but the edges are wavy. I hate it when that happens, so I'm leaving the studio for tonight and I'll deal with it tomorrow ... somehow. It's so wavy that I don't think it can be blocked or pressed into submission. I may actually gather the edges all around and then press. Won't win any awards, but I still love the colors!

Update a few days later: I gathered the edges and it worked perfectly. It's all bound and lays perfectly flat!

I've linked up to Nina Marie's Off-the-Wall Friday so you can see what other fiber artists have been up to this week:

Have a colorful day

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Hiking the hoodoos and coral pink dunes

Natural arch formed by erosion in Bryce.
On our way back from Sedona (yes, I'm HOME now!), we hiked in the spectacular and colorful hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Monument in southwest Utah. Words cannot properly describe these bizarre and wonderful rock formations, so I'll show you a lot of pictures.

The trail took us down several hundred feet in elevation into the heart of the hoodoos. Partway down, we came across this painter whose orange shirt matched the rocks.

 Bryce's elevation is around 8,000-9,000 feet, so there was still snow.

The skies at Bryce are intensely blue and clear during the day, and it also has a 7.4 magnitude night sky, making it one of the darkest in North America. This magnitude means that you can see about 7,500 stars with the naked eye, while in most places fewer than 2,000 can be seen due to light pollution.

Before I take you to the coral pink dunes, I'll leave you with this quote on a sign at Bryce:

"If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it."
-- Lyndon Baines Johnson

Last stop: Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, also in Utah near Kanab. The soft sand called out for bare feet, so I carried my shoes as we hiked -- slogged -- around a loop with nature signs. We saw people in the distance sledding on the dunes, which can shift up to 50 feet a year in the wind.

The dunes are formed from the erosion of pink-colored Navajo Sandstone surrounding the park. High winds passing through the notch between the Moquith and Moccasin Mountains pick up loose sand particles and then drop them onto the dunes because of the Venturi effect. (There's one for you to google.)

Have a colorful day