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Aloha Quilters! Cyndy Rymer Shares her Hawaiian Quilting Idyll with Esterita Austin

I'm so tired of tourists taking my photo.

I’m so tired of tourists taking my photo.

As a charter member of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Scissors, I’ll go anywhere at the drop of a hat, especially if the destination is quilt-related. So, when my friend Erica Cronin asked if I wanted to go to Kailua-Kona on Hawaii for a quilting workshop with Esterita Austin, I didn’t hesitate a second. Yes!

We stayed at a sweet little B & B in Kona called The Luana Inn–this is just one of the many beautiful sunsets we enjoyed while staying there.

Dates & Places-C:  Cyndy Rymer's Sunset in Hawaii

Does it get any better than this? Oh yes, it did. We were invited to spend two days fabric dyeing with Carlene Keller prior to Esterita’s class. I love dyeing my own fabrics, and looked forward to learning some new tricks.

An awesome woman to work with, Carlene graciously offered access to her entire collection of dyes for us to play with–she even shared her tried-and-true recipes.  Carlene also has organizational skills I can only dream about with her dyes beautifully organized on metal shelves in her garage. I ended up dyeing at least twelve yards of cotton and one yard of silk organza. I could have stayed another week and done about thirty more.

Technique-CJ:  After a Day of Dyeing

Here Carlene is showing us how to apply three different dyes (one at a time according to her prescribed recipes) to soda-soaked fabric.  We scrunched up the fabric–picture miniature rosettes–in a plastic shoebox before adding the dye.

Fabric-CR:  Cyndy Rymer Dyeing Fabric in Hawaii

Have you ever tried ice dyeing? It’s spontaneous (like me!); it’s very little work; and it yields fantastic results.  Here Erica is tapping dye powder onto ice that is sitting on top of a yard of pleated fabric that was rolled into a ball. The protective screening keeps the fabric ball from unraveling.

Fabric-CR:  Erica dyeing fabric in Hawaii with Cyndy Rymer

Love my fabrics, and I am not afraid to cut into them!

Fabric-CR:  Cyndy Rymer's Array of Hand-Dyed Fabric Made in Hawaii

Dyeing fabrics with Carlene turned out to be a perfect prelude to Esterita’s class. Her workshop focused on tips for taking great photos in anticipation of choosing one image to turn into a pattern. That was the hard part. How could I choose just one? Hawaii is so gorgeous that I took many photos in the hope of eventually turning some of them into quilts.

Photography has always been one of my favorite hobbies, and Esterita provided many useful tips and techniques for taking great shots. (She knows her stuff–she’s a retired high school photography teacher.) Every morning Erica and I walked with our cameras before breakfast, and Esterita took us on group field trips as well. If you go to Kona, make sure you visit The Place of RefugeThe Painted Church, and Black Sand Beach.

Here’s the photo I chose to play with. Not what you were expecting from Hawaii, right? I can’t help it, I love architectural images. I transferred this one into Photoshop Elements and played with it.

Inspiration-CR:  Coffee Roastery in Kona, Hawaii by Cyndy Rymer

Can you guess?  It’s a detailed shot of a coffee roasting warehouse just down the street from our workshop space.

Inspiration-CR:  Colorized Coffee Mill Kona, Hawaii by Cyndy Rymer

I added the second ladder, then boosted the colors under Enhance/Adjust Color/Saturation. Easy and way cool, don’t you think?

I didn’t have time to finish my “quiltlet” because my husband arrived early on the final day of class to begin the romantic part of the trip.

Quilt-CJ:  Quilt Study by Cyndy Rymer for Esterita Austin Workshop

But when I got home I started what I refer to as a “flash” quilt, a term I coined for  projects that I work on fast and furiously until they are done. I should say almost done. Here is the nearly completed Kona Coffee High.

Quilt-CJ:  Kona Coffee High by Cyndy Rymer from Esterita Austin's Class

If Hawaii is not your fave quilting destination, Esterita also offers workshops in Tuscany at a private Italian villa where I’m told the food is delizioso!  Perhaps we’ll meet there in 2014?

Aloha!  Hawaii waits for you.

Aloha! Hawaii waits for you.

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