When I was 19, I married my best friend from high school.  He spent our engagement in Qikiqtagruq, otherwise known as Kotzebue, Alaska, earning enough money to support a wife.  Our 10 month engagement got cut to 4, which meant he came home, we got married, and then moved back to our “honeymoon cottage by the sea.”  The reality was a 20×20 foot one room house with no indoor plumbing, a honeybucket in the corner, and two hotplates that worked when they felt like it.  Twice a month we loaded our sleds with empty water coolers and jugs, walked a few blocks to the world’s farthest north Dairy Queen and filled them up.  This was our water supply for bathing, washing, dishes, and drinking.  It was situated on the inland side of Front street, the only thing that separated us from the Sound.  The road is 1 lane, unpaved.  Kotzebue looked like this most of the time I was there.  In fact, the winter of 1984 was one of the coldest on record, and tied the record for the number of consecutive days for under Zero, most of them ranging around -40 with the wind chill.  It was desolate and challenging.  On the other hand, I remember taking midnight walks on the frozen sound, watching the sunset at 2:00am, and seeing the Northern Lights!  They hovered, blue and green, above the distant horizon, shimmering, glowing, and moving if we whistled or made some other loud noise.  They were definitely a highlight of the 5 months I spent there.

This block really doesn’t remind me of what I saw of the Northern Lights, but I still like it.  It uses two contrasting fabric and templates #4 and #8.2014-01-11 19.05.22


I decided to use a delicate yellow and a dark navy blue with tiny designs that reminds me of the night sky.  This block consists of two large HSTs and two Four-Patches, set in opposing corners.  Assemble each of the corner units by sewing the two HSTs together and the two four-patches together.  I pressed all the seams open to cut down on bulk, and, for the four-patches, used pins to hold the seams together.


2014-01-11 19.09.36The next part should be easy:  Place the right corner face down on top of the left corner, then sew along the right side and press the seams, and you have two identical pieces.  I say “should” because this only works if you’re NOT watching an intense play during the NFL playoffs.  If that’s the case, you end up with something that, honestly, leaves me wondering how I managed it!  Should this sort of thing happen to you, simply unpick the seam, press it flat, and put it back together the way it was intended.  (If you are still watching an intense NFL playoff game, wait until a commercial break so you can make sure to unpick the incorrect seam rather than the correct one.  Trust me on this.)


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The finished block, honestly, reminds me some of the hovering birds/hovering hawks blocks.  But whenever I look at it, I’ll remember it’s name, and that will send me back 30 years ago, to an adventure-filled winter, walking on the frozen sound in the middle of the night, watching the shimmering of the Northern Lights.