Sewing On Gilligan’s Island

A three-hour tour….a three-hour tour….we can all sing along to that famous theme song. It’s been like a three-week tour as I sit here and wonder just where did May go?

A week or two ago I posted about sewing outside and someone said: “just like Gilligan’s Island!” So I just had to google to see if there was any outdoor sewing on that famous isle. Indeed there was! Ginger must have been in a cooler location to look so glamorous sewing outside. Me, I had to keep wiping my brow! Oh, my! 

Palapa Sewing

By definition, a palapa is an open-sided structure with dried palm leaves making up the thatched roof. It’s a Spanish word that we most commonly refer to as “tiki hut.”  We built our tiki hut for my 50th birthday one summer and have truly enjoyed many hours relaxing in our own little slice of paradise. There are two hanging chairs, a nice cedar rocker, and a cedar bench so it can be shared and enjoyed with our extended family and friends. When no one else is around I stretch out my hammock from pole to pole (taking up the seating area) and really relax. I can sleep the best in a hammock! If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen photos of my “current worldview” of my relaxing moments in the hammock.

My “Current Worldview”

When I began my major  “secret sewing” projects last month it became apparent that I needed more room to spread out to go into full production mode- life in the 26 ft RV didn’t play nicely with those goals so I moved the operation outdoors.  In case you missed it you can read about my rainy day sewing under the tiki hut by clicking here.

Palapas Challenges

80 degrees in the shade at 9 AM under the tiki hut.
It grew hotter as the day grew longer

It’s been said that it is 10 degrees cooler under a palapa’s shade than the actual temperature outside. I can verify that after spending some of the hottest days on record for the month of May happily sewing under my tiki hut!

Sewing outside wasn’t without its challenges! Everything from having to run all the power with one long extension cord and multiple power strips, to having to pack things up at night and cover what I could with a tarp to protect from the weather (and critters – like stray cats), a lot of things simply had to come inside at night because I couldn’t take the risk – namely my Daylight floor lamp and my Oliso iron!

Each morning I would “power up” for a day of sewing under the tiki hut


Even if it is cooler in the shade of the Palapas I still needed a fan to circulate the air.


The blowing of the fan made it challenging to sew as my fabric would sometimes take flight (black and white photo due to “secret sewing” – I can’t show the fabric yet!)


Time to Fix the Palapa

As mentioned in my rainy day post, the roof of the tiki hut is in need of repairs. Right now we are concentrating on the reconstruction of the house after Hurricane Harvey so all we could do was a temporary fix on the outside structure. We purchased a 20′ x 30′ tarp to cover the 15′ diameter roof. Sounds reasonable right? How hard could it be to pull the tarp up and over… difficult indeed? 

There’s a hole in my palapa


Just put a tarp on it!


Pull! Pull hard! Pull harder!!!  It keeps getting hung up on the branches – sigh.


Oops – pulled too hard and ripped out the grommet and part of the hem….find another grommet and try, try again.


There were nails sticking up in the center that caught the tarp, wasn’t an easy process to pull it over. Good thing the workers hadn’t put in the closet rods in the house yet – made a good leverage pole!


Success!  now to roll up the excess tarp to let in the “island” breeze!


Naturally, the rip caused by the nails ended up right in the same location as the hole in the roof. Can you see the little rip and light of day on the rung above the Talavera lizard? Duck tape to the rescue!

It wasn’t a three-hour tour but a very sweaty two-hour ordeal, but finally, the job was completed and I was back in business! Oscar seemed to put his stamp of approval on the temporary fix too.

Back to sewing


Secret Sewing

It took me two full weeks working from morning to dusk to piece two new patterns that will be released later this fall using upcoming fabric collections from Island Batik. I don’t think I would have made it without my fan, even though it did cause me to have  “extra work” by always making sure the fabric was weighted down so it wouldn’t blow off and fall through the cracks of the decking! In addition, I truly enjoyed my Daylight floor lamp – I should see if they want a spokesperson! When I was attempting to piece without it I found I made more mistakes and didn’t match my points as well.

Sewing from sun up to sun down in record-breaking temperatures.

So What’s Next?

Glad you asked! A lot has been happening this past week. I did finish the quilts (both full-size) and was able to “borrow” a friend’s longarm for two days worth of all day hand-guided light custom quilting. I’ve always said, “I get by with a little help from my friends”. I can’t begin to express my gratitude – not easy to give up your longarm when you have your own customer quilts to do. Truly an unselfish sacrifice and much appreciated! I love the way the texture turned out on these babies and can’t wait until Fall Market when I can share the photos. (Life isn’t fair sometimes is it?)

Meanwhile, back on the home front – while I was away quilting we had a team of fellows working in the house laying the tile flooring. Goodness, have these guys put in the hours. They worked until dusk themselves every day this week – probably would have worked later if they had lights. As of this writing, they aren’t totally finished yet but we are certainly pleased with their progress. We have been unable to go inside due to the risk of messing up their work but have taken photos through the windows. Here’s a sneak peak of the flooring in my studio. We call it “driftwood” as we are going for a tropical beachy look.


The upper “hot pink” level is my former tile floor waiting to be covered with the new driftwood tile – and just look at all those future power outlets – no extension cords or power strips for me!

 Party For One Please

I’m on retreat! Yep – last night I loaded up the little red wagon with my sewing gear and headed out to an “undisclosed” location. I’m on a “party of one” retreat enjoying a little time in the country happily sewing INDOORS!! I will report in soon and actually be able to share my projects – secret sewing is taking a break – this rambler needs to share quilting photos!!!

I always bring my own pillow and quilt to quilt retreats!


And I always bring A LOT of things to work on – this is the back of the truck after I started unloading this morning


Party for one needs snacks and nourishment – so a trip to HEB was in order – there is actually lunch meat for lettuce wraps under that ice cream, I promise!


Check back next week for my “secret location” quilting retreat reports. Can’t wait to see the progress on the house when I return!


This is Karen Overton, The Quilt Rambler – getting back to “Quilt, Blog, Repeat”

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10 thoughts on “Sewing On Gilligan’s Island

    • TheQuiltRambler says:

      Greetings from across the big pond! Hope life is treating you well in the Netherlands today. You will be happy to know that I plan on working this week on the “inspired” quilt – so do stay tuned! I have one or two small projects to do first …. never a dull moment and so excited to be sewing in AC this week – I think I can get more accomplished, at least that’s the plan!

  1. Roseanne says:

    Hi Karen! I was wondering about you, thinking I must have missed several posts or something. I guess I didn’t realize you were going into hiding in plain sight, so to speak – I missed you! Boy howdy, I give you lots and lots and LOTS of credit for sewing and getting everything you needed to get done. I know it was your job and all that, but now that it’s behind you didn’t you just feel like crying some days? Sue and I have a mutual understanding – do not EVER utter the words “how hard can it be?” Who would have ever expected those nails sticking up in the center??!! But I can also assure you that if Sue and I were pulling that tarp over the hut (and I would have said the unutterable!), we would have the nail holes exactly where yours ended up. {{{Hugs}}} Friends are a good thing – we would have helped you and then had a good laugh about the nails. Can’t wait to see what is next revealed.

    • TheQuiltRambler says:

      Hi Roseanne (and Sue) – yes, I’ve been hiding in plain sight – too much to do to take time to blog about it, as it goes I was barely getting the quilts shipped by the deadline. And yes, felt like crying a time or two but there wasn’t time for that either! Besides, crying just messes up my makeup – oh wait! I gave up makeup for sewing outside, it just melted off anyway! Up next is a little Sunday sewing – which I hope to blog about on Monday – so stay tuned. Thanks for being a faithful online friend, and I do appreciate your offer to help me quilt my projects if we lived closer! You girls are too sweet and so energetic in all the quilting you get done! I enjoy your blog posts too! See ya’ around the quilting internet!

  2. Venora says:

    Hi Karen from Australia, Melbourne.
    I have just ordered my last ruler by Deb Tucker.
    I just wish there were people over here that use these more often and do classes with them. I don’t think we have enough population like America does. Cheers Venora Smith

    • TheQuiltRambler says:

      I hope you meant your “latest” ruler from Deb and that you will continue to build your toolbox with these fabulous tools! That said, I completely understand your desire for more classes in Melbourne. Tell ya what! get a big group together and host a week-long conference and bring me over! In the meantime be sure and check out YouTube for tutorials on how to use the Studio 180 Design tools!

  3. Pingback: Looking back - Island Batik Ambassador 2018, so far - The Quilt Rambler

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