Monday, March 24, 2014

The Traveling Quilts (part 1)

Hello and happy first week of spring, everyone! (Wait, it is spring, right? This week, Mother Nature doesn't seem to agree …) I don't know if it's the change in the season, the fact that I'm settling back in to a bit of a routine after a period of great upheaval, or the impending release of my book, but I'm starting to feel like I just might be getting my groove back. I'm sewing a bit, browsing some awesome new fabric lines in my free time, and planning a friend's quilt that he commissioned me to make for him (a king-sized quilt -- eek!)

After the sewing bug bit, I guessed it wouldn't be long before the blogging bug bit too. I've been thinking for weeks about coming back to this space and starting to flex my blogging muscles a bit again. (Boy, are they stiff!) Truth be told, the longer I've been away, the more intimidating and overwhelming it's been to come back. Where to start? What to show? Am I ready to commit to this again?

Well, there's no better place to start then the page of draft posts that I started months (years?) ago, pick one out, and just get git r done. So today I'll start with a project that, in many ways, kept me engaged with sewing and quilting when nothing else could seem to.

My boarding pass!

Even though I haven't posted about it before, by now you may have heard about The Traveling Quilts project. I can still remember long, long ago when I was chatting with Heather about our shared desire to participate in a collaborative project, but something different from a more traditional online quilting bee or round robin. We decided on a slightly different premise: create something -- anything -- and send it to the next person in the group. That person can add on to your creation in any way they choose -- no specific block styles, sizes, shapes, or colors. They could add to one side, two sides, three sides, or all four sides of the quilt. Or no sides, meaning that they might choose to just create a standalone addition and leave it to a quilter down the road to figure out how to put them together. That quilter is allowed to let inspiration guide her. And once they feel like their contribution is complete, they pass it along to the next participant.

In the end, the person who holds the quilt before sending it back to its original home has a special duty. That person must quilt the finished piece and bind it. That way, every participant in The Traveling Quilts project actually receives a finished quilt in the end, instead of a collection of blocks.

The Traveling Quilts | A start ...

Once we hammered out the idea, we set out to assemble the group of quilters that we wanted to take this journey with. We were a bit worried that this new take on a virtual quilting bee might not be appealing to folks, but we shouldn't have worried. We ended up with an absolutely amazing group of people full of so much talent and creativity that it's almost intimidating.

Taking the journey are:

The Traveling Quilts | A start ...

For the start of my traveling quilt, I had a great time pulling together an electric group of prints that seemed very beach-y to me (without being overtly themed.) I was more inspired by the idea of sea glass than anything. I think these days it might be considered "low volume?" Anyhow, I absolutely loved compiling the muted tones and patterns and couldn't wait to see what everyone would do with them. I paired the prints with a pale blue and a pale green and took a stab at some 60-degree triangles. And with that, I sent it off to begin its journey with Amber in Hawaii!

Oh, one more thing: we each included a journal with our quilts for all participants to record a short note or memory of the experience and their additions to each quilt. Is it strange to say that I am as excited to receive that journal back as much as I am the quilt?

I was going to share my additions to the quilts that have passed through North Carolina thus far, but I think I'll save that for another post.

Happy Monday, and have a great week everyone!


  1. John welcome back ;o)
    I've seen some of the travelling quilts last year - must check out the progress this year .......
    It was a fantastic project and really seemed to stretch the scope of passing around a block and watching it grow with each quilters take - amazing - and a journal on the quilts journey - that's just inspired ........

  2. Nice to see you back, John. I agree with Ethne, that is a fabulous project.

  3. Hey quilt dad, glad to see you back. I'm looking forward to reading more about the traveling quilt. You're right about spring. 72 on Saturday, 42 today so confusing and cold!

  4. Great to see you! Oh I cant wait to see what's in store for all these quilts!

  5. NIce to see you in this space again. That is a great bunch of triangles, I wonder what the final quilt will look like.

  6. Welcome back! We are just starting a Traveling Quilt in Canada and I'm soaking up every bit of info I can get on/about the process - thanks for a great, helpful post! Looking forward to more progress (and posts)

  7. This made my day! Welcome back Quilt Dad!

  8. What a great idea for a collaboration. I'm anxious to see your quilts. It's great to see you blogging again!