Discover your travel gene
"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page." Saint Augustine
Do you also get plagued by "wanderlust" from time to time? Wondered what secrets lie beyond the borders of your imagination? Last week I traveled with my husband to Sudbury in the north of Ontario. Being new to Canada, I felt like a sponge...soaking up all the new things and places we have never been to or seen before. We drove through big and small towns and names like Erin, Orangeville, Muskoka, Huntsville and Barrie flew by, but the highlight of the trip definitely was the quilt shop we got to visit in Cookstown. What a delightful shop! If you ever get to pass Cookstown, make sure to stop and experience the warm and friendly hospitality of the staff and stock up on your stash. You won't regret the stop - 7000 bolts of fabric and numerous gadgets to pick from. The shop is called Country Concessions, only 3km west of Highway 400 between Barrie and Newmarket at 1 Dufferin Street, Cookstown. You can see them on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/countryconcessionscookstown, for those of you who travel the world from your laptop.
So, make a quilt!
Which brings me to travel quilts. My daughter and son-in-law recently decided to explore France and Italy and mentioned that they love to have a travel quilt for the occasion. Quite honored to be included in the making thereof, I considered the following in the planning:
What colour should it be, considering that they are going to move it around quite a bit? What colour will not show stains and dirt up too soon and stay "clean" to the eye for longer?
What would indicate that it is indeed a travel quilt?
What would be the easiest way for them to transport it and take it everywhere with them?
What batting to use, as it was cold in Europe at the time?
How much do I want to spend on it and in what way could I save on the materials?
They had no specific preferences, only that they'd like to use it on other trips to other countries as well. Such easy clients!
After pondering about it a bit, I decided to do the following:
For the colour, I decided on red, black, grey and white fabrics to allow man handling without it showing up dirt too soon, with a dark backing and binding as well. Red is my daughter's favorite colour and she even had a pinch of red on her wedding dress.
To indicate that it is indeed a travel quilt, I had a few options: either transfer photo's of different landmarks of the world, use machine embroidery designs to show some well-known places or applique some buildings, like the pyramids, the Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower or some well-known bridge. Being pressed for time, I found the embroidery designs the easiest to use; I had anyway to prove that my embroidery machine is not only a white elephant in my cupboard! The designs were easily obtainable at www.embroiderylibryary.com and fairly affordable too. As it happened, the site had a sale at the time, so I got most designs at a mere $1 each!
I decided to make a centre panel, imitating a film strip and embroider the landmarks with black embroidery cotton on the white background fabric to show up better between the black sashings.
The idea to bring in the names of big cities in the world only confirmed that it was indeed a travel quilt and I thought could be inspiring to the two to explore more countries later. So I decided to embroider names like New York, Toronto, etc. in a block between the strips of landmarks in different fonts and sizes to act as an eyecatcher.
I happened to discover fabrics with travel related words written on it, so I fussy cut words like "discover", "spread the wings" and others to integrate them between the fairly easy patchwork pattern I used.
As I said, time was an issue, thus I decided to string piece as far as possible and save on thread too.
To bring down the cost, I explored my stash and used as much fabric from there as possible. I also exchanged fabrics with some of my quilter friends and found a few gems that way.
Although not the cheapest, I decided to invest in durable bamboo batting, definitely perfect for the job, as it is light in weight, warm and able to fold up small and easily. For the backing, I searched for a wide back to avoid having to join it and having less seams that could cause thickness.
To be able to carry it around with ease, what better than a quillo?! So I designed a nicely pieced pillow case from the leftover scraps and sew it on at the back of the quilt. I also added a shoulder strap to the pillow case, making it a fabric bag, easy to carry and store away. Although it was quite a mission to fold the quilt into the pillow case, with a little elbow-grease and some exercise, it was quite do-able.
I finished just in time to send it off by post and this is what the end result looked like:
My children are real creative human beings and bought a couple of little badges in France and Italy to pin to the bag, little pieces of evidence of the places they visited. My wish for them is to grab all opportunities to travel the world and pin that bag till it is too heavy to carry around. Go my angels, explore the unknown...!
If there are some of you who also tried your hand at a travel quilt, please comment on this post and add a photo to tickle the wanderlust muse in the rest of us! Now, go out and play the Lotto to finance your future travels. Happy traveling!
Yours in quilting