I always try to have an airplane quilt in the works. No, not this one…
My “airplane” quilt is my travel quilt. It is the quilt I take with me to work on when flying on an airplane, going on vacation, or going on a road trip when I don’t need to catch up on binding. It is not an actual airplane, but is some form of hand piecing. My first “airplane” quilt was started many years ago at a Residency fair with my sister. She had a knack for taking me fun places including Kansas City to join her while they worked a fair for incoming residents. In the evenings she taught me to cut my pieces using a template, and during the day she worked with me on sewing by hand- an entirely new thing, much different than sewing with a machine. I remember constantly grabbing the ruler and checking my quarter inch seam (or lack thereof). We cut and sewed and cut some more. It passed the time and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Years later the project still sat in my unfinished project pile. I pulled it out again many times, but never quite made progress.
The next time I vividly remember working on it was while my grandmother was in the hospital and we were celebrating her birthday. My grandmother was/is a key player in teaching me to sew. The amount of pillows we made in one summer while I was learning at a young age was surely enough to fill a gigantic foam pit at a gymnastics center. We sewed and sewed and stuffed until we were exhausted. We shared so many giggles that summer. Sitting next to her at the hospital talking about our shared, favorite hobby-sewing-was wonderful. I was finally making progress on my quilt.
After I got home it went right back to my unfinished pile. I typically struggle with hand-piecing unless I’m traveling. I think the long to-do list at home is too much of a distraction for me to pull out some sewing and sit on the couch. I also like instant gratification and that is just hard to come by with hand sewing. At least it is hard when you sew about as fast as a sloth. Think the tag office scene from Zootopia—that is my speed.
My sisters moved, life become even more hectic, and my unfinished projects pile became a mountain. Finally, I had a flight scheduled and I found my “airplane” quilt. I was flying alone to Kentucky to visit my sisters and I knew this was the perfect project to bring along. I sewed and sewed until my fingers hurt, but this quilt was finished on the last flight home. A perfect, full-circle ending for the quilt that taught me so much about hand sewing.
My next “airplane” quilt was an English Paper Piecing quilt designed by Mickey Depre. I’ve mentioned it here before, but be sure to check out her patterns. She is extremely talented! This row-by-row quilt was my first EPP adventure, and unfortunately it still remains in my unfinished pile.
I did jump into another “airplane” quilt for my cousin’s baby on a flight to Disney World one year and it was finished and shipped in a fairly timely manner (a huge accomplishment!).
I have found myself pulling out my Row-by-Row blocks by Mickey during my most recent travels. Maybe this year will be the year it is finished, but I am making no promises. I don’t like to race with hand sewing. I find that when I do, I just hate the process and sometimes dislike the quilt’s end result. That is not worth it to me. Unfinished projects keep me busy, so I will continue to add to my pile. One day I will catch up or give a few away, who knows.
Do you have an “airplane” quilt or a travel project?
See you at the machine,