There is nothing better than wrapping up in the comfortable cocoon of a homemade quilt; unless it is wrapping up in that same homemade quilt and tucking inside the Silvermine for a cozy night’s sleep. One of my first goals with the new Airstream was to add bedding and linens to match the inside colors and reflect my love for little-trailer and camping-themed fabrics.
Tom and I have very different ideas on what a perfect quilt is: Tom wants one that is extra long and wide to roll up in and wrap around his feet and up over his head; just like a big burrito! I want a quilt that it narrow and short so that my feet are never covered and so I can slide a leg out from underneath to cool off!
As I developed an interest in quilting this past year, I discovered a wonderful quilting program that gives me freedom to design my quilt and see the finished project before starting. Quilt Design Wizard (www.quiltdesignwizard.com) helps me design every aspect of my quilt using standard quilt block templates while being able to customize size, colors, and fabric choices. One of the best things about this program is that it has wonderful tutorials to learn how to use it!
Here is a print-out of my first quilt design, with all my notes and scribblings.
In the program I chose fabric swatches similar in colors to represent my fabrics: little trailers, marshmallows on sticks, and a variety of camping equipment. I also had fabric with little camping sayings and a cute little polka-dot fabric for one of the borders. For this first attempt, i had basic blocks with nothing more complicated than a single diagonal pieced block. The quilt consisted of 50 6" blocks and two 4" borders.
Below, is my finished quilt.
Next came Tom's quilt. He wanted a traditional log-cabin quilt and I found that there is a lot to learn about making this famous quilt! The typical log cabin will have two color families splitting the block in half diagonally. The center square of the log cabin quilt is usually red -- representing the hearth of the home. However, I chose a chocolate brown square which was used to signal a safe house for escaping slaves in the underground railroad. The dark half of the block represents the dark times that a family goes through, and the light half of the block represent the good times.
Tom's fabric choices were some of the same as mine, with rusty reds on one side of the block and tans on the other side. The dividing of colors on the diagonal sides of the block allows the finished blocks to go together in a variety of ways for completely different looks.
I found that I enjoyed the process of lining up all my little strips of fabrics and chain-stitching them together in a process that let me add one fabric strip to each of the 48 blocks; then go back and add the next strip of fabric. In this way, all the blocks grew at the same rate and I had a nice little assembly-line process that was easy to complete.
When all 48 blocks were done, I showed Tom where to click on the computer program to see dozens of ways to lay out his quilt blocks, and I made him get down on the floor and crawl around trying the different options. He chose this pattern which is called "arrow". Once the quilt was all laid out, I picked up the blocks in order and sewed together the rows and then sewed the rows together to complete the quilt top! Adding borders and batting and backing and machine quilting (stitch in the ditch method) only took a few days.
So each of us has a quilt made from my special camping fabrics representing my first attempts at making our Airstream our away from home, home.
Those who sleep under a quilt,
sleep under a blanket of love..
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown