The first quilting project that I have been working on while traveling is making a Sparkler Mini Quilt. The Sparkler block is my block design for the 2019 Summer Sampler, and I envisioned it as a full mini quilt block.
I learned in the first week of living in our space that everything needs to be done at a slightly slower pace than I usually operate through a series of very hard head hits on all the various objects inside. My husband started joking that he was going to purchase a helmet for me to wear when inside.
Learning to slow down, even just to get out fabric to cut to sew later has been not just something to learn, but something I am really enjoying. As I was only cutting for a mini quilt, I was able to use the new OLFA True Blue 12” x 18” rotary cutting mat and True Blue 45mm rotary cutter while referencing the directions on my laptop.
The bright Canary Kona Cotton solid seemed to be the perfect pairing for my first cutting with the new OLFA tools. I was so thrilled when OLFA announced the new True Blue line. They are a perfect shade of navy and I’m excited to have them in my small space to use for the summer.
Setting up on a different afternoon to work on piecing more Sparkler blocks, I first had to learn how to set up my 50wt Aurifil 2600 (Dove) cone to work with my travel sewing machine to wind bobbins. I like to have several bobbins pre-wound so I don’t have to constantly pause to rethread my machines when I get into a sewing project. The Sparkler blocks are paper pieced, and in my afternoon of sewing I was able to get 3 blocks nearly finished.
One of the most important ideas that my husband and I are implementing while we travel is that everything has a place and there is a place for everything. To make the space multi-functional, everything gets tidied up and stowed away immediately after use. A lot of clutter, beyond what we need immediately at hand for the things we are doing, would make us both feel very claustrophobic.
That being said, I aim to have at least 2 solid hours for just sewing, so probably more like 2 hours and 30 minutes free to me, in order to set up my sewing machine. That being said, today I traded off sewing time in order to stop and enjoy wildlife along our drive. We saw and spent time enjoying 8 black bears, 12 Stone sheep, 2 moose, and 32 buffalo.
27 thoughts on “Sparkler Mini Quilt”
How amazing seeing all those animals. Can’t wait to see how all this inspiration unfolds in your designs.
Are you keeping a diary with notes of wild life, where and when, and daily weather? Do you have a rainfall gauge ? Lovely bright fabric.
Sounds like you have travelling and sewing down pat.
I would have a hard time focusing on any sewing at all with so much wildlife to see!
Also, be careful with your head.
I am enjoying reading about your sewing while traveling adventures. I have been there done that and really enjoy traveling in our camper and yes indeed I need my sewing time while doing it. I agree one does have to slow down and things get done differently than if we are at home.
Interesting how we don’t realize how quickly we work at things until our environment changes and those quickly done things have to slow down. Sorry you had to learn through head bumps though! I appreciate how thoughtfully you are working through this adjustment to living in a smaller space. With the navy Olfa mat, is it difficult to see dark fabrics on it? I use rulers with black & white markings, so I’m wondering if that combined with the navy mat and then dark fabric would make it difficult to see and cut.
I would imagine there are a lot of things you have to almost relearn on your travels. As for quilting, working in a small space has to be difficult after the freedom of home sewing!
Fun to hear about how you are making it work – and definitely trade-offs for that sewing time!
Best of both worlds! Enjoy the journey.
It’s fun to see how you are making it all work. I’m curious . . . are you actually sewing while your husband drives?
Hello Yvonne, I can only imagine all of the fun and excitement you are having with trying out all of the new tools you have for your adventures! I look forward to seeing your blocks and the quilt! Sorry about the head though while you were learning how everything works in the set up. I can not even imagine the excitement and beauty of the wild animals in true nature! I can not even imagine how your husbands pictures are. He is such a talented photographer! Thank you for sharing and have a fantastic time on your adventures!!
I can see how a different and more confined space would mean the possibility of a few hits to the head. I hope consciously slowing down has spared you any more injury. You look very comfortable working in your new space and stopping for wildlife is always a great idea!
The good news is that the bumps get less frequent as you internalize the map of your new 3D environment. The bad news is the bumps don’t go away completely, a risk of living in a moving space! We have a saying: “The boat always wins.” And the bruises to prove it 🙂
I have to remind myself to be extra careful while sewing, because injuries from a rotary cutter or sewing machine needle can be quite serious. Both of our travels take us much further from medical help. It looks like you’re exploring the intermountain West? So, so, so beautiful and also remote, a tradeoff for sure. We’re currently in the middle of the Hudson River in a section with very few roads along the shore, and no docks we could reach in our big boat in any case. An emergency room trip could literally take 4-5 hours from here. Slow, careful stitching will be my groove today!
All that lovely scenery to watch would have me glued to the window, I wouldn’t get much done. Plus I’m like a little kid, the movement of a vehicle makes me drowsy. I might end up napping. But at my age, I tend to do that regardless! ; -}
Have fun, and please watch your head!
Your trip sounds absolutely amazing, and trading time for enjoying the wildlife around you rather than sew is definitely the choice I’d opt for as well. You can sew anywhere–but how many places can you enjoy watching that kind of wildlife!? Enjoy the down time, my friend! <3
Your adventure in your camper intrigue me. Thanks for taking the time to share…
I have to ask, what is a stone sheep? I have never seen a bear, though my son has. He was in a portaloo and the bear was outside it. He was rather shaken though unharmed and is now rather nervous of them. Fair enough.
I have been enjoying your trip vicariously. My husband is very envious that you “take it all out and put it all back”. I am good at the taking all out but not so much the putting it all back, even though untidiness annoys me.
I’m enjoying learning about your sewing on your trip, sorry about your head… I have taken to keeping my EPP in the car for long rides now that we have a gps and he knows how to use it! I don’t have to navigate anymore, I can sit back and relax the wild life out there is bigger and better than we have, but we do have Moose closer up in Maine near Kitty, and in New Hampshire.
Those head bumps are annoying, and I do hope you have begun to adjust to space. Is there such a thing as bruise memory? Anyway, I do love the idea of cleaning up in between. After spending today restoring order after the small frame was installed, I can appreciate it. Its great to take the time to stop and see what we are meant to see…the beauty around us.
Happy travels. ‘Love the canary color. Looking forward to seeing Sparkler all finished.
Looks like things are going really well! I’m so happy for you guys!
I really enjoying seeing this slice of your life on the road! Trading sewing time for wildlife seems like a decent trade, though I’m glad you are able to have time for both!
I would probably still be hitting my head six weeks down the line but I am glad that you have got that side of things under control. It sounds like you are adjusting well to van life.
It looks like you are settling in well, I can’t wait to see the Sparkler quilt. Have fun and be safe!
We used to live on the western border of Elk Island National Park in Alberta…I wonder if you saw buffalo there? Cool to see you tootling along, both in the sewing and in the travelling!
Everyone has said it all here. I especially like reading your commenter who has a big boat (“The boat always wins), as it reminds me of that QuiltMania article some years ago about the woman who was a captain on a boat, who sewed in her free time in her private cabin. You are living a parallel life. Of course, we all wish you well– Elizabeth