Quilting in Wabi-Sabi Overland

Quilting in Wabi-Sabi Overland

The Sparkler Mini Quilt was the first quilt that I needed to baste in order to quilt while traveling in Wabi-Sabi Overland. The entire habitat / living environment is 75 square feet and much of the floor space is taken up by the bed, kitchen, entry, bathroom space, and dinette. There really just isn’t a very large flat surface anywhere… so it was time to get a bit creative. Thankfully I only needed about 26 square inches for this particular quilt.

Basting - Securing the Backing

Basting – Securing the Backing

To secure the backing, I opted to span across one dinette seat for the backing. A little bit of tape helped secure all the edges and keep everything flat and taught.

Basing - Adding the Batting

Basing – Adding the Batting

I gently laid out the batting on top of the backing. When I needed to smooth areas over the unsupported span above the dinette seat, I would reach one hand to press from underneath to make sure I had things smooth on both sides (and to also keep myself from pressing so hard that I untaped the secured backing fabric).

Basting - Adding the Quilt Top and Pinning

Basting – Adding the Quilt Top and Pinning

For a 24-inch square mini quilt, I normally would not use this many pins, but I wasn’t sure about my basting technique and I also knew that I would be folding this mini quilt up to stow away for days at a time. So I opted for lots of pins to have peace of mind when I had time to quilt.

Basted Sparkler Mini Quilt

Basted Sparkler Mini Quilt

Once the Sparkler Mini Quilt was basted, I taped it to the forward wall of the habitat so I could sit on the bed (about 6-7 feet away) to look at it and think about how I wanted to quilt it.

Ready to Quilt

Ready to Quilt

When it’s time to set up to quilt, my machine and the extension table take up pretty much the entire surface of our dinette table. Thankfully, my husband has claimed the bed as his work / hang out space, but I have to admit that fabrics end up strewn over the bed surface when I’m working, too.

You might be wondering about the extension table for the Husqvarna Viking Emerald 118. Because my Juki did not work with the power system in the truck, when I had to purchase the 118 one of the items I considered buying was an extension table. Looking at the quality of the extension table that was available and the price, my husband offered to custom make the extension table for me. I’ll be sharing a tutorial for how to make a custom extension table on Friday.

Quilting in Wabi-Sabi Overland

Quilting in Wabi-Sabi Overland

I will say that learning to quilt starting with the walking foot on my 118 has had a learning curve. Everything from making sure that I put the bobbin in the right way (duh) to getting the presser foot pressure correct, to burying lots of thread ends because of the design I chose.

I’m thinking that should I need to baste something larger in the future that I will need to borrow floor or table space from places like libraries or other public spaces during our travels. Maybe there will even be a conveniently located quilt shop that might let me spend a few minutes basting along the way; who knows!

What living in this small space has meant for my quilting is that I am moving slower and enjoying the process more. My Clover mini iron (not an affiliate link) works well, but works best when I can press a seam and let it warm up again before pressing the next. Chain piecing still works, but I need to iron / trim / iron / trim, or iron / wait / iron / wait. Given the beautiful views out the window or the fun audio books that my husband and I are listening to together, it’s all working out rather well, if I do say so myself!

19 thoughts on “Quilting in Wabi-Sabi Overland

  1. vivian383 says:

    This post answered a lot of questions that I had about how you were quilting in such a small space ! Thanks for sharing all this information with us! It is not only informative but entertaining also as we armchair travel along with you.

  2. Shannon says:

    I love hearing that you’ve been slowing down and enjoying the quilting process even more since quilting in Wabi-Sabi Overland! Plus, stitching while looking at a killer view or while listening to an audio book with your husband sounds pretty blissful too!

  3. Cindy Pieters says:

    I like how you have adapted to sewing in a small space. Taking time to enjoy the quilting process is an added bonus I’m sure you never thought of.

  4. Very clever to span the gap across one of the seats! And I love that yellow and orange version of the design.

    I know some RVers use picnic tables for basting. That makes it easy to use spray baste, too, since you can’t get better ventilation than outdoors. I use the bed for basting in our boat: spread out an old sheet, then backing. Smooth and stretch tight, using straight pins directly into the mattress. Then I spray baste. The old sheet catches any overspray. I’ve also slipped my cutting mat under the backing after pinning the corners to the bed, and was able to baste using safety pins. The mat kept the basting pins from poking into the bed. But spray is my personal preference.

  5. Good to see you are enjoying your time traveling! It is wonderful to slow down and be in the world.

  6. Fun to see you quilting in the wild. Looking forward to hearing about the extension table tutorial.

  7. Jayne says:

    You are learning along the way how to make your space work for you and your quilting. Next year you’ll have it nailed down! Small spaces require a bit of ingenuity…and you have plenty of that!

  8. Elizabeth E. says:

    I loved reading this, and seeing how you have cleverly worked out all the kinks of how to quilt while in a teensy space. It also helps that you have something so beautiful and colorful to work on. The regenerating iron heat would certainly force a slow-down, but as you note, it can be a welcome pace, given your surroundings. Thank you for this post!

  9. springleafstudios says:

    It’s been lots of fun to see your journey on IG. I’m fascinated by your ability to quilt with such limited space and supplies. I imagine it makes you realize what you need and don’t need in life.

  10. Hello Yvonne, I truly enjoyed reading your post today. How wonderful to be learning all over again, yet in a new and beautiful way. I have been reading your posts, just not commenting much…sorry, but there is a whole lot of “life” going on in my world this year. Thank you for taking the time to share your adventures with us. Your quilt is gorgeous, I look forward to seeing it quilted! Have a fantastic day!

  11. Learning to manage with a small space will have been a challenge, but you are showing us anything is manageable.Love the extension table, I WANT one, so much, and the tutorial will be very welcome. Do you run on generator, and then hook up to power when you are in a town area? Hugh and I had a one year travel round the South Island many years ago, well before I began to quilt. The generator was used all the time, as we camped in peaceful remote areas, and in one year, stayed in only 5 camping grounds. Way back then, travel and life was safe almost everywhere down here.Enjoy the new life together in Wabi-Sabi.

  12. Suzanne says:

    I have to admire you – you’re like the pioneers who made do with what they had or could find. Seems as though you’re genuinely enjoying the challenge.

    You are SO LUCKY to have an wonderful hubby who can make things for you. My sweetheart, though adorable, simply is not handy. I’m the one who fixes the light switches, installs a new thermostat and replaces the “guts” of the toilet tank, (not my favorite job) etc.

    I don’t know if this would help you or not, but when I’m quilting something that requires lots of thread burying, I often do it as I go. Once I get to a stopping point, I make sure to cut my threads at about 3″ each, top and bottom. I pull the bottom thread up to the top, make a tiny knot a little above the quilt top, and get out my trusty little glue stick. I lay the threads together on top of the stick, holding them down with my thumb and pull them through so they collect a little glue as they go, then rub my fingers on a fabric scrap to get rid of what little glue is on my finger. In a few seconds they’re stuck together and dry enough to easily put through a sharp pointed crewel needle (large eye, good for old eyes like mine) then zip it right into the quilt batting, popping the little knot with it. Works like a charm and takes seconds to do, possibly less time than it took for you to read this little “tome”.
    The minuses are: you might find this onerous, you might not like getting glue on your finger, and you might prefer burying your threads from the back.
    The pluses are: it’s quick, if you’re using a neutral thread you’ll never know they were buried from the top, and when you’re done quilting, you don’t have a whole bunch of threads to hide! (hate that) But to each her own.

    I have one of those Clover mini irons too. It doesn’t get as hot as I’d like but if I spritz on a touch of Best Press to dampen seams, it seems to work better. Plus it helps keep the quilt top neat and tidy on the back and easier to nest seam allowances.

    LOVE the “Sparkler” mini!

  13. Your lessons and adaptations on the road are remarkable. So, is the table top wood (that you are basting on)? Good luck finding places to baste, but I bet you will. You are doing such great work relearning to quilt and slowing down does have its merits!

  14. Liz says:

    I always assumed one needs a large space to quilt happily and successfully, but you’ve definitely proved me wrong! I enjoy hearing about your adventures and wishing that I could do one of my own some day.

  15. You are amazing. I like your vehicle as well as your quilting. So interesting to travel the way you do.

  16. Jess Pugh says:

    Quilting in the wild, I love it! Have fun on your adventures!

  17. Kaja says:

    It seems as if working in your small space is pushing you to be creative in finding solutions to the practical issues. It’s kind of fun following as you figure it all out.

  18. Lisa J. says:

    I’m really impressed with your ingenuity Yvonne as you figure out all that you need. It looks like a wonderful trip and it’s great that the two of you are finding ways to hang out in your small space together.

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)