Another take on Quilt as you Go

As we prepare for another road trip, I’m looking around the house for some handwork to do in the car.  Over the years, I’ve spent many hours, weeks and months sitting, watching the scenery go by in our travels, waiting for my turn to drive.  It makes all the difference in the world to have something useful to do with my hands – I generally arrive at my destination much fresher and ready to go, if I’ve been doing something on the way.

I remember one flight from Australia home.  I was preparing camels to applique onto a quilt. They were ironed onto freezer paper, cut roughly to shape, and my job was to baste the seam allowances down.  Each one took something less than an hour, as I recall.  I walked off that plane with 20 camels finished!!  And the bonus: no jet lag!

I made 20 but only used 5 on the quilt!

Another plane story when jet lag caught up to me: (and I’ve told this one before) Upon arriving in Vancouver from a flight from New Zealand, I left a very small baggie full of 15 Grandmother’s flower garden units made from 1/4″ hexagons.  Each one took an hour to make – 15 hours’ work: gone!  It took me a while to recover from that one!

Happily, I can work in the car as we’re driving. I know that many people can’t, being susceptible to car sickness.  So, over the years, I’ve knit many pairs of socks, a whole sweater/jumper, and LOTS of dish cloths.  I took up hexagons entirely because of the hours in the car, and am completing my second quilt of hexes.

On one trip around Australia, I appliqued about 130 fussy-cut fish onto the outside border of a queen sized quilt for John’s daughter while we drove.  By the time we reached Queensland, I was thinking that the fish fabric was cartoon-ish and fool-ish. Then we took a day trip out to the Great Barrier Reef, and I realized that the fish on the reef are EXACTLY like the ones I was working with!  It really enhanced my appreciation of the project!

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish quilt

This time, I think I’ll bring my little 1/4″ hexagons, which I have nearly finished quilting with Colonial Knots.  I have a knitted vest from wool I bought in Scotland that is still in progress.  And, if I have time, there are a few finishing stitches on my Mola reverse applique piece which is a class sample for the cruise to the Caribbean in January 2012. 

After that’s all done, what will be my next hand project?  We have another big trip coming up to Australia/New Zealand in March which I’ll need some hand work for. Maybe snowflakes, done in hexagons…  Maybe another Mola or two.  My criteria are simple: it must be small, it must be done by hand, and it doesn’t matter how long it takes to complete.  It’s not about getting it done, it’s about doing.  Very Zen, really: process, not product. (Although I must say these projects are wonderful to finish!)

Do you have a “grab-and-go” project?  Something you can bring along with you for voyages or long waits in doctors’ offices?  What’s your perfect hand project? How do you prepare your projects differently for car journeys versus plane or boat trip?  And what’s your criteria for choosing which project you’ll spend your time on?


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