Monday, April 27, 2009

I keep making a "Trip Around the World"

Recently, Kathie asked if anyone made series of quilts. I didn't think I had until I was inspired by Karen to take a good look at my own collection of finished and unfinished quilts. I have made a series of the "Trip Around the World" design. It was one of the first patterns I learned (I modified the Eleanor Burns' method) and I used to teach it as a class at Cottonseed Glory quilt shop in Annapolis, MD. The pattern I use takes a half yard each of 24 different fabrics and makes a large quilt. You can make it square or keep adding rows to elongate it a bit.

The picture above shows my very first "Trip" which I started many years ago--probably 1994. I was quite proud of it and determined to hand quilt the whole thing even though I'd never hand quilted a large quilt before. I figured I needed a quilt frame and ordered one that needed to be stained and assembled before I could use it. I did not think that idea all the way through and was amazed at the size of the contraption once I got it finished. Of course, my husband was not pleased when he saw the new addition to the living room. Also, I should have practiced loading the quilt before starting the quilting. I quilted about 1/10th of the surface while the top was in the big "quilting bee" frame and then had to dismantle. So, I basted the whole thing before removing it. Once I got it out, I discovered I'd loaded the layers wrong and the back was about 2 inches short of the top on one end. That's a problem I have yet to deal with. I am still working on the project periodically (about once every 2-3 years) in a lap hoop. I am pleased with how the quilting looks now that I've made some serious progress. The large "quilting bee" frame is in the rafters of the garage.

This quilt below I call Blueberries and Sunshine. For awhile, I loved everything blue and yellow. I gave most of those I completed to my (very deserving) sister-in-law. This top was machine quilted shortly before I went on my five year "quilting hiatus" due to school and full-time work demands. Now, I just don't have the stamina to crawl around on the floor to prepare it for binding. I need to get around to asking the local quilt shop if I can come in and use their tables. I hope they agree since when this one was a top it was a shop sample for a lot of classes.

This is another one that is already machine quilted and just waiting to be bound. This is one that I made into a rectangle by adding more rows. It is BIG and HEAVY. I am not looking forward to wrestling the binding onto it.

I also went through a phase where I made a variation of the TATW called "Irish Trip." It is a pattern designed and taught by Elizabeth Carlson. One lesson I learned from this quilt was to make sure you buy some extra if it is not going to be "scrappy." I didn't buy enough of the dark rose fabric and when I went back to the shop a few days later to buy more, it had BURNED! The staff of this shop truly went above and beyond in customer service for me. The pink section of their fabrics was not burned, but was smoke damaged. They washed the 1/4 yard of fabric I needed until it smelled just fine and I was able to finish my quilt. Beth Carlson did lose a lovely teaching sample in the fire but she had enough fabric left over to recreate it. This one was hand quilted for me by a company called Bellwether Dry Goods. Another lesson learned the hard way is don't use busy backing/border fabrics if you are going to pay for lovely hand quilting. You cannot see the beautiful scrolls quilted into the borders of this quilt. I still love its soft pastel colors and it spent many years on my daughter's bed. The batting has pilled a lot on the back and would be a disaster if it was a dark color.


  1. A very interesting post! I made a Trip Around the World ages ago. It was before I really knew anything about quilting. My mother borrowed her sister's quilt that she liked, purchased fabric and brought it to our home after her trip. Another sister talked her into buying a rotary cutter. We didn't know you needed a plastic ruler and cutting board to go with it. We made a cardboard template and cut each square with it. I do not remember what we cut on. Maybe my wood cutting board I have never found since. We certainly had to make several cardboard templates because we kept knicking parts off with the rotary cutter. We just looked at the quilt and lined up squares. Knew nothing about strip piecing. Mother sent it to a lady in West Virginia and had it hand quilted for $65. A bargain. And the quilt did turn out even though it had it's doubtful start.

  2. omg what a wonderful post!!!!
    wow beautiful quilts, I have always wanted Bellwether to quilt a quilt for me, someday!
    oh thank you for sharing your story
    I will have to post about it
    maybe my series will be tumblers right now but I really want them to be log cabins!!!!

  3. Wow you've made some wonderful trips. I've always wanted to make one but somehow other projects have gotten in the way. Someday I'll make one.

  4. I've done a couple of trips around the world, but the bigger question is where are your posts? I'd love to see more!!!


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