Travel Quilt #5

I couldn't fit any more into my last post, but I needed to share this important quilting milestone-- I started Travel Quilt #5 on the train to the NYC Mod meeting last weekend.  (Well, I cut fabric and filled my sewing kit the night before, but I basted the first piece on the train).  #5?  Yes.

See, TQ#1 and #3 are finished (and well documented), TQ#2 is at the long armer's, and TQ#4 is a project I started when I was gathering ideas for Quilting on the Go, but it stalled when we chose to include other quilts.  The rest of the book projects, though mostly stitched while traveling, weren't numbered as such.

I came home from teaching last week full of so much positive creative energy.. I felt better than I have in months.  And I immediately had ideas for two new EPP quilts.  I was able to reign in my enthusiasm and only start one, but I jumped in with two feet and spend most of my free time last week working on it.  The idea was to make 1" hexies from Costas' old shirts.  I ironed, cut, basted, and then.. as I was piecing I realized two things:
  1. I don't really like gingham and a quilt of all plaids may drive me insane.
  2. Ralph Lauren shirts are beautifully made of high quality fabric, and a bitch to stitch through by hand.  

So no, this idea was out.   I still want to make a quilt from his shirts, but it will have to be by machine.  By this point though, I was emotionally invested in making a new EPP quilt, and the pattern was still filling my thoughts throughout the day.  So I just chose different fabric and started another. This will be TQ#5.

As I was on the train coming home from Manhattan after the guild meeting on Saturday, a family got on and was standing because there weren't many open seats.  I had my box open and was basting these hexies, and a little girl kept stealing glances at what I was doing.  The mother whispered to her to ask me about it, and I invited her to come sit on the seat next to me.  She was hesitant at first, but as soon as I asked if she made things, she dropped her guard and started telling me about the patterns of rainbow loom bracelets she could make.  I told her I made bracelets in elementary school too, but now I make quilts; blankets for the bed. I showed her how I basted and whipstitched the patches together and told her that I wrote a book about it that she could get from the library when she's older.  (She told me she was 6, btw)  I gave her mom my postcard so she'd see I wasn't just some crazy crafting lady on the train, I'm a legit quilting teacher!  I kept stitching as she watched and we chatted, and then she surprised me and asked if she could sew two hexagons together.  Umm, sure!
So on a bumpy train, somewhere between Queens and her stop, I taught a first grader how to sew.  And she loved it.  I let her keep the 3 hexies stitched together, and she asked if we could add blue ones next, but we ran out of time.  I showed her the picture of George sewing on my phone, and told her I was glad to have met her.  Her parents thanked me as they got off at their stop.  And all the way home, my heart was so full. 


  1. What a wonderful story! You have just recruited another to our great creative society! Great job. Hehe.

  2. Honey, you are a born teacher! You can even teach old ladies, too. :)

  3. What a great story! I am sure the little girl is still talking about sewing hexis and will remember the experience forever. :)

  4. What a heart warming story. just love it. I got all the kids at swimming lessons distracted while waiting and sewing ;-)

  5. This is so lovely! Isn't it great to meet people and show them new things? She will soon be off fabric shopping

  6. What a heartwarming story. You never know whose life you will touch and I am sure years from now she will remember the nice lady who took an interest in her and showed her how to stitch! You never know, she could be a quilt teacher someday! My granddaughter is 7 and I taught her to baste and she loves it. She is just now asking to stitch the hexies together. I love that I can hand down my love of quilting/sewing to my daughter and granddaughter they way my Mom and Grandmother did for me.

  7. I love your new quilt idea!
    I'm sure the little girl will make something with a prouder set of her shoulders someday, because of you.

  8. How delightful!
    Lets hope you've triggered a stitching habit in this child and that her Mum will help her keep it going.
    I think a whole quilt of only shirt fabrics would be abit too much but might look nicer with plain coloured strips or curved shapes interpieced? It will be interesting to see what you come up with : )

  9. OMG you made me all teary-eyed! Such a wonderful gift you have given that little girl. I hope her mom and dad go to the library and take out your book and continue their precious daughter on the road to life-long creativity. Well Done Jessica!

  10. Thanks for that uplifting story, sorry the plaids are getting shuffled off the travel quilt list I like them a lot. Keep us posted on the outcome? What a delight to be doing what you love and feel completely realized as a professional as well as a compassionate sensitive lady who does spontaneous sewing lessons on the NYC Subway!

  11. What an amazing story. (not the hard to stitch shirt fabric, the girl on the train part). It is so exciting to get someone interested in stitching and to help them get started. My DD came to a small "club" I ran for EPP last winter. She was just learning to quilt and had never done any hand work. I taught her during club and she is a hexie nut too now. (Of couse she is not little, but she has the bug). Happy stitching.

  12. I just loved your story. I wish I could get my granddaughters, 6 & 10, to be a little interested in quilting or sewing. Maybe hexes will do it. Its small and hand sized for the younger ones. I too didn't think I would makre more than the first one but I managed to complete about 8 and sewed several rows together. I wouldn't say I'm hooked, but I am not afraid of them anymore. I now have an open mind and may someday do more.

  13. Oh, I teared up a bit reading this. How nice of you to take the time to teach, and let her keep her little hexies. It's all just so adorable.

    (And thanks for the heads-up on the hubby shirts--I've been saving my husband's shirts for years to make a quilt for our little guy, and I'm glad to know machine will be the way to go!)

  14. What a great anecdote! My daughter is three and I am counting down the days until she is ready to properly sew. She enjoys spending time with me in my sewing space, so that's a start! Thank you for the great presentation and demo at the guild meeting, Jessica! It inspired me to pull out a stalled hexie project I started last year!


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