The car is packed

Quilting Arts June/July 2019The mail has been put on hold, the week at the beach is booked, and the cooler is overflowing with soft drinks and sandwiches. But the big question still remains:

What will you pack in your project bag?

For me, that is always a dilemma.

I have no problem setting aside a novel or two for a vacation getaway. In fact, my reading list is always longer than I have time to complete on a trip. But I find it much harder to hone in on a take-away project that fits all of my criteria. Although I always have a small knitting project ready for long car rides, I also want something fun to stitch. Like most people, I am not a “monogamous” quilter: I have many projects in various stages of completion but I seriously doubt any of them will find their way into my project bag this summer. Most of my fiber art is either not portable because it is too large or impractical because it has too many bits and pieces.

In my opinion, the perfect take-along project must be:

Compact: It has to fit inside my purse. Luckily, I carry a sizeable bag in the summertime with lots of pockets for everything from sunscreen to scissors.

Creative: It has to allow some room for my own personality to shine through. Although I’ve tried stitching 1″ hexagons on a past road trip, I didn’t find the repetition all that inspiring. I have to be able to put my own stamp on each project, no matter how small.

Mindless: Ok, that might be the wrong adjective, but what it can’t be is overly complicated, requiring full concentration, or containing loads of small pieces. Here’s where I’ll rule out hand piecing a Mariner’s Compass quilt or embellishing prayer flags with thousands of seed beads.

So you can see, while this list may limit the project size and scope, it in no way limits the possibilities for creativity. Not every piece of art we make needs to be a prizewinner, but it does need to be able to stand on its own merits. My creative pursuits—no matter how small—are a reflection of my soul, so I choose wisely.

This issue of Quilting Arts has several techniques and art quilting projects that would be perfect seaside companions and meet every one of the criteria listed above. I can’t wait to try them all—but none are so inviting as Susan Brubaker Knapp’s amulets, talismans, and charms. Not only are they unique, they are also the perfect canvas for meditative stitching. And if I need further distraction, I can always work in my sketchbook designing a new Milagro or drawing fresh ideas for embellishing pincushions inspired by Enid Gjelten Weichselbaum’s wooden spools. And if time permits, I might even do all three.

Now I’m getting excited!

I’ve packed a few scraps of hand-dyed linen, several skeins of embroidery floss, my sketchbook, and a drawstring bag stocked with sewing supplies. I plan on beachcombing and looking for shells and other ephemera along the way to embellish my amulets, and hope that the final pieces will be ready to wear by the end of my trip. What better way to relax and recharge?

So what’s in your project bag? I hope whatever you pack brings you joy and relaxation …


Repurposed wooden spool pincushions by Enid Gjelten Weichselbaum

Repurposed wooden spool pincushions by Enid Gjelten Weichselbaum

In the June/July 2019 issue of Quilting Arts:


  • Editor’s Note
  • It’s Your Turn
  • About Our Contributors
  • Reader Challenge Announcement: Choose Your Own Palette
  • Call For Submissions
  • Studio Style
  • The Last Word by Carol Dickson

Design & Stitch

  • Stretch the Possiblilites: Paint custom cloth for pieced art quilts by MJ Kinman
  • Mix It Up! Little Miracles: Mixed-media folk art by Vivika Hansen DeNegre
  • Using Color with Confidence: Take your color temperature by Lea McComas
  • Textural Appliqué: Whimsical, reckless, & raw-edge by Jean Impey
  • Talismans, Charms, & Amulets: Fiber art to wear and share by Susan Brubaker Knapp
  • Fanciful, Free, and Floral: Quilting botanical foregrounds & backgrounds by Karen Ponischil
  • Wood, Wool, And Whimsy: Use repurposed wooden spools to create pincushions by Enid Gjelten Weichselbaum

In Profile & Gallery

  • Open Studio: MJ Kinman
  • SAQA Celebrates 30 Years: A special anniversary by Martha Sielman with Lucy Shaiken
  • Local Color: Inspired by Science: A regional exhibit of Studio Art Quilt Associates
  • Heat Wave: Results from the ‘Heat It Up!’ Reader Challenge
  • Artist Profile: Judith Content by Cate Coulacos Prato
  • In the Spotlight: Lorraine Turner
  • The Artist Within: A community expresses itself through quilting by Geri Patterson-Kutras

Pick up your copy of Quilting Arts today!

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