Wagon Wheels journey in 2018 – a wee bit long

Once again we were fortunate to be able to travel to France in Spring 2017 to travel with our Aussie friends Linda and Paul Collins.  We attended the most wonderful show in Nantes, hosted by the famous Quiltmania Magazine and book publisher.  Was fortunate for a beautiful side trip to Brouage.

And a few other meanderings as we were gone ‘a while’.

Every two years, Brouage hosts a most wonderful reproduction quilt exhibit in 2 halls, made by a group of ladies.  They are given 2 years to make their reproduction quilt for exhibit, most have been made ‘entirely by hand’  . . .  you know, hand pieced, hand appliqué, assembled by hand and hand quilted.  This old fashioned girl was smitten.

I saw a certain quilt that I felt I needed to make one for me.

After returning home and sharing the pictures with my sewing friends, one said I think American Jane (a Moda designer) has a pattern for that.  Here it is:

Spinning Wheels

My friend ordered us patterns, because if you can buy the pattern why draft it?  Would have to dig deep in my old skills to draft.  I learned to draft from Jinny Beyer’s book in the 1980’s.

When the pattern arrived, it is for paper foundation piecing, no problem.  I did not want to machine piece, I wanted to hand piece the blocks.

So . . . I made templates.  How easy is that!


Next I pulled fabrics to make 4 blocks, as I wanted to see how it all went together.  I marked the fabrics, cut out the pieces adding seam allowance, enjoyed hand piecing the quadrants.  Then selected the strips to join the quadrants, used a ruler to mark those, adding seam allowance, and assembled the first 4 blocks.  Was so much fun to see them come together!

Next I auditioned additional fabrics for the next 12 blocks.

auditioning the fabrics for each block

The light is the center, the next two fabrics are the wedges that form the wheel, the bottom larger piece is the block background.  I had to see what things look like.  This is not the final selection, but always a process.

auditioning Background fabrics

Next I moved the background to the top of the piles to see if I had a nice variation of fabrics.

Next the marking and cutting began. I carefully stacked pieces for each block and placed them in a mesh bag for travel.

pinning the spokes to the center quarter circle

Lots of pins to hold the pieced arc to the center quarter circle to stitch.

other side of the pinned spokes to the quarter circle

This is what the back side looked like, because you need to know, right?

ready to pin the background

Ready to pin the background to the unit and stitch.

hand pieced 48 quadrants, 4 per block for 12 blocks

This vacation included a 4 day drive to Portland, Oregon to attend Spring Quilt Market in 2018. One night was spent on the Columbia Gorge and visited the museum, followed by 4 nights in Portland (always fun, right?).  And the food!  Quilt Market was fun too!

Then the vacation part . . . first to visit friends south of Eugene, OR.  After the visit we finally made it to Crater Lake, roads were open to the Visitors Center, a most gorgeous view, so happy we finally got to see it.  Our past trips, the park was closed due to late snow.  Meant to be in 2018!

Meandered down to northern California to reach I80 across Nevada, it was an absolutely gorgeous drive that time of year (May), and the Nevada  ‘sky’ was amazing, seems I took a few pictures (not sharing though).  Had no idea northern Nevada was that beautiful (thinking desert like the cowboy movies LOL).  Felt it would be boring, not at all!  Maybe the time of year had something to do with it?

On to Utah to visit Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, both so amazing and very beautiful, a day in each. Very, very happy we were able to see them!  Words do not describe the view, pictures do not capture the colors like the eyes.

Next up . . . Santa Fe, NM for 4 nights,  a couple road trips to nearby towns, including a wee bit of shopping, and of course good food.  We love Santa Fe, has been entirely too long since we’ve been there.  Close to 20 years.  We would go after Christmas for a week, it was magical.  Love the luminarias. When driving around the area it felt spiritual.  Maybe it was being winter that made it feel different than late May?  Still wonderful in May!

Denver was next as I needed to see my cousin Fred (our moms were sisters and we grew up two doors apart).  We spent for 3 nights in Denver, I needed a really big catch up. Denver is also a great city, and Fred gives the best car tours, and finds really good places for us to eat.  Always more to any story, but it doesn’t matter here.

Finally the last leg home to SE Nebraska, 23 days and 5,400 miles under our belts. I’m fortunate that Russ loves to drive, which freed up the time for me to stitch these block units.  I did drive a couple of times for an hour or so.  Seems my hands were itching to stitch instead of drive.  And, I had a goal of having the 48 quadrants pieced when we arrived home.  FYI – I do love to drive on long trips too.

After getting home the next step was the block bars selection, all had the same red print in the center, and yes I hand pieced the bars part too.

The part I machine pieced was joining the blocks and adding the borders.

close up

Close up of what I call Wagon Wheels.

And . . . now my quilt!

Wagon Wheels – a beautiful journey for me

No I did not hand quilt it, I have a few other projects for handwork and lots more project that need attended to.  I sent it out to be beautifully machine quilted by Lori Kukuk in Kansas.

This quilt has miles of memories in it, that is what I love about quiltmaking.

So happy with my journey, hope you enjoy it too!



Wagon Wheels journey in 2018 – a wee bit long — 39 Comments

  1. What a perfect quilt to reflect the many miles you covered – a beautiful memory to have. I hope to one day visit some of those wonderful places!

  2. Perfect quilt for a perfect trip…wagon wheel to tour the West like a covered wagon, just modern day travel involved. But seems like I recall a dirt road involved. Lol Beautiful quilt/❤️

  3. Your quilt is wonderful. Looking for a really good machine quilter. How would I contact Lori Kukuk in Kansas? I live in northern CA.

  4. Amazing journey and a gorgeous quilt at the end. Glad you two had a wonderful trip with family, friends and stunning views. Happy New Year too!

  5. Love your quilt and the story behind it! You have such a good eye for combining fabrics….and, of course designing those same fabrics!

  6. What a fabulous quilt—so beautifully entertwined with your journey. I experienced part of your journey in the fall of 2017. We were traveling from south Texas to Jackson Hole, WY to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. It truly is one of the most beautiful places in the country.

  7. What a wonderful journey to take us all on. Beautiful quilt and handwork all woven into a beautiful story, Thanks for sharing Jo.

  8. You visited several of my favorite places, and your journey amazes me, thank you for sharing. You are such an inspiration to so many.

  9. Your trip sounds (familiar) and wonderful. Our country is so diverse and beautiful – we are blessed, and now’s our time to enjoy it. Thanks for sharing the story of your beautiful Wagon Wheels. Just like the pioneers, we stitch, they drive !!!!

  10. Just love that quilt. I ordered the templates last August and ordered the pattern. Can’t wait to get started. No
    Long trips in my future, but good project for flying and sitting in airports. Love reading about your trip.


  11. Love the quilt, Jo, and really enjoyed reading the story behind it. Awesome fabric/color choices. Thanks for sharing it with us. Enjoyed the pictures of the process!

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