Did you know there is a growing number of families who have chosen to leave their stick houses behind and travel around the country fulltime with the kids? Me neither! Well, several months ago I was approached by the editor of a brand new “niche” magazine called Fulltime Families asking if I would be interested in writing an article on the ins and outs of quilting in an RV. After I made sure she realized we were not exactly in her niche market, I went to work. Here is what was published in their May Issue –
When my husband announced his “Empty Nest Plan” – that we would sell our house, quit our jobs, buy an RV and travel around the country for a year – I had no idea what that would look like. We had never RV’d, never even spent a night in a campground. But while there were more unknowns than knowns, there were also endless possibilities. Maybe I could write a book. Maybe we’d be able to catch up with friends and family around the country. And maybe I would have time to QUILT! So as we began to downsize and make plans for this great adventure, I made sure that my trusty sewing machine, jumbo cutting mat, favorite fabrics and necessary tools all found homes in our new 300 sq. foot home. And in the last 5 years (so much for being on the road for a year), I have found that quilting in an RV requires at least these three things –
In order to make space for my sewing machine and all those sewing accessories I had to sacrifice the ability to have an on-board washer/dryer. So back in the cabinet that was all plumbed (as they say) for a washer and dryer, we installed two nice deep drawers with a rolling tray on the bottom for my machine, and we were set! We hung a thread rack on the wall which keeps my spools organized and even adds a little colorful “art” to the bedroom.
The jumbo cutting mat lives either behind the sofa or standing up in the closet. Of course there might be a couple of other bins of fabric in the closet and a roll or two of batting under the bed. Maybe.
One of the most important requirements for quilting in an RV is having very patient and flexible traveling companions. Because in OUR house the only place to sew is on the kitchen table. And when I’m sewing up a storm, meals can get pretty sketchy!I try to keep my different projects in their own separate bins to help keep things a little organized and to also make clean-up quick and easy. But having a sympathetic husband who doesn’t mind eating dinner alongside the sewing machine or having extra spools of thread hanging out next to the salt and pepper shakers goes a long way toward making quilting in an RV do-able.
When we first started out, we were staying in campgrounds for a couple of nights, and then moving on to our next destination. I found that pulling my sewing machine out and getting a couple of squares made for a quilt just wasn’t happening. It wasn’t until we started staying in one place for longer stretches of time that I found I was actually making progress on my different projects. Right now we stay put for about three weeks at a time, take about a week to move to our next spot, and then settle in for another three weeks. During our moving week, I’ll pull out some hand-quilting or maybe work on a knitting project (I’m getting quite accomplished on knitting dishcloths!). Generally, the cutting board and the sewing machine wait until we have a full hook-up and a little extra time.
Here’s one final thought on quilting in an RV. I have scaled down the size of my projects. While I have made several full size quilts during the last five years, I have found the most joy in making wall hangings, table runners and potholders! Small space = small projects. The math works.
Rvthereyet.org – stop by anytime!
P.S. – Just so you know, the visiting friends and family plan has worked out well. The writing a book plan – not so much. But, hey, there’s always the next five years!
(They didn’t have room for the photos, but I thought you might enjoy the “visuals”)
Gary encouraged me to send in my “Hello, this is Doris from the Census Bureau” post, and much to my delight, it showed up in their June issue!
So even though this little magazine isn’t in the position to pay me anything, it still has been fun to be a “contributing columnist”.
If the concept of fulltiming with kids intrigues you, check out this website too –
Families on the Road
It has a list of lots of families that are blogging about their fulltiming adventure! And I do mean adventures!
Quick Gary Update – He’s is doing GREAT! If we didn’t know the “thing” was there, we wouldn’t know it was there. If you know what I mean. 🙂 CT scan still scheduled for Thursday the 17th. Keep praying! Thanks!