I know it’s not for everyone. I’ve known people who would sooner spend their day chewing glass than driving around in a car. But I can think of few things I enjoy more than jumping in the car with just an end destination in mind, and making my way there over lesser-traveled roads, playing my music as loudly as I want, and finding cool and random reasons to stop along the way.
I blame my parents. You see, it wasn’t until I was almost 18-years-old that I took my first trip on a plane (which is a bit ironic, really, considering the amount of air travel required of me now for my job).
But our family was the driving kind. Our Sunday afternoons fairly often consisted of a stop at the local Dairy Queen for ice cream and a meandering drive around the area’s country roads.
Because the nearest city was an hour away, any trip to the mall, the movies, or even a nicer restaurant required quite the drive.
Family vacations were always punctuated with road trips…the destination there, the drives between cities and points of interest, the return trip home. We managed to cover most of the Southeast U.S., virtually all of Colorado, and several other states along the way. And, really, Texas alone takes somewhere north of 10 straight hours to cross latitudinally.
And I wouldn’t change a second of it. Spending that amount of time together in a car probably brought out both the best and the worst in us, but when it comes down to it, it also brought us together in a way we could never experience in the detachment of everyday life.
Luckily for me (or perhaps it was a prerequisite for our marriage), my husband is equally fond of road trips, and we’ve taken our fair share together in the decade we’ve been a couple. Though, I always insist on driving.
In fact, we have a rather ambitious plan to visit each of the 90 plus Texas state parks before our son graduates from college. Thus far, we’ve only marked two off the list, but we still have 15 years to make up time.
If you share my enthusiasm for road trips, you’re likely to enjoy the newest feature we’ve added to Friends@Festival…a road map of quilting-related trips we’re calling, “Quilter’s Road Trip.”
And if you don’t, well, we have plenty else to offer in this edition, including a heartwarming piece about organizations here in the U.S. who are creating quilted and knitted items for animals. No, we’re not talking sea lions in scarves (though, wouldn't that be adorable?!?), but rather handmade items that provide either comfort or stimulation for animals in zoos and shelters.
We’ve also included a photo-centric feature that provides you—our readers—with a unique look at some of the amazing detail work that can be found in a selection of the quilts we’ve had on display at shows this year.
As I was putting it together, I was reminded of a very inspiring, Ferris-Bueller-like moment I had at the Art Institute of Chicago. Standing in front of Seurat’s Pointillist masterpiece, A Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte-1884, I was completely awestruck.
Sure, I’d seen the painting a million times, but never before in person. Seeing the thousands upon thousands of tiny brush-stroke dots that create the image brought it to life in a way that could never be replicated in a photograph, and gave me a completely new appreciation for the work.
While we can’t provide you that degree of detail, we have included a little photographic evidence of the intricate quilting, piecing, and embellishment that goes into some of the amazing quilts we receive. And if you’re able to get to one of our shows—perhaps you can make it a road trip!—we’re willing to bet you’ll have yourself an awestruck moment too.