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WHAT IS A DRIVE-BY QUILTING?
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It's the coolest show-and-tell ever! I started this game to help pass the time during our long drives and to keep our travels a bit more entertaining.

In order to get to my seminars (or when we're traveling to trade shows such as Paducah and Houston) we drive (or I should say Justin drives) pulling a trailer filled to the brim with all it takes to produce the event. On my Facebook and Twitter pages I post our route, our current location (usually a mile marker or landmark), and the actual time we passed that marker. Quilter's in our path who are following our progress have the opportunity to estimate what time we will pass them. Send me a message on Facebook that you are making a drive-by quilting attempt so I'll know to be on the lookout for you and can help coordinate our drive-by. You'll need to be on the look out for us.

On the right is a photo of our rig so you'll know what to look for.

hank

Then, get a quilt and head out to the highway to wait for the drive-by. The VERY BEST locations are on overpasses because we can see you from a good distance. Those participating are urged to follow our travel progress closely so they won't have to wait because we stopped for gas or food. However, waiting too long can result in a "drive-by misfire" so plan accordingly. It happens really fast - but it's totally cool!!!

If it all works out, you'll be waving your quilt and we'll be flashing lights and taking photos. I post those photos below for the world to see. If you want to play along be sure to look at our upcoming seminars and their locations. We generally go to Paducah and Houston each year.

We leave from La Veta, Colorado (obviously) and we usually take the most reasonable route to get to our seminar locations. Then on the days prior to the event, start watching my Facebook and Twitter posts. It will take some planning on your part.

On these trips there is usually no stopping except for food or gas and we never know where that will be. We have long days and miles of driving (usually 8-10 hours) so side stops to visit with you - or to visit your favorite quilt shop or restaurant - is simply not possible. The trips are already grueling enough so thanks in advance for understanding.


The afternoon was dreary, but Sue Maddox and Sue Watters managed to make their way to Oxford station just before we had to pass through the turnstiles and board our train. Since most of our drive-bys are done at lightning speed, this particular opportunity to actually visit for a moment was rare. 

Sue Maddox says:
Two days to go before Christmas and all was going according to plan -  ie not Christmas preparations, but taking part in the UK 'Train-by' version of Ricky's US 'Drive- by quiltings'. When I saw Ricky's travel schedule, I couldn't believe he was going to be travelling through Oxford, just twenty minutes away! Even better, he was going to be catching the train there, so as long as he was at the station in plenty of time for his train, and we could get our timings right, we possibly stood a chance of chatting with him as well.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to do this on my own, so called my PIC (partner in crime) Sue Watters and talked her into doing it with me. We always talk each other into mischief and this seemed to be something we absolutely must do.

Two quilts were selected and we set off in the worst weather we had seen for months. The mid afternoon sky was black and the rain was hammering down. We crawled through heavy traffic, abandoned, rather than parked the car, and ran, with our quilts to the station. We must have looked a bedraggled sight, but there was Ricky, Justin and their friend Susan waiting at the Oxford staion to greet us.

Goodness knows what the crowds of people must have thought of us, but we were so caught up in the moment that we really didn't notice anyone else. We had a quick picture in the station entrance, followed by a chance to chat. Ricky was unbelievably generous with his time and Sue and I so appreciated the fun opportunity to do something so mad.

Whoo-hoo as Ricky says! We giggled all the way home and both thought it a great start to our Christmas. We'll dine out on this in quilting circles for years to come. Sue has a blog ISEWQUILTSUK.com and you can see a few pics of our 'Brief Encounter' there.

About the quilts:
My quilt is a Folky Baltimore - my own design using blocks from EQ. I loved making it and eventually taught it as a BOM at my local quilt shop. I was talked into adding the border by my lovely students and I'm so glad they encouraged me to do so. The fabrics are mainly Rites of Spring by Brannock and Patek, which seemed perfect for the aged, mellow look I was after.  I think the quilt was one of those quilts that are inside you, just waiting to be made. I hand appliqued, using freezer paper and finished hand quilting it in time for the Shipton Quilters' show in 2011.

Sue's Watter's quilt is her 'Toile Reel'. The beautiful Jo Morton Ravenswood fabric inspired this quilt. She loves toile fabric and just knew she wanted to use it as a border for this quilt. She used blanket stitch applique and had it long arm quilted.

Thank you Ricky for this fun opportunity. It was great to see you here in the UK!

Sue Maddox, Alvescot, Oxfordshire and Sue Watters, Cheltenam, Gloucestershire


Paula Doyle managed to make it to Mortimer station during our journey from Salisbury to Oxford on December 22, 2011. We knew we had to watch for her on the platform. I saw Paula and her quilt come into sight and started clicking away. We passed right by her. When the train stopped I ran back to the previous coach so I could say hi through the window before the train pulled away.

Paula says:
It was great to see you through the train window at Mortimer Station on the 22nd! I’ve always been envious of the “Drive-by” quiltings you do in the States. It was great to get to participate in the event on this side of the pond! We got some weird looks from the other people on the platform boarding the train – it was such fun to set them wondering about what was going on.

About the quilt:
The quilt I brought along is called Big Triangles. It was pieced by me, and quilted on a longarm machine by my good friend Isabel Hall of Compton Quilting Services. It is a copy of a quilt I made for my Dad after my Mom passed away and he went to sleeping in a single bed in a new apartment. I picked the colors for the quilt from a couple of  jute-and-wool wall hangings he had from Chile, where he and my Mom had lived as Methodist missionary teachers for many years. The object of making the first quilt was to make something easy and quick, but I soon became intrigued with the way the colors reacted with each other, and with the secondary patterns that emerged from these simple blocks. It is a favorite “quiltathon” option for my quilt group, Thameside Quilters.


Sandy Ospina received the message that I would be arriving in Bath, England by train. She was able to make it to the Bath Spa train station and we were able to see her quilts up close and personal before hopping into our taxi. 

Sandy says:
Just like any other morning, I turned my laptop on to do the usual mail checking, only this day was different as I had received a notification via facebook informing me that Ricky Tims, THE Ricky Tims was going to be in England and passing by the City of Bath which is only 30 minutes from where I live. 
I could not believe what my eyes were reading and as always my partner in adventure, thrill and excitement is my daughter, Stephanie, so I had to let her know what our next journey would be as I knew without her the  experience would not have been the same! 

The day I had been anticipating for had finally arrived. I arrived to the City of Bath at 1.30pm however, we did not know that it would be a challenge trying to get our way round to Bath Spa Train station where Ricky Tims would be getting off the train at 2:23pm. 

The clock was ticking and we had still not been able to find our way to the train station, the time was now 2.15pm just 5 more minutes and we would be at risk of not living the Train-by experience. Tension was now building. We parked the car and ran to the platform where Ricky would be soon to arrive. 

The excitement we had contemplated till this time was now just about to explode, as we began to unfold the quilts and stand on a bench, each one of us holding a quilt I had made. We could hear a train coming our way, could this be Ricky? As we waited for all the passengers to come off the train, we saw no sign of Ricky, just a false alarm, one which caused a lot of laughter between Stephanie and I and some of the passengers who had come off the train.

Another Train was in sight, now this had to be Ricky, there could be no doubt about that. This time we were right as we saw Ricky, Justin and their friend Susan board off the train, we were lucky that we had sometime to greet one another as we were aware they were on a tight schedule. 

About the Quilt:
My Sunbonnet Sue Quilt was the first quilt that I ever made making "sunbonnet sue" my first love in Patchwork.The quilt is called Sunbonnet Through The Year and is designed by Sue Linker. It is all hand made, hand applique and hand quilted. It has twelve squares each one representing a month of the year, which was as long as it took me to complete the quilt.


Heather Bennett and husband, Michael, brought an entire quilt show to Swindon station. They were not able to come to the platform so had to do their train-by from the station's car park. Because the train was pulling away from the station, I kept the camera on wide angle so I wouldn't miss them. It was fairly dreary, but we managed to get the shot. 

Heather says:
I went to check the emails one morning and oh boy, guess what?! There was an email saying Ricky Tims was coming to England. Not only was he coming to England but he was going to try and do some drive-by quiltings via train during his holiday.

I did a quick dash upstairs to my long suffering DH. “Guess what, guess what? He’s coming to England and doing drive-bys!” My excitement was met with muffled replies...well, in all fairness it was early and he hadn’t had his cup of tea yet. I persisted. ”I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to have a go and the Swindon railway car park it is.” I emailed Ricky so he would be on the lookout for us in Swindon.

My next contact was my equally long suffering very dear quilting friend Emma, who after some explanations (she is used to me and my sometimes slightly hair brained escapades, thank goodness. Every quilter should have a friend like her) agreed to have a go herself. Great I thought, how fantastic if we can both pull this off.

The quilts were chosen, venue decided upon, and train times checked. Oh, thank goodness, we have enough time after patchwork class to get to Swindon and get in place. Now, getting into Swindon was the easy bit, finding a car park, not so easy. Dear husband kept his cool (time was ticking by just a bit too fast) and had it all under control. He managed to get me and the quilts in place. We were positioned such that the photo would happen as the train pulled away from the station.

Then along came two workmen.......I can’t start to imagine what those two burly maintenance men must have thought we were doing but whatever they were thinking, it made them smile.

They had announced the arrival of Ricky’s train. He is here. My DH and I wait with bated breath. Will it work, will it work? Then the train pulls away from the platform and the right carriage is along side us. We held up the quilts as the train passed by! Did it happen, did it work?

We breathe again and grin the biggest grins ever!

The quilts were wrapped up and we made our way back to the car intent on getting a cup of tea (well, we are English, mostly) and a hot chocolate to celebrate. I was so pleased that Michael (DH) could take part as well. He works quite hard helping me in class so it was only right that he should have some of the fun too.

About the quilts:
The lovely attic window wall hanging was made by Michael (DH). The blocks feature sea scenes and lighthouses, sea shell buttons, and wooden seagulls.

The next quilt (stained glass rose) is Michael's version of a Rennie Mackintosh design. A lot of time went into getting the colors just right and making the stitching invisible.

The nine-patch is “Luke’s frog quilt” Luke loves frogs - from a distance - and I agree with him on that!

The largest quilt in the center of the photo started life as a storybook. Folks who know me, know I like to do “textile rescues” and the storybook was most certainly a “rescue”. It was sad, grubby and forlorn when I found it in a charity shop when it “spoke “ to me. Such fun was had in the making of this happy little rescued quilt.

The little pink and yellow cot quilt came together so easily. The squares have a feature print which made choosing the sashing very easy. It is used as a sample for my first time quilters and they love to see their versions come to life in a fairly short amount of time.

The "Welcome" hanging?  Just had to show that one, didn’t I?  Welcome to England Ricky!

The heart suspended below the Welcome is known as Emmy’s heart. Emmy was a cat that adopted us many years ago and came to be my much loved furry quilting buddy.

The teddy bear is another rescue. I found him looking all sad and lost at the back of a shelf in the American museum at Claverton in Bath. At every meet and greet I have done over the years, he stands there proudly clutching his quilt and making friends with folks from all over the world. As this was another “show and tell” he just had to be there too.


There were three of us traveling to England for a Christmas holiday. Knowing I would not be traveling by car, a drive-by quilting in England wouldn't be possible. However, doing a train-by quilting just might be the ticket in order to put an international spin on this fun game. Pam Day managed to be the first to accomplish a train-by quilting. I particularly the photo (above) with the reflection in the train window. In it you can see Susan waving to Pam, but in the reflection you can see Justin as well as me with the camera.

Pam says:
I learned that Ricky would be traveling by train and passing through Reading train station, 10 miles from my home. I emailed him and tentatively asked if he would be willing to do a train-by quiltling during his private holiday.  The reply was a definite ‘yes, that would be fun’.

On December 20, 2011, I arrived at the station early and was able to work out the exact spot on the platform that his carriage would stop at. A few people around me glanced at the quilt but no one said anything. We British are so reserved we just look the other way thinking that ‘this woman’s lost the plot’ (meaning, is very strange).  When I got home and told my husband that it had all worked out, he very lovingly said ‘you’re a groupie’ to which the reply was ‘Yes, and proud of it’  I was so excited.

After taking photos from the train Ricky, Justin and I were able to chat for about 30 seconds at the doorway.  Just long enough to wish one another a Merry Christmas and safe travels. I have always found the drive-bys so fun it was wonderful to be able to take part in one myself. It was so cool to do the first train-by quilting.

About the quilt:
My quilt is called ‘Hawaiian Seas Bargello’. The fabrics remind me of the turquoise waters on Hawaii. One fabric is a batik with turtles on, a reminder of our stay at Turtle Bay. It was worked as ‘quilt as you go’ starting from the centre outwards. I did one side then as I got nearer the edge on the other side I was concentrating so hard on just getting it finished I forgot to follow the pattern, so it’s not a symmetrical pattern but I like it as it is.

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