Monday, August 23, 2010

Brilliance in Patches

A question had been quietly lingering in the back of my mind since our first family camping trip to Unicoi State Park back in March. The question became considerably louder and more urgent when we returned from our Tour of America a couple of weeks ago. “What to do with the patches?”

When we took our first camping trip with KitMama and family, Papa Bear observed that they have a backpack onto which they sew patches collected from places they have camped. “Ah,” says Papa Bear, “something else I can collect!” No, make that, “Ah, we should collect patches, too, as a way of remembering all of the great places we camped at!” “Okay,” I say. All the while thinking, what am I supposed to sew those patches onto so we can keep them for all eternity?

A backpack? No, we haven’t had one last us more than a few years. Our tent? No, we don’t use it, really. Popper? No, eventually we’ll be trading it in for a larger model. One of Papa Bear’s field jackets from his AF days? No, that’s not quite right, either.

So, I stuck our first patches in my sewing drawer, and put the question on the back burner.

Till we got home. And I opened up my travel bag and found about two dozen patches. Hmmmm. What am I going to do with all these patches? It took me a couple of days of simmering, and then it came to me in the wee hours of the morning.

A quilt! And, not just any quilt, but a denim quilt made from cut-off jeans. Brilliant! No other fabric says “camping” like denim, especially broken-in denim. And, we can take it with us when we camp or travel.

Of course, it’s going to take several years to finish, but I got a good start by attacking some of BooBoo’s too-short jeans, as well as one of my maternity overalls, all of which are now shorts. That yielded enough squares to affix almost all of our recent trip patches, so I started sewing.

I left two squares vacant under the “Georgia State Park Camper” master patch so we can collect and affix each State Park patch-lett as we collect them. I dated each patch with a Sharpie pen, because I’m too lazy to embroider dates. I zig-zagged all the seams and raw ends so it should put up with some handling and light use for the next dozen years or so until it will be finished (if ever?).

Some day, Papa Bear and I will be snuggled up together under our Travel Quilt in front of the fireplace, fondly remembering each of our family’s journeys. Won’t that be sweet?


  1. THAT is pure brilliance. Wonderful! What a fantastic memento. :)

  2. That looks awesome!! I can't believe you just whipped that up. I am jealous of your sewing skills, thanks for teaching me the other day!

  3. @Christin - Thank you for letting me borrow your sewing machine! I promise to return it threaded :)

  4. Brilliant! What an heirloom you have created! Warm memories forever.....

  5. aww :) thats the sweetest thing.