These All-American Quilts Are Hand-Stitched in an Airstream

They pay cozy homage to Joshua Tree, Montauk and more

October 15, 2018 9:00 am

Despite the unfortunate name, Etsy isn’t all popsicle-stick sculptures and kitten sweaters. Enter: Debunking Etsya bimonthly column profiling all the wonderfully talented craftsmen who use the site to peddle well-built, hard-wearing and handsome goods for your home and person.

Think of a quilt not only as a source of warmth, but as the most functional piece of art you keep in your home. Bundle up in one adjacent to a heat source, et voila, instant warmth. But it’s equally capable when not in use: you can double a quilt over a ladder, drape it across the foot of your bed, hang it from a wall — et voila, instant artwork.

And not unlike a a milkshake served in a frosty tin, a quilt is somehow even better when made by hand in a mobile, America-spanning Airstream studio.

Which is exactly how Etsy shop Vacilando Quilting makes its cotton-and-linen blended blankets. In 2013, shop-owner Laura Preston set out across America in her then 27-year-old, 34-foot Airstream with an assortment of painting supplies. But she didn’t once pick up her brush, unable to find painting conducive to the vagaries of vagabond life. She did, though, meet some modern quilters. Her first hack at the craft wasn’t anything special, but she was immediately hooked.

Years later, she’s on her second Airstream, but still on that same initial adventure. Her quilts borrow heavily from the grooves, colors and undulations of the quiet corners of America she’s visited, from the ochres of Joshua Tree to the blues and greys of Montauk.

Preston specifically cites small inspirations like driftwood on a rocky beach, or shapes found on an old house. And with that attention to the natural world comes an appreciation for sustaining it. Vacilando sources all natural materials: 100% cotton, washed linen, raw silk, cotton/linen blends and U.S.-grown unbleached cotton batting.

While a crib quilt takes Preston just eight hours, a queen-size can take up to 50 hours over a couple of weeks. You want a modern heirloom? Her rare brand of slow-cooked craftsmanship will deliver.

Below, we’ve included a few of our favorites from Vacilando’s collection. If you don’t see your style exactly, consider requesting a custom order — you can find more information on doing that here.

Trans Pecos Quilt


Rimrock Quilt


Cholla Quilt


Presidio Quilt


All images from Vacilando Quilting

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