The Stealth Quilts

During our Retirement 1.0, Beta, while doing all our Area 51 adventuring, Jeri decided to get into the (not so) wild world of quilting.  Somewhere along the line, some miscreant  dropped the idea that wouldn’t it be neat to see a quilt made of stealth aircraft shapes.  Why yes, yes, it would!

I worked out some scale layouts for Jeri, combining both  B-2s and later F-117As (the stealth craft of the day) and let her figure out what to do with them.  The end result was a design that incorporated a center section of B-2s with a changing color gradation, and an outer border composed of F-117As (The F-117As didn’t make it on to the first version, just the second and third) .  The back side of the quilt had a strange fabric that looked for all the world like contour lines on a topographic map.  It was cool like you wouldn’t believe.

Now Jeri initially thought there was probably only a rather small circle of people who would really appreciate such a esoteric (i.e., wacky) thing.  It seemed like a perfect fit for Agent X (Mark Farmer) and somehow that first  quilt ended up with him.  Not sure how, exactly, but I suspect drugs and farm animals were involved.

It turned out the quilt was a major hit in Interceptor circles, resulting in serious geeking out.  So, Jeri used her patterns to make two more. These weren’t easily knocked off items.  They were machine pieced together, but were all hand quilted, each slightly different and requiring a lot of time.  The second quilt went to the Minister of Words (Stu Brown) and the third quilt went to the Ayatollah  (Mike Dornheim).  After those two she officially retired from making B-2 quilts and probably burned the patterns.  And all was good.

Then somehow, though the machinations of those last two wankers, the Minister’s quilt ended up being exhibited in 1997 at the American Airlines Museum of Flight in Dallas-Fort Worth as part of an exhibit on aviation quilts. Talk about obscure topics.  But quite an honor.  And all was still good.

The first Stealth quilt for Agent X. Note there's only a plain blue border in this first version.

The second Stealth Quilt for the Minister of Words. Note F-117As added to border.

Detail of border. Note F-117A plumes.

Detail of B-2s. Note hand quilted engine plumes.

Then in June of 2006, things ceased to be good.  Mike Dornheim was killed in a stupid and tragic automobile accident. Not that it was comparatively important, but we figured his quilt would be long gone, tossed out by Mike’s family not knowing what it was. But we were wrong. Mike’s brother, who was handling Mike’s estate, found the quilt and tracked down Jeri and asked if she would like it back. Seeing as how I never got a stinkin’ quilt of my own (not to mention it being the number three Ayatollah quilt), I gently pummeled her until she told Mike’s brother we’d be honored to have it back if the family didn’t want it.

So that’s how I came to own one of the three Stealth Quilts, shown below.  I keep it in Mike’s memory, and would gladly trade it back for his presence.  He was a wonderful grounding influence when it came to figuring out crazy happenings in the desert.

Mike Dornheim's quilt, named "Spirits into the Blue"

B-2 detail showing quilting pattern

F-117A border detail

Return to the Area 51 page