Denim Quest: Projects 13 & 14

Okay, things have been slowing down, but I think its only due to the cold weather and the fact that I have thrown myself into job hunting. Again.

So, I shared with you the quilt I made so that I could write a Instructable “ible” for the “Sew Warm” contest that they are having. I will shamelessly plug myself again, ’cause I really want to win! Please go here and vote!

Project 13:

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This quilt was given an interest row, that is, I turned one row on point. Not only did it make the quilt a little bit longer, but I like the way it draws your eye in. Makes you want to really look at it. (You might notice that the day, again, was windy and cold, making photo taking a real adventure!)

This one, already claimed by The Kid, was made to be a little more than a lap quilt. Rather it became a bed quilt. It measures 90″ x 74″ so that it covers his entire bed. Hopefully I will get this quilt tops off to my long-arm quilter before he becomes a father himself! I have a very tall stack of quilts that require Becky’s (hi Becky!) special touch!

If you’re looking for a longarm quilter check out Collis Country Quilting. If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting. She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com.)

Project 14:

I am still working through all those pre-cut pieces I originally had following the deconstruction of all those pairs of blue jeans. (To see more about this, go here.)IMG_4463I used up a fair amount of those big/long pieces (6″ x 24″) in other quilts, like a large scaled Fence Rails, but I still had a fair amount left. So, I used most of the up in a large scale “French Braids” quilt.

It didn’t really take too many to create this quilt and I can tell you that it isn’t my favorite quilt. Perhaps with some interesting top stitching it will be better. I am thinking that I want to use, what I lovingly call, “blue jeans top stitching gold”. Perhaps that will help. 🙂

So, well into another denim quilt which should be completed soon. I am working my way through all of that denim!

So, please, don’t forget about heading over to Instructables.com and voting up my quilt. I really, really, really want to win! 🙂 (Thank you in advance!)

julie

I Need Your Help! The Denim Quest Continues…

Today, I posted an “ible” on Instructables.com that provides step-by-step instructions on how to create a “Denim Crazy Rails Quilt” which you can find here. I’ve written it to help others to be able to easily re-create one of my favorite quilts (and one of The Kid’s favorites – he now has three!) but also for the express purpose of entering one of their contests. The contest is called “Sew Warm Contest 2018”.

I think this particular quilt, made using recycled denim, is one of the most comfortable and warm, yet stylish quilts that you can make. It has always made me think of a comfortable pair of jeans worn with your favorite flannel shirt – something that is comfortable without being formal. Something you can relax in.

Now here it is in a quilt!

IMG_4580I am not including the instructions for making this quilt in this post (but may sometime soon). I have a ulterior motive for asking you to go to Instructables.com to view, I want you to vote the tutorial (or “ible” as they are called over there). I really want to win this particular contest.

So, if I can be so bold as to ask you to do this for me, I would be most appreciative! Ask you friends and family! Ask complete strangers… okay, so I am getting a bit carried away there.

And check out Instructables.com while you’re there, its a very cool place to find very cool instructions on making very cool stuff of all kinds!

Thanks in advance!

julie

Denim and Needle Point

I took a little break from the mountains of denim in my sewing room and guest bedroom. I was working on some handbags and am having a heckuva time with the machine not going through the very thick intersections and multiple thread, bobbin and needle breaks. I honestly think the machine needs servicing before I do real damage to it.

It is amazing the dust and lint and threads that come from all this denim! I took the face plate off of my sewing machine and it was just packed with blue fuzz. I cleaned it out really well, but like I said, I think it needs servicing.

My son bought me the machine when my embroidery machines started giving me troubles. It is a simple heavy duty Janome (my first non-Singer) and it just tore through everything. I love it! And I love that my son just researched it and went out and bought it for me. Guess he is not too happy with the swearing coming out of the sewing room!

Okay, so I thought I would take a break from the quilting and do a little needlepoint. Honestly, I don’t know if it is needlepoint or if it is cross stitch. I just picked up some of the cloth you use and found pictures I like and did it. I didn’t follow a guide or anything, just started weaving that needle in and out.

So I started with this cartoon:

PIN Cusion Image 2So a few nights watching the new season of “Black Mirror” and then the “Phillip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” and I ended up with this:

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The side is a waistband from one of those thousands of pairs of jeans and then a piece of denim on the back and a little stuffing and its done. A nice break. There has been this voice calling from the sewing room and I’ve got another idea for a denim quilt, so off I go!

In the middle of all this, I made this Mexican beef for burritos. I’ve been craving Mexican food so now I have it!

IMG_4505Thanks for dropping by!

julie

Denim Quest: Projects 11 & 12

I actually finished these two projects a couple of days ago, just waiting for the weather to get nice enough that I could take them outside to do the photographs.

Well, it wasn’t getting any warmer and I needed to air the house out (long story, but a burner was left on unlit and the house filled up with gas) so I figured while it was the same temp inside and out, I’d get the photos taken.

DSCN5241But, as you can see, it was cold and windy and we were trying whatever it took to get those pictures and get back in the house… QUICK!

So, I worked on another ‘log rails’ only in an even larger size. While I was precutting all of the denim, I ended up with quite a few pieces sized 6″ x 24″. I am going to use these in all of the ‘normal’ patterns, like the fence rails and braids. I think it is interesting to go bigger rather than smaller in some of these patterns.

Here is are the fence rails using the large pieces:

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Now, that’s a big quilt… it tops out at 84″ square. That’s going to be a cozy quilt once it is topped stitched and bound. I love the variety of the colors… remember that these were all once worn jeans, so that they have warmth and comfort in every piece!

This next one is kind of a experiment for me.

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I don’t do many quilts that are specifically for me, but this one is a quilt based on a photo of my son’s face.IMG_0806

I took a favorite photograph in Photoshop and reduced it to four shades. Streeter

From there it was enlarged many times (thanks to the services of Office Depot). The photo printed out on four sheets of 24″ x 36″ paper.

I took those and taped them all together.IMG_4430I then carefully cut it into the separate pieces based on color. I used a wash-away adhesive to adhere the pieces to a single piece of denim. Once the top stitching is done (and I expect nothing but perfection from my long arm quilter), then the adhesive can be washed away.

DSCN5246I really liked the way his face is offset in the photo and am contemplating stitching or embroidering his name into the quilt below it. There is a very special place in the house where this is destined to go. I just love it!

I have been working on a few more quilts and I also have some ideas for handbags and carry bags to be made from waistbands. I also have a log cabin style quilt in the works from the waistbands.

Having this spate of cold has sure made it easy to justify staying indoors! And what could be better than making quilts and sewing?!

julie

Denim Quest: Projects 8, 9 & 10

Well, I’m starting to feel like I am making some real progress! The piles in the sewing room, outside the sewing room and in the guest bedroom are starting to diminish and some are even disappearing! There are still projects ahead and of course, the pile of quilts that need the top stitching grows all the time.

Project 8:

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This quilt started out with the medallion – which was really an experiment. I thought the use of harvested fabric that had the removed pockets, but as I look at it completed, the medallion shape sort of gets lost because of it. I might try this again, however, I would make the medallion larger and perhaps use the larger squares as well. This particular quilt is 5″ squares, but I think a larger medallion with 8″ or even 10″ squares might be the trick.

Project 9:

DSCN5236DSCN5237I really like this one and so does The Kid; he has already claimed this one! Like he needs another quilt on his bed!53647418560__736E739E-FDCC-4711-9B54-2C4863C97F50.JPG

This is a larger version of quilts that he is currently using. I think the original strips were 3″ x 9″, but once assembled there was some significant trimming. You can see my ‘signature’ red strip and one in the corner piece (this will have a bright red flannel backing). I didn’t quite have enough border fabric, so I improvised on the two sides with a tiny patched strip. I really like this. Happy accidents!

Project 10:

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This quilt is still in the “wait & see” category. I actually saw this block originally as one of many, in fact, the star was actually less than 10″. I took the pattern and blew it up really large and then used strips of denim to create the arms.

After sewing the strips together to make the star, I removed the paper backing, but now I am thinking I should have left it until it could be top stitched. I think this might be a real headache to do without getting the quilt all distorted.

I thought about adding a border, but just with the star alone is already 75″ square! I think it might work better this way, without a border. We’ll see, I guess.

We took the quilts outside to the front to photograph them. It was a bitter 10 degrees while we were doing this and the wind was blowing pretty well. That’s why The Kid is in the photos trying to keep them still enough to take the photos. In the short time it took to hang and take the photos, we both had numb fingers and faces. I don’t know if you live in a colder part of the states (of the world?) but our memories of the last few winters were pretty warm and almost coat-less. In fact, it was in the mid-fifties until Christmas and then a real cold front moved across the nation. At least we only got minimal snow (*fingers crossed). These are the days when I miss California the most!!

Well, a few hours and we’ll be into 2018. Wow. Time sure flies!

Happy New Years

Happy New Years folks!

julie

Denim Quest: Projects 6 & 7

Okay, two more done. Ish. Done-ish. Oh, you get it.

And should I mention that I have not been sleeping real well. So slinging denim and hunched over the sewing machine for hours… ah, I digress. In actuality, if I could figure out a way, I would make quilts for a living.

So, on to the projects du jour.

The first one I put together awhile back. Just been sitting on a shelf waiting for borders. And with the recent purchase of 16 million yards of denim, well, now I have no excuse.

Project 6:

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I really like this one with the stars. It feels like a real quilt, rather than just patchwork of old pieces of jeans. Which is so like many quilts, so, I should stop while I am ahead.

Project 7

This one is made of a more unusual material harvested from the old jeans: inside seams! (Which I just found out are referred to as “fell flat seams” like this:

Jean SeamsThe seams from the back and crotch go into this as well, when they represent a significant length. Most of the time, to get really long unbroken seams I will leave in the ‘intersections’ of the seams, but in most cases I will try to remove them when they’re too bulky. Unless you have a heavy duty sewing machine, you’re going to lost your cool sooner or later as these “knots” (as I call ’em) will break your thread, break your needle and in the worst conditions, break your machine!

Okay, back to the quilt:

IMG_4477There she is! It is about 90″ long and about 70″ wide. I argued with myself back and forth on adding a border, but in the end, I think it will go without. I think just about any borders would pale in comparison and take the emphasis of the quilt away from its uniqueness. The backing is a deep indigo blue flannel that is just so soft. Once it is top-stitched (I am thinking blue jean “yellow orange” stitching) to help keep this beast together.

A few more photos:

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Only about four or so more quilt tops that need attention. If I can continue in this manner, should be no problem!

julie

Denim Quest: Project 5

Just because I have “finished” five projects, doesn’t mean it was start to finish. Often – as many of you – like to have multiple projects going. With this obscene amount of denim, I knew that there would be projects that I would start almost simultaneously. As I wrote in my last post, there are definitely days (actually most days) when I just want to sew and thus have many projects in “almost done” status.

Today’s project is made entirely out of blue (and some black, white, grey and even some tan) jeans’ waistbands. They first had their belt loops removed and then the button tack and their button holes. Still trying to figure out if there is anything I can do with these ends…

So, for today’s reveal:

IMG_4473It wasn’t planned, but they finished all about the same size and was relatively easy to cut them to 24″ square.IMG_4475At first, it was relatively easy to sew together. First in three rows and then the long strips together… that was when it got slightly more difficult and required help.IMG_4474With The Kid’s help maneuvering the large, heavy strips, I finally got it assembled. Creating the back – a solid deep blue flannel – was a breeze.

The next step is that the both of us are going to sit on the coach and trim threads!!

Let me know if you have questions about any aspect of the denim quilt series. I love comments and questions!

julie

Denim Quest: Projects 3 & 4

Wow, am I glad that it is cold and snowy out – otherwise I would be slightly upset about spending so much time in front of my sewing machine.

So, I have been determined (and so far, so good) on getting all the denim projects done. Today, I readied two more for my wonderful, tolerant and happy long arm quilter – hi Becky! If you’re looking for a longarm quilter check out Collis Country Quilting. If you’re interested in contacting Becky, you can reach here on her Facebook page: Collis Country Quilting. She can also be reached via email at: rebecca_collis@yahoo.com.

I’ve had a number of partial quilt tops created, but wanted to add sashing to them and prep the backing fabric. There are many, many, MANY days that I love to just go up to my sewing room, load a few good movies and just sew, sew, sew! The tops have been piling up, along with all of the flannel I intended to use as backings. So, now is the time to get things done!

Here is the first quilt that was treated with 6″ borders.

braided-2.jpegYeah, that’s me hiding from the camera in the upper corner 🙂

This is one of my favorite patterns, I call it “braids”, made using 2″ x 6″ pieces. I have done several of these in denim and are always quickly claimed. My son has two of them!

The borders were initially supposed to have a woven corner from the inside seams of jeans. I sat for a bunch of evenings weaving them using fabric glue. They are very cool looking but…

…they are also very bulky and in trying to add it as the corner on the border, I ended up breaking three needles!

Realized that I had made them 8″ instead of 6″, I cut each one down, only to end up not using them. And now I have a huge pile of them and not sure what to do with ’em! Ideas?

That was enough. I switched to leftover pieces from the quilts that I made using the pant leg hems.Braided 1I started using just the tiniest bits of red in the denim quilts as a sort of signature. Having this red piece (and one more in a corner) I opted to use the bright red flannel for the backing fabric. It is STUNNING.

Braided 3The next quilt was my little hexie quilt experiment. I am very happy with how it turned out, I simply appliqued the hexies onto four equal pieces of white denim. It worked better than I could have hoped!

HexiesIt came together so well you can’t even see the seams! Added a border of 6″ squares alternating with 2″ x 6″ strips and prepared the backing fabric, more of the bright red flannel – to match the red hex – and it, too, is ready to be top quilted.

Tomorrow, I am hoping to continue the push and get at least two more ready to be quilted. It has gotten very cold around here, a whopping 10 degrees (unusual considering a week ago it was in the sixties) and it sure isn’t enticing me to leave the house!!

julie

Denim Quest: First Project Complete (?)

So, I have been doing a lot of cutting of denim. And I have finally finished the first hurdle, cutting all the harvested denim from somewhere between 200 and 250 pair of jeans. And it is A LOT of denim.

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The tall stack of offset squares? Those are 8″ and that tower is more than 400 pieces! The other tall stack is 6″ squares and then of course there are 10″, 4″x 6″, 3″x9″ and of course my favorite is the 2″ x 6″ – which I like to do the braided quilts.

While I was doing all this cutting, I was also sewing, using the strange remainders once the defined sizes were cut. I love to make scrap quilts with them. Mostly I was doing 10″ squares, but also have been working on 4″ x 6″. I put all of the fabric to use though, using what is left after doing 4″ x 6″ squares by dumping them into the floor of the attic space behind my son’s room. Nothing like denim to work as insulation.

IMG_4443Nothing can make more threads and dust like denim though. There is blue dust all over the house!

I save everything from the jeans that I harvest: hems, pockets, seams, waistbands, belt loops and of course the fabric. The only thing I don’t use are the zippers… and I even keep the little zipper tab to keep track of just how many jeans I take apart!

So, the first project that I actually completed sewing is bottom hems. While it might make sense for you to realize, working with denim and jeans’ parts, things get heavy quick! Oh, and the other thing is that sewing denim is very hard on sewing machines and needles!

This is the result of stitching together hems:

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This is approximately 80″ x 60″. Even though this is the last project I started, it was the first to really be completed. And I don’t know if I am going to leave it like this or try to add a backing and top stitching. As it is, it is amazingly heavy and because it does contain “knots” – that’s what I call the cross section of a seam and bottom hem (or waist bands or side seams that cross another seam) – that are very hard on needles and machines.

This is the next current project… this is made of scraps sewn onto 10″ muslin squares.

IMG_0146.JPGSo, this is 10 x 10 squares that measure 10″. I’ve started the sashing between, so far I have ten strips of 10, so the next step is to create the sashing between the long strips. I could not do this without my son’s help. These are very heavy quilts! Since they were assembled onto muslin, it may not require a backing and it might be too big for long arm quilting machine, so the muslin backing may be enough.

You can see the roll of belt loops at the bottom of that photo. I was thinking that might make a unique sashing in a less complex denim quilt. Who knows!?

One thing I have learned that I want to pass along to anyone who might want to work with harvested denim… DO NOT USE STRETCHY DENIM! I cannot emphasize enough how this can screw up a denim quilt. You can see in the photo below where the stretch makes the quilt bulge or where I had to cut sections to get it to lay flat.

Stretch FixesI wish I could go back and take ALL the stretchy denim out, but it would be way too much work at this point. I won’t make that mistake going forward!

julie

A REALLY Big Spool of Thread

As regular readers, you know that I often go “thrifting” with my son. Sometimes I find the best stuff, sometimes its raw materials and sometimes it is just fun stuff.

On one of my more recent outings, I found something that I knew I had to have yet would never use. It was one of those ‘just gotta have it’ objects and it will look great when I find a place in my already-overstuffed-sewing room.

Giant SpoolCan you imagine ever using up a spool of thread that large? Ha! I am just going to hang on to it and one day, it will be part of the best estate sale ever!

julie

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