Denim Quest: Projects 18, 19 & 20

Project 18:

This quilt is another made using the “french braid” pattern, much like this one. This one has a border, made from denim I bought about a hundred years ago when I lived in California. I recalled that it seemed more blue and less purple the last time I sewed with it.

DSCN5287This quilt is another made using the “french braid” pattern, much like this one. This one has a border, made from denim I bought about a hundred years ago when I lived in California.DSCN5288

This particular quilt had the long arm stitching with the backing fabric (a solid dark blue flannel) and is now complete. This photo gives you a closer look on the stitch pattern.

If you’re looking for a longarm quilte,r 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.)

DSCN5289When I completed the binding, I added my new quilt label in the shape of a little red tag. I have chosen to use this on all of my denim quilts.

Little Red Tag Label

Project 19:

This quilt is a result of having just a handful of smaller squares already pre-cut. I simply did a little math and figured with a small border around the smaller (5″) squares it could be added on with the larger 10″ squares. (I still have a large quantity of the larger blocks and figured that this is the way to start making my way through the pile.)

DSCN5285DSCN5284This will make a very nice quilt for a boys’ or men’s use… nothing like the soft feel of faded blue jeans!

Project 20:

I swear this quilt had a pattern when I started it!

What you see outlined in the photo below is the original quilt but it was much too small even with a border. So, I dug out additional 8″ squares and added an additional two square strips around the outside.

DSCN5279This quilt is HUGE! You can see that it is so big that it actually dragged on the ground. This is the largest quilt I have made (so far)! It is going to make someone really happy and very, very warm!

DSCN5280My little spot of red was the little lone star. I intentionally left the outsides ragged so that when it is washed it should fray very nicely.DSCN5282So, I add the unfinished pile waiting to be long-arm quilted. And there are already a bin or two already waiting to be completed over at Becky’s place. What I really need is an inflection of money, i.e. a job! LOLIMG_4672I still have quite a bit of denim left to use. I have been spending some time trying to come up with some new and fun patterns to try. I think the next one is going to be based on BowTies or perhaps PinWheels. If you have a favorite pattern that might work well with the denim, PLEASE pass it on! I am determined to see this ‘quest’ through! (And afterwards, it may be a very long time before I opt to work in denim again.)

Thanks for dropping by!

julie

Denim Quest: Projects 15, 16 & 17

Still in catch-up mode. Bad news, while I am feeling better, my son is down for the count. I guess that is how it works. 😦

Project 15:

DSCN5265DSCN5267

This was something that just came to me. Oh, to be honest, I am sure that I have seen something similar in all the browsing I do. I just happened to have a bunch of 2″ white strips of denim left over from cutting and wanted to do something unique with it.

I still had a bunch of 8″ squares remaining from the huge initial reclamation of denim, so this was very easy. I randomly cut each square into two pieces and sewed in a piece of white and then trimmed it back down to the original 8″. From there it was just a matter of sewing them together. I didn’t plan the specific layout, I simply made several piles and then drew randomly from them to sew.

I did, of course, include (quickly becoming) my signature red by using a red square cut by the white strip. I liken the red accent piece to the little Levi tag on the back pocket. I would like to have some – not all – of the quilts recently completed, top-stitched with a gold thread – call it ‘denim stitch gold’. I think it could work really well. I think it will be especially work well on the next quilt that I am showing you.

Project 16:

DSCN5263This one was inspired by a Pinterest PIN. The one I saw (and which cannot locate now!) had a dark background with light colored triangles in a lightweight cotton. I had cut these triangles during the ‘great cut marathon’ with this quilt in mind.

Frayed Patch

However, I didn’t have a red triangle cut and really, think that a full triangle would be overpowering. These triangles are larger than 12 inches… that will give you an idea of how large these squares are.

The red accent is a little difficult to see in this photo, but I felt that a whole red triangle would be a bit too much. So, one of the triangles had some natural fraying, so I cut a small piece of red and sewed it to the back.

Decorative Top Stitch

As the quilt is washed, used and loved, the fraying will become more prominent. That is also the reason I sewed the triangles with a decorative stitch that should allow for more fraying, adding to its charms.

I think that the raw edges on some of these quilts just really makes them special. And with the backing of flannel, it really makes using one of these more personal, like being casual in your favorite pair of jeans with a soft flannel shirt.

Project 17:

DSCN5269

Elsewhere during this current denim project, you have seen quilts made of 2″ x 6″, 6″ x 24″ and now here is an intermediate size of 3″ x 9″. While I love the 2″ x 6″ and have made this in many colors and fabrics, I wasn’t exactly happy about the turnout of 6″ x 24″ strips quilt.Rail TiesNow, this size – 3″ x 9″ – turned out pretty great, even if I have to say so myself. I think that the use of the red flannel would be the perfect ending for this quilt. Add to it the gold jeans stitching and this will be awesome!

In assessing the amount of denim left, I am guessing somewhere between 6 and 10 more quilts are yet to be made. So be sure to watch for new posts.

Thanks for dropping by!

julie

Oh and before I forget, I have to include my shameless request: A quilt I made was the basis for an Instructable “ible” for the “Sew Warm” contest that they are having. If you haven’t, I’d appreciate it if you would vote for me. If you have voted, you can vote again! I know that this is a shameless plug again, But I really want to win! Please go here and vote!

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 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: Second Project

Working steadily yesterday evening and this morning, I managed to stitch together the next project using the 4″ x 6″ pre-cut rectangles. 4x6-4.jpegThe original project was less ambitious but once I had it laid out on my cutting table, it appeared too small. So it was widened -65″ – and lengthened – 85″.

4x6 1The rectangles are laid out in rows that are end to end and alternative rows that are side by side. I thought that this might make for a more interesting and more pleasing layout.

I do like it, but it is definitely not my favorite. I also added a few rectangles that were pieced. In the patchwork of color and stages of wear and fading, the pieced rectangles are difficult to identify.

4x6 2A closeup (before ironing) of the alternating placement of the rectangles:

4x6 3And I underestimated the number of those pieced pieces and now I have about 25 left… to small to make a quilt, but too many to just throw away. Sigh. Another project I guess!

A few months ago while Joann’s was pushing fabric with an unprecedented sales price, I stocked up on flannel for the backs of all of these denim quilts. This particular quilt included some deep green denim, so I want to use the black/green checkered flannel for its backing. 4x6 5My experience with making denim quilts is that they are quite warm without the inclusion of batting. And they are quite heavy without the added weight. Now I just have to lay  my hands on funding for the top stitching!! (I haven’t forgotten you Becky!)

Next up, I think I am going to add sashing and corners to the four or five (almost) completed quilt tops. For this, I also stocked up on denim when it was on sale (again at one of my favorite stores, Joann’s) from $19 to $6 per yard prices. I have prepared some interesting corners for at least a few of the quilts, which I will show you in more detail when I use them.

4x6 6You may have noted that I have spilled out of the sewing room into the hall. In addition to the denim (still on bolts!) I also have some remaining waistbands that are intended for some projects in the way of handbags and backpack designs that I want to try. Waste not, want not!

That’s about it for tonight. I am going to try to complete as many of the denim projects as I can as I think it may be time to return to my full time occupation. I have sure enjoyed these past months though!

julie

 

The Denim Quest Continues…

I cut and I cut, then I sew and sew and yet, it seems like I am never making progress!

IMG_4435IMG_4434I have plans to make at least two dozen quilts in various configurations plus my fallback style, the crazy quilt.

So, not much new to report other than the constant denim. I have way too many projects started and it takes some kind of effort not to start more!

Send me your good thoughts? I am going to need ’em!

julie

Quilts, Denim and Thrifting… Oh, and I Finished My Cross Stitch

I’ve been working on a ton of projects but current resources are making things hard to finish anything. And when I say “resources” I am not talking about time, imagination or inspiration and generally speaking also not about fabric, thread or sewing machines.

The group of quilts that I’ve been working is based on using denim fabric harvested from old jeans. Getting my hands on really, really cheap jeans isn’t an issue. The problem I am having is that the borders I want to add to these quilts in progress I want to be seamless. And that will require the purchase of new denim fabric. And, of course, I want to use is flannel and I am finding that the necessary amount of this fabric will be quite large. I tend to find myself in this quandary quite often now that I am approaching nearly a year of unemployment. 😦

Not so long ago, I saw a comment posted on a beautiful – simple yet very functional – quilt made from old blue jeans. The comment, which I cannot seem to locate now, said something to the effect that quilts made from old jeans look like “old jeans” and therefore implied that the quilt looked ‘old and worn’. I replied saying that’s what makes these quilts so extraordinary, that they feel as great as your favorite jeans and thereby by extension, are something to be used and to feel comforted by. These words kicked off a goal of using harvested denim to make both beautiful and functional quilts. To show that your blue jeans and flannel shirts aren’t about dressing up, but about feeling good; and isn’t that what we all love about our favorite quilts?

So, let me start with sharing my method for acquiring blue jeans. It was a absolute accident that I stumbled upon this idea. If you’ve been reading or following my blog, you’ll know that I am a huge lover of thrift shops and going with my son. We just happened upon the “Last Chance” racks of clothing at Red Racks. Red Racks, I believe, are local to the Missouri, from Kansas City on the west all the way to St. Louis on the east. With a little luck, you may find your solution in your area.Fancy Line 1

Red Racks is a major source of funds for DAV. The proceeds from the sales of donated goods help our country’s Disabled American Veterans, providing assistance for transportation, medical needs, counseling, and much more. Find out more at DAV.org.

Fancy Line 1

So, Red Racks have what they call “last chance” and all items on these racks are priced at a dollar. Sometimes, they have some wonderful items (a great place to get kid’s clothes!) and often many pairs of jeans. These range from baby jeans all the way to guy’s jeans. Even at this price, you can’t beat it.

But… on Sundays the last chance has one really last chance and everything is marked to twenty five cents! Now here is a unbelievable price! And as you might suspect, items go quickly. For some reason, The Kid and I just happened to be there early and literally took every piece of denim we could find. And even at this, our giant haul was only $13!

Now, here is one thing that I discovered with working with denim. Be extremely cautious using denim with stretch. One project I am working on is using the jeans seams. However, when you add in seams with stretch, the piece becomes … curvy. Not a result that I wanted. And if not used correctly, the stretch denim can cause havoc in your quilt. I am not saying that you can’t use it, just be careful when you do. I, personally, have opted to reduce my use, if not all out stopping.

IMG_4370So, this is one of my first hauls. Either someone was watching or had the same idea as me, but it never was more than this. But this is more than enough. I was also working on collecting colored denim as an accent for these quilts, but true colored denim is hard to come by. Or maybe I should say heavy denim or colored denim without stretch.

IMG_4369In this pile, really only the top red, the blacks and browns and the bottom turquoise print are what I would call “real” denim. The others are lightweight and/or have stretch and will not use them in quilts. They may work great for making doll clothes though.

So, I’ve been able to piece together six denim quilts, four that need borders and all need flannel backings before I can ship these off to my top quilter. For those who may have missed it, I have a wonderful friend Becky, who does my longarm service, 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. Just let her know that I sent you!)

Here is a quilt that I stumbled onto via Pinterest. It is called “Cathedral windows” and was quite quick to put together.DSCN5208And the back:DSCN5209This is quite wonderful since it didn’t actually require top quilting… it is a ‘quilt as you go’. I love the varying shades of denim… this is one of those quilts I am working on in the concept to show just how beautiful old and faded jeans can be turned into equally beautiful quilts.DSCN5210And here, a shot of the front. Some of the squares turned out a little funky, I think I wasn’t paying quite enough attention to the flaps as I worked. I think once its gone through the washing machine once or twice.DSCN5211I’ve actually starting working on another of these quilts, starting with 10″ circles which should fold down to about 7″. Initially, I was going to use the harvested colored denim, but after assembling a few squares have determined that it is too dull. So, more investigation as to other possibilities.DSCN5212I actually did a smaller quilt with some leftover squares and ran it through the washer. This will give you an idea of how it will look:IMG_4388I did finish the binding for one more that Becky top quilted for me (there are still a ton more to finish binding!):

DSCN5214The quilt didn’t turn out quite like I hoped. The patterns of the fabrics mask the layout and you can’t quite see it for the colors.DSCN5215Oh, well, sometimes you hit a homer and sometimes it is just good for keeping the fans in the bleachers warm.DSCN5216Pretty purple backing with a nice meandering pattern.

I also finished my cross stitch of my favorite Pyrex pattern: Friendship Birds.IMG_4391I’m not thrilled with it in the hoop, can’t seem to get it taut. I am going to look into other options. Stay tuned!

Okay, that’s it for now! Thanks for dropping by!

julie

For The Love of Pyrex – My Friendship Pattern

Sometimes it is so amazing how quickly time goes by. I always thought that time was like a bell curve, when you were young, time seemed to go so slowly and then speed up as you entered your twenties and then sped up until sometime in your late forties or so and then it would start slowing down.

Even though I am not working, each day seems to alternatively just go by in a blink of an eye and then sometimes, the days can just drag on and on.

Anyway, this last couple of weeks have seemed to just flash by. I have always tried to write consistently… rather than have the blog just sort of fade away. When I feel like I have nothing left to share or learn, I will just say so, say goodbye to my readers and stop. I am not ready to do that yet.

So, although I haven’t written recently, it isn’t for lack of projects! Every so often, I have to stop myself and focus on a project until it is done. I get one started and then I have my attention diverted and get started on something else, and before you know it I have eight things going and nothing getting done!

On top of that, The Kid and I went out to pick up free Tiger Lilly plants for replanting in the back yard and while trying to load them, I tripped and fell. I may have cracked a rib, at the very least I bruised something, making it tough to really do much at all. Every move hurts and it really puts a damper on most of my projects.

There is one that is doable, and it started a little while back. When I dug out all my Pyrex and got a little more involved with it again. I want to take the doors off the cabinet above the stove and display the Pyrex I collect for me, the pattern is called Friendship or Friendship Birds. Its mostly red with a heavy sprinkling of this light orange.

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(This isn’t mine but I want to add this to my collection!)

The remainder of the Pyrex was sold! And I got almost as much as I was asking… a nice little amount. This is the cabinet I am thinking about turning into a showcase:

I think I could just take off the doors and rearrange the shelves, but I work because it sits above the microwave vent and I worry that it might get greasy (the doors do!). Maybe I could place a framed piece of plexiglass or something over it. I am still thinking on this idea.

But the other idea it sparked was another cross stitch. Using my favorite Pyrex pattern, I drew out the pattern. I am going to “frame” it in a embroidery hoop, I’ve already painted it red. Turns out that cross stitching I can do that doesn’t aggravate my cracked rib.

IMG_4366So, between the stitching, harvesting denim from old jeans and sewing denim quilt squares, I have been keeping busy. I will let you in on my secret of getting old denim from jeans for practically nothing soon. In addition to the mostly blue but some black and white, I have found some really great colors – and a leopard print! – which I am going to make a really colorful denim quilt down the road. I’ve also added much to my denim stash: side and bottom seams, belt loops and pockets! Like I said, so much stuff started… getting nothing done!

Oh yeah, and in between all this, I am still job hunting. Although it may not seem like it, I still love the work I do in computers. There is a career that is never boring and always changing. It has done well for me.

Come back soon for updates!

julie

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