A Bit of a Hiatus

Please forgive the recent lack of activity. You see my 22 young old son – often referred in this blog as “The Kid”, recently passed away about three weeks ago and I have been dealing with it and the grief.

I have been advised my at least one therapist to get right back into the ‘creativity’ to keep focus. However, every time I go to my sewing/craft room to try and work, the fact that The Kid’s room is but ten steps away prevents me from doing anything.

In the meantime, please enjoy the existing demos, tutorials and photos.

I hope to be back soon,

julie

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!

Eye Glass Case, Pin Cushions

First off, here is 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!

I have under the weather for some time, each time I thought that I was getting to feeling better, I’d have a relapse later in the day from trying to do too much. But, I did turn to my needlepoint (or cross stitch) to make the time pass while recuperating.

I ran across the pattern on Pinterest (don’tcha just love that site?) and thought it would be something that might be relatively straight forward and not take too much time. Something I could pick up and put down easily. It did go pretty quickly.

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Here is the piece almost done. About two thirds complete, I decided what I was going to do with the final piece and made the curve along the top edge.

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And here is the finished piece: an eyeglass case. I lined the inside with those microfiber cleaning cloths, so it will never scratch the glass. Other than my stitching the two edges together seeming a bit wonky, I think it turned out pretty good.

I also ordered sewing pins from the internet… I am one of those people who sew over pins although I am sure my first HomEc teacher would be out of her mind to hear this! The biggest problem I have is bent pins and I always throw those away. I do seem to go through them at a pretty good rate.

So, another thing I could do while laid up in bed… put pins from cute little containers into pin cushions.

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The majority of the pins went into two very large tomato pin cushions that I use religiously, but this was enjoyable. The Kid thinks I am a nut!

I have been working on some more pieces, I hope to write a couple of more posts for them. For now, the headache has returned and it is about all I can do to keep my attention on the writing on not on Russell Crowe in this movie I am watching. ;-o

julie

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

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

The Quest to Use All of the Denim Continues…

So, I’ve been almost manic about getting through the dozens and dozens of jeans that I have disassembled. I’d say about a third of the fabric itself has been measured and cut into different sizes for futures quilts. I’ve completed about six quilt tops, or rather, almost finished the quilt tops… I’ve left with adding borders to four of them. Two are ready to go to the quilter, well that is once I’ve cut and assembled the backs.

I did actually get two bolts of red flaneel with black mottles (about 20 yards) at half price from my most favorite store in the whole world… Joann’s. If I figured correctly, that should be just about enough for the six that are almost ready for the quilter.

The one I spent the most amount of time on for the past couple of days is this one:IMG_4418-1It may be hard to discern, but those are made by sewing together the hems from all of the jeans that I took apart.

So far, I have started work on quilts that use the hems, the inside seams from the pant legs, the waist bands and the belt loops. Of course there is the fabric, which is the main motivator, but using the other unusual pieces is turning out some very interesting quilts.

Somewhere in the process, I have started adding a small snippet of red denim, as sort of a personal trademark to these quilts. With all of the varying colors of blue along with the whites, blacks and greys, the red really makes a pop. So along with the red flannel backs, these quilts will be great for guys and anyone who really loves a comfy pair of blue jeans!

I have one very large quilt made from the seams. It is absolutely amazing to look at. I had quite a bit of seams remaining and started putting together another quilt, but could tell at the beginning that there wouldn’t be enough for another large quilt. So, I had an idea – two, ideas actually – and went to work.

First. I was looking for something to use for the corners of the quilts awaiting borders. In quilts past, I used pockets for the corners, but that sort of seems overdone in the denim quilting world. And then I had a brainstorm.

I would weave the shorter pieces together, creating a 6″ x 6″ square that would go into each corner of the border. So for three nights, I would sit and weave.

IMG_4399First, I took and sorted the longer pieces (which would be the length) from the shorter pieces which would be the width. Using a piece of wood (it was actually the back of an award I was given in a previous life) and using the large binder clips, lay the seams out.IMG_4400Then I would use ‘Aleene’s Original No Sew Fabric Glue’ to tack first width-wise seam.

IMG_4420I didn’t glue every single connection, but rather tried to keep the glue use to the outside seams. And then the last width seam was tacked.IMG_4401It isn’t hard, but it is time consuming. I could usually finish about four a night, while watching movies. I would simply remove the finished piece from the board, add a couple more of the binder clips and then leave overnight to dry on the kitchen island.

So, now all that is left is to purchase the denim for the borders, add the corners and it will be ready to take to the quilter’s.

Once I finish this quilt I am currently working on, I will have exhausted the majority of the materials that I harvested from the jeans. The last thing – well other than the actual denim fabric itself – are the back pockets. I think I have somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred and fifty pairs of pockets! Just haven’t stumbled over the right use for those just yet. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!

You know, I thought that by the time I got to this point, I’d be sick to death of dealing with all of this denim. But I find that I am not and love to work with this medium. I still want to try my hand at making some handbags and back packs. I have a lot of ideas saved off onto my Pinterest boards. I am looking forward to those as well!

Thanks for dropping by!

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

A Few More Finished Quilts

I’ve been keeping busy but mostly doing what I said I wouldn’t do and that was to start any new projects until I finished a few that were almost done. :-/

I have finished three more quilts however. If you’re new to my blog, you should know that I love to make quilts, but am not quite so in love with the process of finishing them. So I send my quilts off to a wonderful new friend, Becky, who is quite talented in doing the top stitching. She has a longarm service called 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!

She did some incredible work on a quilt that was so amazing! I am in awe at the work on this quilt:

DSCN5197IMG_4333IMG_4332IMG_4331IMG_4330IMG_4329Five different quilting styles were used to complete this quilt. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the way she quilted this. Her attention to details is off the charts!DSCN5199DSCN5198My helper in trying to stay hidden when its windy and he doesn’t want to be in the pictures:DSCN5200The next couple of quilts are ideas that I get while looking at the already cut stash of fabrics. I’ve been trying to use up as much as I can.

DSCN5196DSCN5195DSCN5194DSCN5193And the final quilt for this post…

DSCN5190DSCN5189DSCN5188I used a blue background with white dots, which is the same as the border. A nice little finish. I did, however, not have enough for the backing, so there is an inset of red with white dots. Sometimes you gotta make do!

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Also, this week, The Kid and I were on a Studio Ghibli kick and watched four or five movies. The one I like is “Howl’s Moving Castle” which boasts a fire who is voiced by Billy Crystal -“Calcipher”. So as sort of a salute (and for something to do with my hands) I made this little bean-guy:

IMG_4328Took apart another forty pairs of jeans. We stumbled onto the best deal for salvaging denim from old jeans. Our local Red Racks (which is a thrift store that supports veterans’ needs) has what is called Last Chance, which is where clothing ends up that doesn’t sell. And on Sundays, it goes to a whopping twenty-five cents! So, I go through and grab all the best jeans – generally speaking those that have pockets and side seams for additional quilting. Voilá! I have something for my hands to do and it provides a lot of fabric for jeans quilts.

So, a couple more projects accomplished and this post done. Whew!

julie

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