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: 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

Two Words: Prewound Bobbins

So, I am working diligently to get everything done and organized before surgery, now just nine days away. Wow… I am both so excited and terrified at the same time!

But work continues on the braided rug made of old jeans. After finishing cutting and harvesting denim from more than a hundred and fifty pairs of jeans… probably closer to two hundred. I’ve sold the back pockets on eBay for a nice little bit and I’ve sewed together all the inseams and bottom seams and have (mostly) fashioned them into bags and purses. I say mostly because I’ve still to find a tailor or perhaps shoe repair place that can do the final seams and attach handles as my somewhat specialty sewing machines just can’t do more than twelve layers of denim and/or leather (handles or straps). I am excited about finishing them though, they are going to be tré chic when they are complete.

The three inch strips of denim are, for the most part, now combined to form reasonable lengths. It took some time and experimentation to figure it out, but I’ve landed on a length that I think will be most productive when I start braiding. I’m taking lots of photos and making tons of notes, I think I am going to do a in-depth tutorial on creating these rugs from start to finish, that is, starting at the very start to include collecting jeans and harvesting the fabric all the way through to the finished rug. So, I won’t put too much of that into these posts pre-tutorial.

IMG_3480But I did do something that I thought I’d never do while in the process of turning the three inch strips into the finished strip for braiding. And that was to buy pre-wound bobbins.

s-l1600I don’t know why, exactly, I hesitated to do so, maybe something leftover from an early home-ec class or something about being thrifty and always winding your own bobbins. And heaven knows that I have enough bobbins and don’t really need to invest in more. But I found that with all the basic sewing that I’ve been doing, I have been just going through tons of bobbins and to sit and wind bobbins seems to be the most essential waste of time. Additionally, the pre-wound bobbins that I purchased seem to be wound very efficiently, that is to say, it seems to be twice as much thread on the bobbins than when I wind them, so I find that I am not changing bobbins as often. Which is awesome… again with the amount of basic sewing I am doing, nothing is as irritating just getting into a groove of sewing just to have the bobbin run out. And as my machine is overdue for maintenance, the bobbin sensor is getting in the habit of not alerting me and I find that I can run through feet of sewing before I realize that its not stitching! Argh!

So, here is officially my stamp of approval on pre-wound bobbins. They’re not overtly expensive (I get mine off eBay), they save me both time and frustration and they are help saving my sanity! Can’t think of better reasons to use them!

So, do you use pre-wound bobbins? I’d love to get the impressions of others who do a lot of sewing. Ever tried them? What’s your take?

julie

 

Filling Up The Hours with The Details (Planning and Organizing)

I’ve had some seriously disconnected days… can’t seem to get anything started or finished. Sold the last of the finished dressers and am down to only having my restored chandelier left for sale. Did manage to keep an eye on the free list on CraigsList and have a garage full of future projects.

While I’ve been meandering, I have been “testing” myself on just how little I can go with fabric pieces by doing some piecing and should be ready to reveal my final decision in the next day or so. I mean, how small of a scrap piece would you save?

Picked up six more pairs of jeans to harvest denim for the rag rug I plan to make. This is what six pairs of larger than 40 waist sized jeans boils down to:

DSCN3585You can check out my instructions on how to get the most out of a pair of blue jeans here. I also have the same instructions on instructables.com and can see it here.

Other than the denim and the scrap piecing, I’ve been done a little goofing around with felt. I found a pattern online for this cute little minion (it seems everything everywhere is about those little yellow guys), so I whipped one up.

DSCN3577Some of the directions weren’t all that good and neither was the pattern… I am thinking about how I can make my own pattern for a slightly larger version of this guy. I know this photo doesn’t allow for size comparison, but he is about 6″ from top of his head to bottom. I’d like to make one maybe 50% larger… I even managed to find larger sized eyes. I want to do something different with his arms and legs, as I didn’t care for how they came out in this version. Even after modifying his boots to be more 3D-ish, I still don’t like it. I want to make his feet (boots) and hands (gloves) out of leather, which means it is going to have to be larger to work with.

I have been trying to get our workplace in the garage into order. I picked up a deeper shelved piece and want to get things squared away before we get started on the next dozen or so projects. The Kid also managed to finally get a way to store our pipe clamps so that they won’t be constantly in the way or being knocked over.

DSCN3584I am determined to get this garage into a more useable and convertible space. There is still plenty of space on this wall which is the back side of the work area.

I also have an area that I want to be able to use for a paint booth and picked up heavy plastic sheeting a while back to use as “curtains” to contain the over-spray but nothing that is “permanent” so that I can still use the stall to park my car (sometimes in the Midwest, it is important to be able to garage your vehicles, like yesterday’s tornado warnings). Once situated – and it shouldn’t take long – we can get moving on the new pieces.

You cannot imagine how long it has taken me to write these words! Geez, I hope soon to get my focus and motivation back!

julie

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