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:

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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:

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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!

Thinking Big… Maybe Too Big?

I have a bad habit of always going big when I take on a project. My first quilt project was to contain 2,000 different fabrics in a charm quilt to celebrate the new millennium. (That one isn’t done, BTW). The first time I wanted to really try a cross stitch project, the canvas was two feet by three feet (that’s big for cross stitch). That one too, isn’t done. My first (faux) stained glass project was about six foot by three foot… that one did get finished. The American Girl doll house I built was 48 square feet and stood over seven feet. Also done (and sold)! Even if the projects are quite so big, I tend to go a little overboard on the project materials… you’ve seen photos of my sewing/quilt room, yes? I literally have enough fabric to open my own shop. 🙂

So, one of the more recent projects that is in progress is a braided denim rug. One of the things I like to try to do is having little projects within the bigger one that I can write posts about. So, this one started with how to harvest the most denim from old blue jeans. I actually wrote that one up as an “instructable” and you can see it here. Then over the course of a couple of months, I collected used blue jeans and harvested as many three inch strips as I could.

DSCN4263.JPGIt was a long process, but I was able to do most of the deconstruction while watching old movies or binge watching my favorite television series. Over a hundred pairs of jeans (lost count during collecting) were used and I was able to sell the carefully removed back pockets on eBay for almost a hundred dollars!

The next step was to create long strips… I wasn’t – and still aren’t – sure how long the rolls should be and what would be the easiest length to work with. After all, braiding tends to tangle while working… I will just have to be conscious of it while working. I ended up creating mostly the same length… just guessing at it while I was sewing. Some ended up longer than others and there are a couple of kind of short ones. The should be easiest enough to shorten when I start braiding if they turn out to be too long.

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After this, I rolled all the strips into coils… this photo is most of them. Whew! This alone was the endeavor. I rolled about half by hand… just round and round. The Kid, being inventive and with a slight allergy to repetitious work, came up with the idea of rolling them using a power drill. I just love the way his brain works!

The next step is to turn these strips into the “yarn” for braiding. I am basically turning it into binding… folding the edges in and “setting” them with an iron. Then, I fold this in half and sew it with a long stitch. It took some time and trials to figure out how to sew over this much bulk, especially the seams, without constantly breaking the threads but using a heavy duty thread – actually a hand quilting thread – finally was the answer. That and coaxing the seams through by hand. I then let it fall over the edge and into a basket on the floor:

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So, far, I’ve managed to empty the with the least amount of coils. It is a bit of a long slow process. I don’t have the slightest idea of how to estimate the amount of yarn that I will need to complete the rug. Actually, I’m not sure how big I even want the rug to be!

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What I want to do is do a smaller, controlled experiment. Choose a specific number of pairs of jeans, say, 5 or perhaps ten and harvest the denim and create the yarn. That way, I know exactly how much will be needed to create the braids and how much it will produce as far as a rug size is concerned.

I’m also planning a very detailed tutorial, from start to finish. I guess this post is an attempt at trying to explain why lately I haven’t been able to post regularly. All the projects that I have in progress follow the same template… much too big to complete quickly or easily! And definitely too big to write about easily in a single post. 🙂

But, and speaking of this blog, I do have a milestone to announce. I don’t really actively promote this blog and it was really an experiment to see if I could do this as well as learn about the technical aspects of creating, producing and maintaining a blog. Sort of helps me in my “normal” nine-to-five job. But I always am doing creative type things and if my writing and photos help or inspire someone else, then great!

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 1.54.02 PMSo, I’ve surpassed the 100,000 mark with visitors! To be honest, I thought if I could maintain the blog for a year and have 5,000 visitors, I’d be successful. Who’da thunk?

I Made An “‘ible” On Instructables.com

I had been thinking about the audience that I will reach with my blog and thought that I might reach a greater audience by sharing my steps for deconstructing old pairs of blue jeans.

There is this great website call “instructables.com” which allow regular people to write and share instructions, known commonly as ‘ibles’. I used the set of instructions and all of the photos from my previous post and managed to make a couple of corrections and updates to both sites.

You can see the post Instructables.com. It is the first thing I have published on their site, although I use lots of the ‘ibles’ all the time. It’s an amazing site if you’re into making “stuff”!

Check ’em out!

julie

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