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

Vintage Pyrex – Figuring Out How and Where to Sell (and a Quilt Update)

Sometimes I think I am this close to be classified a hoarder. 🙂 I am a collector of everything it seems, but really, I just love beautiful things.

For instance, my son and I love to, as we call it, go thrifting. And there is so much stuff that reminds me of my family, my mother’s kitchen, my grandmother’s kitchen as well as items that appeal to me. I just love finding treasure in someone else’s trash.

One example is the eclectic array of red and white dishware that I have. As you may (or may not) know, my kitchen is decorated in red and white. 99% of what is in there is red, white or red & white. So, I am always on the hunt for something that will work in my kitchen.

Well, this goes for many other things, and last but not least is my love of Pyrex. My grandmother had pieces and my mother had pieces – some of which are now in my kitchen and often used. So whenever we are out ‘thrifting’, we always make sure to check for Pyrex. And we’ve amassed a pretty good collection.

IMG_4318This afternoon, we collected it from the varying places in the house where we’ve kept it and then organized it by color/pattern in the kitchen. This picture (above) isn’t even all of it. I decided that since cash is a little tight these days, I wanted to try and sell most of this, with the exception of my previous inheritance and the pattern/color I collect.

This is my pattern, red and orange and white with a little bird, called Friendship. I want to take the wood panels out of the cupboard over the stove/microwave and replace with glass to display my Pyrex. I also have a couple of additional pieces that were my (maternal) grandmother that I use on an-almost-daily basis. Keeps me feeling close to my Grandma that meant so much to me growing up.

So, tomorrow, The Kid and I will go about photographing each piece and trying to identify the patterns and approximate date range for the pieces.

Today was a great day. I sat behind my sewing machine nearly the entire day sewing 52592761272__A89E08AA-9AB6-4CDB-80F0-5A5B774A9C93.JPGstrips of 2″ x 6″ together to create “French braid” pieces. For me, a day like this is pure joy. Its almost therapeutic. I really don’t have to think and I can watch old movies and I just feel great. And this is going to be an absolutely beautiful quilt. I love most of the quilts that I make, but only a handful are those that I seriously want to keep. This is one of those that I seriously want to keep.52592772594__D97DA56D-4DD6-42D1-83ED-CA5B040F9C3A.JPGI know that I wasn’t supposed to be starting anything new until I finished all of the existing projects under way. But I have put a large dent in that list and technically I had already started this project… I had two braids done and have been hanging over one of the doors of the cabinets in my sewing room for a long, long time.

Okay, its still early enough that I think I want to do a couple of more hours of sewing before I head to bed. Thanks for stopping by!

julie

 

My How Time Flies When You’re Quilting!

Okay, for the last four days I have been working on a new quilt. Well, technically it is going to be more than one, but the intent was to create one.

While organizing and cleaning up my sewing room – ostensibly for the purposes of trying to finish any- and everything that I have started. I get like this occasionally where I will vow not to start something new until everything I have already started is done.

In this exercise, I found a large ziplock bag with 3″ squares sorted by color. LOTS of 3″ squares. So, I thought I’d make one of my favorite quilt patterns (used on one of the quilts on my bed) and zip through this pile of squares.photo

It starts with a nine-patch (5 colored/4 white) and then adds the triangles to each side. I am guessing that there is an “official” name to this, but I like to think this is my own doing. 🙂

So, with this large stack of 3″ squares, I started making 9 patch blocks. It’s amazing how long this can take, especially since this time around, I wanted to keep each block in the same color family. So, after sorting and sewing – about 12 hours worth – I ended up with this:

photo 8The next step would be to cut and sew the four triangles onto each side. I didn’t have these pre-cut, so it occurred to me that I would have to delve into uncut stock, and I was looking to reduce the amount of precut that I had. So, I had an idea… each of these blocks would be set with a block pattern called a “snowball”. Basically a square with each corner replaced with a triangle corner.

UnknownI have found the easiest way to produce this, is to place a block at each corner, mark it and sew it diagonally. I got The Kid to help with drawing the lines. I had way more blocks than originally anticipated. Isn’t that they way it goes?

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In order to not waste the part that is cut off is to sew a secondary line about 1/8″ away from the original line.

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Then cut between the lines (removing the pins, of course):photo 10

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To make all the cuts, again I roped The Kid into helping. I hope that he is gaining an appreciation of what goes into the quilts I make. He has laid claimed to at least a dozen so far. 🙂

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Once separated, you simply iron everything. Depending on how many squares you have, this may take a while. I think I watched a whole movie while doing all this ironing!

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The larger block will compliment the nine-patch and I will use the smaller blocks for a smaller quilt. Or maybe a border on another quilt.

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So, next up is to connect the nine patch to the snowball. I am going to deviate each line of blocks so that it staggers the placement of each block. I may actually have more than enough for a single quilt top, and perhaps might divide it into two. The colors I have most is blues and greens, and it might be enough to spin into two separate quilts of their own.

For as long as I have been quilting, I never seem to be able to accurately estimate the number of squares or blocks I need. I guess that is why I seem to end up with extras, enough to create “orphan quilts”. Some day when I don’t have anything to write about, I’ll do a post on those.

julie

 

 

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