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

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

 

A Crystal Cut Glass Covered Cake Plate (say that three times!)

The weather here in the midwest has been phenomenal! And when it gets this way, it is so hard to stay indoors, so The Kid and I have been spending more time away from home and outdoors.

One thing that I did manage to complete was ‘the accidental cake plate’. I absolutely love the crystal cut glass in whatever form, but mostly I like the covered plates or bowls. On occasion, I have an epiphany with pieces and I can bring them all together to make another item that was never expected.

2015-01-27 14.27.21This is one of those pieces. While attempting to put pieces away, it just came to me. A little E-6000 and those four pieces became this great and elegant cake dish.

2015-01-26 18.44.03So, what I have is a plate, a large bowl (pictured upside down), a candlestick and the glass cap of a coffee peculator.

2015-01-26 18.45.11The percolator is glued to the bottom of the bowl and the candlestick is glued to the bottom of the plate.2015-01-27 14.27.42Viola`, a covered cake plate.

2015-01-27 14.27.53If I hadn’t told you just now what all these pieces were, you probably wouldn’t have guessed what they were. 🙂  I’m probably going to hang on to this until a girlfriend’s birthday and give it to her along with a small cake.

I’ve also been able to get a few more quilts bound. Here is one that I finished yesterday and managed to get The Kid to help me get a photo.Strippy Sash QuiltThis is built sort of backwards, as the sashing was the part pieced, while the blocks were just plain black. I think it is stunning! I have always been a big lover of piecing and I use just about every piece of fabric that is left over, down to doing tiny doll-sized scrappy quilts. Another quilt I am just finishing up is a postage stamp quilt, the original blocks were an inch and a half, so the finished block size is 1″. Wait ’till you see it!

I’ve also been working on the cross stitch, there is a very large area towards the bottom that is deep green and although I have been working on that area all week, it still seems like I am not getting ahead. I’ll provide an update soon!

julie

 

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