Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wishing everyone a safe, happy, healthy and crafty New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Insect Jar Quiltlet

I haven't done any sewing other than handwork in the last few days but this is a picture from Christmas morning of our son and the little quilt I made for him to hang on his dorm room wall. He took an entomology class last semester and has discovered an interest in insects, etc. The books on the bottom left of the quilt represent the three field guides we gave him for Christmas also. He even said he likes the quilt in spite of the fact that he is sure that quilting is some sort of 'cult'.

I made a couple other little items for the grandkids but forgot to take pictures before they got wrapped so I will share pictures of those after they open the packages when we get there later today.

The three denim quilts made it safely to the great-nieces and great-nephew and I hear they like them. I hope to get a picture of them with the quilts so I can share it with you.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!
Was lying in bed this morning, not ready to get up when the phone rang. I can count on my brother in WV to be the first to call me since he is three hours ahead. When I talked to her, I reminded my sister-in-law of the present she bought for my brother when they were here in October so she was off to find its hiding place.

The son is still asleep in the living room so hubby and I are watching Prancer in the bedroom. We will be waiting to open gifts until #2 daughter gets home so Christmas movies will be watched! Monday we will head over to #1 daughter's home to celebrate with the grandkids.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Three Denim Quilts!

Yes, they are done. I need to label them and get them in a box and they will be on their way! WooHoo! I hope to get that done today and also get a couple other things in the mail and I have one or two other projects to finish up in the next few days.This is for the great-niece that likes orange and green...And this is for our teenage great-nephew. Not easy finding a 'manly' flannel so I hope he likes camo-geckos.
I need to label them and get them in a box and they will be on their way! WooHoo! I hope to get that done today and also get a couple other things in the mail and I have one or two other projects to finish up in the next few days.

Our son should be home tomorrow or Sunday and our daughter will arrive on Sunday so the empty nest will disappear for a short time again. Not sure what baking/candy-making will get done this year. Depends on what the kids want and want to help with! I am sure the boy will want his Chex Party Mix!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Where will we put it?

Last week my hubby came home with another sewing machine. This one is a Wheeler & Wilson that is at least 104 years old. The carving on the cabinet is the main reason he went for it, but, we didn't have a W&W machine yet! He has gotten it all cleaned up but I haven't had a chance to test it out. For the first several days it sat in the middle of the great room but last night it found a little corner of the room that didn't already have at least one machine in it!I got the first of the three denim tops quilted over the weekend and yesterday got the binding on it and did the hand-sewing at craft night. Today I hope to quilt the other two and get the bindings on and tomorrow I will sit around and get the bindings on. Hopefully the TDaP (Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis) booster I got in my arm yesterday doesn't slow me down!

I borrowed my friend's Cricut to make some things for my grandson for Christmas. He will be 4 next week and is starting to get interested in the alphabet and numbers. Not sure exactly what I will make but hopefully it is something he enjoys learning with!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Denim Quilts

******Important Update: As of December 31, 2015 this pattern will be available only in my Etsy Shop - LucysQuilts******

******If you have commented on this post in the past and haven't received the pattern it is probably because you did not give me an email address. You can either comment with your email address or click on View My Profile on the right and then click on Email Me on the left*******

In 2001, my sister and I each had a child graduating from high school and we decided to make a quilt for each of them as a gift. I was going through a bit of a slump in my sewing so I let my sister pick the pattern. She had this great pattern for denim quilts and thought that would be a good choice for her son and my daughter to take to college and since I had no better idea it was decided. We got together at her house and got the two tops made in a day or two and though both of the graduates were in and out of the house, neither had a clue.I loved the concept of this pattern and was inspired to make a few more, and then a few more and now I have no idea how many I have made based on the pattern but it is well over 100.

Many fellow quilters have asked for information about the way they are put together over the years including one request on my last post. I was hoping I had already done a tutorial here but looking back quickly did not reveal one so here goes...

The pattern was adapted from the pattern for the cover quilt on Kaffe Fassett's book Glorious Patchwork. I am not sure who adapted the pattern for denim but it was inspired. I have changed the pattern a little to make it easier for this method, but it can be done as printed in the book.I make my quilts out of old jeans because I love the variations in the fabric as it fades and the pockets are great. You can also use new denim of various shades or colors. If you are using jeans, you either rip them at the seams or cut them apart. Then you cut squares that are 2", 4", 6", 8", 10" and 12". You also need the fabric for the strips in between the blocks. The pattern called for black cotton and I have used several bolts of 60" black Kona for these quilts! The black is cut into 1" strips. Some of the strips are cut into 2", 4", 6", 8", 10" and 12" lengths as needed. Some are used for the strips between the rows.

The basic method here is to put a strip of black between each block of denim. The beauty of this is that you are never sewing denim to denim so the seams don't get too bulky. You need to practice with your machine to get the right seam allowance. I have found that if I use my 1/4" foot for this quilt the pieces don't match up as they should so I use the regular foot on my Pfaffs and sew more of a true 1/4" seam as opposed to a scant 1/4".

My first thought after I got the pattern was to use the sleeves that I cut off the twill coverall's that my husband wears for work. I have always saved them (I know, a little crazy) and he has had grey, forest green, cadet blue and navy blue coveralls over the years but that looked pretty boring so I went to thrift stores and fabric stores and found some twill prints that tied them all together. This is the one I made for my husband using up the last of my twill pieces (at that time) and as you can see I only had 2", 4" and 6" pieces left.In the first few years I went to thrift stores and picked up jeans for the quilts. I found that 12" squares aren't easy to get from most jeans so I bought some denim dresses or jumpers and occasionally very large jeans. I've also found a few pieces of denim yardage at the thrift stores or bought some on sale for the larger pieces. I have gotten some great colored/print denims at the thrift store in the children's section and a few in the women's section. I found one that was a white denim with huge blue roses that should never have been made into a pair of size 20 capris! It did work well in my king size quilt when added to yellow, green and blue denim!Now, since people know I make quilts out of old jeans, they frequently ask me if I am still making the denim quilts and hand me grocery bags of jeans. This is why I have several boxes of jeans in my attic waiting to be cut up!

The best thing about this pattern that makes a 52" X 56" quilt is that it can be easily adapted to make a larger quilt or to use different pieces if you don't have the correct number of pieces of the various sizes from the jeans you want to use. It is all based on a 2" grid. The pattern starts in the middle with a 12" square and then rows are added similar to a log cabin block.

Here is one I made for a friend using jewel tone quilting fabric. Love this one!!!This is one I made this summer experimenting with a pink print fabric for the strips instead of black.After getting this round robin quilt put together I decided to use some cream/tan denims with a maroon Kona for the strips and got this great quilt. As I said earlier, I have made more than 100 quilts based on this pattern. I made 7 or 8 using Christmas prints, a couple for wedding quilts using the wedding colors in various prints and one using Laurel Burch's Ocean Song swirl fabrics in various colors. Most have been denim and many of those were donated to the foster care program in our area for foster kids graduating from high school. I have found that teenagers love these quilts. They are also great for baby quilts or young children as they are very sturdy.

The original graduation quilts and my king-sized quilt were professional machine quilted by a friend. Then for the next few years I tied the quilts until I got brave enough to machine quilt them on my trusty Pfaff 1222's.

If you have any questions, or would like me to email the pattern to you, just email me.

*****UPDATE*****  - I am no longer sending out the pattern via email. Due to the high demand it is only available from my Etsy shop: LucysQuilts. Also, comments are moderated so it may take up to a couple of days for it to be posted if I am out of town but I will get to it and respond so you don't have to comment again if you don't see your comment right away.

*****I have posted a Denim Update here.*****

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Here is the third denim quilt top I needed to finish for Christmas gifts. Now I just need to get them quilted and bound. I have the fabric for the back so once the sewing table is cleaned off a bit I can get them basted and quilted. Then they need to get in the mail for Colorado.

Unfortunately, in order to finish the quilt I had to make a run to town to buy a new iron. My Rowenta bit the dust when I had less than an hour's sewing left to do on the quilt. I have been very dissatisfied with my Rowentas so I decided to go with a cheaper Tfal model. Seems to work pretty well.

Today I finished cutting the rest of the denim and twill that I had ready so I could get it all in the bin and out of the way as I started cleaning off the sewing table.

One of my upcoming projects is another Quilt Block Round Robin. I decided today was a good time to get my block made while the backings were being pre-washed. I decided I would send along a bag of batik scraps I got at a garage sale to be used in the blocks. In that bag were a stack of yellow squares which will be the used by each person in the blocks. I am asking for 12.5" batik house blocks and the yellow will be used for at least one window if the house. Here is my starter block. It is ready to get in the mail either tomorrow or next week.

Monday, December 7, 2009

More testing

I have done a few rows for the next denim quilt while testing various machines that hubby has been working on. It is so hard to keep track when you have several machines of the same type and each foot pedal is a little different too! They all seem to be doing pretty well so hopefully tomorrow I can get this denim top done. I got some flannel for the backs of two of them but need to find something for the third.

Testing, 1,2,3

My little grandson is back home with Mommy and Daddy and the princess so I have been able to spend some time in the sewing room getting something done. I tested out my new sewing machine making this denim quilt top and it worked nicely once I got the tension set right, etc.
On my way home from dropping off the little guy I met my sister for 'linner' and traded her not so healthy Pfaff 1222 with one of mine. My husband is turning into quite the Pfaff 1222 expert so he got hers running better and also has two others waiting for me to do some test sewing. It is so handy to live with your sewing machine repairman! If one needs a good cleaning and oiling I just put it on the dining room table and he takes it out to the shop, checks it out and brings it back in! All of these machines are almost 40 years old so a lot of parts are no longer available and we will have to start cannibalizing as time goes on.

I have one more denim quilt top to sew and then I need to get three quilted and bound and in the mail for Christmas. I would love to get that done this week but we shall see!