Saturday, February 16, 2013

Old Jeans, New Quilt

All those old jeans with worn our knees have new life! I finished this USA recycled denim quilt this afternoon and LOVE it! The denim makes it very heavy and snuggly.

If you want to try something like this, be warned: it is a labor-intensive process! I enlarged one of the kids' US maps, carefully pieced and cut out each state, then traced that paper pattern onto Heat-N-Bond. Cut each state out again and ironed it onto the wrong side of cut up jeans. Then each state was cut out again and ironed it into its final position on the background cloth (which is a heavy canvas duck cloth). I tried to use a variety of denim colors and some interesting details like pockets, seams, even the holes! In a flash of inspiration I made Lake Obi-Wan-Kenobi in Florida out of a hole (yes, I do know that's not the name of the lake, but I can never remember the correct name for the life of me. Okinabe? Ochikawee? It will probably remain a Jedi-lake in my mind forever).

For the quilting I wanted to try messy stitching around each state. This was a great way to learn how to manage and maneuver all the bulk of a quilt under the needle. I'm pretty new to machine quilting, but feel like I can advance to the next level (whatever that is) after this project. The messy stitching freed me of all need for precision and perfection - and it was a ton of fun! I threw in some zig zags and loops whenever I felt sassy. I was a little worried about how the stitching would go through the thick denim, canvas, and batting. A heavy needle was just the thing - only broke two needles.


For the back I used a variety of stash fabrics plus a bandana print. I searched high and low for a good bandana print and finally came up with this one from someone's stash on etsy. Sorry, I don't remember the name of the print.

After stitching down each state, I was queen of the free motion quilting. The oceans are a torrent of hurricane-esque swirls, and Canada is covered with loopy vines. All caution was thrown to the wind and I even tried a bit of FMQ lettering! I practiced with a marker on paper first to figure this out. 

I probably broke every rule on how to make a quilt on this one - pretty much made up my own process along the way. It was so much fun! I can see more applique and messy stitching in my future. I'm sure the boys will have their toy cars zooming across the country before long, and perhaps even a few notes will make their way into the pockets. 


twin fibers said...

It turned out so great! Have to love the little heart in MI!

twin fibers said...

It turned out so great! Have to love the little heart in MI!

Jen Crutchfield said...

I adore "make it up as you go along" quilting. Well done.