You’ve probably heard of this sort of thing – using old tee shirts to make something new, like shopping bags or quilts or, in my case recently, rugs. I’d say braided rugs, because that’s what they look like, but actually they’re kind of crocheted…sort of.
Anyway, I don’t have enough how-to pictures – woefully unprepared am I – but I taught myself to finger crochet and I made simple little bracelets for Julia and her friends out of the bottom seams of old tee shirts. I taught Julia how to do it, and she made seven bracelets in half an hour.
Anyway, using this same technique of crochet without a hook, you can make long chains with strips of old tee shirts (nice to use because they’re stretchy) or other strips of fabric…denim…yarn, whatever.
So I’d salvaged and sliced up a lot of old tee shirts from this household, and I decided to make little rugs for the kids’ rooms. More summery than the shag rugs they’ve got now.
I made two lonnnnnnng chains, one with Julia colors and one with Alex colors, and yesterday I started binding Julia’s rug. Now, if I was REALLY crocheting, I suppose I could crochet the whole thing together using some sort of round and round stitching. But that’s not happening. So I just started spiraling the chain and stitching it together on the back side. Here’s a picture I took not long after I started:
Very exciting, except you can probably tell the “rug” is curving more like a hat or a really large soft bowl. At first I thought I could stretch it out and it would lie flat…but as I kept going (past the above point) the cupping just became more pronounced. So I looked up stuff online about this sort of issue with braided/crocheted rugs, and learned I was stitching it all too tightly.
And after a lot of heavy sighing and frowning, I ripped out all my stitches and started again, this time with a looser stitch and paying careful attention to potential buckling.
Here’s where I was at the end of my day yesterday:
I’d gotten about as far as that white section before, and it was definitely NOT flat. This is much better.
It’s currently 17.5” in diameter, and I’ve got a bunch more left of the chain to go. Not sure how big this will get, but it really doesn’t matter. Julia already likes it.
I like it because I know where all those different portions of fabric came from. That little dark pink section near the top of the picture? A very small pair of stretchy pants Julia had…dark pink with black polka dots and black lace at the ankles. The section that looks white? Actually it’s also got tiny pale rosebuds, and it came from maternity summer pajamas I had when I was nursing.
One more – see the section that’s a blend of deal and dark purple? More very worn stretchy pants I couldn’t completely part with:
That’s about it for now, but I just wanted to share what I’ve been up to. There are other things, too, but they’ll have to wait.
What have you been doing lately?
So the other day at dinner Julia said, out of the blue, “I don’t like eating raisins because it’s like eating tiny old people.”
I have no explanation.
The baby quilt I’ve been working on has conjured up memories of other baby quilts I’ve made, especially one of the first ones. Not sure if I’ve told this story before, but here goes…
This was back when ALLLLLL my quilting was hand-sewn. Piecing AND quilting. Everything. I loved it. And I still do, though too much of it bothers my hands. But this was a while ago.
Anyway, one of my sister’s friends, Betsy, was having a baby – I believe she was the first of their group to do so, and I was invited to the baby shower, and so I decided to make a quilt. I kind of blended aspects of the styles of Monet and Seurat, with colors from Monet’s Water Lilies. So I used soft greens and pinks and blues, and all the pieces were hexagons. I can’t describe it better, and I don’t have pictures, but I remember loving the creation of it…the artists, their styles, the colors…and yay – a baby!
Anyway, because I was a card-carrying member of Procrastinators Anonymous (still am, but not as bad), soon it was the night before the shower and I still hadn’t finished the quilt.
But I DO finish things. And the shower was at something like eleven o’clock the following morning (a Saturday, I assume), so, hey, I’d just stay up kind of late and get it done.
I was up all night. All. Night. I had the tv on, I was in the living room with my quilt on a table, and I was stitching my fingers off.
And yes, dammit, I finished that quilt.
I don’t remember if I took any sort of nap that morning, before the shower. I kind of don’t think I did.
Anyway, to make it even better, I had to drive, because my mom, who was also invited, had had surgery on the bottom of her foot and it was still in a cast or boot or something.
The shower was half an hour or so from where we were both living (and my sister wasn’t even able to come to the shower for some reason…she was living up in Boston at the time, so maybe it was because of work or something?) (and, as yet another side note, I now live just minutes from the church basement where that baby shower took place) …where was I? Oh yeah, half hour drive. So here we go, my limping mother and me with most of my brain wrapped in fuzz.
We put our gifts with the others and found seats sort of near the back. I propped my eyes open with paper clips. And the shower was under way.
While other gifts are being opened in the story, I’ll take a moment to explain the weirdness going on in my head during the shower.
I was big.
I felt, as I willed myself to remain upright on that folding chair in that church basement, with all the many sweet church member ladies and family members and friends, like I was twice the size – at least – of my usual self. Not fat. Big. A giant. That’s how sleep deprivation was distorting my world. I tried not to move so I wouldn’t frighten anyone with my big-ness.
And eventually Betsy got to the baby quilt. She pulled it from the bag (or unwrapped it – I don’t remember) and held it up for all to see, (as I tried to shrink down so I was normal-sized) and said, loudly, “JAYNE W MADE THIS!”
And the word loudly doesn’t do it justice. Her voice THUNDERED the words, and as she said them I seemed to grow bigger and all the little old ladies and moms and cousins and friends turned, as one, to look at me as I was contorting into something that might pass for normal-sized in my metal folding chair.
I hope I smiled politely.
No one ran away screaming, so I guess I looked harmless.
And the shower proceeded normally, with the rest of the gifts opened, lots of oohs and aaahs and smiles at all the adorable baby things…lots of thank-yous from Betsy, and then, of course, food.
That is my best baby quilt story.
I made baby quilts for my sister’s two kids, both of which were late. Not sure how late my nephew’s quilt was, but my niece didn’t get hers til she turned two. Hey, there were a lot of appliquéd flowers on that one. That sort of detail takes TIME.
Anyway, so that’s the baby quilt stuff.
Like I said in my previous post, all this quilting has resulted in a resurgence of my love of designing and sewing. So naturally I had to rearrange my sewing/jewelry-making/other stuff-making area. (For some reason I can’t stand the term “crafting” or anything “craft-“ related. I can’t use it. Ick.)
So that’s what I did yesterday. I’m still not completely done, but that’s today’s job.
Both pictures were taken in bad light and with my phone, so please excuse the poor image quality….
The biggest change I wanted to make was to have that tall work table sticking out from the wall so that I could walk around it and work on big projects. It’s a bit of a tight fit back there, but I made it work and I’m SO happy about it. There are still areas that need to be tidied up or reorganized, but that’s the easy part.
The hardest part was moving the rolltop desk. Now, it does come apart, so that helps, and I remove all the drawers, of course, but still – it’s heavy, even broken down into sections. But I did it. I’ve done it so many times over the years, I’m actually pretty good at reassembling it, which is tricky because the center writing part has to slide in between the two drawer portions, so those things have to be just the right distance apart, and that middle writing section is HEA-VY because it’s got a huge piece of some sort of stone inlay as the writing surface. And, of course, there’s maneuvering the whole roll-top section – which is one enormous unwieldy piece – and fitting it onto the pegs that hold it in place (the pegs jut up from the corners of the two main drawer-holding parts of the desk). Anyway, putting that together successfully is always cause for high-fiving oneself. Not that I did, of course, because that would be weird.
And that’s about all the writing I have time for. I’ve got some laundry to hang outside, and some reorganizing to finish downstairs.
And, of course, that baby quilt isn’t finished yet….
So what have you been up to lately?
I have spent too much time (or wasted, probably) not doing things because I was afraid I’d do them wrong. If I didn’t think I could do something perfectly, I just wouldn’t do it. So many roads not taken.
But that’s okay – I’m in a good spot at this time in my life.
Maybe that’s why I actually finished window quilt #4 today.
I figured I should post a picture of Softie since Scratchy’s been getting more face time lately.
Here she is, sitting on one of the quilts, which is on my ironing board. I’d been tying the layers together and went upstairs to check on the bread in the oven. When I came back down, Softie had claimed the spot.
I finished them!
Yesterday, which was Thanksgiving, was also my only day off this week. As I mentioned in my previous post, we did a brunch instead of the traditional turkey dinner, which was wonderful and relaxing and left us with a whole afternoon and evening to do whatever we felt like doing.
I felt like finishing these two quilts.
On Monday I mentioned the wall quilts I want to make for our bedroom windows (and who knows, maybe I’ll make them for the other rooms, too.
Anyway, I cut out lots of squares and rectangles for each of my kids to use. Then, when they got home from school and finished their homework, I put them to work.
We’re supposed to get snow tonight, though perhaps not much in this part of the state. We often tend to be on the line where the snow and rain meet. The ice and sleet line.
It’s already pretty cold out, and the sky has that pale gray, thinly clouded look to it that says “yes, something’s coming.”
We’re supposed to get rain first, later this morning, and then the snow tonight as the temperatures drop further.
So…I am here in my work area in the basement. I’ve got laundry in the wash, and I’ll work my way through all the week’s dirty clothes while I do more fun things like practice making little zippered pouches or drawstring bags and finish Julia’s Halloween costume.
Oh, and I’ve also decided it’s a perfect day for a Harry Potter movie marathon. Sorcerer’s Stone is playing now.
Anyway, that’s what I’ll be up to today, for the most part.
How about you?
“What the heck are you doing to my playground?”
Yesterday I needed to MOVE stuff.
I go through periods of LOVING the kitchen, loving food, loving experimenting with cooking and baking, and writing about it and photographing it…
And then I hate it.
Okay, not hate. That’s too strong a word. But I get burnt out a bit and need to do something ELSE.
I probably am creating too many projects for myself this year. I can tell that already because it was only weekend number 2 and we didn’t bake any cookie cutter cookies. Instead, we spent a lot of yesterday working on Alex’s room.
It’s been a mess, frankly.
I read an article on Etsy this morning called “Make Something Every Day.” You should read it. Go ahead. I’m still typing anyway. (ha ha. a bit of blogging humor. A very little bit.)
At first I thought “Drat, I can’t particpate! I’m already a week behind!”
Then I thought “What’s a week? Okay…then what could I do…day by day…I HAVE NO IDEA! I LACK CREATIVITY! MY SPARK IS OUT!”
And then I tilted my head and looked at this from a different angle.
I’ve opened a new Etsy store. It’s called “Of Shreds and Patches.”
I’ve had the name of the shop on my mind for some time now, though I had it wrong, which led to all sorts of creating of accounts and cancelling of accounts when I realized the whole world would be exposed to my inaccuracies.
I finished her this morning.
I was going to make her pink, or purple, considering she was for Julia.
But as I was digging through fabric, I came across some soft thin flannel pieces that I decided to use instead.