Friday, November 1, 2013

we have really nice jeans in our family...

My sister Julie asked me several months ago if I would help her assemble a quilt that she was making for her son out of some old jeans.  She assured me that the squares were all cut and ready to sew together and that the only reason she wasn't doing it herself is because the fabric was so thick that her machine was constantly getting jammed.  Being my generous self, I agreed to share the joy of my industrial Juki machine to help her sew the old jeans together when she visited next.

My sister is one of the most highly efficient people I know. I'm pretty sure she gets more done in a day than Super Man could. I first noticed this when she and I used to work for my dad's shop rag business when our job was simply to stack and count rags. We got paid by the piece, and as she and I are both very competitive, it was my goal to make more money than her in an hour.  I never did.  I would pray that she needed a bathroom break so I could sneak ahead of her numbers, but she was and still is a speed demon.  She can clean a house (to perfection) in record time. I'd hire her to do so (because she has nothing better to do than my bidding) if she lived near me.

Not only is she fast, but she's good at everything.  At least I thought so for many years...until she brought her quilt project to me.

If any of you have quilted (I try to not because I'm not a big fan of sewing little straight lines for hours), you know how meticulous measuring and cutting can be.  My dear, well-intentioned sister had cut all jeans into 10" squares. I took a few of the denim pieces and started  pinning them together and realized rather quickly that the "squares" were were approximately 10-ish by 10-ish inches, give or take an inch.  I brought them to her and asked her how she came to measure these so-called squares.

"I laid a piece of square cardboard on top and cut around it."

It all started making sense.  If you're not one to sew regularly, this may not sound strange to you, but it's pretty pertinent that one measure each square perfectly and that they are consistent otherwise your quilt may start to lean and become a trapezoid instead of a rectangle.  I laughed at what might have been and put her to work with my rotary cutter and quilting mat.  We decided to cut them down by 1/2 inch so we could perfect the square and end up with the right dimensions for the finished quilt.  Through  the course of the cutting she mentioned that the aforementioned cardboard may have progressively become smaller as she'd accidentally take a small strip off one side of the pattern every few cuts.

After she was done cutting, we laid out the squares into the perfect looking quilt and I got to sewing.

It only took us 4 hours to cut and sew all the squares together and I have to admit, we, er, I...did a really nice job on the thing. About half way through the sewing process, my machine jammed up and would not run.  I did everything I could think of to fix it, including calling a servicing company and explaining my problem. Julie came over and asked me if I prayed about it.  Um, no, hadn't thought of that yet. She took a panel off the back and asked her daughter to push the pedal.  It sprayed oil all over Julie, but it worked! She didn't do anything to it, we just prayed that God would fix it. He's much better at fixing things than I am...obviously.  It saved us about 3 hours of taking it in for a diagnosis.

Julie had an old quilt from her son's room, so she decided to use that as the "guts" of the quilt.  It worked out quite nicely as we simply cut the sides of the existing quilt to match the new size of the denim.  This is when my mother joined the fun. The 3 of us pinned and basted the two layers together.

Then we sewed and sewed and sewed around the whole dang thing and let me tell you, it's not easy to sew an edging around a denim quilt.  It took two of us.  One to direct the fabric through the machine and one to hold the weight of the blanket.

We decided to "quilt" it by tacking in in the corners with the sewing machine.  Our lovely mother did the tacking and she said it took a couple hours.  I have to admit, I'm glad I didn't do that part.
Julie pretending to help

In the end, it turned out quite nicely and it was worth the effort, but she owes me (and our mom) BIG TIME.  Hear that, Julie?

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