After a marathon of three weeks of working diligently I finally got the raw edge denim quilt I was working on all put together. My son and his wife had asked me several years ago if I would make them a denim rag quilt. I agreed and they brought me several bags and boxes of old denim. There were his jeans, her jeans, welding aprons and I think some that they just got at a thrift store. No guarantee on that guess. But there were enough to make more than one quilt I was sure.
I agonized over how to make that quilt for something like 3 or 4 years. I didn’t want to make something just like everyone else makes with a bunch of uniform squares. Besides, I dreaded cutting hundreds of 6″ or whatever size squares from both the denim and flannel that they wanted on the back. It wasn’t until June 2015 that I had the idea of making a raw edge denim crazy quilt. I cut apart a number of jeans and welding aprons of various shades of denim from almost white to black and just about every shade of blue I could find in that stash of jeans. I pulled out my flannels and made sure that some were from the fabrics that my daughter-in-law’s grandmother had given me a few months before she passed away in early 2015. I began cutting 13 -14 inch squares of the flannel. There were about 64 that I cut at first, but I knew that I’d need 81 to make a king size quilt of approximately 108″ x 108″ The starting squares had to be big enough that I could cut 12 1/2″ squares after I sewed the denim pieces together.
I’m not thrilled with what I did. I had wanted to sew the denim to a thin fabric but they only wanted two layers, the denim on the front and the flannel on the back. So I did sew the crazy pieces to the flannel. That meant my fancy stitches show on the back. But they are happy with that. I explained what would happen and they wanted it that way. I think they really didn’t have a good idea of what I was going to do until I started. During the summer and early autumn I managed to make about 24 blocks. Warm weather keeps me outside a lot and instead of quilting I spent most of the warm weather reading, voraciously.
When Thanksgiving came and went I decided that I needed to finish the quilt. I cut the remaining flannel squares and diligently worked on making the blocks. Some days family things prevented me from getting as much done as I wanted. As December progressed I kept sewing daily making as many blocks in a day as I could. My rats nest of scraps of denim and flannel kept growing. Still, it wasn’t going fast enough, I dropped almost everything else and spent the whole day sewing that last couple of weeks. I’d sew until my back wouldn’t let me at first, then I began to pace myself throughout the day. Making a block or two, taking a break for awhile, sitting in my rocking chair, reading, catching up on social media, or just working puzzles. That really helped, I could get a lot more done in a day. The last week and a half I did that. I really wasn’t sure that I would in fact get it done in time for Christmas. I had all the blocks completed by Tuesday before Christmas, but I still had to sew them together. Part of that was planning where to place the blocks. Since I had several different flannels I wanted them to be in some kind of semblance of order. That required discovering just how many of each different fabric I had. It turned out that, though I just cut them willy-nilly not considering how many of each fabric or how they would be organized the different fabrics were all in even numbers except one block that I had accidentally sewn the denim on the front side of the flannel. I needed at least one odd square for the middle anyway. As I counted how many I had of each fabric an almost symmetrical pattern emerged. Across the diagonal some of the rows aren’t exactly the same pattern, but they are in same color range. To me it was a realization that, though I was not paying attention, God had his hand upon mine as I cut the various fabrics. He watches over me in even the small things. It turned out to be a nice back even if all the stitching shows through.
The kids knew I was working on it. I wanted a finished quilt to give them for Christmas. I sewed until 3 a.m. Christmas Eve into Christmas morning. It was all together, although I didn’t have all the seams clipped and there certainly wasn’t anyway I could take it to the laundromat to wash and dry it to make it fray even if I had gotten all the seams clipped.
After getting it sewn all together I chose not to wrap it, instead I put it on display across my 12′ quilting frame. I took some pictures and when my son and his wife came over later on Christmas morning I told them their gift was not wrapped but they had to come downstairs to see it. They were delighted. My son told me that when he first asked he envisioned a typical rag quilt in uniform squares with the frayed edges. Looking at the one I made he said, “Mom, this is so much better!” I got lots of hugs and I know that it will be appreciated and loved for many years.
I named it “Dreams in Old Denim” and I know that there will be years and years of dreams dreamed under that old denim quilt. I hope and pray that their best dreams come true. That the plans and dreams they create as a couple while laying under that old denim quilt will come to fruition. It was a great Christmas!
Blessing to all my readers,