Saturday, March 8, 2008

Five Pounds of 501 Love

Jeans. Dungarees. Denim. Next to our favorite jeans what else is there? A new friend at work came to me one day and asked if I had any ideas as to what she could do with her late husbands jeans. "He had tons of them!" she told me. Something for her daughter who was becoming a teenager this year and it would be her first birthday without her Dad. We looked together at a couple of different examples and my friend decided that the circle jeans quilt was the way to go. She picked her secondary fabric and brought it along with the overflowing tall kitchen bag of jeans one afternoon and put it in the trunk of my car.

I started cutting circles. 7 1/2 inch circles. Many, many, many circles.
I felt a connection to my friends late husband as each pair had a history, some were newer than others, some had minute bleach specs or tiny (very tiny) mustard looking spots. All of them were freshly laundered and obviously cared for through out their existence. All of them were 501, most of them had the little red pocket tab ~ these were pinned together with the hopes of incorporating them into the design, but they looked rather distracting. I am sure they will show up on another project soon.....

My plan was to make a full size quilt, but we didn't have enough jeans...."no problem" she said and delivered another half bag I had enough for a twin size quilt. Each circle was marked with a 5 inch square on the wrong side and I started sewing. Four pieces in a strip, then the four circle strips into 20 strips lengths.

The pink squares were next ~ easier to handle as I could rip these with greater accuracy and then stack and rotary cut them. each square went into the center of a circle and the 'flaps' were folded over the square, pressed, pinned and basted. When the three strips were done I started sewing. The edges of the flaps were zig-zagged with my favorite 'denim flavored' thread in an S pattern from top to bottom and then repeated to close each strip. Short sides first then long. When the three panels were completed, they were connected to make the 5 foot square quilt. It wasn't as big as I had orignally planned but it was getting so heavy that I feared the poor girl would be under the blanket and unable to roll over!! This baby was heavy!! I was compelled to weigh it before I delivered it.......5.2 pounds!!

When I brought the quilt to my friend last week, I was feeling a bit sad as I had been working on it for a while and got accustomed to each panel and the variations in each circle-square. It is by no means a precision quilt, in fact the more it is used, the more it will soften and the edges of the circles will fray and become soft and comforting.

I hope my new friends daughter feels a closeness to her Dad through this quilt. It represents the days her father had here with her; her mother's love for her and the love she wants her daughter to remember. This is without a doubt the most special piece I have made.


Ethan said...

Such a unique and special project! Buddy Lee meets Sara Lee, ha! Very practical yet very metaphoric.

I like the irony of using a sturdy, workmanlike fabric such as denim for a comfort-giving garment like a quilt. From strength comes security.

Know that the quilt will be cherished for generations.

Anonymous said...

The ladies bags are so wonderful! They are imaginative and unique. You amaze me. I am so proud of you. All the genes must be mine.....Mom