Sunday, December 28, 2014

Staying Busy and the Trails my Mind takes me Down as I Do

I'm staying busy again.  I have deconstructed a pile of jeans and I've been working into cutting them into panels that will be sewn into a larger panel to cut my blocks.  I have almost become obsessed with denim.  I love working with it in my quilts.  Since I have let it be known that I've been doing quilts with denim I have family and friends that are donating to me.  I have one friend that will just leave me sacks of them at my back door.  It is like a little surprise when I find them. 

But I love how it fades.  Some denims fade differently than others so you get all the beautiful different shades of blue and blue is just such a comforting color.  As I am working with the denim I notice stains or fading.  For instance the knees always fade more than the rest of the jean.  Stains from dirt or grass are usually found on the front.  Sometimes I just run my hand across a faded denim and you can feel how the fabric has worn to a softness. 

As I am working with it my mind starts to wonder.  I wonder about what the person that wore these jeans did.  What kind of work did they do?  If I see an oil stain I wonder if it is from a teenage kid just learning to work on their first car.  I have a friend that has told me she has me a big sack of jeans and her family worked in concrete so I know there will be stains that will tell that story when I get them. 

I'm currently working on another quilt for one of my grandsons.  One of the first denim quilts I made was for another grandson and was made out of jeans from his mother, from me and from him.  But as I working on these quilts for my other grandsons I also think about the people these other jeans belonged to.  I hope as these boys sleep under these quilts that somehow that working and being good men will seep into them.  That somehow they will know they have a grandmother that loves them very much and that she put a lot of thought into these things as they were made.

Then my thoughts go to my own grandmother.  My quilting is so untraditional.  Machine quilting.  When I was growing up my grandmother lived probably within a quarter mile of our home and I remember walking to her home often during the summer months.  She had a wooden quilting frame that was attached to her ceiling with hooks and ropes and she would wind the rope around the ends of the wooden frame to lift it up to the ceiling when she was not quilting.  But many times it would be down and she would be quilting when I got there.  I would sit with her and she taught me how to hand quilt and make tiny stitches.  I really miss that.  Sometimes one or another of my Aunts would come in and sit and help and she had a friend, Ms. Ritter, who would sometimes walk all the way across town.  We would never know that she was coming until we would see her walking down the road.  Good times!

So yes I am loving working with the denim but after today I'm not so sure it is as much the denim as it is the quilting and all the wonderful thoughts that it provokes in me.