Monday, April 25, 2022

{Post 1,762} Juicy Fruit Quilt

We went to south GA this past weekend. We haven’t seen my oldest son’s family in about a year. I drove all the way down, and my husband drove all the way home. It was about 8 hours in the van one way. As usual, I gave much thought to what I should spend my time on while he drove. It was going to be daylight the whole time, which makes a difference. 

I never travel w/o my iPad. Between Kindle, email, blogs, etc., I can keep happily busy for hours. But I never pulled it out once. 

This box of shirt scraps was accumulated when I last cleaned off my cutting table. I am blessed to have a big pressing station as well as a big cutting station in my sewing room. I found bits and bobbles of shirts all over my sewing desk as well as the other two flat surfaces. I kept throwing them into a plastic tote box.

Often I get questions about how I get so much sewing done. Well, I sew every day (just about). Having pieces precut is something that I don’t do often. In this case, I was cutting down the shirt leftovers for two different quilts. They are both blocks I made up and both are pieced onto old phone book pages. That is for stability and to make sure they get up to the size I am shooting for. 

The first one is named Shirts and Selvages. I save selvages from all my fabrics. I have made many different items from them. I am using cash register tape (I got 4 rolls for $1 at a local thrift shop) to piece selvage strips, then I trim it down to 2-1/2” wide. I put that diagonally on a 6-1/2” square paper and use strips of shirts to finish the block out. I got this idea from Bonnie Hunter originally. If you’re new to upcycling shirts or string piecing, check out her blog. It’s I cut strips as small as 1” wide. Nothing over 1-3/4” on these small blocks. Here are my first ten. I use up a strip until it’s all gone. As I finish the blocks, I will spread out the heavily-repeated fabric.

 The second quilt I am calling Juicy Fruit, after the stick gum sold when I was a child. I don’t know if it is still sold. The block shape is gum-like, and the colors made me think of the multi-colored zebra in the commercials. I cut paper and muslin 3” x 6”. The paper is covered with shirt strips. The finished blocks are alternated with the muslin.

Here is where I am so far with that one as of a few minutes ago. This will measure 49.5” wide and 45.5” high when the blocks are sewn together. I have them sewn into groups of 18, 3 across and 6 down. That way I can move them around to distribute the eye-catching colors before sewing the final layout.

Each new quilt is my favorite, and when I’m sewing two at once—that’s a lotta love!

So my cutting strategy? I pulled out one piece (I figured it didn’t matter which one since I was going to try to cut up the whole box…and I did). If I could get a 3-1/4” long piece out of it that was at least 1” wide, I’d cut some rectangles for the Juicy Fruit. I stacked them all so that they weren’t in a jumble when I went to sew. If the piece was fairly large, I cut a 3-1/4” wide strip then subcut it into various widths for Juicy Fruit and cut the rest into strips for the sides of Shirts and Selvages. If the piece was too small, but big enough to matter, I matched it with a similar width piece to piece later. I laid those in my husband’s baseball hat which was beside me in the van. When we got home, after I put things to rights, I pieced and trimmed all those. I. Could. Not. Wait. You can see the pieced ones in the picture above. I also had those pieces at the very top of the shoulder seams of the yoke that have the diagonal edge. Two of those fit perfectly together. Waste not, want not! That’s pretty much my theme for everything. Here is a picture showing the difference. The top went into the very neat strings pile, and the bottom went into the trash. Even I have my limits.

So, do you like one quilt more than the other? I’d love to hear what you think about them. Using upcycled shirts makes the quilt seem loved and antique from the start. They are more lightweight than using quilting cottons well. I simply love them.

I bought an old wooden lap desk years ago at a thrift store in town. We always take it on trips because my husband usually works if it’s a weekday (while I drive). I use it if it’s a weekend. My iPad, practice sheets for machine quilting, and other items work fabulously on it. I sat behind my husband in our van on the way home.That way I could spread out my things beside me (our second row of seats fold into the floor, so we folded the other one down).

Here are a few pictures of my trip home. Not only did I get all the fabric cut, but I also cut up all the selvages I took with me. I stored those in a plastic bag so they wouldn’t get mixed up with the shirt scraps. I am messy, but neat. LOL!!

Years ago I cut up a badly-scarred cutting mat, and I take one of those to portable sewing opportunities. 

This is the box I started with…the styrofoam cup was from lunch. I used it for a trash can. Only the tiniest bits didn’t make the cut, so to speak!

This is what I ended up with…the rectangular leftover container was laden with neatly stacked strips, and I had row upon row of pieces for the Juicy Fruit quilt. The cup held just a smidgen of trash. 

Back to sewing for a bit! 


Elaine Adair said...

Yes, you DO get a lot done! Very impressive. My box of shirt "parts" is ... somewhere around here. Your photos are very encouraging eye candy!

Elaine Adair said...

Me again - I just brought home a HUGE bag of cast-offs/scraps from a friend - I might just need YOUR idea to use them effectively. Yes, you DO get so much done, all of it tells me "make this one" "make that one", etc. 8-))) LOvely voices in my head. 8-))) Hope your days are good - I so enjoyed all your photos.