Labeling your work

I’ve always toyed with the idea of putting labels on my quilts. Being a fan of antique and vintage items, I wonder about the history associated with such things. Who had it first? When was it made? Why did they buy it? Or was it a gift? How long did they have it? Why did they get rid of it? WHO made it? It’s endlessly fascinating to me. Most of the time my questions go unanswered.

I want to put the year I made a quilt on the quilt. I’m hoping they’ll be around long after I’m gone and it would be neat for the owner to at least know how old it is. One day one of my quilts could be vintage! Is that wishful thinking or what?

I have this old, patchwork quilt top. Please excuse the picture, it’s the only one I could find. I’ve packed the quilt top in a bin somewhere and couldn’t locate it for a new photo.

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I discovered this quilt top in my grandmother’s stuff after she passed away and that was in 2004. I can only guess that her sister, Gertie, made it because my sister and I both have patchwork quilts also made by her. I LOVE this quilt top! It has the most hideous, wonderful fabrics. They’re so ugly, it makes them fantastic. It was probably fashioned from scraps and simply as something to cover up with because the pattern has no rhyme or reason. Way back when my grandmother was young, that’s what people did. They made what they needed. Oh, how I wish I knew the details surrounding this piece.

Why was it never completed? Was Gertie a procrastinator like me? Did a “better” quilt divert her attention? Maybe her sewing machine broke down and she couldn’t get it fixed? Sadly, there’s no one I can ask. This quilt top could be anywhere from 50 to 70 years old!

Labels are so necessary!

A couple years ago, I looked into pre-made options. Alas, I would’ve had to order too many to make it worth it. And with the year being on them, it wasn’t logical. So the idea of labels was put on a back burner. Until recently, when I began to actually FINISH my quilts.

I follow a few different blogs and one of them covered labels just today. Jodie (she spells her name the same as I do! Rare, I know 🙂 ). http://homesweetdreaming.com/about/

Now that I’m beginning to complete quilts and would like to attempt selling them, the matter of labels is upon me once again. I’ve considered iron-on Canadian flags since I’m Canadian and am always so thrilled when I find something Made in Canada 🙂 002

But I think the year is important too. My initials, not so much. No one will know what they stand for. JLH Quilts. . . . I like it. However, I’m never going to be a huge corporation, pumping out hundreds or thousands of quilts.

So despite my impressive collection of embroidery floss (picked up at a garage sale!), it may be pointless to do so much hand stitching.

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Althoughhhhh, there’s a product out there, printable fabric sheets. I’ve only just begun researching them, so I can’t recommend brands or even comment on how well (or not) they work. I may give them a try, it would be faster than hand stitching, which I could save for special quilts because I do enjoy the idea of coordinating threads to the quilt.

046. . . . I know why I have so much trouble focusing! Too many ideas!

I also Googled ‘make your own fabric labels’ and found this handy video. Of course, it’s not the only one and I thought I was simply putting a link in my post. Imagine my surprise when it showed up as the video! (Am I even allowed to do this? If someone knows that I’m NOT, please tell me).

 

My head is swirling now with label ideas. On something as large as a quilt, it wouldn’t be awful to have more information than just a date and initials. But would a printed label fade after so many washings and end up useless? Stitching might be the best?

Decisions, decisions! Whatever will I do? 🙂

 

Save money on thread!

I love saving money (especially when I don’t have an abundance of it) and what I discovered yesterday is too good not to share. If you sew, pay attention! If you don’t already do this, you just might want to begin 🙂

Anyone who’s read my blog knows that I make denim quilts. A lot of my stitching is “behind the scenes”, meaning you’ll never see it. When I attach 2 pieces of denim together, I use whatever thread I have on hand, no matter the color. For top stitching, which you do see, I generally use a specific denim thread.

Since I was running low, I stopped at Fabricland on my way home from work yesterday. It’s close to where I live, so it’s convenient but I really don’t like shopping there. The store is often ablaze with cardboard, neon signs such as “Buy 1, get 1 (or even 2) FREE” or “Take 40% off the regular price!”. Sounds good? It is. Until you also see the “Members only” written in the corner.

And that irks me. I HATE feeling like I’m being forced into paying for a yearly membership just to get the odd sale price on thread. I very, very rarely buy material. I use old jeans for the most part. But NOW I’ve gotten around the whole membership issue and I’ve hugely reduced some of my thread expense. I had a brilliant, light bulb moment!

Here are the types of thread I usually purchase.

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The first is a 500 m spool, $5.89 regular price. That kind of hurts considering how quickly I go through it. The second and third spools are designed for use with denim and I like them because the stitching “disappears” if the denim is just the right shade. Their prices are $3.89 for 200 m and $2.00 for 114 m. Ouch and ouch as well, unless I snag them during a great sale. I have. Only once. I wish I’d loaded up!

And then there’s this next spool of thread.

012It’s for a specific type of sewing machine, a serger. I don’t have a serger so these extra large, uneven shaped spools had remained off my radar. But while I was looking at threads and bemoaning the prices, I saw these big spools and I began to think. It’s thread. Right? I could use it. Couldn’t I? OH YES.

Oh yes, I can!

Last night, I grabbed several empty spools (it does help to keep everything, lol) and as I watched Netflix, I transferred thread from the big spool to the smaller ones. My savings are phenomenal. If you have the stubborn determination I do, you can save money as well.

The serger thread, at 1500 metres, was only $4.00! Four dollars. Four smackers. Four bucks. Even without doing the math for you, you can easily see I saved plenty of money. And I’ll save more in the future because this is what I’ll do for all my hidden stitching and even some of my top stitching. I’m actually thankful for this financially strapped phase I’ve been experiencing. It’s making me look at money spending in all new ways.

I have 4 partial spools, I’ve learned I can put MORE thread on them, so I will from now on. I’m so happy. I am easy to please though!

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I think most of us can be frugal, we just don’t think about it unless we absolutely have no choice.

Okay, I have to show the math anyway. It’s so amazing!

  • 3 – 500 m spools x $5.89 = $17.67
  • 1 – 1500 m spool x $4.00; savings of $13.67, yay me!

If I use basic blue thread over denim thread (in some cases), I can save there as well.

  • 7½ – 200 m spools x $3.89 = $29.18
  • 1 – 1500 m spool x $4.00; savings of $25.18!!

If that’s not incentive to ditch the denim thread, I don’t know what is. I believe I just convinced myself. I’d need 13, THIRTEEN, of the smallest spools to equal 1500 m.

  • 13 – 114 m spools x $2.00 = $26.00
  • 1 – 1500 m spool x $4.00; savings of $22.00, another wowzer!

Sew there you have it! Switch to spooling your own thread and save money! Big money, not mere pennies, although those do add up too. My $5.89 brand new spool of thread is going back to Fabricland tomorrow. The only downside to using serger thread is it’s not available in the wide array of colors normal spools are. However, I’ll be pretty satisfied with blue, black and white.

*** Vitally important update: (ha ha) Because I have the kind of mind that likes to figure out how to do something without necessarily spending more money, I put my thinking cap on after publishing this post earlier today. Transferring the thread from big spool to small spool was what I thought was a good plan (Plan A) until I had more time to ponder the situation.

Plan B is so much better! I had old plastic wrap that had been used as packaging (I do save everything!) and crammed a piece of it into the center of the spool and voila! Now it sits nice and tight on my machine, no wiggling, no budging, perfect 🙂 And it was 100% free.

I have proof.

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And now I need to sew something!

Pictures are important

Having at least decent pictures of a product is very important. Of course, awesome would be the aim but I’ll never reach that level with an old, cheap camera. And that’s okay. I can STILL take pictures!

My other biggest challenge is WHERE to take my pictures. A quilt can be a difficult item to show. Fortunately for me, my brother bought a new home last year and I’ve discovered how wonderful a king size bed and huge, comfy couch are. For picture taking 🙂

Recently, I folded up some of my quilts and hauled them into town for a photo shoot. I can’t say I’m fond of his stark white, BORING walls. Oh, how I wish he’d let me paint. I have an eye for that. As for photography though, I definitely need to learn about daylight, shadows and all the stuff that can interfere with a positive end result.

One day, way down the road, I’ll invest in a better camera. For now, I’m satisfied with a place I can take “better” pictures. And rather than updating the various pages I have on here, I’ll just include new photos in this post. Easier for you and me!

It seems fitting I begin with the Montreal Canadiens quilt I’m making for my brother. I presented it to him for Christmas, UNFINISHED. He’s tall and I needed to know how much larger to make it. It’s on my very soon, to-do list!

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It’s meant to be long and narrow, to fit well on a couch, because I’d like for it to be out and used, not folded away in a closet. My brother is 43 and a dedicated lifetime fan of the Montreal Canadiens. It wasn’t easy finding Montreal Canadiens t-shirts and this quilt will always be one-of-a-kind.

This next quilt was started with my ex-mother-in-law in mind. It has an old pajama top of her granddaughter’s incorporated into it. The butterflies glow in the dark and the saying “Dream a Little Dream” couldn’t be more perfect!

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Quilt number three was one I began for my mom. Only, it got too big and I had nowhere to lay it out flat! So I abandoned it. I have plans for building a custom sewing table this year and will finally be able to finish it. I was happy at least to lay it over a king size bed for pictures, the quilt itself is only meant to be queen size.

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Fourth in line is my Polar Bear quilt, named so for obvious reasons. It’s on the small side and might just stay there. I’d like to make child size items as well.

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And here we have what I call my Placemat Quilt. The four, small rectangles in the center were once headed toward being the backs of reversible placemats. And then I decided I didn’t like them. Not wanting to waste (I HATE waste!) the denim however, I opted for making a quilt. I can’t say I’m crazy about the pattern but it’s growing on me AND it’s an actual completed quilt! I’m going to use it and launder it (repeatedly) to see how it holds up.

One of my largest concerns is a quilt falling apart after it’s left my home. I don’t want that to happen, ever. I double stitch when I can 🙂

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I also made a small, dog quilt recently. It was purely experimental and was always intended for Charlotte, my Boston Terrier mix who simply must be under a blanket when she’s snoozing. I needed to remind myself why I dislike stretch denim. I wanted to try a different edge. AND I finished it! I really can get things done!

Keep in mind, this was experimental and for a dog, so it’s nothing special. I did learn the size would also be appropriate for a baby or as a lap quilt for someone in a wheelchair. It was a win, win, win situation.

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I have other quilts (Tigger, Frog, Cow, Cat) I won’t show again until they’re done and I can take decent pictures.

Today’s task is to complete the second, experimental dog quilt I began after doing the first one.

The tiggeriffic Tigger!

My Tigger quilt is currently 38″ x 45 1/2″. 018I don’t really want to make it much bigger. Sometimes, when I get an idea stuck in my head, there’s no dismissing it! And I envision this quilt on the smaller side.

So, I Googled the dimensions for various, smaller quilts and learned something. There’s no defined size, only general guidelines. For instance, a baby quilt can be anywhere from 36″ square to 52″ square. Honestly, the square aspect is lost on me. In my opinion, a quilt should be longer than it is wide. But that’s just me 🙂

This Tigger quilt, if I finish it off now, can be categorized 4 different ways; baby, crib, toddler and lap. This is according to the information I found online.

I have the perfect material to back it with.011

If I’m lucky, I can manage a second quilt because I do have another Tigger pillowcase 007to use again as the center. Although I am rather fond of the black and grey, I’d do the next one with blue denim, just to compare the two, and maybe keep some of the blue border from the pillowcase, which is double-sided. I have FOUR Tiggers!

** Okay, I drafted the first half of this post last night. And then I got to thinking. . . . . I may have seen another Winnie-the-Pooh sheet while I was rummaging around. . . . .and I was right!006 004

This one might be more appropriate although I’m leaning toward the other one. And both sheets are only twin size, so I will not be able to get 2 quilts from each (unless I make sure they’re small, baby quilts). . . . . shoot.

Now I must do more pondering and probably alter my plans.

Of course, I could always make the first quilt mine 🙂 and sell the second one! And the third. And the fourth.

There’s a definite dilemma with making one-of-a-kind anything. It’s easy to become attached.

But I REALLY don’t need anymore blankets. . . . . . . or do I?

I was able to plug my sewing machine in the other day after all.

Leroy moved from the floor004 to the top of the old, wooden chest he was laying by. I could finally reach the outlet without waking him from his beauty sleep.

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The chest is under one of the windows in my living room turned sewing room. It’s there for the dogs actually! They like to look out the window, especially when I’m deserting (that’s what they’d say if they could talk) them on a hot day and leaving them safely at home.

This Tigger quilt is the first one I’ve done with denim that isn’t blue and I like it.

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The quandary I’m in now is how big? I’m toying with the idea of a baby/toddler size quilt. Or do I go with a couch size quilt? Black and grey could be difficult to coordinate with a baby’s nursery and is definitely more geared toward a boy. A couch quilt doesn’t necessarily need to match a living room’s decor. It’s just something you cover up with when it’s chilly.

Decisions, decisions.

I did place my sewing table in a different position.

028Leroy being in the way shouldn’t be a problem again. I’m also trying to get better natural daylight which may sound odd being summer and all but my trees create an awful lot of shade. Despite shorter days, winter is the best time for sewing without lamps.

Who really rules the house?

I’m in the mood to sew. It’s been a long while since I’ve done anything with my denim quilting!

I dusted my machines, formed a plan in my head and cleaned off the table where it all happens. It (the table) currently resides in my living room, along with 3 racks and various bins of denim and assorted materials. I live alone and have a wood stove room with a couch, so converting my living room into a sewing space was logical.

My winter project (for the 3rd year in a row) is renovating my master bedroom, which has been a glorified, storage facility for forever, and then using it for my craft/sewing room. I have a lot of ideas. Too many! I want to learn to knit, or crochet. I’m not picky. I’d like to get back into my woodworking and also give stepping stones a try! Being a gardener with an overactive imagination sent me down that path. If only I had 8 arms and 40 hours in a day!

And didn’t hold a degree in procrastinating!

But anyway, back to the quilt I’m thinking about. I’ve had a Tigger pillowcase designated as the centre of a quilt for a long time. And that’s as far as it’s gotten. Until today. Or perhaps tomorrow because I’ve put it on hold. Again.

Why?

Leroy is in my way 🙂 I’d have to step over him to plug my sewing machine in. No can do.

00490% of the time, I’m loathe to disturb either of my dogs. He looks so peaceful and he is 6 1/2, maybe he needs more sleep.

Any excuse, eh?

Charlotte is fine right now, she’s watching me and wide awake.007

I did get a tiny bit accomplished. I chose the first denim, cut the first 2 strips and even pinned one in place! I’m going with black, and eventually grey, for a change.

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I suppose I’ll go make that pot of soup I started yesterday. . . . . . Leroy won’t sleep too long.

What to write about?

It was suggested to me recently that I have too many topics on this blog. It’s supposed to be about denim quilting. Perhaps it’s okay to include organic gardening and vegan cooking but then I should stop. Don’t write about my dogs. Don’t make the equivalent of basic “journal entries”. Keep it brief and pertain to the name.

Of course, in my defense, I said, “And more. It’s CouchQuilts and more“. To me, this means I can write about whatever I want 🙂

I’ve been considering this advice and have come to a conclusion. I appreciate advice, especially when it’s wise and well-intentioned. Sometimes I even follow it. In this case however, I’m going to reject it.

Although I can certainly do dumb things, I’m not a dumb person. I’m abundantly aware of the meandering style of my blog. I often write about what interests me that day, or even that moment, and it may only be about the robins nesting in one of my trees. Totally boring. But the beauty of computers is this wonderful ability to hit ‘delete’ or ‘close’ when content doesn’t inspire us to stay. And anyone who reads my blog is free to do as they please. While I hope to have followers who’ll enjoy what they read, I know I will never satisfy everyone and I don’t strive to.

I do this for me. So far I like what I do. Are some entries more captivating? Yes. Are some completely irrelevant? Absolutely. It’s a reader’s choice to read or not 🙂 Simple. I’ve even gotten over the offense I initially felt when my own mother, after I questioned her, admitted she has no interest in my site.

I’ve done it myself when visiting other blogs. Often an entry is just too long. Maybe it’s not my kind of subject matter. And guess what? I go elsewhere. No harm, no foul. The blog author doesn’t know and they still had fun composing their entry.

So there you go. I’m continuing on as I have for the past month. Obviously I’ll write about quilting but I’m also going to write about “much more” 🙂 It’s who I am and I can’t be any other way.