Sunday, January 01, 2012

Let the Crazies Begin!

Button, button--who's got the button? Well... chances are, it's me. Yes, those are jars of buttons up there on top of the bookshelves. Those are some of my quilting and knitting books on the shelves. The silver tins (they seem to be reflecting gold light from somewhere but they're silver colored) also have buttons in them.
More jars of buttons. These are on top of the green Hoosier that used to live in the old kitchen. It's in the process of being repurposed to serve as a craft Hoosier now. The reason for the button pictures is because I'm getting ready to start the Great Crazy Quilt Tie Project... although the name may change several times over the course of the year.
Yes, I did say Ties. As in, tie one on? Ties that bind? How about, a tisket, a tasket, a green laundry basket--full of my husband's old ties. Bob wore one every day that he worked, so for my kids, ties are quintessentially "Daddy." It's been in my plans for a few years now to make a crazy quilt out of the ties--many of them are silk, or at least "silky" stuff, so they'll lend themselves perfectly to the medium.
But, you know how it goes... if I make one quilt out of them, well, who gets it? Can't play favorites, so I guess I need to make... seven quilts. Oh-kay.

Now, look over there on the right sidebar. See that CQJP logo? Well, the challenge this year is to make a block a month, at the end of which there will be 12 blocks. Right. So, if I can make one block, I should be able to make...7? Each month?

Not like I haven't had practice in assembly-line and production sewing. My earliest sewing memories are of helping my mother make doll clothes. No, not for my dolls. She sewed for Peggy-Ann and Totsy, two big producers of doll clothes. She'd get a big box delivered to her, which would have the cut out pieces for anywhere from 20 to 50 dozen doll outfits. There'd be a sample, and whatever trims she'd need to make them--laces, ribbons, rickrack, etc. She had an industrial machine that sewed forward, very fast. No backwards. A ruffler that screwed on, one of those complicated looking gizmos that would ruffle the bottom layer and sew it to the top at the same time. She'd sew the pieces one after the other in huge long chains, and my job was to snip the chains apart to get them ready for the next step.

So, good practice for piecing quilts!

Now, crazy quilts aren't really put together like that. The pieces are odd sized, and they're sort of flopped down in different directions depending on the shape of the pieces. That's why ties, with their kind of skewed cuts, are perfect for this. Here's the plan: I'm going to cut out 84 (or maybe a few extra) pieces of muslin for backing, and then I can put the pieces of ties onto them with the machine. I want to be sure that every quilt has pieces of the same ties. so doing 7 at a time ought to make that a little easier than trying to do 84 all at once. I figure the piecing part should be pretty quick--maybe an afternoon's work for each set of 7. And there's no reason I can't prep more than one set of 7 at a time--depending on how quickly I get the ties dissassembled.

It's the embroidery and trimming that will take longer. Especially since a lot of that will be done by hand. And I haven't figured out yet how to knit and embroider at the same time... so we'll see. Because of course I still want to knit!

This should be an interesting year, especially if things work out the way I'd like them to.

Lastly, here's a bit of eye candy for you! This is a quilt my friend Sandy made for her "other" friend Marie. It's truly a gorgeous thing. Every one of those squares has a different quilting pattern in it. (More pics on my Flickr page, where you can even biggen the pictures to see the details. There are even pics of Sandy with her pugs.)

Time for me to go start picking ties apart. Going to be a good thing to do tomorrow while I watch the Rose Parade on TV!


Gail said...

You are the most industrious person I know. Happy, healthy 2012, Marie!

Evelyn G said...

I use ties from the thrift store in my crazy blocks, but I've never done a whole block with them, let alone a whole quilt. Can't wait to see your work.