Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mood Indigo: Denim Vessels

I live in a Home for Unwed Fabrics. People bring me their unwanted yardage and clothing. I can't say no, not without a large group of Fabriholics Anonymous members surrounding me with linked arms, meditating at a frequency so high that the would-be donors turn around in fear and drive their piles of fabric to Goodwill.

Alas, I don't have that psychic defense support group. Instead, I have two wonderful friends named Linda, who both bring me their tired, huddled masses of fabric, apparently yearning to break free from their houses into mine. Most recently, one of them gave me two wool women's kilts from Scotland (future kilt guilt quilt? Say that 10 times fast), plus three pairs of her sons' used denim blue jeans.

I love, love, love denim.  Love it That's because it's usually
  • Indigo blue. Everything about indigo is wonderful, including the word. 
  • Lighter indigo blue on the inside
  • Shot through with ravelly thick white threads
  • Sturdy
  • Redolent of my hippie-era youth, and of many fine professions such as cowboy, supermodel and scientist. (Thus the denim baby name career banner in my last post. And the denim-and-necktie bangle charm bracelet before that.)
This week (and next week) I'm going to show you some denim vessels.

1. Log Cabin Vessel. This basket is about 4.5" high and 8.5" high. It's made using a quilter's 'log cabin' braid technique, with different colors of denim.
 It's lined with a cotton print, and bound with a separate piece of denim.
2. Paisley Vessel. This is a small thing, about 5" high and 4" across,  to which I stitched a lot of pearl (mother-of-pearl buttons, faux pearl beads.) The design is supposed to be a large paisley, but you have to rotate it to see. Next time, I'll make the vessel larger or the paisleys smaller. 

I set in circles to make the bottoms.
I used white and light pastel blue pearls to reflect the shades of the denim. There's a broken necklace stitched on (with the wire links), and the buttons are held on with faux pearls. I'm not sure yet how I'm going to finish the top.

3. Patriotic Vessel. This third vessel most clearly shouts jeans leg, because that's what it is - a cut off segment of jeans. It's pretty tall, 11" high and 6" across. I discovered that I could make the segment sturdier and stand up better with a lining of very heavy duty, stiff and equally ravelly, red cotton canvas. So I made a canvas lining that matched the size of the tub, and unravelled the top of that fabric, as well as the top of the jeans. I stitched the lining into the leg (you can see the line of red stitches just under the top of the jeans in the picture below.)

Do you see how this is now red, white and blue?

IMPORTANT INTERRUPTION: If you are a NOT a fan of our Current President (circa 2013),scroll QUICKLY past the next two photographs. My blog is not here to aggravate or persuade you. It's just for fun! Jump down to the bottom, which is non-political and heartwarming.

Where was I? For those of you who are not hugely aggravated by our Current President: The patriotic color scheme led me to stencil a portrait of Obama onto the denim. I used white paint, but could also have bleached out a design (a technique with the unfortunate name 'discharge') with dishwasher gel, or a commercial product like deColourant (I like the latter a lot! No financial affiliation!)

This denim vessel does stand up by itself, but to put flowers (or campaign signage, or whatever) in it, you can slip a heavy glass vase inside.

I hope this gets your creative juices going! I am thinking about writing up directions for these vessels - do you think that's a good idea?

Want more? Check out the next post: More denim vessels.

And now, a non-sequiter:

Quilty Banners for Boston!

Quilters are compulsive do-gooders, but sometimes our good intentions (and good quilts) aren't what people in crisis need.

So check out the banner project described here and here.

What a great idea! You can lift people's morale, without burdening them with quilts that they don't need (until such time as they do need them.)


  1. You make me laugh! I haven't even read the rest, but the first couple of paragraphs is me. :-) I am managing the fabric stash contest on a sewing site starting on the 1st June, but already yesterday I brought home a few large zip bags of someone else's stash clearings! Well, some will go to Project Linus, but still.

    Anyway, I might put a link to this post for the other stashers who are trying to get rid of bits of fabric.
    Sandy in the UK

  2. Feel free to post the link anywhere! Thanks so much, Sandy, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  3. I love these! They're terrific! And denim is stiff enough to stand up on it's own! How clever of you!


  4. I love them! Especially the Log Cabin braid! Well done, Cathy!


  5. I too have a life long love o blue jeans since I was a girl who had horses in the Back yard, back in the wonder years.
    I love what you have done and the sense of humor you display both in words and deeds of construction, the indigo vessels are so inspiring .

  6. Sonja, thank you so much for your kind comment! They are a lot of fun!

  7. Cathy, as usual, your wonderful way with words makes me laugh.

  8. Thank you, you're good for my morale!

  9. I'd love to have the directions for these. I am also a lover of indigo with loads of jeans, just waiting for a project.

    Thanks, enjoyed your post.

  10. Thanks for your comment and your vote, Paula, much appreciated!


Thank you for commenting!