I started saving old jeans and other denim several years ago because I wanted to make a rugged blanket that I could put down on the ground and play on outside. Then I discovered Jude Hill’s wonderful art site and learned about some of her ideas for design and stitching cloth together. What really rang my chimes as a weaver was weaving strips of cloth together. It is a very soothing activity for me, and I learned to let myself stitch without judgement, learned that I could follow my nose or wherever the cloth seemed to lead, and use thread and cloth in the same kind of manner as I might have used a brush and paint. I’ve not been in a hurry. It has truly been a therapeutic process.
This project feels good in part because I tend to fall in love with my jeans. I remember journeys taken in them. I still wear the pair that I wore most of the time in Ireland and it will eventually go into some kind of patchwork or weaving. I can recognize strips of favorite jeans from years ago. This blanket is about memories. If there are stains or paint on the strips, I get really happy.
If I mess up, that’s an opportunity to bring in another patch or stitching. So, no pressure. Just play. Of course you can do this with any kind of cloth. I have a stack of cloth woven blocks that I hand-stitched with much lighter fabrics. Some of those might end up attached to this blanket for a splash of color.
Since Winter seems to have made an early exit, I decided to make some more panels for the denim blanket and maybe get it ready for the nice weather outside. Now I have a big table in my little studio at the church and I don’t have to fight the cats off of it or worry about them swallowing the threads that come off the ragged edges. I love doing this so much that I can easily lose a couple of hours before I suddenly realize that it is dark and creepy up there by myself and I reluctantly go home.
Jude Hill made an enormous amount of information and tutorials for which she used to charge (and it was well worth the money, believe me) for FREE. It would be nice if you gave her a donation for her hard work and generosity, though. This URL for the free tutorials may change soon, but you can access them on Jude’s website, Spirit Cloth.