Friday, September 19, 2008

Feedsack Charm Squares

I love feedsack fabric.  I love it so much that I decided to write another post about it.  But, I am going to be lazy this time and not provide you with another illuminating, albeit brief, history of this type of fabric.  If you are dying to know ALL about (okay, a little bit about) feedsack fabric, you might want to check out my last post.  Today, I am only going to present you with pictures of some small pieces I have.  

My sister, a supremely talented quilter, gave me a big stack of feedsack charm squares.  I am not sure why they are called charm squares, but maybe because they are cute and charming? Anyhow, they are 4" squares that are pre-cut and I assume they are used for patchwork quilting.  However, I don't quilt, so I don't know for sure.  I suppose I could do some top notch research and find out via google, but it really is all I can do to publish a blog every so often.  I just love the fabric, so I will leave it at that.  I think there are about 40 in the stack I have, but I have only included twenty five.  These are all pretty great, I think.

Gotta love these colors....

More fantastic colors.  I really, really love this one....

More pink and blue....

Simple, darling....

This is one of my favorites.  It has a kind of Pennsylvania Dutch feel to it....

I think this is another favorite.  The colors are unusual and fantastic...

This is another pretty unusual one that I have seen...

More loveliness....

More really cute pink and blue....

Maybe those are violets and asters?  Maybe they are made up?  Who knows.  I just like the colors!

More crazy fake flowers...

This one is pretty spare, but I love it...

This is neat.  It looks like it might be from the 1950's....

A really great shade of blue.  I think that is supposed to be a poppy, but do they actually come in blue?

I would love to see this one as a big piece....

Oh, absolutely gorgeous!

Another beautiful red and white piece....

another geometric....

And again.  This might be my favorite shade of green.  Or of any color, for that matter...

This is a super cool pattern with great colors....

More green geometry....

Okay, now this is one of my favorites....

And this one.  Actually, can you have more than one favorite?  I guess since it is my blog, I can do what I want!  Haha!

More funny, imaginative flowers....

And, lastly, stripes.  I love the variety of widths and colors.

I am not sure what I am going to do with all these.  I might make some coasters out of them. But probably not a quilt!  If anyone has any knowledge about charm squares and feedsacks, I would love to know more about them.

Feedsack Fabric

I love where I live. I really do. It's really beautiful here, just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We are about 15 miles from the closest big town, Waynesboro, and about 30 miles from Charlottesville. Sometimes I get tired of driving, but then I look at those mountains!

Okay, why am I telling you this? Because, being out here means that I don't have access to high speed internet service. I do have something called cellular broadband which uses a modem to access a signal from a cell phone tower. Usually, this works pretty well. It's kind of fast, but not the real deal. The biggest issue I have is that it takes FOREVER to load a photo to blogspot. It can take anywhere from 3 minutes to overnight to never. This is not a lie. I have tried to make sure the files are small (they say they can load pictures that are up to 4 MB, and mine are generally about 600 kbs). Thus, sometimes blogging can seem like a bit of a chore. But enough of that!!!

I have had an obsession with feedsacks for quite awhile. They are becoming more and more collectible, which means more and more expensive,  so that means I don't get to buy them. That makes me sad, but such is life. If you don't know what feedsacks are, they are the cotton bags that feed, flour, sugar, etc. used to come packaged in from about 1840 to about 1950. Originally, the sacks were plain white in color with a company's logo on it (the logo's were originally round, because barrels were used before cotton sacks. The logos would be on top of the barrel, which was round). Gradually, around, the 1920's, companies began to use colors and patterns on their feedsacks. As women had been using the feedsacks for quilting and undergarments, manufacturers realized there was a huge marketing opportunity to be had. If they could make their feedsacks prettier than the next guy's, the ladies would be more likely to buy their sack of flour rather than the competitor's. Pretty smart! So, there became a big industry in designing lovely prints on these double duty sacks.

Feedsacks died out in the 1950's as the manufacturing of paper became less expensive. Now you can find them at quilt shows, antique shows, ebay, junk shops etc. Or maybe in your grandma's attic! I have only a few large pieces of feedsack fabric, as they are quite pricey.

I really love the colors they used.

This is a neat one, with the gray and orange.

I love the gold tones mixed with the turquoise.

Again, gray and orange.  This is one of my favorites.

Some companies are reviving the feedsack type of pattern, but I have yet to see them in larger prints.  Mostly they are small, calico type prints.  This color is too gorgeous.

I haven't done anything with these, as I am waiting for the perfect project.  I might make some coasters with them.  Just simple squares, but then they will be scattered around the house, and we can all admire their beauty.

I got this information from She has lots of great information if you are interested in quilting and history.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Word About Mending: Part 2

As I noted in the previous post, I am all about mending, recycling, saving money, etc. (smoked salmon, $16/pound cheese, and free range chicken notwithstanding). Here is another example of my thrifty, some might say Depression Era, ways. I bought a set of expensive Wamsutta sheets several years ago. Finally, after many nights of use, these sheets have become incredibly soft and cozy. However, that softness, I assume, can be attributed to the breakdown of the fibers. Breakdown of fibers leads to weakened threads which leads to holes. Holes lead to rips. Really big ones. As a testament to my thrifty ways, I decided to not throw out the sheets but instead to mend them. I found some fabric that was similar in weight and kind of matched (but not really, since it is a different color!) and decided to work my magic. I did the patching technique which I explained in my previous post. And I'll be damned if it doesn't look god-awful! The irony of this story is that my sheets are really no longer all that comfortable. I mean, shouldn't I have known that adding another fabric and stitching the heck out of it would kind of ruin the texture? So now I just keep that section at the bottom of the bed, and I curl my legs up in the fetal position. Problem solved.  I think the true purpose of my blog is teach others who sew how to do a better job.

(These sheets aren't dirty, just old!)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Word About Mending: Part 1

I truly believe that mending has become a lost art. Too frequently, people just toss things into the trash that are ripped rather than sitting down and mending those holes. Because I am cheap, it is my intention to revive the lost art of mending. Here is an example of two things that I mended recently.  By the way, this example can in no way be called art, either in reference to mending or otherwise.  It is more about function rather than fashion.

Here are a pair of shorts that my husband ripped.

Fortunately, he works alone, so he wasn't faced with the humiliation that would normally accompany a rip such as this. You might wonder why in the world I would repair these shorts rather than tossing them, raggedy as they are. Well, my husband works in his vineyard and winery, so it really doesn't matter how nice his clothes look. As a matter of fact, I think he makes it his personal goal to ruin his clothes and then hand them over to me to attempt to clean and repair. Perhaps he thinks I need some challenge in my life. Anyhow, this is what I did.

First, I found some fabric of a heavy weight that approximately matches the shorts.

Then I cut out a rectangle of the same size as the rip, and I pinned it to the inside of the shorts.

Then I used a zigzag stitch on the inside to secure the fabric and make a sort of patch.

On the outside, I zigzagged around the tear to stop it from ripping some more, and to close the hole.

Okay, so it doesn't look that great. Perhaps that will encourage him to not tear his shorts anymore. Right.  Or maybe I should put a Hello Kitty patch on the outside.

Leather and LacES (or, The Toe Protector's in Town)

Not too long ago I posted about some leather jewelry I made, and I called the post Leather and Lace (well, not really). Now I am kinda wishing I hadn't used that really, really awesome title, because this time, it's for real!! I made some toe covers for my roller skates. I made them out of leather. And you can thread the laces of the skates through them. Get it? Leather and LacES. Oh, how I crack myself up.

Anyhow, in the rough and tumble world of roller derby, a girl can do a lot of damage to the toe of her boots. There's falling, sliding, dragging, etc, and once there's a hole in the boot toe, that's the end of the boots. Well, maybe they can be repaired. I don't really know. I also can attest to the fact that I try to avoid falling, sliding and dragging as much as possible. But, sometimes it can't be helped. And in the short time I have been participating with the Charlottesville Derby Dames, I have done a bit of damage to the toe of my boot.

So, I set out to protect them.

First, I made a pattern.

Then I cut it out of leather. I am hoping that this will be durable.

I stitched up the sides. It kind of looks like a bug, don't you think?

To add a bit of cuteness, I have added a leather heart to the toe guard. This will add extra sturdiness, sort of an extra layer of skin for the rink floor to get through. I found it easier to just stitch back and forth through the heart rather than stitch around the perimeter. I think this will also make it wear tougher.

Then I used an exacto knife to cut holes out of the top for the toe stop to go through. I used my grommet maker to put a grommet in for the hole, but the grommet was too small to allow the toe stop through. I don't think it is necessary for the grommet anyway. For the top part where the laces thread through, I added little eyelets.

To increase durability, I have added thick interfacing to the back side.

To add a bit of cuteness, I have added a leather heart to the toe guard. This will add extra sturdiness, sort of an extra layer of skin for the rink floor to get through. I found it easier to just stitch back and forth through the heart rather than stitch around the perimeter. I think this will also make it wear tougher.

Here is the first one. Here is the one that has the upside down heart. Sigh. Luckily, I figured that out before I made another one.

Here are a pair that look right.

Look how beautifully it hugs the toe of the boot! Ah, if my skating skills were half that nice.

I haven't tried this model out. I did, however, make a set that was blue with no heart or interfacing on them. I used them one night in practice, and they got pretty scuffed up.

I am hoping these will hold up better. You can buy a set in my Etsy shop!