This last quilt in the Week of Using What You Have is Climbing the Walls by Lynne Miller-Deist. At first glance this quilt just looks like a blue string quilt but, on close inspection you can see that it is pretty amazingly made out of old denim jeans! Denim + string quilt = a lot of love and patience. Lynne blogs at Miss Stash Would and you can find her on flickr under the name Miss_Stash_Would. She is a proud member of the St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild. Read on as she shares more about making Climbing the Walls.
Tell Us About Your Quilt
A good friend asked for a lap quilt made from her son’s denim jeans. All I could think was, “Partridge Family! How do I make denim patchwork modern?!?” Her son is a free-runner, which means he climbs walls and jumps stairwells for fun, so I wanted something geometric and bold reminiscent of scaffolds and sky scrapers, which is where the name “Climbing the Walls” originated. (That, and the devil of a time I had manipulating denim cut on the bias). I based my design on a pair of beautiful string quilts made by two talented ladies from the St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild, as well as Elizabeth Hartman’s version in the “Modern Guide to Patchwork.”
What Do You Love About Using Scraps or Re-Purposed Fabrics?
I love the idea that these fabrics will outlive their original intent and take on a brand-new life of their own. My grandmother created intricately-pieced quilt tops from scrap muslin and feed sacks. My great-grandmother patched together snippets of wool blankets to keep the family warm. These talented ladies took the textiles of their everyday lives and turned them into heirlooms still used today. Their resourcefulness and craftsmanship make it possible for me to tuck my kids in at night under the very same blanket that warmed my Dad as a child. That’s pretty remarkable when you think about it.
I have an entire bin dedicated to “thrifty” finds I’ve stashed over the years. I have hoards of linen salvaged from an old bed skirt, a fun flowery print I snipped from a pair of wacky maternity pants, and a stack of flannel jammies from my kiddos. The aesthetic of the original items may not appeal to me in 2012, but that’s part of the fun: finding a fresh new way to interpret these raw materials into something beautiful and lasting for the people I love (especially when a trip to the quilt shop costs $12/yard). They say it isn’t what you have, but what you do with what you have that counts. I like living in a world where it’s never too late for a fresh start. Guess that goes for my fabrics, too. :)
Tell Us About Yourself
In addition to being a proud member of the St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild, I’m also a chemistry professor, wife and mother of two hilarious offspring that definitely keep me hopping. When I do manage to find time to sit down and quilt, I love to work with solids and bold, geometric prints. I like a lot of contrast in my quilts, and prefer to let the piecing and variations in hue tell more of the story than any particular piece or line of fabric. Some of my favorite quilts are some of the simplest: clean lines and a minimal, modern aesthetic. I am constantly inspired by the amazing quilters whose work I admire via the Modern Quilt Guild, particularly the fantastic ladies in our local St. Louis chapter. So many ideas, so little time!