Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Inquiring minds want to know

Well, then, I guess Toothbrush Rugs aren't widely known.  Basically, it is a crocheted rag rug made with strips of fabric, but I don't know how to crochet so I use a toothbrush needle.  The toothbrush needle is usually made from plastic, but some people custom make them from wood.


Back during the Depression era, they were made from toothbrushes, which nearly always had a hole at the end of the handle.  The bristle end was cut off and then filed down to a rounded "needle" point.  You tear (or cut, but I think tearing is better because you you eliminate much of the fraying that way, it is quicker, and oh so therapeutic to just RIP!) fabric strips the width of your fabric from selvage to selvage.  I don't know the exact width you are supposed to use, but I tear mine approximately 1.5" wide (but I don't measure).

Here's my first rug on a porch chair before I realized how great it would be under my sewing machine pedal. 
I learned the technique by watching the video at Rag Rug Cafe.  I have fabric that isn't really appropriate for quilting, but that I wanted to use for something.  My first round rug has been under my sewing machine pedal for months now.  I love that it keeps the pedal in place - the pedal used to always scoot around on my wood laminate floor in my sewing studio.  The rugs can be round or oval or hearts or rectangular.  I encourage you to Google "toothbrush rugs" if you want to learn more.

But after all that explanation, I haven't really worked on my rag rug since my last post.Instead, I've been focusing on cranking out some baby quilts.  First up, one of my karate instructors is having twins (girls, they say). For her birthday a couple of years ago, I made her a mini confetti quilt in rainbow colors, so I'm planning to make rainbow quilts for her babies, too.  I started with this rail fence - the blocks are made but not sewn together yet.

Inquiring minds want to know - how do you feel about square quilts?  For some reason, I am more drawn to rectangular quilts, so I am debating adding another row or two.  What do you think?

I plan to make the other twin a quilt in the same colors, but probably a chevron pattern - similar, but not the same, just like twins.  You guys know I'm an identical twin, right?  Twins hold a very special place in my heart!

Oh, and bonus for the rail fence quilt - I made the blocks using my pre-cut 5" charm squares so I wouldn't have to seek out and cut fabric.  I put the two fabrics right-sides together, sewed along two opposite ends, then cut 2" in from each sewn side, giving me two identical sets of 3.5" x 5" blocks.  I set one set aside because I only wanted each fabric to show up once in the quilt - you know, scrappy ole' me.  To the first set, I added a 2" x 5" white to each block, and voila, 5" rail fence blocks.  But now, I have a whole other set available, just awaiting the white, so I can make another baby quilt for another expecting mother some other day without too much preparation.  I love it when things work out like that!

On the home front, things are stable.  My MIL is hanging in there at home.  I'm hoping to get back up to see her during my kids' spring break later this month.  My mom has been struggling with some health issues, too, and I'd love to get up there to see her, but all the snow days have cut my kids' spring break in half, and it would be a challenge for us to make it all the way up to New Hampshire and back in just 4 days.  The boys and I have been busy with scouting (Pinewood Derby was this past weekend), and karate (my third mid-term test is this Thursday - I'm on track to test for my second-degree black belt in October).

Oh, and I gave notice at my job, so starting in July, I'll be a free agent.  I've already arranged to teach quilting to middle school aged kids at an art camp in July.  I'm ready to stop working at the breakneck pace I've been maintaining for years and be more creative.  I feel excited and proud of myself for taking this leap of faith (after all, who gives up a secure and lucrative job in a recession and sequester and in this job market???), but I'll admit, I'm a bit nauseous, too, not knowing what comes next.  I'm choosing to just believe in myself and that someone up there rewards leaps of faith.

18 comments:

beebee said...

Love the colors of the baby quilt and I think it is a great idea to make them similar but not exactly alike for twins.
Congrats on taking that Leap of Faith. Follow your heart and all will be ok. You are such a generous person that I know He will reward you and put you where he needs you most and He will provide you with what you need.
Blessings to you!
hugs from Louisiana
beebee

Julierose said...

Oh, I lovethose tutes on making a toothbrush rug! I will have to make one for my "walking" foot pedal now!! Great way to use up that "old" ugly fabric!! thank you Julierose

Char said...

Oh my goodness, so much I don't know where to start
I've been saying I was going to make a rug for years, thanks for the encouragement( or kick in the pants) I really love the quilt and I think square is great for a baby quilt. I do the same with my 5" squares. So easy.
I think it's wonderful that you are going to follow your dreams. Hey sometimes money is over rated. Lol I have faith that things will work out for you. My DH will be happy for you as well. He says you work much too hard.
Glad to hear that you MIL is at home. I hope you mom gets better soon.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

My Mom makes the toothbrush rugs - with the old wood toothbrush from long ago! Oh, I am happy to hear you gave notice - you were very unhappy and I think this was a good move - things will work out. This will give you time to get your smile back on!

Auntie Em said...

Thanks for the explanation of toothbrush rugs. I'm glad that you have one that isn't hiding under you foot pedal :-)

he baby quilt is adorable. I like square for baby quilts.

Congratulations on your "retirement". Now, don't overdo and schedule too much for your new "free" time.

Best wishes for both your MIL and your mom.

Quilty Conscience said...

I too prefer rectangular quilts...but maybe, after readiing Auntie Em's comment, it made me think that a square quilt might be more useful, think playmat, for a baby quilt.

Cheryl Willis said...

Enjoy all your new adventures!

Wacky Woman said...

I used to ONLY like reqtangle quilts; but, lately I have started to really like the square ones as well. I've decided that is a good thing. More options.

Shay said...

I had so much to comment on until I read that last part about you giving up your job. I'm totally blown away. Congratulations on taking the leap. Talk about a major life change! I think this is going to a wonderful time for you.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I know you we not happy in your job. I've been worried about you (and not hearing from you as much). I'm sure that God has a plan for you.

Mary Beth said...

Congrats on the leap of faith with your job! I have no doubt this is a new beginning!

Julie Fukuda said...

There is so much to comment on but it has already been said! the baby quilt ... well, as a twin, I can only say it takes one to know one. Square is fine for babies. The toothbrush ... I think crochet is faster and not that hard to learn. The job ... DITTO to everyone else. Beware though, things creep in to fill time and you never have as much as you think you will.

Jindi's Cottage said...

Loving the rainbow quilt...great idea to use a chevron pattern for similar but not the same...Congrats on taking the leap, I'm sure you'll land nice and softly...a nice yellow envelope arrived in my mail box today, thank you! appreciated :)...

JaneB said...

Ooh love that rainbow quilt. I may be strange, but I've always liked square quilts better than rectangles, maybe its the whole symmetry thing. I say, let it be square.

Michelle said...

The quilt will be beautiful! I love the full spectrum of color, and I think for baby quilts squares are perfect. They are great to hang on the wall if they are square, after the baby gets big enough for a twin-sized.

Can't wait till Sunday supper, lots more to catch up on. Many adventures ahead I'm sure!!

Carla said...

Thanks for explaining what a toothbrush rug is. I had a vision of a toothbrush with the bristles. Sorry I was totaling out of the loop. LOL

Janet said...

I really admire you taking the leap of faith and leaving your job. I loved my job up until about two years ago when I hit a wall and could no longer cope with working with very damaged people. Since then I've been put through the mill of the system while they shuffle me here and there looking for something for me to do. I should just retire, but darn it, I still want to work, just not at the same breakneck pace.

Nancy said...

Wow, that last paragraph was a big surprise. Guess that answers the question about when in Sept you will be making the trip to ATL! Now that I am back to blogging some I have to catch up on the other part of blogging - reading others! My thoughts are with you and your moms. Your comments about your MIL are so sweet. You are both lucky to have such a great relationship.

Love your quilts, as usual.