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.