A highlight of my summer was about 17 days (but who’s counting) at my lakeside weekend home in New Jersey.


Evening, July 10

My husband joined me on the weekends, but the rest of the time was my own, and I used it as a creative retreat.  I had two cats with me, family nearby, some wonderful neighbors, and nothing but the cycling days and nights to fill as I wished.  It was bliss.

The weekend prior I brought up a bunch of materials


I have been cutting up jeans, khaki’s, cargo shorts and more for 10 years.  In this time, my house has been blighted with clothes moths.  Enter Container Store.

As fabric is my medium, this is my method


Modest Machine

Two items in my materials seemed to float to the top. My younger son (known as Chuck) recently castoff a pair of cargo shorts. My painterly friend Chuck gave me a canvas remnant scored with an island of red paint. These became my starting points.



Using a seam ripper, I completely took apart the shorts, section by section.


Belt loops

Preparing the fabric is observational and contemplative.  Handling it I note its surface feel, weight, mobility. With each change in geometry and line I imagine new arrangements, and fabrics to enhance the bright red island. It takes most of the first day to take the shorts apart.


Waistband, cargo pockets, zipper fly, hems, and belt loops all give way to my seam ripper, lint roll, and iron.


These were well worn shorts. I’m not sure why they stopped returning value to my Chuck, but for me this new form is tremendously pleasing. I love its furry softness and the rippling gradations in the fade.


The rabbit munching in the grass every day probably put me in mind of a red clover print in my stash, luckily in one of the containers I brought along. These were from a pair of jeans (pocket lining) I wore in the long long ago, before children. Turns out this is why I saved them.


At some point in my process there’s a shift from taking apart to putting together. In this case it was when I noticed the pocket flaps had clipped corners. Modest Machine roared to life to attach pocket lining to create 90 degree angles. I’m enjoying now how they look like old fashioned photo mounts.


I still felt one more element was needed for the composition.  Some painted denim from my inspiring friend Chuck seemed to fit, with its grey and blue hues


Then in a pretty continuous flow Modest Machine and I joined the elements together


Surrounding the center island atoll


Buddy checked frequently for surface feel.


Until it was done (about 22 hours, but who’s counting), and as close to square as I’ve ever come with a quilt.The border includes a jeans leg where Chuck painted a blue rectangle.


That’s Chuck Squared. Backing is an old sheet. The fill, as always, 100% cotton batting, as this is a small quilt/blanket/throw.   Coming very soon a post on the project that came on the heels of this one. Let me know what you think in the comments, and here’s your bonus shot for reading to the end!


The deck at night, July 11