Sunday, July 10, 2011

Jeans Quilts - Thanks for the memories, Joel Craft

I always wanted one of those really cool quilts people make out of their old jeans. Everybody loves a great pair of jeans. We all have our favorites. We break them in and they're soft and comfy. A great pair of jeans can become a dear friend. (Hey, some of us have a harder time making friends than other people do.) And then we can turn them into a quilt and cherish the memories we made while wearing them.

Yes, I always wanted a jeans quilt. Only one problem: I'm not a saver (see March 12, 2010 post Just Get Rid Of It!). When our jeans wear out, I assess their condition and then either throw them away or donate them to Deseret Industries. What I don't do is fold them neatly, stack them in a cardboard box, and tuck the box away in a corner of my basement just in case. Just in case times get really hard and I decide to patch them? Just in case we have a war on the home front and I need to rip them into bandages? Just in case I ever get enough to make one of those really cool quilts? It always seemed to me like it would take way too long to save enough for a whole quilt. And besides, I knew I'd never fold them neatly, stack them in a cardboard box and tuck them away in a corner of my basement. I'd wad them up and stick them under the bed. They'd stay there until it made me crazy to think about their being under there, and then I would get rid of them. So why not get rid of them from the start?

Then one day I was visiting my good friend and neighbor, Laurie Craft, in her garage, as she was preparing for a yard sale. I could tell she was a little stressed out about the whole thing. I've never had a yard sale (because I get rid of stuff as soon as I possibly can), but I've heard that people feel a little funny, when it comes down to it, about having strangers rifle through their personal belongings. And people can get their feelings hurt when someone offers a quarter for that precious little dress that their sweet baby girl wore just a few years ago that still looks like new. Or fifty cents for that candy dish with the pink flowers and gold edging that Aunt Sally gave them when she cleaned out and retired to Arizona. That, after all, could be considered a family heirloom.

Or that cardboard box of neatly folded and stacked jeans that were cherished friends to a family member.

"Jeans!" I exclaimed.

"Yes," Laurie replied. "They're Joel's." Joel is her husband.

She continued.

"I folded them neatly, stacked them in this cardboard box, and tucked them away in a corner of the basement in case there's ever a war on the home front and we need them for bandages. And besides, they were some of his closest friends."

Okay, I admit that I made up that last paragraph.

"Yes," she replied. "They're Joel's."


I was thinking about that jeans quilt I had always wanted to make. But I didn't want to stress her out about her husband's jeans.

So just how weird would my friend think I was if I offered to buy up her husband's old jeans?

On the big day I showed up early.

"I'm here to buy Joel's jeans. I want to make one of those jeans quilts but I've thrown away all our old jeans."

"Oh! How many pairs do you want?" Laurie asked me.

"I'll take them all."

I took them home and before too long I got started. I made a really nice quilt. We keep it folded up in our family room and use it when we watch movies. I can almost hear Joel Craft laughing at the funny parts. We've taken it to ball games and on picnics. I can just imagine Joel Craft cheering or asking someone to please pass the potato chips.

We like Joel Craft a lot. He's a great guy.

It's a good thing, huh?

Our daughter turned twenty-five a few days ago. I wanted to give her something special for her birthday. I still had some of Joel Craft's jeans. (I had actually saved them!) I decided to make her one of those really cool jeans quilts. The kind that will always bring back fond memories for her...of one of our favorite neighbors - Joel Craft!


  1. Melinda, I LOVED this! I could even hear Joel's laugh after reading it. I'm sure Carolyn will get lots of use out of it (well, maybe not wrap up in it in Phoenix, but it'll make a great picnic blanket). Put up a picture of the whole finished product. I want to see!

  2. I saved so many jeans for several years wanting to make...yep, those quilts. When we moved I decided to let go of them. They're long gone. Maybe it was a bad decision...Your quilt is beautiful!!! I love a good jeans quilt!