Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rag Quilts


Here's my first rag quilt I made about 3 years ago. It's made of dusty/muted colored flannel, raw silk and chenille fabric. I like this texture combination, both visually and the way it feels on my lap. It's a bit heavier, but, I like it that way-so cozy in the morning while reading my favorite magazine or book. It just feels good.

For a first time quilter, especially teenagers or children, making a rag quilt is a great option. You have all the elements in quilting, cutting; sewing and quilting in 1 block intervals, which makes it easier to handle and again, having instant gratification children that we seem to be growing these days, it's a relatively quick quilt to finish and feel good about.

This is a flannel and silk lap quilt
I made with my DD last year. In this particular quilt there is a bit of loosely woven silk, but it's mostly flannel. Chelsea chose the fabric and I think she did pretty good selecting fabric and colors.

You can get a free rag quilt pattern, if you really need the extra reminders, but, I'll tell you how we made this marvelously easy quilt right now. Of course there are many options, but this is what we did. Layering the fabric and using an Olfa cutting wheel, we cut 6.5 inch squares of flannel and 5 inch squares of batting. You want the batting much smaller, since one side of the quilt will have exposed seams and the batting should not been seen sticking out. But, if it does, all you need to do is trim it back. This is a great way to use scraps of batting from other projects, that have never been big enough to use anywhere else. Any type of inexpensive batting will do for this project.

I think I like quilting so much because in quilting and sewing, there is almost nothing you can't fix. And don't get hung up on perfection! A quilt on a bed or on your lap is always better than perfectly unfinished. Besides, there's enough other stress in the world that we don't want to have to carry that stress over into what should be our most enjoyable time.

All the material in the quilt we made together has bright clear colors. In my opinion, an easy way to choose fabrics is look for all clear colors or all dusty colors. The effect is pleasing, although I've combined dusty/muted colors and clear colors for certain effects. I'll write in another post about that soon. I digress...

Take one 6.5 inch flannel square; center a 5 inch batting square on the wrong side of the flannel and then top the batting with the wrong side facing the batting. In other words, all you see on front and back of the sandwich is the right sides of the flannel. Make 60 or 70 sandwiches for a lap quilt.

Chain quilt them with a big "X". Begin by lining up the sandwiches, diagonally, corner to corner at your needle of the machine. Sew one corner to corner, then, don't cut the thread, just butt the next one up to the one you just completed and continue quilting your sandwiches. After you've sewn them all, clip them and do the same on the opposite corner to corner and all your squares should have an "X" going through them. Next to using the Olfa cutting wheel, chain sewing or quilting is one of the fastest ways to finish a quilt. I've shown this technique on earlier posts, feel free to explore to see it in action.

Now you take your mini quilts and begin joining them together using a 1 inch seam. In order to get the raggy look, you need a large seam, which you will clip later. One side of your quilt will be raggy and the other will be smooth. Join as many blocks in a row as you'd like the quilt to finish out. Then sew the rows together. Whoopee you're done...almost.

Use your best scissors and begin clipping the seams in half inch intervals all around each mini block and then around the sides. Again, don't sweat any mistakes here, just try not to cut into the seams and even if you do, all you'll have to do is sew a deeper seam. You'll figure it out!

Now you have your rag quilt ready to become raggy. I suggest going to a local laundromat and use their bigger machine to wash and dry the quilt. You will have a lot of fibers coming off the
raggy edges and you don't want those in your house machines.

Happy Quilting!


Does anyone know what this new visitor to the backyard is?


My next non quilting To Do List item is
copying all my VHS tapes onto DVD...can't wait to get back to quilting though...smile.

8 comments:

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Great post and thanks for visiting me, it's the main way I find people! My 9 yo would like that technique and even though I have seen plenty of the quilts I've never had a tutorial!
My Videos are now all on DVD, a good job done, but the hardest thing is getting rid of the videos after! Tracey

Angie said...

All of my kids have a rag quilt. They are nice to cuddle up with. Last summer I transfered my VHS to DVD. It was a big job but one I am so glad I did!

Alison said...

How are transfering your tapes to DVD?? I have been living under a mushroom in the last couple of years when it comes to some technology. Would be interested in advice.

Elaine Adair said...

The bird is a grosbeak -- look at that beak! There are several kinds and at the moment, I can't think of the exact name.

Here in western Nebraska, they come through in the spring for about 2 days, a pair, and then they are off again, to wherever they go.

The colors on your rag quilt are so lovely.

Lilli said...

Rag quilts look so cozy :)

gwen said...

Thank you for your tutorial. It is indeed a great project for kids. And it looks so cosy! Take care.

Feeling Simply Quilty said...

Thanks for the information about the bird. Upon further study of the grosbeak (thanks Elanie!) I find that it's a rose breasted grosbeak.

hollybake said...

Hi! I am so glad I found your blog! What a great tutorial on rag quilts. I have never quilted before and am going to attempt one! I am a bit confused about your explanation on how to sew them with an "x" though. Do you have pictures of this?

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