Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Sewing Machine (song)

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

Sunday, April 22, 2007

My First Quilt

The other day I read an interesting blog,called Cinnamon Sticks. She spoke about a first quilt that was put on the shelf for years and the maker pulled it out and finished it. I was moved to do the same. Here is my first quilt. It's a miniature pineapple quilt. It was not foundation pieced. I cut each little strip individually. If I'd only known now what I didn't know that the correct way to say it? Well, you know what I mean. How dumb was I? The craftsmanship involved in making a miniature quilt is more for an advanced quilter, not a first time quilt maker. Constructing a quilt with larger pieces is generally easier. While constructing a miniature quilt, if you sew a fraction of a fraction of an inch off the seam, you can mess up your quilt! If you really want a challenge, try a miniature quilt. Back to the beginning of my quilting life. I had been sewing clothes for a number of years. Having made some for myself, but, mainly for my 2 daughters. You know, the frilly dresses for pictures and Easter. Back then it was economical to sew, not so much today. Sewing today is more about enjoying the process and making something with your hands that looks nice and is complete. First of all, I took a beginning quilting class at our local quilt shop in Houston, Texas, USA, called Creatively Sew. It was great at sellingbeautiful fabric, but, fell woefully short in the education of a first time quilter. All we did was one block, the Ohio Star, which we were encouraged to make into a pillow. This was 30 years ago and the pillow has long since gone by the wayside. Ohio Star, by the way, is one of my all time favorite blocks, maybe because it was the first one I made. Being a person who usually dives in head first in any endeavor, and now finding a new obsession, I saw a pattern for miniature quilts and I thought that looks's know...small and easy...HA! But, I learned so much from making this miniature quilt, that it was worth the experience. I have to say, though, unless you have sewn a lot, don't try a miniature quilt for your first quilt, especially if there is no teacher to guide you. Here's a picture of my first time quilt, as you can see I did use high contrasting, yellow and green fabrics-albeit old fashioned calicoes(no offense to the -but, you know, they worked. Let me begin by saying, foundation piecing a pineapple quilt is the easiest way to go. You have the stability and the sewing lines to guide you and this makes constructing this block much easier.

About 20 years after I made the first pineapple in miniature, I next made a twin size foundation pieced, machine quilted pineapple quilt. I like Stitch and Tear better than paper, for foundation, because it's easier to tear. I probably could have left the stabilizer on, since it's so light, but I removed as much as I could. This is one of my favorite quilts. This fabric is not as high contrast as my first quilt, that makes for a softer effect with the pineapples, but I like it that Again, having little or not instruction, at that time, I think Georgia Bonesteel was the only thing going for teaching. I really probably thought I knew it all anyway and thought, oh Osnaburg, it's you can see from this picture, the threads are large and quilting through it and the many seams in a miniature pineapple block, it's no wonder I didn't finish quilting it. Notice the lovely quarter inch stitches...ugh...we live and Now I machine quilt everything, using my Brother 1500s on a Hinterburg table, and I like it that way...

How was your first experience with your first quilt?
Why did you continue on? What is it with women and fabric and our love affair with it?

For those of you interested in my silk batting,
mentioned on an earlier post, I'll be putting it on my African coin quilt next week and will begin machine quilting it soon. I'll let you know how that goes. My favorite batting, so far, is wool batting.



Related Posts with Thumbnails