Friday, April 22, 2011

The Anatomy of a Rag Quilt!

First off I have to say Happy Birthday to DS!  Today is his Golden Birthday, 22 on the 22nd!  Earth Day, perfect for him!

Sorry this is long! "_

Ok on to the science lesson!  Just kidding!  Have you ever thought about making a rag quilt?  Thought it was too hard?  Well I will prove you wrong!  I have been making them for almost 8 years now and made probably over 100!  A little history.  Back in 2003 DS was a freshmen in High School and doing Marching Band.  We wanted DD to have something to do too, so I enrolled her in sewing classes to make clothes for her American Girl Doll.  Learn to sew and make clothes for her doll a win win situation!  Well they were having a Rag Quilt Class as well, so I signed up for that!  I have been sewing my whole life practically, made my Wedding Dress even, but I hadnt' sewn for awhile, so all this was new to me!

Step One: Decide how big you want the quilt.  Is it for a baby or an adult?  If you are making for an adult, usually the squares are 10x10 inches.  A baby or toddler you can use 6x6 or 7x7.  The one we are making here is 7x7, 7 squares by 7 squares and they are 7" by 7".  I buy a lot of remnants cause you can get them for a lot less with really what you need, unless you are making a large quilt.

Step Two:  Getting your supplies.  If you do not have a cutting board or rotary cutter, they are a necessity!  Use a coupon and by them at JoAnn's, or wait for a good sale.  My first quilt I cut by hand, and my hands still hurt!
Flannel - depending on what size you are doing, you can get by with 1/2 a yard of about 6 or seven different fabrics for a small quilt, 1 yard of the same if you are doing a large quilt.  Thread and snips, but more on that later.

Step Three:  Cutting your fabric.  Do not pre wash your fabric!  You will wash the quilt after you are done to give it the 'rag' look!  When the fabric comes off the bolt there is a fold side and a selvage side, raw ends.  You want to fold your fabric fold side to selvage side.
Here you can see I have folded it with the selvage on the mat and I am folding the fold side up.
Now smooth your fabric out, if you are cutting 7" squares start by using your cutting board, to square up 7 inches or a little more.  I like to start cutting by adding a little more as the cut edge of the fabric is usually a bit rough.
Here I have added 1/2 " to the 7 to finish off the rough edge.  Sorry for the blurry pic.  Once you have straighten up that edge you can then start cutting 7" strips.  You can usually get 2 or 3 strips per yard of fabric, depending on the fabric.  Then you can open the strip, still double and cut your 7" square.

Here I am cutting another fabric.  This is a quilt that DD is making, but she doesn't like to cut, so...

I did 7 different fabrics in all, so she had 50 squares to work with.

Here is our pile of squares:

Now on to the layout!

Step Four:  Once you have all your fabric cut, you can begin to lay out your quilt.  I use my bed, but you can use the floor or put to large tables together.  Once you have it laid out, you can begin pinning your rows.

DD was too fast for me and she already has her rows sewn but you can get how she did it!

She has pinned each square to the one next to it, by row.  For this small of a quilt I would use a 5/8" seam.  For a larger quilt a 1" seam works good.  Once you have all your rows sewn, lay it back on the bed and begin pinning your rows together, opening the seams and matching them as you go.

Here DD is pinning her rows together.  It goes fast, and once you have one row pinned, sew it then come back and add another row to that one.  I usually do half of the quilt, here it is 4 rows, then do the other 3 then sew those two together.

Here is a close up of the rows sewn together.  See how she has matched her seems.  The one thing I like about rag quilts is that you don't have to be perfect, although hers are here.  If you are a little off, it is OK, cause after you snip and wash, you can't tell anyways!  They are very forgiving!  Once you have all your rows sewn together, you need to do a seam around the whole perimeter.  Here I like to do a decorative stitch, a wave or something different, with a different color even!

Now on to Step Five:  Snipping!  This can be tedious if you do not have the right tool!  As I said I snipped my first one all with Fiskars sewing scissors!  Oy, I learned quickly you need good snips that have a spring in them.  Back then I bought mine at Home Depot!  But now you can find Rag Quilt Snips at JoAnn's.  Here is a pic of mine from 8 years ago.

I still use them!  I put a dab of nail polish on the blade 1/2" down so I now to go no further and won't cut through the seam! 

Here is a pic of ones you can find ad JoAnn's now.

You want to begin snipping all your seams, taking your time and making sure you get everything.
Here is DD's after she began snipping.  She starts by going around the whole outside edge then works on the seams.  See how she has the seam sticking up!  Everyone has their own way of doing it.  I do the seams first!  Where the seam is sewn down at the outside edge, just snip that so you have one continuous seam to snip.  Sorry I don't have a pic, she finished this when I was gone last night and washed it!

Here is the finished product:
This shows the outside edge and then the 'ragged seams' on the inside.

Once you have finished snipping all your seams, you want to wash in cold water, I always use a Shout Color Catcher, to make sure none of the colors run.  I then put in the dryer with a towel to help rough it up.  You will have a lot of lint, and if you are doing a large quilt you may have to check the lint filter in the middle of the cycle. 

We love making these, we call them personality quilts, as we like to come up with a theme.  I have baskets of remnants, too many really, but it is always fun putting them together.  I am getting ready to do one for my FIL for Father's Day, it is a fishing theme.

Now some people like to add another layer of fiberfill or cotton between the fabric.  I am in So Cal, so I don't I just keep the fabric the same as I cut it so one side is ragged and one is smooth.  Here is the ragged side.
Sorry this was so long, please if you have any questions please ask.  Good Luck and Have Fun.


The Lettered Cottage

Transformation Thursday 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Little Disney!

Yesterday, DH, DD and DDF ( Dear Daughter's Friend) went to Disneyland!  Back in January DD won the tickets from a local country station!  (KKGO you rock)!  We just couldn't find the right day to go.  So yesterday we loaded up early, say 7:30 am, and headed off to the happiest place!  

 Sorry for the blurry pic, it was a cell phone pic and I can't get the others to rotate right!  The other one is the piece of petrified wood and the Golden Horseshoe Review.  If you haven't seen Billy Hill and the Hillbillies, they are awesome, great musicians!  And funny!

Anyway it was a warm day, we all got a little sun but we did a lot, rode a lot of rides, saw a sneak peek of the new 3D Pirates movie and watched amazing fireworks!
This is the flag flying from the Columbia, the ship that sails around the Rivers of the World.

 This is the back of DD, do you like her graduation Mickey ears!  She wouldn't let me take a pic of the front, although I do believe her friend did!

It was a great day, we stayed till after the fireworks and got home around 11.  Tired feet and sunburned necks and all.
On another note I decided to bite the bullet and entered a handmade marketplace with my screen satchels!  Now I just have to start a sewing marathon since it is in 2 weeks.

  Here is the info if you are local:

Hope to see you there!

Have a great Sunday!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy April!

Happy April to you all, hope you are having a great start to Spring!  Finally we have some sun here, no more rain!  I have been crazy busy making screen satchels!  I was planning on selling these on Etsy, but the word of mouth orders are coming fast and furious, so not quite yet!  Burlap is the most popular, who knew!

Here are a few shots of some of the others I have made:

This is the other one I made for the auction.  It has been real popular as well.  Need to find more Cross Pendants though.
This is a small toile bag.  They are a little smaller than the medium size, which is what they others are.  I think they are great thought, and using some fancy fabric could be cute for an evening bag!

This one is a large size.  I used a denim remnant for this one, lining it with a polka dot fabric and adding the burlap rosettes.
Here is the rest of that denim on a med size with pink accents. 

These are such fun and I try not to make any 2 exactly alike!  It is fun to come up with new color combinations and find cute remnant fabric for the lining.  Funny thing is I was having trouble finding zippers!  Joanns was always out.  So I ordered online and found a code for free shipping!  Now if they would just get here!

Well off to sew, have a great day!