My mom lives at the shore, so I made my first bed-sized quilt as her Christmas present this past December. It's a twin-sized quilt, as it's actually for her to cuddle up underneath while watching tv in the living room.
I got the basic layout ideas from Bonnie's 'Simply Strippy' at www.quiltville.com. I initally bought all the tan, blue, and brown sea-themed prints at Jo-Ann Fabrics, but when I started to play around with them I didn't think I had enough contrast or enough of 'me' in it. So I found some batiks for more variety: my mom's favorite color, teal, batiked in a way that looks like water to me, and polka dots of turquoise on brown for the sashing.
I cut all my prints into strips from selvege to selvedge, added strips of teal batik to the ends of each piece and then chain-pieced them into what seemed like a mile-long ribbon. Then I randomly cut that mile of fabric up and laid it out into the center piece, trimming and adding more teal where ever I felt it needed a break. I ran more of the mile around the inner sashing. I had to piece the outermost polka-dot sashing, because of course by then I was running out of fabric. I really just wanted to work with the flow, and not plan too much in advance (or go back to the fabric store), and that is when I start to have the most fun! The binding is a dark teal linen blend (not as royal blue as it photographed), and I love that texture right at the edge of the quilt where your fingers grip it.
The back is a length of Kona cotton in dark brown (it was my Thanksgiving tablecloth first!), split lengthwise & widened with more of the strips left-over from the front. I love sqeezing in as many of my scraps as possible. Making the scrappy pieced back was so much fun.
When I laid it out in my living room, I almost died laughing because it matches my color scheme even better than my mom's house! Fortunately, she loved it, so I have no qualms that it's not enriching *my* house!
I made this patchwork rag quilt for a couple I work with that had a baby boy back in the fall. I'm not sure why I didn't post it here after I finished it, except that maybe my hands were too tired to type after *all* that snipping of seams! I did buy one of those special spring-loaded scissors for these types of projects, but still.... The front (ragged) side is a checkerboard of of brown polka-dotted flannel and light blue/brown cowboy print flannel, and the back is the same brown polka-dot alternating with solid green flannel that picks up one of the dot colors. I ran out of fabric for the back(I did measure...maybe I didn't take into account shrinkage), but it was fun fixing that problem: 4 yellow corners and 4 free-pieced patchwork squares with my scraps from this and a previous rag quilt for a baby cousin.) .
I love how these blankets turn out, but they are labor-intensive.... Maybe I just find the process tedious because it actually isn't challenging?!?! I love choosing the fabrics for the recipients (I've made 3 so far, and have fabric picked out for 2 more babies' first birthdays this year), but after that, it gets a bit boring because I've made all the decisions.... I'm curious how long it takes most other folks to make these, and how big you usually make them? I've been doing 6" cut squares, and 9 to 10 squares across by 10 to 13 rows down.....so at least 200 squares to deal with (I don't do an inner layer b/c I'm in So.Cal.) but I expect I will keep making them because they make the recipients so happy.
I'd love to hear anyone else's comments on their process & time invested in making these rag quilts...
I just made my 2nd ever quilt, for a baby with very cool parents. No one knew the baby's sex until she was born, but I knew the bedroom was going to have green walls and a rock&roll theme. I wanted it to be bright, cheery, and full of colors, and I love Denyse Schmidt's wonky quilts, so I wanted to make my own version of 'Hop Skip and a Jump.' I can't imagine following a pattern for something that should look random, so I cut a bunch of strips with my rotary cutter, ruler-free, and just went to town laying them out. I had each completed horizontal panel in front of me as I laid out the next. The main thing I tried to avoid was colors meeting up from panel to panel, so I added the black&white print sashings.
I had a really difficult time shopping for black&white prints with the perfect value contrast... I still think I needed a skinny line of something darker at the outer edge of each piece of b&w sashing. I did a line of wavy zig-zag machine quilting there, but it really needs a line of black rick-rack. Looking at the photos, I almost want to get it back from parents and just add it on top! The finished quilt turned out 31" by 45".A lot of the colors were left over 1/4 yd cuts of test fabrics from the first baby quilt I made earlier this year, plus bits of other fabrics I've accumulated over the years. ( I just started quilting, but I've been working on a stash for years!)
The back was so much fun, I may just have to make an entire quilt of big scraps (I think the mom liked the back even better than the front!) I barely got the binding sewn onto the back in time to make it to the party to welcome the little one to the world! That part was easier than I expected once I got a rhythm going, but it was still tedious. I can't imagine how long it would take to bind a queen-size quilt! My next one will be lap-sized, so we'll see how I do on that.
So, I started working on a lap-sized quilt yesterday, and my rotary cutter blade was definitely dull (I've made 2 baby quilts w/it so far), so I ran out to Jo-ann's before they closed and bought a 5-pack of the Fiskars ones (the only bulk pack they had, and it was on sale).
Well, it was nice and sharp at first, but I would say after cutting about 3 1/2 yards of fabric into strips, the new one was dull. I searched this board for answers, and I use my self-healing mat, I use the acrylic ruler, no pins are involved at this point, and it's not wobbly from a loose screw. I have a pressure-senstive cutter from Fons & Porter (it seems to fit well in my hand & I don't get the hand cramp from pressing the button on the retractable Fiskars one I first bought.) It's not really skipping, but I can feel that it's not cutting unless I use more pressure, and it's getting uncomfortable for my wrist
So, my real question is: How much fabric can I expect to get through before I have to switch out blades? 3 1/2 yards doesn't seem like much! I pre-washed and ironed my fabrics (ok, I did use nice-scented ironing spray - could it have left a dulling residue that I can't feel?) and I wasn't making a million teeny tiny strips!
I have read on this board that some of you have had good luck re-sharpening them on your own, so maybe that'll be my next try.
I just made (and delivered) my first quilt! And it was a blast! I have been sewing since I was a little girl, and I've made doll clothes, theatre costumes, and upholstery, but I never felt up to tackling quilting. Th impetus came when my best friend was pregnant with a girl, but did not want any traditional pink girly frilly things. So we went to Jo-Ann Fabrics, and based the whole quilt off the orange dots we found as a fat quarter (but not enough of to make more than the sashings). The quilt was the last of the entire nursery set I made for her: curtains, pillows, sofa arm covers, a crib bumper, and finally the quilt. I can't wait to make my next one!
Here are photos:
I machine quilted along the seam lines with a borrowed walking foot. It's all cotton - quilting cottons on the front, cotton batting in the middle, and flannel on the back that I turned over to the front, mitered the corners, and machine stitched in place. (I am terrible at bindings!)
I appliqued and hand-quilted the 'M' after the baby was born and I knew her name.
She loved the label that I whipstitched onto the back (and it's also stitched into the binding, but I doubt any one will try to rip off my label to steal this quilt.)
I zig-zagged a few scraps of the quilt fabric onto a tag when I delivered it...
...with care instructions on the back.
I am already full of ideas to make the next one better.....and this website, and the internet in general, have really shown me everything I needed to know!