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Topic: Newbie questions ... (tiptoeing into quilting by making a rag quilt)  (Read 1222 times)
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« on: June 03, 2012 03:27:26 PM »

Smiley  Thanks for taking the time to read this:  I am new to sewing and I have never attempted a quilt.  They scare me, LOL.  I REALLY want to make one but I decided to attempt a rag quilt first... just to get used to the cutting and the arranging and all of that... then on to a REAL quilt.  I have a lot of basic questions though.  I have read many tutorials on rag quilts but my questions are so BASIC that I guess people think it is common knowledge or common sense... unfortunately it is not for me... yet.   Huh  First off I am using my daughter's old receiving blankets, I saw that flannel is a good medium for this and I believe that all of those blankets are flannel.  I think it could be an awesome keepsake for her.  I do not have a lot of money so I am going to use fleece that I already own as my batting.  I am going to cut the flannel and the fleece the same size instead of cutting the batting smaller, it is pink and I believe that it will look super cute hanging out of the edges and it will also add some continuity to the blanket.  I know that the flannel will fray and the fleece will not, but I think it will look cute.  I am debating on whether or not I should sew the "X" onto each square.  I do not think that it is necessary to do that because of the batting and the fabric being cut to the same size, BUT I do like the look of it and I could use the sewing practice.  Here is my first question... if I do decide to sew the "X", do I sew it from end to end?  Or do I leave some space for the seam allowance?  I have seen it both ways in the tutorials and I am confused on what the difference is.  Also, do I need to back-stitch when making the "X", my first thought is to back-stitch everything, but in the tutorials they do not look back-stitched.  Also, do any of you suggest special treatment of the ends (to finish off the blanket)?  Most tutorials just say to sew around it, then rag it out.  Should I use a special stitch or double stitch it?  I have no clue.  LOL  One more question, I would like to make a fairly large quilt (full size or larger, not sure yet) any suggestions on what size my squares should be?  I assume it will easier to make, the bigger they are but it may also be the bigger the squares are, the more difficult it is? Undecided   LOL 
I was thinking about making them 9 inch blocks that would make them 8 inches when sewn.

Any help or suggestions are welcome... thanks in advance! Kiss
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2012 09:43:26 AM »

Rag quilts are really versatile, meaning you can decide for yourself how you want to do them.  For example, I don't use batting when I make rag quilts. Batting adds warmth, but it also adds weight and bulk. . .  decide what matters more to you.  
-I always sew the X from corner to corner (I "mark" the X by pressing the blocks in half and sewing on the crease).  I find it helps keep the layers from shifting too much.
-Rag quilts are sewn with an extra wide seam allowance, so back stitching shouldn't be necessary, but if it makes you feel better, that's ok.
-Once I am done piecing, I stitch once around the entire perimeter of the quilt, then I snip around all the seam allowances, and the perimeter.  I use a straight stitch, but a zigzag or decorative stitch would be fine (straight stitches are faster and use less thread). Feel free to experiment.
AS for size, I use my fabric as a guide. . .  That is, I determine the size of the squares so that I can reduce waster and maximize the usable parts. . .  confused?  While most cotton quilting fabrics runs 42" x 45" wide, flannels can be a lot narrower after washing.  If my narrowest fabric is 40 inches (after cutting off selvedges) I can get 5 8" squares but only 4 9" squares, so I'd go with the 8".

One is less than three.
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2012 07:40:02 PM »

Smiley  Thank you Eowynt!  So much useful input... I really appreciate it!  I now feel like I have a direction to run in!!!  *phew*

(A lot of exclamations, I know, but I was really confused and at a standstill.)  

I also wanted to say that I fully understand all your explanations and I thank you for that, as well.  Plus I LOVE the tip of pressing the "X" into the blocks, that will help this scared newbie so much!  You are awesome... 

« Last Edit: June 04, 2012 08:15:17 PM by Em77 » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2012 03:01:18 PM »

You are welcome.  Glad to help, and welcome to the world of quilting.

One is less than three.
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2012 05:35:35 PM »


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