A Year of Creativity: May – Rag Quilt

Or as I like to call them: Quilts for People Who Suck at Making Quilts.

I won’t really go into my quilt making history much.  But let’s just say that RocketPuppy has a few failed attempts that I made for her, and from then on I stuck to fleece blankets.

Until I found the world’s greatest bowling fabric.  Fabric I knew I needed to have.  Fabric that went clearance when clearance was half off.  And I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but at that price I knew I needed to BUY ALL THE FABRIC!!!

So then I was left wondering what a girl was to do with 7+ yards of bowling cotton.  Trust me, it was an amazing deal….

At some point I remembered that I had some grey flannel sitting around–thankfully not prewashed–enough to back a duvet cover.  My wheels got turning.  I’d always wanted to make a rag quilt, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  Problem was, I didn’t really want a black and grey quilt.  That didn’t seem like fun.  I needed to throw in one more thing to make it “me.”

Luckily shortly after this flannel solids went 60% off.  And it was also shortly before I’d stop having my sweet employee discount, so I needed to strike.  And strike I did.  Aqua.   Because it’s me.

And then I put it off for a really long time because I was skurrd.  There are plenty of things I haven’t made yet because of fear.

Then I got bored.  So I decided to dive in.

First I figured out how big a square I could make while still getting an even amount of squares out of the width.  I settled on 10″ squares.  And I cut a million of them (okay 216).

I started with this:

72 triplets in layer order

Then I stitched giant Xs across all my triplets with aqua thread on top and black in the bobbin, and I ended up with this:

Then I followed a little pattern my buddy The Hooker (she crochets, get your mind out of the gutter) drafted for me, because she convinced me I shouldn’t have all print on one side and all solid on the other.  And I sewed and I sewed, piecing 8 squares into a strip and nine strips into a blanket.  And it was just about the fastest sewing I’ve ever done.

And then I had to snip.  And snip.  And snip some more.  Every seam needed to be snipped, and it took me a couple evenings.  The first evening it was cool, and I welcomed the blanket on my lap.  The second evening it was hot and humid.  I think that made me work faster.

Next up was washing to shrink the fabric and fray the edges.  I can’t remember if I washed in hot water–I doubt it, since I don’t wash anything in hot water unless I have to–so I don’t think it really shrunk that much.  I washed and dried it twice.  The first time there was so much lint that it blew the lint trap on the washer hose clear off and filled the entire lint trap in the dryer with almost an inch of lint.  The second wash there was about a quarter as much.  There’s still little balls of lint/pilling on the flannel, but I’m not going to worry about those.  They may require a sweater shaver, and I just don’t have that kind of patience right now.

But, frankly, I’m sure you guys don’t care about that… You want to see the end result.  And I’m happy to report it’s one of my favorite creations to date.

You can see the lint on the back.  If anyone has suggestions, I’m all ears.  And by suggestions, I mean solutions that require almost no work at all.

The quilt will not stay on the bed, although I have used it myself on a couple of the cooler nights.  It’s really just not big enough for the whole bed with two bodies underneath.  72 10″ squares would be PERFECT for a twin sized bed and doable for a full with only one person.


Checking in… about halfway

I’m about halfway through my six-week ban on spending.  I think I’ve been doing pretty well, but there have been a few unavoidable things, plus one seemingly necessary splurge.

I did really well in January.  The only things I spent money on were going out with friends, and frankly, I think going out with friends is absolutely necessary.  Especially celebrating your awesome buddy’s birthday by dressing up as her goth cousin and going bowling…

I am full of angst. While wearing my awesome bowling shoes

Because my awesome buddy has a public persona to keep up, I will leave the pictures at that.  Rest assured it was quite possibly the most fun I’ve had ever.  I highly recommend going out and doing something mundane with your closest friends in wild costumes.  Seriously, it will improve your life tenfold.  And I’m saying this as a shy person who prefers to blend into the background.

Then February rolled around, and I think perhaps I was going a little stir crazy.  I decided I needed to surprise The Hippy with a short trip, so I blew some cash on a hotel room.  He has since guessed correctly what the surprise was, so it’s not really a surprise, but it should be fun.  Seriously, who manages to guess that I’m taking them to the Spam museum?  WTF?  Or, perhaps, FTW.  I also found an amazing deal on makeup (because this summer I need to play the goth role again, and I don’t want to need to borrow makeup every time), which I wasn’t going to buy yet, but I got my makeup FREE, just paying shipping.  So, yeah.  I also bought a soda, because I forgot mine at home, and I brought some trim to complete a project.

So, between the last four weeks, I’ve spent about $150–less than that, actually.  Which isn’t BAD, I guess, but it’s not great.  Which is why I’m extending the challenge through March.  And maybe April.  That, and the fact that I’ve got doctor’s bills looming, and I don’t want to have to rely on tax rebates.  I would like those to go to savings.

Really, the point of this is twofold.  One: To save money, obviously. Two: to be aware of where my money is going.  If I’m making a conscious effort not to spend money, it’s much easier to know where my money goes when it goes.  It’s not rocket science, or anything.  It just forces me to be creative and figure out ways to do without or do with what I already have.  Especially fabric.  Seriously.  I have too much fabric.