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.

Wonder Clips

I can’t recall if I’ve talked about Wonder Clips before.  I would be equally surprised if I had and if I hadn’t.  Because for the former, I’m forgetful, and for the latter, they’re just so freaking awesome.

I was introduced to Wonder Clips by my friend ArtisticEdition because she is, frankly, the coolest person in the world.  And also on top of the latest advances in quilting notions by virtue of her workplace.  So she gave me the opportunity to get my hands on these babies before a lot of other people could (ie, before they hit the shelves at places like Jo-Ann) and I was immediately in love.  And this was, like, three years ago, so I’m way overdue in blogging about them.

I was reminded of their awesomeness on a recent project I worked on.  I was replacing the zipper on a winter coat.  If you’ve ever put in a zipper, you know that pinning frankly isn’t a very good option.  Pins warp things, especially zipper placement (or maybe that’s just me).  And in a winter coat, pins can’t even begin to be an option.  I would have U-shaped pins by the time I was done.  Wonder Clips, however, refuse to shy away from the task at hand.  See for yourself:

Ooooh, aaahhh…

No buckling, no bending, no warping.  The zipper is held in place exactly where I need it and every single layer is held tightly.  My only complaint about Wonder Clips is that they aren’t magnetic.  When I sew, I like to be able to throw my pins in the general direction of my magnetic pin “cushion”, instead of slowing down to get them in their home or leave a mess to clean up later (I already do enough of that).  But, really, the pros of the Wonder Clips far out-weigh that con.

So, there you have it… Wonder Clips.  As in, “wonder how I ever sewed this long without them” clips.  You can find them now at Jo-Ann for sure, and probably Hancock and Hobby Lobby, maybe even Michaels.  Quilt shops will most definitely have them.  But if you get them at Jo-Ann when the quilt notions are half off, they are a steal.  And don’t bother with the 10-pack.  Go with the 50, even if only just to get the case.  At least then there’s something to throw in the general direction of…

Stuff I didn’t make…

…Thankfully.

I was pointed to a website today that features quilts that were judged to be the worst quilts in existence.  And it’s hilarious.  Take this, for example:

Titled: Keltic Sunrise

Here’s the text from the website:

Made of polyester double-knit, satin, brocade, corduroy, lace curtains, burlap, old diapers and four different kinds of fake fur, this masterpiece made most of the judges woozy.

Tied together visually with hand crocheted orange and yellow yarn as binding and with humongous 4-ply quilt stitches (and plenty of knots) throughout, this quilt is a tactile nightmare.

Yes, you read that right.  Fur.  I love it.

I slept with this amazing velvet quilt growing up that I hear was made from old theatre curtains.  The craftsmanship on that quilt was actually pretty good (though what would I know?  I made a quilt that probably could have won awards on this site), but I think the fact that it was once curtains would make many quilters cringe.  However, for me it was perfect, because the weight of the quilt (and it was hefty) translated into warmth for my little body.

I don’t quilt, but I do like to visit that world once in awhile.


Welcome to Suckville, population: Me.

Every so often a project comes along that makes me want to give up sewing all together.  I am, by nature, a quitter, and I would probably give up on just about everything given the chance.  However, three years ago, my boyfriend told me to just pick something to become obsessed with (“I recommend sewing,” he said) and run with it.  So I can’t very well give up on sewing.  Also, I would actually miss it.  I miss a lot of the other things I’ve given up on, but some of that is more regret than anything.

I wasn’t going to do a post on this item until after Christmas, but I truly, truly despise it.  I hate this project so much that I literally want to throw it away.  The idea of throwing it away makes me want to cry, because I’ve put a fair amount of work into it, and it’s really quite cute.  But the craftsmanship sucks.

I will say this much: I have my entire sewing life been fairly adamant that I’m not a quilter.  I’ve started quilts, talked about making quilts, I even help people plan quilts.  But I don’t finish them.  I’ve decided I don’t mind making the quilt top.  I’ve accepted this much.

See?  It’s a cute quilt.  Let’s ignore the fact that my top and my backing fabric don’t always match up.  That can be hidden and trimmed, right?  Right?  Maybe not.  What do I know?  I’m not a quilter.  I feel confident that these words should go on my headstone: She was not a quilter.  For proof that I am not a quilter, I feel the need to reiterate that I hate hand sewing.  A lot.  I hand sew the small bits on sock monkeys, and that’s about all I have the patience for.  That being said…

This is really one of the better corners.  I could correct the piss-poor mitering if not for the errant stitching you see about 1/4″ from the corner.  That’s from stitching the other side of the binding in place.  Remember, I don’t hand sew, and I’m sure as hell not going to hand sew an entire quilt binding.  I’ve known some people who find that process relaxing, and more power to them, but I find it frustrating and tedious.  Oh, no thank you.

I honestly don’t know what more to say about this.  I guess it’s up to Rocketdog now.  I don’t think I can rip out the binding again.  I’ve done it once already.  Sadly, this is the better of the two attempts.  I know it’s a joke that she always ends up with my prototypes, and my prototypes usually have some problems, but I feel really bad about this one.  I feel bad that what could potentially be my niece’s blankey is so poorly stitched.  I can safely say, however, that this will not be a Christmas present.  I feel like Christmas presents should be more special than this.

And I just realized that I really need to rethink the quilt I was going to make for my bofriend’s mother.  Is Christmas over yet?  For the record, everything else I’m making it’s 100% tried and true.  I’ve made them before, successfully, and I feel confident I can make them again.