August 2013 archive

Rag quilts are fun and easy!

Rag Quilt Front

My  teen daughter (13) just loves Elmo. Don’t ask me why, I’m still trying to figure it out. Not that he isn’t just so darn adorable and cuddly and giggly, I just thought it seemed weird that a teen would still love Elmo. After all, her older sister who is 18 had her entire nursery decorated in Elmo!  Anyway, my daughter and her friends love Sesame Street characters!

For Christmas 2012 she wanted an Elmo lap quilt so I scoured the Internet looking for some good rag quilt tutorials and with a combination of tips from blogs and videos from YouTube I found enough information to finally begin my project.



I went to work looking for flannels that would fit the bill. I did end up finding some Elmo and Sesame Street themed flannels from Joann Fabrics so I went ahead and made my purchase. I also bought several bright primary color flannels in blue, red, yellow, and green.


I have NEVER cut that many squares in my entire life. And that includes all the paper I ever cut in Kindergarten and up. And then I cut the batting also into squares. I really don’t remember how much fabric I originally asked for but I cut up the entire amount into squares.


After the cutting, things started getting a little obsessive for me. I get a little crazy when it comes to patterns and numbers so I brought out my graph paper and my red, blue, yellow, and green markers. I counted all my squares of cut material and made a notation of how many I had of each color. With that number I figured out just how large my quilt would be (how many squares across and down). I created the quilt pattern by coloring in squares on my graph paper until it all came together the way I wanted it to. That took an entire day and then night. I drew tons of grids and then slept on it. When I found a grid that worked I used that as my blueprint. I referred to it while I sewed my squares together, and then my rows.

My plan of action


Fringes cut and ragged

And oh, the cutting (and cursing) that ensued. After my first night of snipping and created the raggy fringes, I went out and bought a pair of spring-loaded scissors. Best purchase ever. It took me about two weeks to finish cutting. I cut every night before I went to bed. I find it disturbing that even after showering and getting into bed I was still finding fabric lint and thread in places that it didn’t belong.



When all of the fringe snipping was finally complete I took the quilt to a laundromat next to my job and washed and dried it in one of the huge commercial machines. There was no way I was going to put that thing into my washer or dryer at home, it would have surely ruined it. Anyway, the pictures show the end result of a one-time rag quilt washing. According to the information I read on the Internet the quilt has a lot more washings to go through before it truly rags up but I am very satisfied with the end result.



The only thing I am really disappointed with is the pilling of the fabric. I have no idea how to get those balls off. I tried lint rollers but then haven’t worked. A fellow quilter recommended a lint shaver. I’ve yet to buy one but I think I may pick one up. Anyway, my daughter loves the quilt and THAT is all that matters to me.

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