Tuesday, August 21, 2012


UPDATE!! Since I originally wrote this post, I have made a tutorial showing how to make a simple rag quilt. You can check out all the directions with lots of pictures on this POST.

I started making rag quilts a couple of years before I retired from teaching.  A friend, Ruth, brought me a picture she had cut from a catalog for a kit to make a rag quilt.  I had never seen one before.  Knowing my knowledge with sewing, she asked me couldn't we make one of them. I told her "Sure".  

After I looked at the picture, I did a search for rag quilts  on the internet.  I found directions by "someone", read them, and knew we could.  

I made some major changes from what the lady said....I prewashed all my material, I chose cottons for the top, and decided to use flannel in place of the batting----I didn't want to fool with cutting the batting smaller than the square so that it wouldn't show in the seam (can't believe people actually do this still when they make rag quilts)I also decided to sew across the squares diagonally even though I didn't need these to hold the flannel/batting in place since I cut the flannel/batting the same size as the square.  It helped give the quilt a "quilted" look.  Since I was using flannel for the batting, I could chose flannel for the colors of the threads that I wanted to show on the top when you clip for the rag look.  After Ruth and I each made our first quilt, Ruth decided she wanted to make the clips in the seams closer together for the next one.  It did give the quilt a different look and we continued to make the clips close together after that.

I thought I would share one of the rag quilts that I made.

This is a rag quilt I made for my cousin Marie with a western theme.  I think I had more fun selecting the fabrics for this quilt than I did for any of the rag quilts I made.  I decided to chose fabrics with a western/cowboy theme because I knew Marie had decorated her house with western motif.  

One time when I was flying back to Arkansas to visit my parents, I had a cast iron pan with pepper shapes that I had found and bought for her.  It was in my suitcase and airport security had picked up on the iron and pulled my suitcase out to search it.  I watched the man open my bag and dig down until he came to the pan.  He saw it, put my clothes back on top of it, zipped up my bag, and sent it on its way (and me too).  After that I never packed anything that I thought might cause them to suspect my bags and thereby stop me, open them and go through my things. 

Sorry I was "bird walking" again.....

When I started looking for different prints, I couldn't find as many as I needed.  After I had it finished, I couldn't believe all the different western prints I started seeing in fabric stores.  Guess I was just a little ahead of my time.
I used a traditional nine patch using two different western prints in 6 nine-patch squares with a black "sashing" surrounding them.  After the first rag quilt I made, I started experimenting using my quilting knowledge and tried incorporating "quilt square patterns" in my rag quilts.

Most of the time, I used cotton fabric for the top and flannel for the backing and batting.  The only rag quilt that I made that I kept for myself, I used flannel and cotton together on the top.  

Back to Marie's quilt...I think my favorite "square" was the one that had a print with Dale and Roy Rogers.

 When I was looking for prints, I had a difficult time trying to find 12 different western prints as I said earlier.  The brownish fabric in the square below wasn't a western print, but when I looked at it, I saw "leather" and thought it worked really well with the western leather accessories. 

Another one of the squares...this one had the lasso mixed in the with other western things and then just a rope on the other print.  I thought the colors went so well together.

This one was pretty with the cattle on the one print and then brands on the other print.

This print here reminded me of the map in the opening of Bonanza.  I don't remember what the red print was and I can't tell from the picture.

I loved the rich colors in the print below with the saddles.  The lighter print was "swirls" that looked like stitching --- that followed the idea of stitching of the saddles.

This picture shows the backing.  It was a flannel that I was really pleased to find with a western theme.

In the next few weeks, I will share some of the other rag quilts that I made.  Hope you have enjoyed seeing this one I made for my cousin Marie. 

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