work roomI finished another quilt, a king size one no less. It’s the rag quilt I started making at the 2015 quilting retreat I went to last fall.  I actually started cutting squares before I went to the retreat thinking I would be assembling the quilt there, but all I managed on this project during the retreat was sewing the first row and snipping the seams. Then I got smart and thought it might be best to check the size on my bed before I got the cart before the horse and ended up with a quilt that was to small a size for my California king size bed.

Here’s a picture of the main workroom at the quilting retreat where most of the ladies were set up. I was camped out in the other room with a few other ladies. On occasion I would venture into the other room and take pictures or just be nosey to see what the others were working on.

squares with batting rag quiltLater on in November, when I was home and had a good idea what size I needed I started working on the squares again. I assembled the blocks with the two squares of flannels and the batting. The fabric is the same on both sides of the block. You can do this quilt with a reversible option if you choose.  I cut the flannel squares 8″ each and the cotton batting was cut to 7.5″. This allowed for a half inch seam allowance instead of the standard 1/4″ seam used in most quilting. To get a good ragging effect and a strong seam 1/2″ is used.

rag quilt verticalInitially I used a regular stitch on the seams but later learned a better method for secure seams throughout the quilt. One of the ladies in my quilting group had demonstrated how to make a rag quilt. I must have missed this step the first time she demonstrated it because when she did a demo in my other quilting group she mentioned using a “triple lock stitch”. The stitch sews forward, backward, and forward again so each stitch is tacked in place. I didn’t want to be mending seams on a king sized flannel quilt anytime in the near future, so triple locked it was.

Another tip is buy a set of snippers made for snipping rag quilts. You’ll be glad you did. It makes it much easier to snip only the amount you want without cutting into the seam. It also is easier on your hands. Your hands will get tired, very tired, so snip a little here and a little there to avoid blisters and cramped hands.

I started using leftover flannel fabric from pajama bottoms I was making for Christmas presents for everyone in the family. I didn’t realize how small that quilt would have been if I limited myself to just the leftovers. I started collecting flannel fabrics in darker colors but with the same tone or intensity. I incorporated some lighter squares and threw in some darker red for a punch of color. My husband was excited and asked me how long it would take to finish it. I thought a moment and then replied, “it depends on how many fabric stores I visit.” I was setting myself up for the best excuse to buy fabric I think I’ve uttered from these lips.

Before your rag quilt is truly finished, it must be washed. The washing makes the seams get raggedy and is an entirely different look than when the seams are merely snipped and not washed. Believe me your quilt looks a whole lot better once the ragging effect “blooms” the seams nicely. However, I advised using a commercial washer and dryer at a laundry mat for washing your quilt. These quilts are heavy and a king size was way to big for even my oversized washer load. And don’t forget to clean the lint trap, especially if you are using your home machine. These flannels really make for a lot of lint and the lint trap will fill up four times as much as usual.

We love our new rag quilt, it’s nice and cozy on our bed. I’ll be making some new flannel pillowcases with some of the flannel I had left. I love how snuggly and warm I feel all toasty in my flannel quilt. Just in time for summer in Michigan. Today it only got 43 degrees and it even snowed…so this quilt is still a good thing.

I guess it’s time to get something on for dinner. I’m not getting any younger. As a matter of fact tomorrow is my birthday for me and for my blog. My blog is now one year old. I’m not telling how old I am….I’ll keep you guessing.