Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Work in Progress Project Chapter Three: Making a Rag Quilt

I’ve never made a rag quilt before and if I’m being totally honest I had watched a YouTube video on how to make one and I thought it looked easy - like I could whip it up while half asleep. 

I was wrong- while it’s not a complicated concept, it is harder than it looks.

I had all the winceyette squares cut up and decided that I would make it a small baby quilt and use some of my left-over Bounce Fabric by Allison Harris so I didn't have to buy any more fabric to finish this quilt I cut these up to the same size as my winceyette squares and laid them out and then sewed them together with a simple cross. I didn’t bother with batting but realised afterward that some cotton batting might have made it a nicer and warmer quilt. Although it did still turn out to be a nice light quilt, which might be nice as part of a layer of quilts. 

The first thing I stuffed up was getting the winceyette fabric the wrong way on some squares, and then when I laid out the front squares, they got also got mixed up in the wrong order. I decided it was the back, so I could live with that.

I found sewing a half-inch seam allowance as opposed to the normal scant 1/4” I usually use, to be a bit of a challenge. Mainly because it just felt wrong even though that’s what you need to do for a rag quilt. 

About halfway through sewing them together I decided to take a break and come back to it the next day. Turns out that was also a mistake. Because when I came back to it I misjudged my seam allowance on the next row and had to unpick it all and do it over. Plus I had somehow stuffed up my layout in the 24 hours since I had put it down. Lessons for next time - lay it out and sew it all together (or at least keep a consistent seam allowance) 

But the main thing I found hard was sewing with the wrong sides together and leaving raw edges. It felt wrong and every time I picked up a new square to sew I pinned it together with the bounce fabric together, and would have to flip it around again. I think because I tend to you the same method of Foundation Paper Piecing most of the time, my brain has gotten lazy and I found my fingers would automatically put something together, and I would have to make a very conscious correction. In this respect, this project was great for making me actively concentrate on my sewing!

Once I had it all together and had sewn around the edge, it was time to cut the seams. I felt very nervous doing this, as I didn’t want to cut into the sewn lines. It also took a long time to make sure I got them all. By the end of it, my hand hurt from all those little cuts with the scissors! But I did get to watch a couple of the episodes of the TV show I'm currently binging as well so - hey -  I'm all for that kind of multi-tasking!

Then I washed it and it looked really good. All my fears that it would shed fibers were alleviated. 

So making my first rag quilt was a fun, if not challenging experience. For something that seems to be a simple concept it did push my boundaries and taught me things I can use for next time, so I was pretty happy with it. 

I took this quilt along to the local hospital with my Truck quilt and donated them to the Special Care Baby Unit for a special little human there. 

That's another Work in Progress finished! 3 Down and 7 to go!
How many do you have left?

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