Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rag Quilts - Take 2

Using the techniques I learned from the Quilter's Academy, I started RQ2 as a practice project for cutting accuracy.  Those who know me may be a bit shocked by my choice of fabrics, but rest assured, I've not gone over to the dark side (err Duke side). This is a gift for a new baby and much as I thought about trying to undo the inevitable brain washing... I'll leave that to someone else...

I started off the project by ripping, ironing and starching the various components. The light blue squares were cut for the previous quilt before I learned that the baby would be a girl, so this project was also a way to use up what has already been cut.  I did not pre-wash as I wanted to maximize the frayability at the end.

I did cut these blocks at 8.25 versus 8.5 with the end plan to have space to trim down to 8 inch block. Part of the reason was that I suspected I would run out of the Duke Bluedevils fabric as I bought as little as I possibly could.  In the process of ripping and aligning, I decided that I probably will not rip flannel in the future.  Unlike the cottons, it did not rip in a nice straight line.  Fortunately I bought an ample supply of that so wasn't concerned - the blue and white flannel (not pictured here) were used as batting inside the sandwiches - blue inside the two dark squares and white inside the other three.  The squares pictured above have been sandwiched and pinned with one flat pin in one corner.  In the RQ1 adventure, I used between 6 & 8 pins on each block - which really didn't do what I needed them to do - ended up a bit lumpy and still didn't hold things well (using the walking foot in this project made a huge difference).  You can see in the background the slivers that I cut off as I squared the pinned blocks.

To the left are leftovers from RQ1 which show ragged edges and general lumpiness - ironing and starching made a huge difference.

Sewing together went more smoothly as well - once I laid everything out and started chaining, I only had to undo two seams because I sewed one of the Duke panels in sideways - unlike RQ1 where I had the seams alternating on the sides of the quilt. Overall a much smoother process.

Here it is prior to snipping and washing - didn't have ice hockey games to work at this time, so ended up spreading the snippings around the house and our home rink...  This one came together more neatly. I think several factors affected that -
  1. I prepared the fabric appropriately for the project. 
  2. I carefully trimmed and squared the blocks
  3. I used a walking foot while sewing so didn't end up with bits and pieces of fabric sticking out where the sandwich slipped.  I think using only one pin made a difference too as I left that pin in the corner for the first two seams and then took it out on the third seam of the sandwich.
 Gus came out to admire the quilt first thing in the morning and is busy picking out the fabric for when I get around to a project for him. I was a bit surprised that he wanted his picture taken with it since he is such a rabid Tar Heel!  Since this picture was taken, I've snipped the edges - did you know that at 8 snips/inch you are facing over 4,000 snips per quilt.  My poor Fiskars Snips have gotten a workout - and they are sticking a bit - the bulge that holds the lock slides over is interfering so I need to sand it down just a little.

We went to the local laundromat after dinner on Tuesday and threw the quilt into the industrial sized machine with a few towels - to see if the towels will help the ragging fuzz out.  It did look better than RQ1, but I still threw it in the laundry again at home, with a blanket. It has ragged out quite nicely now and is waiting to be photographed so that I can send it on to the new baby.

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