Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Ugly Quilt

While digging about in my closet I found, back in a corner, a box full of fabric fat quarters.  For the non-sewing folks, a fat quarter is a 1/4 yard piece of fabric that measures about 18 " x 21 ",  and is usually sold for crafty projects or for quilt projects where a small amount of one color fabric is needed.

At any rate, here was this box of fat quarters.  I suppose that I had a reason for collecting so many of them over the years, but whatever that reason was, it now escapes me.  Lots of things escape me these days.

Being a frugal person (read "cheap") I can't just throw them out.  I have been sewing since age 12, and as someone who sews, throwing out good fabric, even if it is just scraps, is just wrong.  After digging a bit further into the depths of the closet, I came up with a bag of quilt batting.  And there was my "Aha" moment.  Rag Quilt.

To make a rag quilt, fabric is cut into squares.  Squares of quilt batting are sandwiched between two layers of fabric.  An X is sewn, corners to corners, securing the batting within the fabric squares.  The sandwich squares are sewn together with the seams to the outside of the quilt top.  When completed, the seams are clipped with a scissor at about 1/4 inch intervals, creating a sort of fringe.  When the finished quilt is washed and then dried in a dryer, the seams fluff up and look sort of raggedy.  Thus the name Rag Quilt.

Took me two days to cut the pieces, sew the X on each square and sew the squares together.  Clipping the seams took another evening.  I wasn't going for pretty.  The placement of the fabric squares was completely random.  I was going for quick and easy, for using up otherwise useless fabric, and especially going for warm.  Nothing like a hand made quilt to snuggle up with when the snow falls and the wind howls.

Yes, I know.  It would be much more fun to have a honey to snuggle with, but that's not likely to happen here, so I will settle for a quilt.  Even an ugly one.

I haven't run it through the washer and dryer as yet, but you get the idea.

A few years ago I made six of these - one for each grandkid - for Christmas.  Those were both pretty and warm.  I'm thinking that maybe I should make a couple more of them from flannel.  But until then, I sort of like my Ugly Quilt.  It is kind of like falling in love with the runt of the litter.  The little ugly ones need to be loved, too.


  1. Looks wonderful. You did a good job. I will be sending you an email later today.

  2. Thanks, Rob...It is ugly, but it works! I'll check my email later. Have a good one.

  3. It is NOT ugly. I do things in surges. I'll get a yen to make something and make three of them. Then I move on to something else. When I first started making quilts, they always came out wonky.

    Then I was told by a quilter to buy a can of batting spray. Oh JOY!!!

    I sprayed the layers and they stayed put.

    Joe managed to take a photo of me just as I had reached the center of the quilt (using my sewing machine) and the entire machine fell onto the floor from the weight.

    YOUR way is the peaceful way.

  4. Dana...I'm not sure about peaceful. Probably more instant gratification. I kind of like these rag quilts because I don't have to mess with the layering part. Putting together the layers is a challenge when my biggest work surface is my kitchen table. And I sometimes have the attention span of a gnat and will, like you, move from one project to another. It is a good thing we have a variety of interests to keep us busy. :)

    By the sewing machines were harmed during the completion of this quilt. lol

  5. We DO have a lot of interests, don't we? That makes us very lucky women who can easily entertain ourselves.

  6. Dana...That's probably the main reason I am so content here in my little Home Sweet Apartment. Of course, it does help that we both seem to be easily amused. ;)

  7. I really don't know why you think that it is ugly? I guess beautiful is in the eye of the beholder.

    I think anything that is made from scratch, from normally castaways is a work of art to not only be admired, but used on a daily basis.

    My wife is just starting to quilt and sew as she is much more a painter, but she is doing some really nice work. It's funny as our daughter who is only 28 has been sewing and quilting for years now and is teaching "Mom" many of the techniques needed.

    Great work and I admire your skills.

  8. Jim...Thank you for your kind words. I guess that compared to the beautiful art quilts that I have seen, mine is sort of an ugly duckling. But I made it to use and I'm sure it will be well loved over our cold winters.

    I think it is wonderful that your daughter is able to teach her mother some of the sewing techniques. I learned from my mother, who sewed beautiful clothes for her family, and have learned quilting on my own, using the sewing skills Mom taught me. I love the old patterns and have three traditional patchwork quilts in the works right now. It is good to know that there are still folks interested in these skills, for I truly believe they should be kept alive.