Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Most Challenging Rag Quilt

I have loved the challenges people present to me with their rag quilt ideas.  I've done a baby clothes rag quilt, a baby receiving blanket rag quilt adding hand painted kid prints to the back, a Charlie Brown rag quilt, a quilt made from a panel of fabric where I had to keep the pattern intact and a rag quilt with a stripe running through the perimeter.  However, the most challenging, (frustrating), rewarding rag quilt I've made was one for a friend who works at the Methodist church.

She asked if I could make a rag quilt with the Methodist cross and flame symbol on it and without thinking I said "of course."

I took a few days to just think about how I would do this. 
I started actually working on the quilt in July.
I knew I wanted to make it a lap size 5 squares by 5 squares.  I knew that white would be the color surrounding the cross and flame.  My friend picked out the fabrics she wanted, the most important being the cross and flame fabric.

She also wanted a black polka dot border around the entire quilt to frame the cross and flame.

I started constructing the cross and flame by sketching it out on a little square of paper.

Then on a roll of thin brown wrapping paper.   I cut the drawing into 9" squares, my usual size for rag quilt squares. The thin paper proved to be too flimsy a choice for using as a pattern so I transferred these drawings to heavy grocery bag brown paper.  A great way to reuse those bags.

(I saved those pattern pieces for a long time but a recently tossed them when I considered making another one of these quilts).

  Some of the things I tried didn't really work for one reason of another. The red fabric of the flame in some parts was too thin and delicate to simply sew down.  I used a double sided fusible material and fused the smaller pieces onto the white background then sewed around them. I had wanted the cross and flame to actually be ragged but found that was not working so a made it more of a fray edge.  The cross at one point was looking too big as well. 

And where the cross crossed the flame just didn't look right.
I took the whole thing apart twice and started all over.

I would put the quilt away and bring it back out and just stare at it trying to figure a better way to do it.  I mostly didn't want to break up the flame and cross but finally I realized that was the only way it would work as a true rag quilt.

I resorted to praying about it for divine inspiration because I knew my friend would be keeping it in her church office.   I decided to break up the picture which gave the quilt a window pane look.  I was very happy with the  way the quilt was turning out now and I believe my hands were being guided.   Thank God!

I wanted to stop at this point but it was not my quilt so I added the final black fabric with multi-colored polka dots and in December I finally gave my friend her quilt.

The most challenging rag quilt I've ever made.

1 comment:

  1. pretty neat and intense process! What a great post and a neat quilt!