Tuesday, February 21, 2012

crazy mom quilts: one way to make a ragtime quilt

Why hello there! :) Today I'm happy to share a little tutorial on how to make a ragtime quilt. As with any of my tutorials (or any of the work on my blog, for that matter), this is not the only way to make it, it is just one way to make it. I'm simply sharing my approach. I'm by no means known for having the most direct approach. Ha!
This quilt finishes at about 40" x 60". I'd consider that a large baby quilt or a child's lap quilt. The fabric is a fun line of flannels by Connecting Threads called Wild Ones. I used 27 fat quarters. I did not pre-wash my fabrics.
First, press each of your fat quarters. From each FQ, cut out 12 5" squares.
Cut a total of 300 5" blocks.
Cut 150 4" squares of batting. I'd recommend using warm and natural or warm and white batting. Or both. :) This is a great way to use up batting scraps! I would NOT recommend using any batting that is medium or high loft. It will be a wrestling match. Alternatively, you could use flannel in place of batting (I haven't tried it) OR you could simply use flannel for both layers and omit the batting altogether. (I haven't tried this, either.)

Keep your squares in pairs, so the front and the back will be the same. I would recommend this 99% of the time. On my last rag quilt I went completely scrappy, so the fabrics were different on each side, and it worked pretty well. But when it comes time to layout your blocks, keeping the fabric the same on both the front and the back will make things much, much easier. 
Take one square of fabric, place it face down. Layer a batting square on top, centering it. No measuring is required, just eye ball it. Take another square of fabric, place it face up on the batting. Of course you will line up the top fabric square with the bottom square. In this photo it is offset for illustration purposes.
Use your walking foot (I would recommend matching thread in both the top and bobbin) and quilt an X through the block, from corner to corner. Repeat this process for the remaining 149 blocks.
Take any 2 random blocks, and sew them together using a 1/2" seam allowance. Sew blocks end to end, until you have 10 blocks joined together. Make 15 rows.

This is my big tip. Use a zipper foot rather than a walking foot to join the blocks together. Angela actually suggested that in the comments of this post. Thanks so much, Angela, you are a genius! The zipper foot worked fabulously. When I was using a walking foot to attach the blocks together, I felt like the bulk of the batting kept pushing against the walking foot and often times the seams were wavy. The zipper foot made it so much easier to sew a straight line by just following the ridge. Sweet!
Once all your rows are complete, lay them out on the floor in a pleasing arrangement.  Take a photo and check for color clumping. Rearrange any rows if needed. When making patchwork, I almost always do this....make random rows and then arrange the rows. It's so much easier than arranging 150 squares separately!
To join the rows together, take two strips and nest the seams, as you would with any patchwork...except you really don't need to press your seams! Pin at each intersection. Sew the rows together, again, using the zipper foot and 1/2" seam allowance. Toward the bottom of the photo you can see how the seams point in the opposite direction from each other after they are sewn. Repeat the pinning and sewing until all the rows are joined together.

Sewing the rows isn't the most fun part of making this quilt....I suggest that you take it slow and easy. I felt like I had to do a good deal of pushing/pulling the quilt to get it through the machine, but it wasn't unbearable, either.
After all the blocks and rows are joined together, sew a 1/2" seam around the perimeter of the quilt.
 
The last step is to use a scissors to cut some fringe. I made several cuts 1/2" apart or so, perpendicular to the seams. Be careful to cut close to the seam, but not through it. Once all the fringes are cut, wash and dry it. It will transform into one cozy quilt! Be sure to monitor the lint trap in the dryer, especially after the first washing. I'd recommend checking it at least a few times during the drying cycle, as it produces a LOT of lint!!
This is what the back of the quilt looks like. Just like the front, but no fringe!
Here is the quilt in use. It was a custom order for a little girl that is battling severe health issues. It's so fun to see her enjoying her quilt. Isn't she a cutie pie?

If you use this tutorial to make a quilt, I'd love to see it. Also, feel free to add it to the crazy mom quilts flickr group!


35 comments:

Erin said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I always kinda wondered how these quilts were made. Do you think this method is faster, slower or the same as the quilt top, batting, backing and binding (I guess it could be called traditional??) technique?

Erin L said...

This is a great tutorial! I also really love this line from Connecting Threads...I bought some to make a baby blanket, and it's so nice! This quilt is beautiful!

Denise L said...

Nice quilt. I made one several years ago just as you described and it is one of my favorites in the winter because it is so nice and warm. I used the warm and natural and really liked the way it came out. Thanks for sharing.

amandajean said...

Erin,

The time question is a very good one. I guess it all depends on the pattern of the "traditional" quilt you are making. Actually, I kept track of time on this one. It took me about 9.5 hours to make it.

Hope that helps!

Amanda Jean

Linda said...

Soo cute!
I have only made one rag quilt. I used cotton for the front and back and flannel for the middle layer instead of batting. I cut them the same size as the cotton squares and then I just snipped through all 3 layers. It gave it a nice effect of having pop of a complimentary color as well.

I am on a fabric diet right now. Only allowing myself to buy what I absolutely need. This line is very tempting, though! LOL

Heather said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heather said...

Love your quilt and the darling snuggling under it looks as happy as a clam!!

I have made hundreds of these and i do also love using Cotton with a flannel insert, but mostly because the Cotton doesn't get "peely" and seems not to fade as quickly. I also notch out the fold (over lap from sewing squares together) to create less bulk while sewing my strips together!! :D

You've actually made me want to make one again... and i NEVER thought that could happen!!

hahaha...
x, H

kristyn said...

This is perfect! I have been beating myself over the head trying to figure out what was missing from a scrappy fall quilt I was putting together and I think you just gave it to me! I think the only thing I am going to do differently is hand quilt each square.

Momto3inIL said...

Thank you for the Zipper foot idea! I have made two of these quilts and had a time with them being wavy! I am getting reading to work on another so I will be getting my zipper foot out!

adriea said...

i love your quilt!

carrotcakebaker said...

What a beautiful quilt! Thanks for sharing it with your followers. And how lovely that you've brought some happiness to such a sweet little girl! Well done!

Mary said...

I have made a handful of these and just finished another on Sunday. Apparently they are my husband's favorite. The last one I made was because he wanted something to do in the house during his cold. We gave it to his mom and she loves it.

I have two suggestions to offer. One, if you have any fleece left over from other projects this is a great way to use it up. I did that for one for my son and it is SO warm and was cheap. I now get all the corners from those tied blankets everyone makes.

My other suggestion is to use a heavy duty thread. My son has had to have his repaired several times because he wraps up in it and pulls on it breaking threads. I now use upholstery thread and I am much happier with that.

Love the fabric!

bethanndodd said...

I want to wrap myself up in it...looks so warm and cozy! Of course, it's also super cute. Adding one of these to my long list ;) Thanks for taking the time to share your process with us. Smiles~Beth

PDOTTreats said...

Yes, everyone makes them different. So I hope you don't mind too much my suggestions. I make them out of flannel with white or cream flannel as the "batting". I stack the front, middle and back together before cutting and cut them all the same size. This way they are ready to go and with all layers caught in the seams there is no reason to sew and X. Saves a lot of time and they are still very heavy and warm.

Kadesia Jane Desiner Quilts said...

I made a couple but cut wadding same size. Going to do my next one like this..Love it :)

Love Of Quilts said...

Thanks for the tutorial!

Lucy @ Charm About You said...

I love this!!
What a great way to use up scraps and bits of batting too :)

p.s. would you mind turning off your word verification, it's become so difficult!?

Deb said...

I did make a baby quilt with flannel on both sides w/o the batting and it worked just fine...was actually a little lighter in weight. Very nice tutorial.

Carie said...

I love the tip to use a zipper foot instead of the walking foot - it seems like that might help doing a non-fringe quilt as you go quilt as well. Thank you for the tutorial - now I know what I'm going to do with all the leftover edges of wadding!

Josie McRazie said...

I LOVE this tutorial!! I have flannel waiting for the perfect pattern (oh, I was also looking at wild ones SOOON!! LOL)

Suzanne said...

I love you dearly, Amanda Jean--you know that--but you are NOT helping me in my goal to dedicate myself to my WIPs!!! :-) The zipper foot idea is new to me. I desperately want to try to make one of these rag quilts but alas, I am trying to be "good." However, I will try this method very soon.

As for the word verification, I dislike the new style that Blogger's using but I know that bloggers are getting loads of spam. Personally I'd rather see my favorite bloggers using their time to write posts than weed out the junk. I'm trying to use it as an opportunity to practice my intentional touch typing. :-)

Terri said...

Great tutorial!

I have made lots of rag quilts. I have one thing to add. If you have a septic system, instead of city sewer hook-up, you might want to consider doing the first wash of your rag quilt at a the "laundromat" instead of in your machine at home. That's a lot of little threads to flush into the septic tank.

KateKwiltz said...

I've made a couple of these, and the zipper foot idea would have been really helpful! Great advice to use next time!
Also, for smaller quilts, I washed them inside a pillowcase so the fringy bits didn't clog up the washer. A good shake outside before drying helped.

tina said...

Very nice! And seems so easy...

Mike Pearson said...

I guess I need to learn how to use a zipper foot. I have never made a rag quilt, but I wonder if it would work for quilting. Sometimes I choose not to do FMQ and use a walking foot for straight lines and wide curves. The walking foot will usually have too much pressure and cause puckering and therefore a lot more stopping and starting to avoid it. If a zipper foot has no pressure, maybe that would work better?

JG said...

This is a good tutorial! The quilt looks so warm.
~Judy

tubilinha tiacarminha said...

Amei.Simples assim.Beijos.

Pam Fields said...

Thanks for the instructions. On my list of to do projects is a rag quilt. This will make it much easier. :) Your quilt is beautiful.

Becky B. said...

Thanks for the tutorial. I like your method so much better then the one I have used. I may want to give yours a try.
FYI about Connecting Threads, they are having a thread bundle giveaway on their blog "Threads". They have a bunch of new thread.

frcorfu@bluewin.ch said...

from now quite a long time i follow you... you make really nice and wonderful quilts. bravo !

Gray said...

Love it! Thankyou for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I love these quilts and have made several. The first couple I made were using homespun fabrics with flannel on the back and they frayed really nicely. The last several are flannel on top and bottom, and I love those too. I've made them as baby gifts and big people gifts. What I like best about the making of them is that they are pretty quick and simple and you get that satisfaction of completing them pretty quickly!

I'm glad your sweet little friend is enjoying her special quilt.

Jeri

kristine said...

i love the suggestion to use the same fabric for the fronts and backs of the squares. I made one with stripes on the back that made for a lot of extra work for me trying to line them up (which was impossible)!

Saara said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I have never seen anything like this before.

Jonica Kelly said...

Hi new to quilting and was trying to see what was going on for the sewing of the blocks together. You sew just on the edge ofthe batting or off of it?