When I lived in Nebraska, I did a fair amount of quilting. I went on two or three “shop hops” to independent quilting fabric stores with women from my church. The quilting world has trends like fashion and other designed things do, and one trend that was big were rag baby quilts.
That one is unusually bright, however. They were more often pastels, with squares all the same size. Usually they were flannel on one side and either chenille or this soft fabric with little raised bumps on the back.
I liked them a lot, but I didn’t have a baby in my life to make one for and the quality fabrics were expensive, so I just mentally added it to my “someday” list and moved on.
Another kind of quilt I always intended to make was a denim quilt out of my old jeans. I had been saving ripped and holey and too-small-but-not-worth-dontating and too-small-but-I-love-these-pockets jeans. In Nebraska, we had a huge basement of storage space, so I just threw a bunch of giant Rubbermaid tubs down there and filled them up with random crap (I don’t recommend this). When we were getting ready to move, I had to sort through these tubs and donate or repack the contents. I decided that I should cut up all the jeans before I moved to save space. I cut and cut and cut, making a huge pile of squares and throwing all the interesting pockets and trim into a shoebox. Then my husband saw what I was doing and, in the clearing-out mood himself, started handing me his old denim. Soon I had many, many squares, far more than one quilt’s worth. I packed them up and moved them across country.
So last fall, thinking I had extra denim squares to “use up,” I bought a bunch of pink flannel on sale to pair with it. I like the combination of pink and blue-jean blue and I decided I didn’t care if I made something that looked like it was for a preschool girl. I could justify it as practice quilting or just making good use of scraps, and besides, I am too old to worry about what people think any more.
I lay out the squares the way I wanted them, and then I labeled them with tape on the backs so I could recreate the order later. I called the fabrics ABCDE, so the first row had A1 B1 C1 D1 E1 A2 B2 and the second row started with C2. I saw this method somewhere described as an “ABC” quilt, but when I tried to Google instructions for you, I didn’t find any (just lots of alphabet quilt patterns). It’s pretty self-explanatory, though, I think.
Percy helped, of course.
I think I actually like the denim side better. The darkness of the green and yellow stripes stick out a little too much I think.
The flannel is rougher than I expected. Maybe because it was cheap and not the nice quilt store stuff.
It’s also heavier than I thought it would be. I’m not sure why that surprises me. I guess I just expected the raggy-ness of it and the repeated washings (I’ve washed and dried it three times now) to make it softer and fluffier.
But I still like it.
Update (January 12, 2011): I see that the link to Patchwork-and-Quilting.com now points to a page offering a pattern for sale. To be clear, I didn’t buy it, and I don’t think you need to either. This is a really standard and easy method that’s out in the public consciousness and has been for a long time. I think if you have experience with quilting you can figure out from my pictures (and the ones in this entry) how to do it. Or, I’m sure there are other instructions online. If you have a specific question, email me!