09 January 2014

New Year, New Project

the finished piece
My craft interests come and go in spurts - sometimes I'm sewing up a storm, sometimes I'm stitching up a storm. When I've not been running lately, I've been busy with my sewing machine, making placemats, aprons, and for my first project of this year, a rag quilt for the man friend.

Last fall, we went furniture shopping together - he was looking for a new sofa and loveseat for his family room and wanted my input.  He got it, but he didn't listen to it and went with a different set than I picked out. When it was delivered, he sent me a text to say he hated it. When I asked why, he said it was too dark for the room.

When I went over to his house again, I had a look. It was a dark leather (darker than the set I liked best), but I didn't think it looked too bad. The set he had in there previously was dark - navy, I think. However, I made a suggestion that a light colored throw on the back of the sofa would lighten things up. He joked, "why didn't you get me one?" just as an idea was going through my mind.

Initially I was going to go to Kohl's and pick out a couple throws for his family room. However, when I did, I was disappointed by the selection. I ended up not getting anything and looking a couple other places, before I happened upon a rag quilt tutorial on Pinterest. When I saw that, the wheels in my brain started churning. I could MAKE him a lap quilt for the family room. Handmade is always better than store bought, right? (Well, not always, but in this case, it is.)

front and back of quilt
Then came the dilemma of fabric and colors. I needed something that wasn't too feminine, but also something that wasn't too dark. I walked into the local quilt shop on the Friday before New Year's Eve and saw a flannel quilt.

The lightbulb went off - flannel! That'd be perfect for the cold winter months. So the process of choosing fabrics began.

I opted to go with seven different fabrics - if I had thought it out better, I would have gone with eight. I picked up 1.5 yards of each and took them home. My stitching group from NYC has a tradition of starting a new project on New Year's Day. I had intended to start a cross-stitch design which I had picked up while I was in Cincinnati for Xmas, but instead decided to start prepping the fabric for the rag quilt.

It didn't take me long to cut all the fabric squares, the batting squares, and quilt them together. The difficult part was arranging them in a pattern that I liked. (This is where I was kicking myself for not going with eight different fabrics.) Eventually I was pleased with the layout and started the process of sewing the squares together, then the rows together.

ready for gifting
Once it was assembled, the process of snipping the seams began. This was the most tedious part of the process and I subjected myself to the season premier of the The Bachelor in the process. (I was too lazy to change the channel for starters and I'm not sure if there was anything better on TV that night anyhow.)

Four washes later (and several full lint traps) it is finished and ready to go. I wasn't sure how to gift it but then I saw I had some extra strips of flannel left. I quickly folded a piece over, sewed a seam up the side and turned it right side out. I rolled up the quilt, and wrapped the strip of flannel around and tied it in a knot.

Hoping he'll like it as much as I do. It's not perfect - it was a learning piece. But I enjoyed making it so much, I want to make me one - in pinks, of course.