In October a friend from church called and asked if I'd like some fabric and thread. She was cleaning out her sewing room and getting rid of all the unfinished projects she'd never finish. She gave me 3 shopping bags full of denim jeans, flannel, and some fleece. She mentioned that she was saving the jeans and flannel to make a quilt - but knew she'd never get around to it. (Uh, busy Mom of 3 kids - she's got a lot on her plate.)
I sorted through it and knew I needed to finish it for her. I've never made a denim rag quilt, but my sister has made several flannel rag blankets. With a few tips from her, I got started.
I knew I wanted reasonable size squares - so I choose the size of my square ruler - 6.5". At first I thought I'd rotary cut everything, but it was easier to trace around the ruler with an ink pen and cut out the fabric.
I picked two fabrics for the back (red check and red plaid) and the rest for the front and the size was dictated by the amount of fabric she gave me. 8 x 13 squares for 104 squares.
I layered denim, cotton batting (cut 1 inch smaller) and flannel. Sewing the x's was easy using the walking foot and marking a line on my sewing machine with blue painter tape. I just kept the point of the square lined up with the edge of the tape and the lines turned out really straight.
Layout just about drove me insane - but that's normal because I like patterns and I don't do random well. Unfortunately there wasn't enough of each fabric to do stripes, so it had to be random. It took several evenings of rotating squares before I liked it.
I was aiming for a finish by Christmas, but that wasn't going to happen, so the squares were stacked up and shoved to the side for a January finish.
The first week of January I was motivated to finish this quilt. My machine chunked right through the thicknesses and I had the rows stitched together in the morning. A quick break for lunch and it was all sewn together. But I didn't like the aspect ratio. If I had 4 more squares, I could move the bottom row to the side and make it 9x12 squares (108). I found a few more flannel squares, found a pair of old jeans that had a hole in them and made 4 new squares. I ripped the quilt apart, swapped a few squares, and laid it out again. My only problem was that I didn't have one more red plaid square for the back so the pattern would be interrupted. Ack! But I liked the aspect ratio better so I decided to live with it and had a finished quilt that afternoon.
I waited until Friday (and a good movie) to 'cut' the fringe on every square. Ouch is the only word for it. 2 layers of denim + flannel is thick. And the seams where there were 4 layers of denim was insane. I tried every pair of scissors that I own - the fiskars with the spring worked the best, but it was still a long and painful process.
After everything was cut, I flipped over to the back and on a whim counted the red check and red plaid squares. And realized that if I had just added the column to the opposite side, the pattern would have completely worked out. So I ripped the column off, swapped squares again, and sewed it back on. I really don't recommend sewing after you've cut the 'fringe', but I knew I'd regret if if I didn't. (if it's worth doing ... it's worth doing right. Ugh. Stupid engineering brain.)
A trip through the washer and dryer and it was done. (I ran the dryer in 20 minute increments to clean out the lint filter. I was amazed at how much lint this quilt generated.)
I think it looks pretty great. (Home Depot spring clams work great to attach quilts to fences!)
Size: 49.5" x 66". Big enough to snuggle under while watching tv yet small enough to not feel like you are being smothered. This quilt is heavy!