It's Rag Quilting Season | New Quilters

It’s Rag Quilting Season

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It’s that time of year again in the Northern hemisphere — the season when the dark lingers longer every day, when going outdoors makes you give an instinctive little shiver, when you feel the need to snuggle up in something warm and soft (and drink something hot and steamy.) It’s rag quilting season.

I will freely confess that I make rag quilts all year long, but there’s something about autumn that makes rag quilting feel like the perfect way to spend a slow, chilly day. With that mood strong upon me, I made this little rag quilt from the first pattern in my latest book, Rag Quilting for Beginners. This quilt will go in the back of my car to be a warmer-upper on cold days.Machine Quilting Sampler Rag Quilt 101

The fabric came from leftover strips I had cut for a double-four-patch quilt a few months ago, and from fabrics I had bought for that quilt but decided not to use for it in the end. Leftover and scrap fabrics are the bane of my quilting existence. They seem to multiply and create mysterious fabric mounds in my sewing room no matter how many quilts I make from them, so it is a pleasure to stitch something up from my scrap pile that I know will be used.

I did something during the making of this rag quilt that you might want to try: I borrowed an idea from Christina Cameli’s book, First Steps to Free-Motion Machine Quilting, and made this quilt into a free-motion quilting sampler. I tried out a different free-motion quilting motif in each strip of the quilt. Here’s a vertical motif with a simplified star set at intervals along each vertical line:Machine Quilting Sampler Rag Quilt 106

I machine quilted rows of scallops in this pink strip. This motif was fun:

Machine Quilting Sampler Rag Quilt 105

And in this strip, I sewed an elongated stipple based on an old Japanese design that suggests moving water. (Can you tell I took this photo late at night?) 

Machine Quilting Sampler Rag Quilt 104

The book offers dozens of different motifs to try. These were just a few of the simple ones. After years of nothing but stippling, I’m working on expanding my machine-quilting horizons. The small sections in a rag quilt make it perfect for building your machine-quilting skills.

If you make a rag quilt this season, I’d love to see a photo. Happy quilting!

Get the books I used in this post:


First Steps to Free-Motion Quilting Christina Cameli








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