Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Rag Quilts - Making a Maple Leaf Rag Quilt

For this rag quilt project I used the maple leaf design quilt block.  This is slightly different from the maple leaf quilt block which has a stem.  The maple leaf design quilt block has two maple leaves opposite each other and no stems.  It's obviously easier to make if you are making lots of them.





For each rag quilt block you will need:
Background fabric:  two 4.1/2" squares, four 2.3/4" squares and four 2.1/2" squares
Leaf fabric:  four 2.3/4" squares, six 2.1/2" squares, six 2.1/2" squares, two 6.1/2" by 2.1/2" rectangles and two 4.1/2" by 2.1/2" rectangles.  You can get all the 2.1/2" pieces from one strip cut across the width.
Two strips of sashing 12.1/2" by 2", and two strips 15.1/2" by 2"
Backing fabric 15.1/2" square, wadding 14.1/2" square.

The leaf fabric for three rag quilt blocks can be cut from a fat quarter so it's a great chance to use some of those fat quarters you have lying around to provide some variety in your quilt.

It's easiest to make the half square triangles first.

Place one 2.3/4" square of each fabric with right sides together and draw a line along the diagonal.  Sew a seam 1/4" either side of the marked line and cut along the line (between the seams).  This should give you two squares each made up of two triangles of each colour.  Repeat with the other three 2.3/4" squares, giving you eight of the combined squares.



The maple leaf design quilt block is basically made up of two mirror image halves.  I found it easiest to lay out the pieces for the block without the combined squares as shown and then add those in afterwards.



The top and bottom rows are made up of a gold square, a combined square, a pink square and the 6.1/2" rectangle.  With right sides together and using a 1/4" seam, sew these together in pairs and then join the pairs to complete the row.




For the next row of the rag quilt block, sew the smaller squares together to make 4" pieces and then sew them across the row to complete the second row.  Repeat for the third row.  do check the photo to see which way your triangles face.  I had a real attack of the gremlins while I was doing this:  I would lay the pieces down in the right way, pick them up carefully facing the right way and then when I'd sewn them the triangle would be facing the wrong way!


With right sides together and using a 1/4" seam, sew the top row to the second row.  the third and fourth rows are the same but facing the opposite way.




I used red sashing for the rag quilt.  sew the two 12.1/2" by 2" strips to the sides of the block and two 15.1/2" by 2" strips to the top and bottom.





This is a quilt as you go project, so cut backing fabric the same size as your quilt block (15.1/2" square) and lay it with right side down.  The wadding needs to be 1/2" smaller all the way round.  I found it easiest to cut the wadding roughly the same size as the backing fabric and then trim it when it was placed on the backing fabric.

Pin the three layers and quilt them together.  I stitched along the outline of each maple leaf and then again 1/4" away from the first line of stitching.  I didn't quilt on to the sashing, but thinking about it now it probably wouldn't have made any difference if I had.  That's one maple leaf quilt block complete.  Repeat eight more times to make nine rag quilt blocks.



Place two maple leaf quilt blocks with wrong sides together.  I really struggled on this because I instrinctively wanted to put right sides together.  Using a 1/2" seam, sew the two blocks together and then sew another line of stitching close to the first line.


The idea of a rag quilt is that you have fringing betwen the blocks, so snip the edge towards the line of stitching at 1/4" intervals.  I prefer to do this with each seam as I sew it because if you leave it all to the end there's an awful lot of snipping to do.


Join three blocks across each row in this way and then join the three rag quilt rows together.  The snipped edges will fray with time and washing, giving a lovely silky fringe to your rag quilt.




You could then sew and snip all round the outer edge of your rag quilt but I always prefer binding so I used a brown binding round the edge of my rag quilt.  Baste all round the edge of the rag quilt far enough in from the edge so that you catch the wadding.  Trim the sashing to the level of the wadding and then bind.
This is one idea for a rag quilt, but obviously you could make a rag quilt from any quilt block pattern.  Just sew the blocks together with wrong sides together and snip the edges of the seam.

Thanks for visitying my blog.
You'll find more quilting ideas at how to quilt.
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