Monday, March 30, 2009

"Lattice Window" Rag Quilt

Last weekend, I washed my second rag quilt. Before the photos, here are a couple of reminders for my future self-- or tips for anyone new to rag quilting:

First Tip:
Double or triple check that you've snipped all the seams of your quilt, but even after that, be sure to give it one more good look when you take it out of the washer. If you're like me, you'll probably find that you've missed at least one seam. It's much easier to notice at this step, and if catch it now, before popping it into the dryer, the seam will rag enough that it won't be glaringly obvious.

Second Tip:
Even after removing copious amounts of threads and lint after washing and repeatedly cleaning the lint filter during drying, I still find that the back of my quilts-- the flannel sides-- are very messy. (This is after the first laundering. I hope that this will be less of an issue on subsequent washings, but I haven't needed to wash them again, yet, so I can't say for sure. Pilling will probably always be something of a problem, with flannel.) I end up devoting quite a bit of time to just brushing the flannel squares clean with a lint brush-- and picking off particularly stubborn bits by hand. This may vary somewhat from fabric to fabric. Admittedly, I generally don't use expensive flannel, and that may make some difference.

It occurred to me (while I was busily cleaning this latest quilt) that putting it back into the dryer for even longer (without heat, this time) might have helped reduce the mess. By that time, I'd already progressed so far in the cleaning that it wasn't worth risking my investment of time to try it (what if it came out messy all over, again?!). It might be worth a try, next time, but the dryer's never going to be able to remove all of the mess.

In any case, if you notice that your freshly-laundered quilt looks a little shabby, do try giving it a good brushing or picking over. It makes a tremendous difference in the look of your quilt. Yes, it is annoying-- especially if you thought you were finally finished-- but after all the time and effort you've already put into it, it's definitely worth going one step further. (If you're doing a lot of rag quilting, you might consider getting a sweater shaver. I've seen others recommend them, and it probably does make the job go faster and easier.)

So-- enough of the tips! Bring on the photos!! ;o)

First, a couple of the front:



Now one of the flannel backing:


Oh, if you only knew what trouble I had to go through to get those colors/patterns to line up correctly! I'm ashamed to admit how much of a problem it was-- I still don't see how I got so turned around-- but in the end, it all worked out. (After a little seam-ripping and re-sewing...)

And finally, one more "natural" photo of the quilt. (What? Of course a quilt can be "natural" in a photo. (g) Notice how un-posed it looks? This is totally a candid shot.)


When I was sketching out my idea for this quilt, I knew it reminded me of something, but I wasn't sure what. I finally realized that I was thinking of a set in the 2006 version of Jane Eyre. (Yes, I'm completely serious. Stay with me for a minute; I promise I'm going somewhere quilt-related with this...)

In the scene where Jane goes to meet Mr. Rochester for the first time (formally), there are these mullioned lattice windows in the background, and the little diamond-shaped panes look like a random selection of blues and greys. (Can you tell I've seen this series more than a few times? (g)) The quilt (on paper) reminded me of those windows. I think the actual quilt looks less like the windows than my sketch did, but still... I've "had a thing" for unusual windows for many years, so I kind of like thinking of this as my "Jane Eyre Window Quilt".

As a matter of fact, here are a couple of stills from the miniseries, for those of you who don't share my obsession with Jane Eyre. ;o)



Well, anyway, there it is, whether or not anyone else will see the resemblance. (g)

Phew! I'm glad to have finally finished that quilt! I had fun working on it, but when I thought I was almost finished and then saw my mistake(s) on the back. . . Well, let's just say that that quilt has heard a few choice words. ;o) Though I may eventually decide to make something similar to this one, I don't think my next quilt, at least, will be "on point" with a pattern on the back!