Saturday, October 2, 2010

up to my ears in flannel!

When I go out thrifting, I always keep an eye out for flannel fabric. I'm happy to find either scraps (usually left over from someone's pajama project), or whole pieces (pajama projects that never happened!). But a few weeks ago, I went to a garage sale and got a HUGE box of flannel for something like $5 or $10. It was a crazy amount of fabric - about 40 yards in all! It's not the most exciting fabric in the world, but I knew I could give it a good home and put it to use right away...

I collect all my flannel in a big bin, and every once in a while I go through and process it. This huge addition pushed me over the edge, and I felt like I was working on nothing but flannel all last month!

As I've blogged about before, I love to make swaddling blankets (look, a tutorial!), or use flannel for the backs of "quiltlets". So I first took all the big pieces of printed fabric, and cut them into swaddling blanket size (about 42" long) or quiltlet size (about 60" long). Then I took all the printed scraps, and cut them into 7" (if possible) or 6" (if not) squares. Then I cut up enough solids into 6 or 7" squares, to match up with the prints, and made rag blanket squares. I tried to find a tutorial for exactly how I make these, but all the ones I could find showed how to use batting inside. I just use a third flannel square (same size as the outer two squares), and sew a big "X" from corner to corner, through all 3 layers. I was an X-sewing machine!!

After I had a bazillion squares, and it was time to sew them into blankets. Here's the first one, with all unique squares. It's a 9x12 grid (so 108 different prints!), with about 3/4" seams, so about 50" by 70" in size, I think. This first picture is after snipping the seams, but before washing.

That one had a lot of girlie prints, so I wanted to do another one for a boy. I didn't have nearly as many boy prints, but I did have multiples of the prints I did have, so I grouped them into 9-patches.

And here they both are, after a couple long washes and dries. You would not believe the amount of lint these things generate when you wash them! But they are so soft and fluffy. And heavy - I love that!

Unfortunately, these blankets can't be given to Project Linus (because the lint can get into wounds and equipment, etc.). So, I'll soon be taking them with me to Texas when we go for a family reunion. The highlight of the reunion is an auction of handmade goods, and the proceeds from the auction fund the reunion for the next year. I love that! Last year, I donated this quilt, which sold for $84. The year before that, I did another rag quilt (like the girlie one here, but with 6" squares), and it sold for $125! I'll surely be lowering the price by bringing two quilts this time, but whatever. It's for family. :-)

Even after making these two quilts, I still have enough squares left for at least three more. I know, it's crazy! AND, I have a huge pile of swaddling blankets just waiting to be sewn up! But, yay, all my flannel is processed, and all I have left is a crate full of scraps less than 6 or 7" in one or both dimensions. My plan is to someday turn those into coin quilts for Project Linus.

Speaking of which... remember my idea about always having a giveaway when I have a major finish? Well, is anyone out there up for a grab-bag of flannel scraps? You could whip up some cozy patchwork rice warming bags, or some smaller cold/hot packs for kids for Christmas gifts! If you're interested, just say so in your comment, and I'll draw a name on Monday. This one is for US folks only, because it will be a big chubby flat rate envelope... The next one will be international, I promise!


  1. This is the same way I do mine, except I don't bother with the X sewn across. I make smaller squares (I think 4" finished?) and then just sew them together with 3 layers of flannel. It gets SO heavy and warm! I don't like making them, but I do like the end product. (I think it's a lot of mundane heavy sewing. And my shoulders hurt after making these.) Very impressed with your work! I bet the family loves when you bring quilts!

    I also wash/dry them the first time at the laundromat! LOL! I am sure they love when I do that...

    Oh- and no need to enter me in the giveaway- I just got rid of all my scraps and it was SO freeing! LOL! I don't miss them yet...

  2. Don't enter me either! I just wanted to say that I really like the 9-patch 'boy' quilt. Nice work. :)

  3. I love the 9 patch rag quilt. So creative and fun! I haven't work with much flannel thus far, but would love to play with some scraps to experiment. Thanks for the generous offer to share!

  4. Count me in. I'm ready to experiment with flannel quilting... Love your blog!

    Warm hugs,

  5. I just want to say thank you for sharing how you make these super nice flannel blankets! I want to try this, too!
    ; )

  6. I love working with flannel. Just finished Wonkey Log Cabin blocks for a quilt (and another will be made--Fun) As for the blocks, I'm practicing my Free Motion Quilting on them, and so far so good. Still have a lot of flannel, but can always use some different strips. Take Care

  7. I love the way you raise money for the family reunion - such a cool idea. I love the quilts. Please don't enter me in the giveaway, I really don't like working with flannel. However, I love the quilts you made.