Some time ago I mentioned I was going to attempt making a full-sized quilt for the first time in my life. It is to be for Diana to take with her to college. At one point she said she was not terribly concerned about the design so long as the quilt was flannel. That worked out well for me as a mere novice since it means I can get away with making her a rag quilt. Rag quilts have exposed, frayed seams and seem to be a fairly forgiving form. Her design will be made entirely of squares so I won't have to drive myself bonkers making triangles and other odd shapes meet up exactly.
The trick was finding enough flannel in enough colors to go with the design I intend to do. I adapted this for a larger quilt. My mom plugged it into her jazzy quilt software which calculates yardages and then off we went to find flannel. Neither of the fabric stores in my town had anything close to an adequate selection of flannels unless I wanted cutsie baby patterns or matronly Victorian designs. Mom and I did some scouting and found some nice yard-dyed plaids at a place about halfway between where we each live. So my first lesson was in the difficulty procuring what you really want. My next lesson was in the astonishing cost of fabrics. Mom went halvsies with my on the fabric since it was a fair amount more than I expected and I didn't really have any other ideas for Diana's Christmas present. Here's the haul. The three plaids will make up the top of the quilt. The three solid colors will be the back. The white flannel, which is a king size set of flannel sheets I found on sale for $20 (woohoo! doing the great bargain dance...waaaaay cheaper than a comparable amount of yardage off a bolt) will be the center layer of the flannel "sandwiches" which will make up each square.
Now I had to get to work cutting squares. I realize some of my readers are quilters but for those who aren't let me explain the tools. I have a big cutting board with measurements on it and that odd looking ruler/straight edge, also with measurement markings. This all makes it easy to line up the fabric and cut accurately sized shapes. For small projects I have an ordinary clear ruler/straight edge and use a separate cutter that looks sort of like a pizza slicer. For this project, since I knew I had thick fabric to cut through and more of it than I have ever done before I was a little concerned about how Janita (my once demolished but now mostly recovered left hand/arm) would hold up. This new gadget has the blade attached to the ruler so I couldn't accidentally veer off and miscut. Given how much I spent on the fabric I thought that might be a worthy investment to help prevent some fatigue for Janita and costly mistakes as a result. It worked pretty well in the manner I hoped. Lesson 3, however, was in the old adage "Measure twice, cut once." Uh yeah, I mismeasured a few strips and cut them too small. Fortunately, I had enough extra fabric to cover my mistakes. Once the strips were cut I just sliced them into squares.
Here we see 2oo 6 inches squares of flannel cut from 2 of the fabrics. I only have 300 more 6 inch squares to cut and 100 11 inch squares to cut. Then the sewing begins. Stayed tuned to see how long it takes me to get all this done and how many more lessons I have to learn.