On the “Easy Quilting Scale,” the rag quilt ranks right at the top. It’s sewn with the seams exposed, and the whole idea is to create a softly rumpled, very cuddly, wrap-me-up-now result. If you have someone living far away, this is a wonderful blanket to send to remind them of the warm hugs waiting back at home.
Since the ragging gives a quilt an inherent rustic look, we wanted a fabric that echoed that handmade feel. We found it in the Handcrafted collection by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics. Very different from most traditional quilting cottons, it’s created entirely by hand. The process is a new interpretation of the ancient wax resist, fabric dying art form of batik. We felt the result had the look of hand silk-screened fabrics: looser, more free-form and with deeply saturated pigments. It was absolutely spot-on for a colorful rag quilt.
Many sewers have a pretty unequivocal reaction to the batik style; you either like it or you don’t. But the Handcrafted collection is different than most traditional batiks in both the palette and the motifs. It struck us as a wonderful blend of cultures; elements of American prairie style expressed through a process developed and perfected continents away.
Alison Glass describes it this way, “The fabric is made in Indonesia by people who have great skill. Having had the privilege of seeing photos of the process, I feel a deep connection to the idea that many hands went into the process of making this fabric. The artisans who are physically making this fabric have perfectly interpreted my vision for a new application of the hand stamped, hand dyed fabric process. They were patient in using different techniques within this process to get the look I wanted. It’s pretty amazing.”
Handcrafted is an older collection, but Alison did a number of iterations of the series over several years and remaining cuts can still be found at some retail outlets as well as from Etsy and eBay sellers.
And remember, a rag quilt needs to rag! Don’t pre-wash any of your elements. Not only does this keep the fabric crisper and easier to work with, it allows for a better rag when laundered at completion.
Our “Re-imagined” version of this quilt is based on our classic Woolies Flannel Rag Quilt. To find all the steps to make your very own, go to our original tutorial: Woolies Rag Quilt.
The original tutorial used flannel for both the front and back. This version features quilting cotton on the front, sticking with flannel for the back. We followed the original tutorial’s steps with no additional variation.
Our design used a combination of 10 fabrics from the original Handcrafted collection. Although a ⅓ yard is the minimum required for each fabric (at the 44″ – 45″ width), we recommend getting ⅔ yard to insure you can precisely fussy cut to capture a strong motif within each 11″ x 11″ square. Some handmade batik motifs and repeats can be quite large; it’s best to start with a little extra fabric.
A full layout plan is shown below. Use it as a jumping off point and mix in your own favorite bold collections of batiks or similar.