Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rag Quilt

In my class at school  along with all of my regular high school art students I have a special student from the Life Skills class.  He is a sweet young man and I have enjoyed having the opportunity to work with him.  (Read previous post Warm Fuzzies.)
The projects I do with him are an adaptation of the projects I do with the rest of my students, often involving some of the other students working with him. Over the years I have found that my regular students rise to the occasion and work really well with him giving a feeling of satisfaction to everyone concerned.

This year being the third year, I felt a need to do something different than we had done in previous years and as the school year unfolded ideas and opportunities presented themselves to me as I needed them.

The first idea came when my sister Linda,  posted a blog about painting on fabric using a glue resist,  School Glue Resist.   This was the beginning of the idea for me.  I had my students paint on muslin using fabric reactive dyes and the school glue as a resist.

We started off taking pictures of artificial sunflowers I had on hand from various angles and other artificial flowers and then cut rectangles of muslin for each student.  My Life skills student seemed to really enjoy working with the paint and fabric and soon I began to suggest we would make several squares and put it together into a blanket for him.  His enthusiasm was reward enough for the extra work I would do.

Each one of the 6 pieces took him a month to complete.  He started with the drawing, traced it onto the fabric, used the glue resist around the edges, painted the areas and then washed out the glue.  We tweaked the designs by finishing them by using a thick sharpie to outline the edges giving it just a touch of black to the piece.

After Christmas my daughter gave my youngest grandson a rag quilt made of flannel pieces and the wheels in my head began to spin like crazy.   It was so soft and attractive and became a favorite immediately.
The rag blanket

The idea for the finish was now firmly implanted in my head.  Once all of my student's pieces were completed I took them to a fabric store to match cotton pieces to the colors included in his painted pieces and bought black flannel.  Backing each piece with an equal size of flannel, and added a double thickness of black flannel for the border I stitched each piece together right sides out according to the plan I had drawn up and then cut to the seam lines spacing every half inch or so.  Then threw into the washer and dryer.
Rag blanket made by student

Wow!  It was great.  I really wanted to keep it and show it off awhile but he also was anxious to get it so I took photos of it and sent it home with the student.

The finished piece is the size of a twin size comforter.
Now we are working on a pillow sham to complete his set.


  1. I love this!! You know these "special" kids are near to my heart! I've loved your Spring Break posts!!

  2. Thank you, Amy. You know they are close to my heart as well. I appreciate your comments. I am having a great spring break. It has been one that i will remember as a creative retreat even though I barely left home. I can't wait to post the painting I have going now.

  3. I'm so glad you blogged about this. It turned out so pretty. I wish you could have seen him show it to his parents.