I have been wanting to make this quilt for a LONG time. (Cue flashback sequence music)
I made my very first rag quilt in the fall of 2006 (Butterfly Quilt given to Annaliese). Shortly after that I made another one for Marc and Pamela. Both of these were done the old fashioned way... I quilted each square using free motion, then pieced, then snipped. LABOR OF LOVE I tell you! That year when we went home for Christmas my MIL and I made a rag quilt for Baby Luchinski, but on this one we experimented using her embroidery machines to do the quilting. It worked really well! (Here's a little Stitched by Janay Trivia -- I used what would become my embroidery machine for that project, I just didn't know it at the time). Then the following February I went on a girls retreat, and while everyone else scrapbooked, I pieced four more rag quilts (back to free motion quilting), with the intention of selling them. That was fun, but the follow up snipping... FOUR of them!!! Well, I was done. They take so long, it's hard to put a fair price on them. Nearly 4 years later, I still have two of them in my closet! :)
Sorry for the brief history lesson. Anyway, at the time I made those quilts my SIL was really into Sudoku puzzles. We both LOVE those puzzles! I saw a quilt pattern based on the game and thought it was perfect! I love how substituting fabric for the numbers makes a perfectly random looking patchwork design. I wanted to make a rag quilt for Amy, but alas, I had lost my drive to snip.
Fast forward to Christmas of 2009 -- I got an AccuQuilt GO! with rag dies!! Now the snipping hindrance had been removed, and I was determined to follow through with my set-aside idea for the following Christmas. I got up dark and early on Black Friday and headed to JoAnns for their annual flannel sale. Even though I own TONS of flannel (purchased on Black Friday 2006) I didn't have 9 different patterns that all coordinate. :)
Here's the end result:
In a Sudoku puzzle the numbers 1-9 appear 9 times each, but only once in each row, column and square. My quilt needed nine blocks each of nine different flannels.
I used my rag die to cut two layers of flannel at the same time. I place the same print wrong sides together before running it through the cutter so that my blocks were ready to quilt right after being cut. I find that two layers of flannel is plenty warm!
I assigned a number to each flannel and quilted them. Since this is a number game, I decided the quilting pattern just had to be numbers!! I wanted to use my embroidery machine, but I wanted the design to stitch QUICK since I had 81 of them to do. I decided the placement or tackdown stitch for an applique design would be perfect. I selected the 4" numbers from the Hannah font from 8 Claws and a Paw. They digitize their tackdowns with a nice long-stitch narrow zig-zag that stitched fast and looks more decorative than a simple running stitch -- it was perfect! I hooped my squares with no stabilizer using my Spring Hoop (first time using it-WONDERFUL for this project!) and plowed through them.
Here are closeup images of all nine blocks. My only regret is that I used white thread for all of them... should have used contrasting threads instead. Oh well! The #4 fabric was my inspiration fabric... found it first and the picked pinks, greens and purples to match. And in my opinion #7 looks better in person than in the pictures. :)
I love the final product. I was secretly hoping Amy wouldn't like it and they could just ship it back to me. But she did. :) Maybe some day I'll get around to making one for myself. But don't hold your breath. ;)
And for those of you still reading, thanks! This was a special project, and I wanted to document it all for myself. To be honest, I wanted to to a big video tutorial (so I can earn myself a free die from AccuQuilt) but December isn't the best month of the year to tackle a project like that!