Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sudoku Rag Quilt


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:
So here's what I did!
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 launched my Electric Quilt program and created a quilt that was basically a nine-patch of nine-patches. I found a solved Sudoku puzzle and assigned each number a fabric and plugged it into my quilt. When I made the actual quilt I didn't include the black dividing lines (though considered adding a narrow sashing).
 Then I made a tiny version of my quilt with 1" squares of the flannel. This was a VERY helpful step. I was able to see right away that I had two of the same prints side-by-side too often and swapped things around. Then as I was constructing it I had a handy guide to follow to be sure I didn't mess anything up. Because if you know Amy, you know she would certainly find my mistake. :)
With the blocks quilted and the plan in place, all I had left to do was piece the thing together! And here it is, my first Sudoku Rag Quilt!
Close up of the quilt so you can see the raggy seams and quilting:

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!

12 comments on "Sudoku Rag Quilt"

Cole's Corner on January 13, 2011 at 8:57 AM said...

WOW!!! It looks great.
Really cool.

Donna on January 13, 2011 at 9:11 AM said...

Beautiful! After all that work and attention to detail, I can see why you'd want to keep it. :-D

Sheila on January 13, 2011 at 9:22 AM said...

Oh my gosh! What a great quilt! It looks fabulous!!

Valerie on January 13, 2011 at 9:37 AM said...

That looks great! Very creative!

Brenda on January 13, 2011 at 11:47 AM said...

so....you still have to do all the snipping right? I've made one rag flannel quilt. So pretty Janay!
Brenda Tennill

Daisha on January 13, 2011 at 12:10 PM said...

Cool... What a great way to "randomize" your blocks.

Janay on January 13, 2011 at 12:29 PM said...

Brenda, NO SNIPPING!!! :)
The rag die cuts the fringe for me!
http://www.accuquilt.com/GO-Rag-Square-8-12--P3044.aspx
Here's my blog post about getting the AccuQuilt GO! cutter. If you click on the very last image, you can see the fringe on the little squares. That was after cutting but before quilting and piecing.
http://janaysquilts.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-new-toy.html

Katrina on January 13, 2011 at 2:07 PM said...

Very nice! I love the sudoko theme!

Tijay on March 13, 2011 at 10:17 PM said...

Hi Janay love the quilt, did you snip the square corners off every corner, even on the outside edge,tina.

Janay on March 14, 2011 at 6:09 AM said...

Hi Tina!
Yes, I snipped all the corners off of every block before piecing it together.

Tijay on March 14, 2011 at 6:27 PM said...

Hi Janay, do you do a 1" seam when joining your blocks together or do you do a smaller seam,Thanks,Tina.

Janay on March 17, 2011 at 8:54 AM said...

Tina, I'm sorry I didn't reply right away, I was out of town when I got your comment and forgot to come back!

Yes, I use a 1" seam allowance. The GO! Rag die cuts an 8.5" square with 0.75" fringe so you use a 1" seam allowance, finished block size is 6.5"

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