Rag Quilts

When closets become so overstuffed the doors won’t close, it might be a good idea to turn some of that excess fabric into rag quilts. When the kids have outgrown the clothes that looked so cute on them just last year, this might signal a good time to turn some of those clothes into rag quilts, too.

Rag quilts are often associated with impoverishment but many people today, even those with no money woes, are concerned about the environment and the ever-increasing piles of stuff discarded every day. Turning some of that no-longer-used fabric into quilts puts it back to work and keeps it out of overflowing landfills.

Not everybody likes rag quilts due to their association with times of financial hard luck but people who really do experience that financial hard luck don’t seem to mind. In many cases, financial hard luck is a temporary situation and having that rag quilt made during such a time can serve as a lasting reminder of the strength of character that was developed by the experience. And there’s a great deal of wisdom in using what’s on hand without complaining about what isn’t.

Making rag quilts is a great way to learn how to quilt in general but it’s also a great way to master some new techniques for even the most skilled quilter. Quilt makers seem to be a generally frugal lot and the value of experimenting with and learning from something that doesn’t represent a hefty investment makes taking one’s quilting skills to the next level a less risky adventure.

In homes where rag quilts live side by side with fancier quilts made from new fabrics and a great deal of fuss and bother, it’s often the lowly quilts made of rags that are used most often. We can relax more when snuggled up in a rag quilt than we can in a new quilt that cost hundreds of dollars and we’re afraid our every move will stain it, spot it, rip it, or otherwise abuse it in some way.

Home economists and organizers tell us we should weed through out wardrobes on a yearly basis, discarding all clothes that haven’t been worn since the last episode of culling. Why not reserve some of those wardrobe rejects for recycling into rag quilts? Even if one household has more than enough warm quilts and blankets to go around, there’s bound to be a local shelter or charitable organization that would welcome all the rag quilts it can get.