It's become a sort of tradition for certain sport teams to hand out "Rally Towels" to fans during clinch and playoff games. My family has been going to Ducks games pretty regularly since 2003 or so, and we've built up quite a collection. I decided to make a quilt.
This is the first quilt I've ever made, so I mostly went with my intuition as far as some quilting elements go. I really liked how it turned out, and it was a good way to keep me somewhat productive during a rainy spring break here in California.
Step 1: Materials
- Rally Towels (21 for a decent sized quilt)
- Backing Material (I chose fleece)
- Quilt Batting
- Extra Fleece for Edging
- Sewing Machine
- Appropriate Color Thread
- Yarn and Yarn Needle
- Fabric Scissors
Step 2: Creating a Template
Before you start cutting I recommend you see how many towels you have and what size quilt you can make. I ended up having 23, so I decided to use only 21 and make a 3 x 7 towel quilt.
The next step is finding the smallest towel among the lot, and cutting the rest of them to match it's size. The best way to go about this is to create a template out of cardboard which allows you to easily trace the correct size onto larger towels. Then, it's just a matter of cutting out 20 or so towels to match the size of the template.
Step 3: Sew Rows
I started by sewing the bottom row together, and then moved my way up the rest of the quilt. It's important to keep everything even, and have a standard by which you sew all of them. I used a ruler to draw a line to follow that was half inch from the edge. Also, remember to pin the towels so the sides with the images are facing each other, then the seam will be in the back.
Step 4: Sew Rows Together
Now that we have all the rows sewn together it's time to start sewing the rows to each other. I again, started at the bottom of the quilt. Like before, it's important to keep everything straight and have a standard by which you sew each one. I used a large ruler to make sure the edges I was pinning were straight, and once pinned I used the same ruler to draw a line to follow. Now, it's just a matter of attaching the seven rows together until you have one über rally towel.
All of the edges on the towel should be fairly linear of you kept to a standard while you were sewing.
Step 5: Make a Blanket Sandwich
Finally, it's time to bust out some of the other materials. Start off by laying out the backing material for your quilt. I chose a super bright orange fleece (I would have chosen black, but this was on sale, and I'm a poor college student). Next, lay out the batting on top of the backing layer. It's important to keep everything flat and smooth.
Once those are all smoothed out and flat, we can lay out the top "rally towel" layer. Then you need to grab your fabric scissors and cut out the whole thing, tracing the "rally towel" layer.
Step 6: Edging
I decided to do an alternating orange and black pattern for the edging of the quilt. I just cut strips to the width of my ruler, and then made the appropriate number of either 17" or 12" strips, so the pattern would be somewhat symmetrical.
Pinning and sewing the edging on is a much harder task. I started pinning the orange pieces first, so the black would overlap them. When you pin the edge on, you need to be sure each piece is even on both sides, and also be sure the layers of fleece, batting and towel, are included. Take your time pinning the edge, and then when you're sure everything is together properly, sew it.
Step 7: Tie Downs
The packaging of the batting suggests that you tie down or quilt the fabric at no more than 5" intervals, but I felt that would be too much and detract from the look. I decided to do one at every corner of a towel, and then one tie down in the middle. I used a yarn needle, and yarn to do all of the tie downs.
It's a pretty simple process, but it takes a long time. The most important thing you need to know is how to tie a surgeon's knot. It's almost exactly the same as an overhand knot (the way you begin to tie a shoelace), but you loop it through one more time. Do two surgeon's knots per each tie down.
Step 8: Finishing
Be sure to check over the edges and cut off any loose threads. I also had to go back and sew a small 4 inch section of the edging again. The fleece layer somehow managed to come unpinned when I sewed it.
The final dimensions of the quilt are 4' 2" x 6' 4", so it works well for a short person like me, but anyone over 6 feet may want to add another row of towels on. I'll be sure to bring it to the next Ducks game I attend, but until then It'll just be keeping me warm at home.
I always appreciate comments, suggestions, and questions.
Thanks for reading!