Awhile back, my friend Deb Rowden put a picture of this lovely sougan in her blog, Deb Rowden's Thrift Shop Quilts. I love Deb's quilt — the colors are beautiful, and it has a funky and playful charm. And, it's one of our Sunflower Pattern Co-operative's designs from the book Calico Cowboys. While this isn't technically a thrift shop quilt (Deb used purchased quilt-store fabrics for her version), this pattern was created from a "waste not, want not" philosophy.
Sougans, also spelled suggins or soogins, were utilitarian quilts made throughout the southwest for cowboys camping on the range. Often they were pieced of rectangles of rough wools or denims. For our take on a sougan, we used large rectangles of varying plaids set in a brick pattern. The stars were a playful addition, probably not seen in most sougans.
An unexpected bonus led to our two-for-one thriftiness. Our sougan actually started with this quilt, Cactus and Cottonwood, from the same book.
These 24" blocks featured approximately 18" stars that were appliquéd to the backgrounds. When we cut the background fabric away from the back of those stars, we found the bonus — 9 large stars made of the background fabric. We couldn't let those go to waste! So we made Sougan Under the Stars with background plaids in blue-jean colors.
The best part of making this quilt is that the large rectangles sew together very quickly, and most of the stars are placed so that you can appliqué them onto two-row sections of the quilt. No hassles trying to get a large quilt background under the needle! After the appliqué is finished, the quilt top goes together quickly.
Now that I've seen how wonderful Deb's version looks in the soft creams and oranges, this reminds me that I had intended to make some more of these quilts from my stash. Maybe a purple background, or soft reds?