Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I've Dared To Dresden and Lived to Tell About It!

Wow - here we are on the final day of the Dare to Dresden Blog Hop. I, for one, am going to be sad to see all the Dresden creations come to an end. Hopefully they have inspired many of you to try this out for yourself! Many thanks to Christine from Quilt Monster in My Closet for being the Best Cheerleader Ever, to Madame Samm for her continued great support (she's awesome), and to Windham Fabrics for sponsoring the give-away of their new fabric line, the Amy Sardis Collection.

I enthusiastically signed up to participate in this Hop. But then I had Signer-Uppers Remorse. What in the world was I thinking? I'd never made a Dresden blade. But it sure would be fun to give it a try.

My actions reminded me of something my husband always says when I prepare meals when we have friends over for dinner. He rolls his eyes and says, "What are you thinking? You've never made this dish before? What if it's awful?" But you know what? If you don't try, you'll never know. And my friends are always nice enough to be discreetly honest with me. So I jumped right in without looking back.

Dresdens have such a solid history in quilting that I hoped to find a way to give it a bit of modern flair. After searching for a design (I'm not very creative and lack time to come up with an entirely self-made design), I found this great pattern called Serenity by Cat's Creations. It came as an instant download from Then I searched through my stash and discovered some amazing fabrics I bought last fall. I had no project in mind when I bought them - I just loved how they blended together and figured I'd come up with the project later.

So I made this table runner with fabrics from Northcott's Cosmopolitan Collection. It features half Dresden fans which formulate the background leaves of a beautiful lily.

The process was not without it's challenges. I cut a template from the pattern, but after putting all the blades together, found that I hadn't cut the template 'exactly' right. I had used that plastic template material, which wasn't as thick as an acrylic template. When I sewed the blades together, they didn't come out to a point, which was necessary for the placement in this runner.

So, after tearing my hair out, setting the project aside, and then sleeping on it to figure out a solution, I came up with an idea. The template was the exact size of the inside (without seam allowance) of my EZ Dresden ruler. So I remade my template, re-cut the blades (fortunately I had enough fabric), pieced them, and eureka! They came out perfectly!!!

The black background fabric I used is a bit dark and makes some of the blades fade away. But after adding the thin gold inner border and the snappy outer border, I think it works.  And if I can borrow a different sewing machine from a friend, I'd like to add a satin stitch around the lime green stem and leaves - my machine just doesn't do that stitch justice.  This was supposed to be a table runner, but I  believe I'm going to use it as a wall hanging so I can see it better!

If you have a minute longer, I must share with you what I found when I was cleaning out a store room last week. These are Dresdens that have been hand pieced by my grandmother. I'm not sure how old they are, but they probably date from the 1950's or earlier?  That would make them about as old as I am, so I treasure them. And there are so many!

These are definitely on my UFO List, but I need to take time to think about how to arrange them. It would be an honor to my grandmother's memory to finish this quilt. After all, watching her lovingly and tirelessly hand quilt many bed-sized quilts for each of her grandchildren is what inspired me to learn to quilt.

The photo below is the back side of the block.  I hope you can see from this photo, but the Dresdens have been appliqued onto the white block that has been cut out. Do you suppose this was to save on fabric?

As a thank you to all of you who have stuck with the Hop through this final day, I have a Give-Away!  Hot off the press is an awesome 'Get A Clue with Nancy Drew' charm pack by Moda. If you're not the lucky winner, just stop by The Quilt Barn to pick up your own!

To enter, just leave a quilty comment below.  For a second chance, I'd love if you'd become a follower.  I'm not a prolific blogger; I just like to share with my fellow quilters who give me great inspiration and virtual friendship!  Leave a second comment to let me know you're here.  The drawing will be open until Sunday, Feb. 3 at midnight.

And certainly don't forget to visit the other blogs on the hop today. You can find them at

Sunday, January 13, 2013

2013 Adventures in Quilting

There is a problem that exists in Blogland.

What might that be, you  ask? It's the simple fact that it is way too easy to quickly become overwhelmed by all the possibilities that exist in the quilting sphere.  I read about all the great things that quilters are creating out there, see the fantastic photos of quilts and projects, and my brain automatically wants to do them all.

What a ridiculous brain I have at times. So I have to talk to it and keep it at bay and tell it to just be logical.  Theoretically it knows it's impossible to do it all, and yet it still goes to that dark side if I let it!

So, in an effort to reign in my brain with its wildly distorted view of reality, I am making a list of my unfinished projects that I should finish before I start new ones. In this way, perhaps my brain can see that I will just have to bookmark the best ideas for another day. Or month. Or year, lol!

So, in no particular order, this is my list:

  • Quilt my Kaffe Fassett quilt
  • Quilt my red and white and black quilt
  • Make a project for the Dresden Challenge that I signed up for (this should be Number One on this list as it's due in two weeks!)
  • Make the Honeycomb quilt that I have purchased fabric for and practice my quilting skills on this solid colored quilt
  • Use the Simply Color fabric I've purchased to make a quilt
  • Use the Good Fortune fabric I've purchased to make a quilt
  • Piece up the Lucy's Crab Shack fabric I've purchased into a quilt
  • Participate in Happy Quilting's Starburst QAL (fabric purchased)
  • Make armrest covers for my chair (these aren't quilted, but really need to be done before I wear out my new chair - it's almost a year old now :(
  • Make a few table runners for my Etsy shop
  • Make my daughter a quilt - she hasn't picked out fabric yet, thank goodness!

All this and I am starting to take orders to do long arm quilting for other people. Plus I have a job that is very part-time this time of year, but very full-time in the fall and summer.

Am I insane? Wait. Don't answer that. I already know the answer. Guess I just need about 36 hours in a day, and I'd be all set!


Plum and June

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dad's Quilt Finished and Ready to Give

Wow - I think this is the absolute fastest time I have ever made a quilt, from start to finish - one week! (It's about ready to snow outside, so this is the best I could do for photos.)

Let's see. I started cutting it out on Dec. 30 and got it pieced together soon after. Added the borders.

Then I quilted it with this luscious copper thread by Glide, but I'll be darned if it didn't give me fits on my long arm machine. Kept breaking! I rethreaded, adjusted tension, changed the needle twice, rethreaded, adjusted tension. Screamed a fair amount.  But finally I got it finished. I believe it is just a two-ply polyester thread, so I tried to slow down in my quilting because perhaps it wasn't strong enough?  Anyway, don't look too closely at the quilting, because it has a fair amount of stops and starts all through the darn thing.  Anyone with any suggestions about what was wrong, I'm all ears!

For the backing, I found a really nice dark blue fabric with faint trees. With leaves in the border fabric, and trees on the back, I decided to quilt a leaf motif throughout, and I think it worked well.  Dad's favorite color is blue, so the backing will definitely give him his blue fix.  I've been working on hand-stitching the binding to the backside of the quilt this weekend, and just finished that up last night, so I guess technically it was 8 days. Whew!

For those of you who are new here or may have forgotten, this quilt is for my dad who is going blind due to macular degeneration.  I wanted him to have it while he could still see somewhat. He sees better at a distance, so I can show it to him from across the room and he'll enjoy it.  My daughter is coming home for a visit at the end of the month (yes!), and so we'll pay him a visit then and give it to him as an early Valentine's gift.

This was definitely a quilt made with love.


P.S.  This is my Finished Quilt for A Lovely Year of Finishes sponsored by Fiber of All Sorts and Bittersweet Designs. Check out all the other great creations that quilters are working on this month.

A Lovely Year of Finishes
Fresh Poppy Design

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dad's quilt is ready for quilting

Just a quick report to show you the progress of this lap quilt for my dad. I have this all pieced and it's ready to be quilted. Except I wasn't pleased with my backing fabric I had, so I'm headed downtown to try to find something better.  I know . . . picky, picky, picky.

This was such an easy pattern to sew together - it only took one afternoon, start to finish.  I like that! And I think the colors in this quilt will look great when it's all bundled up around my dad.  I think I'll quilt meandering leaves throughout to coordinate with the outside border. Kind of a free spirit, flowing look.

Actually, I wish I had it all quilted now - it's only 13 degrees at 2 p.m., and has been below freezing for several days.  I am not wanting to get outside at all.  Great time for quilting, though!


Linking up  with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Time is of the essence

Never before have I felt the intense need to start and finish a project in record time. But that's the case right now.  My dad is losing his eyesight to age-related macular degeneration. Which is really the pits. He's 81, which right now doesn't seem all that old to me (my idea of age has changed drastically the older I become!)  I have a difficult time imagining what it would be like to spend your last years of life being unable to see the people and surroundings you've taken for granted.

I hatched the idea about a week before Christmas that I should make him a lap quilt. Of course it would be useful, but more importantly, I wanted him to be able to see my handiwork in piecing and quilting the lap quilt. Kinda selfish, but that's my motivation.  I think daughter's always want their fathers to be proud of them.

Starting and completing this quilt the week before Christmas was totally insane, so I just spent a lot of time trying to decide on the perfect quilt for him because I feel like I've got just one shot at it.  His favorite color is blue.  Finally, I decided to make a super easy quilt, focus on the colors and textures, and add the quilting to give that sensory perception that he may be able to put to use when his vision is completely gone.

After spending about an hour and a half at our LQS, I selected 20 different batiks. They'll be in a stacked block kinda format in 10-inch squares.  Here's what I've chosen:

I've rearranged the colors from what is pictured and I think it will come out well. I've decided to use the seeded maroon/blueish/brownish fabric for the inner sashing and the dark blue for the outer border. I've ordered a different batik for the backing and am waiting for it to arrive.

My plan is to get this pieced, quilted and bound by our next guild meeting Jan. 10. If I have a deadline, I can do it! Afterall, I want to get this to him while he can still see it. So time is of the essence on this one.

I'm linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes. I think this is an excellent idea to keep me focused and directed in getting all my UFO's done!

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Happy New Year!

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