A whimsical Dresden quilt – the making

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a little history about dresdens

 So the Dresden Plate quilt block is named after the city Dresden in Germany.  A place known for it’s romantic embellishments during the Victorian era.

Porcelain plates were created there with lovely floral designs.  Here is some of them.

The Dresden Plate was a popular quilt during the 20s and 30s and still remains popular today.  It’s obvious why too.  They make up some amazing quilts.

Look at this one.  And oh my goodness this one!  And another favorite of mine, this one.

We are not only still making them after all these years, they’ve even gotten BETTER!

the Dresden quilt I’m working on

For the past few days I have been working on a dresden quilt for a quilt order I have.  This will be my fourth dresden quilt that I have completed.  Here is the last one I did.  And here is the very first one I made that I was madly in love with.

I learned much with both of those quilts.

The biggest thing I learned is that I am a fan of making dresdens, but I am not a fan of quilting dresdens.

It’s irritating to quilt them down after you baste.  The quilt is heavy.  It needs turning this way and that to properly sew them down.  It’s a thousand times easier to just sew them down onto a square.  And that sounds nice doesnt it?  However, then you still have to quilt them and you are again left with having to maneuver your machine and quilt to these frustrating positions.

Last time I made this quilt I knew this, so I prepared and decided to quilt as you go.  But I chose a tutorial that didn’t live up to my expectations that consisted of quilting all three layers by blocks one at a time.  Sounded easy enough, until I had to piece the blocks together and made it incredibly hard to get a quilt that I was pleased with.

This time I will again use the quilt as you go method, but I’m using this one.  Here is why:

with this method I will sew/quilt each dresden down onto the top fabric and the batting, getting the top of the fabric quilted and the middle of the flower quilted in a cute design, like swirlies.  Each block will still be small enough for me to maneuver my home machine.

Then I’ll add the backing and I plan on doing a meander quilting design at that point all around the dresdens, but not on them.  This should give me enough quilting on the quilt to be happy and on all three layers and not lose my mind while doing it.

I feel like it’s a good plan.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

On to the fabrics:

My buyer chose the fabric collection Anu by Hawthorn Threads.  It’s lovely isn’t it?  I’m pretty smitten.  The colors are great, and it’s got all these scenes of nature.

These are fabrics that Hawthorne Threads prints themselves, so they are a little stiff to work with, but they wash up nicely.

My quilt buyer gave me some creative freedom with this one, something I’m always grateful for.

So this is the color palette that needs to be used, but I can add in fabrics to give it more depth.

I ordered the full collection and it came with these lovely panels.  I was going to keep them for myself and use them for pillows, but kept thinking how lovely they would look in the quilt surrounded by the dresdens.  I’m hoping my vision is correct.

The four smaller blocks are the same size as the dresdens, 12.5″ unfinished.  The larger panel will be in place of four blocks and measures 24.5″.

And this is what cutting 1,460 dresden blades did to my space.  yes!  YOu read that number correct.

I’m making a king size quilt that should measure about 108″ square.  I’ll have 77 dresden plate blocks, the four small panels and the one large panel.

Doesn’t look too many when piled up here though.

a few of my favorites.

So I sewed them all, then punched them right side out, then pressed them and now I’m sorting them and grouping them into groups of ten.

Most of my dresdens will be using only two fabrics, but there will be others that are mixed and scrappy looking.  This will be something different from the other dresden quilts I made.

That’s it so far.  I’m still piecing the dresdens.  After this step, I’ll move onto sewing them down onto the top fabric and batting.

More info on sizes of my pattern later.

Help Links

dresden ruler (exact same one I use)

a great dresden tutorial (its how I learned to make them)

xo, Melanie

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Hexies 

Unless we are talking about embroidery or cross stitch or crochet, I am not a fan of hand stitching. I LOVE it, it’s beautiful, but I do not have the patience. Maybe one day, but not now. 

And you EPP piecers are just amazing, but I’m just lacking and drive to go down that road. However, I do love hexagons. Like love them. Like really really love them. 

And it’s about time I gave them a go. In a way I don’t mind trying. And I had a special request from a customer so that gave me the push I needed. 


Color palette: bright, happy. Red, green, yellow, aqua and coral. There was also a few fabrics that were specifically requested. 


I bought the hex n more ruler specifically for this quilt. It made cutting half hexagons extremely easy. And with half hexagons, one can piece in rows like normally and still end up with a hexagon shape. 

My hexies are 8.5″.  I cut (50) 4.5″ strips and subcut each strip into 4 half hexagons. There are directions on the ruler. 


I laid out my quilt top 9 rows across and 22 rows down. It’s a twin size and ended up fairly close to 66×88″. 

It wasn’t bad at all. Not to cut up or to piece. 


I did end up cutting off the triangular edging. I started to fuss over it, but I worried about the binding so much that I just made it straight. Maybe one day, I’ll try that. 


I’m pretty pleased. And I want to make another one in my own color choices very soon. 

This ruler too does so much more. It has three differ t size hexies, equilateral triangles and more so I’m excited about the possibilities. 

Finished pics to come soon

💜, melanie

Irish Chain


This time just a single chain (thank goodness). I’ve made this quilt two other times before, but for some reason, I’ve only found a picture of the first time. See it here. 

And that was way back in 2014, before I had ever begun free motion quilting. 


This one is another custom order, purchased by a husband for his wife (sweet!). The colors are supposed to be navy, blush and champagne. So romantic, this palette. 

I ran out of white solid (eek!) and decided to add some low volume. I think it will end up looking better this way, a little subtle whisper of spice. 


It looks wonky, but my blocks are overlapping a bit. This is a king size quilt and my design wall is not quite big enough. 

Aren’t the fabrics just lovely??  I want to keep this one. 😭


I really like this pattern. It’s one of my favorites. I know I say that often, but I like a lot of white-ish on quilts. It makes a quilt look dreamy, like a cloud I can curl up in. And this pattern really embraces that. Just enough color to not be boring, and plenty of room for the dreaminess. 

Restful and serene. 

I wonder what this quilt would look like in reverse….

💜, Melanie 

Ireland Quilt

  
I feel like work has taken a back burner to the rest of my life. And I have been falling more and more behind. 

There has been a prom. Which didn’t just include the hecticness of the day OF the prom, but also included endless dress shopping and then all accessories. 

Then there was a craft fair. 

   
 
It stole a whole weekend. And then this happened….

   
 Not my idea!

And then this…

  
A trip back to Atlanta to see Mumford and sons. 

And ALL this in such a short bit of time has taken its toll. Of course, I wouldn’t trade any of this for the world, I need breaks, but even so, they get me behind. 

And especially when I have not given myself enough time to create the single most complicated quilt I have made to date. 

  
I take that back. It was not complicated, it was tedious. And then that is an understatement, this quilt worked out painfully slow. 

However…

  
I think it might be worth it. 

This is a custom order. I doubt I would have ever went for a triple Irish chain quilt on my own. They are beautiful, but it’s more the 2,122 pieces of fabric this included. 

And let’s not forget the dresdens. 

  
So my customer chose the colors, fabric, and pattern and I think she did a marvelous job. 

It might have moved slow, but it was enjoyable. For me that me as lots of chain piecing and Netflix, and what more could a girl ask for?  

  
  
I could not find a pattern that I just really loved. So I took a pattern and tweaked it quite a bit. I’ll probably post it as a tutorial. 

My blocks are huge. 22″ to be exact. 

  
So I’m calling this my Ireland quilt, a place i’d really love to go one day. 

I was interested in the history of this pattern and it is a pattern that actually originated in Ireland. You can read more about that here. 

💜, melanie

More of the mod corsage

   
 
Lots of fussy cuts appliqués with decorative stitches has been going on with this one. 

I can’t believe I used to hate appliquéing. It was always a bigger deal in my head than it it actually is. And the possibilities with it are endless. 

  
I’ve been working on this one fairly steadily, adding something each day to it. 

I had this idea in my head of my spring quilt would be full of pastels and maybe even some appliqués bunnies, but that idea was overtaken by this one. 

Flowers are blooming around here. The daffodils and the tulips have filled cases around my house and creating a lovely welcome at my front door. 

  
So I think this quilt is perfect for the season. 

  
And I didn’t have to stop working on my strip quilt basket. The border of this quilt was all pulled from that basket, so my goal continues moving forward. 

Have I mentioned those block “flowers” are actually some of my farmers wife quilt blocks. The quilt that I never worked on. I was tired of them sitting up on my design wall, staring at me and calling me out for giving up. Now they have a home and seem quite a perfect fit here in this quilt. 

  
Almost done with this one now and I’ll be very glad to be too, for my next quilt has been in my mind for about a week and I’m anxious to start it. 

💜, melanie

The flash of inspiration

I already had sorted through my scrap basket, the one with all the strips, and made my pull for my next quilt. All coral and peach and mint. 

And then inspiration struck. 

  
And before you think a hot mess is in the works, let me explain. 

I was making a rag quilt while watching Creative Bug. And I took a class by the lovely Anna Maria Horner on a mod corsage technique. Take the class here

It was GREAT by the way. 

It’s about this technique of using orphan quilt blocks to represent flowers, hodge podging fabrics together in an improv style. You can use appliqué and handwork and piecing to create a block. 

  
I kinda just started sticking stuff on my design wall, very no rules allowed. It’s still very rough draft looking, but I’ll get there. 

My orphan blocks came from my farmers wife quilt. You know the one I was crazy excited about, paper pieced 14 blocks of the 111 and then never did any other work on it for over a year and a half. Yeah that’s the one. It’s been sitting on my design wall ever since, reminding me of my big fat failure. 

I took all those blocks down, pulled the ones I thought could represent flowers and put the rest in a basket. It will irk me no more. 

I hope to finish this block soon and then my plan is to keep going with it and making it grow into a medallion quilt (maybe even use the rest of those farmers wife blocks in it). And since I’m still in a very strippy stage this year, I’m thinking I’ll do strippy borders to keep on my pace with THAT goal. 

Don’t you just love the rush when inspiration hits you?  That drop everything feeling and do this. The planning and excitement that goes on in your head when it comes and then the frenzy of your hands to get it going. The groan at the clock when you know you should be in bed, but you just want to piece ONE more seam PLEASE!!! 

💜, Melanie 

October has arrived

I’m so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers.

– Anne of Green Gables

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That perfect place between warm and cool weather.  Who doesn’t love that?

I recently had a customer with a Halloween wedding date.  She ordered one of my guest book quilts.  We worked together to come up with the fabric selections.  All Halloweenish, you see, but not your typical halloween colors.  It kept with A Victorian-esque palette.

I was simply struck.

Also, after I cut her blocks and shipped them to her ready to be signed, I was left with all these wonderful leftovers.  And after a brief hunt through my stash, I came up with other spooky fabrics I’d been harboring.

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There is no plan for this quilt.  I will simply fussy cut and make any block I’d like until I run out of things to fussy cut and then it will some how come together, and hopefully in a throw size for the living room.

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The first block is rather big.  24″ big.  It was supposed to be a Swoon block, but my daughter preferred it inverted, so that it what I went with.

ghastlies in the middle, and my Nevermore dictionary fabric in the middle.

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The fussy cut of the witches is my favorite.  I just LOVE that witch turned to stare at you on the end.  Eek!

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This owl has been in my stash for YEARS.  He finally has a purpose.

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The raven print is something I created and uploaded to Spoonflower.  It actually has the whole poem of , The Raven (my favorite poem ever!).  I had it printed and intended it for a pillow cover for my daughter, Raven, but I never made it.  When I came across it in my stash, I squealed with delight.  It’s perfect for this quilt!

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And this is where I’m at now.  I’ve got a few more fussy cuts.  The left side is pieced together, but the right side still needs some bits to even it out.

I know I’m going to LOVE it for years!!

If you have a Halloween quilt, please link to pictures to it.  I’ve been tearing Pinterest up in search of them.

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and here is my mantle for this year.

Happy October, People!

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