Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dresden Quilt

The other day I stumbled upon a blog site that had the most beautiful quilt I'd ever seen.  The lady who had bought it at auction called it a Dresden Quilt.  The quilt was from the 1930's and the quilt top was made using feed sack scraps of cloth. 
Dresden Quilt from A Prairie Home Blog.
Pretty isn't it?  I think so.  So I looked up Dresden on the computer and after watching a couple of tutorials I thought I could try that!  Yeah, 'cause that's what I need in my life is yet another project. (sarcasm).
For years I've said to myself (and others) that quilting is the one thing I would never want to do.  Pottery is another one;  now watch, 10 years from now I will be begging for a potter's wheel.  But quilting has never really appealed to me because it looks like a lot of work.  I like quilts and quilt shows, but I never thought I'd want to sit down, learn how to use a machine and actually sew peices together.  Too much time, too much effort and too many fabrics to choose from.  
Then, I saw and slept under the 1930's quilts at a Scrapbooking retreat last fall and really liked the style and colors of those antique quilts.  I love the reproduction feed sack material that the local quilt shop carries, so there is the answer to what type of fabrics I like.  Then, Shannan gave me a sewing machine for Christmas, and although it looks complicated it's fairly easy to use.  So now I really have no excuse for not quilting (right?). 

1930's Quilt from the Scrapbooking Retreat
Antique Crazy Quilt from the Scrapbooking Retreat
I already have a stash of reproduction 1930 feed sack style fat quarters that I've been using on the bottoms of my embroidered tea towels.  And last night I stopped by JoAnns fabrics and picked up a fat quarter of purple material and a Dresden Template kit (with coupon was only 5$ woot!)  We have a whole sheet of left over batting from a home theater project Shannan was doing.  So all I really need is a few more fat quarters, some kind of lighter fabric to be the block that I sew each flower to and backing fabric.  The project should stay fairly inexpensive (I hope).

So, this evening I had fun making all kinds of little Dresden Petals!  But first I figured I'd better wash my fabrics.  I don't own a pinking shears so the edges were raw edges.
Here are my bright and happy fabrics ready for the wash.

And here are my wet and tangled pieces after.  I learned a lesson and that is to wash small pieces of fabric by hand.  Luckily, there was no harm done and they all untangled and ironed up nicely.
Here are a few of the pieces just placed together.  The circle will ultimately be tighter because the pieces are sewn together using a 1/4 seam allowance.  I think it takes 16 petals to make a full circle.  There are 17 here.
Then I really started to have fun.  I tried many different color combinations.

But my favorite is all of the colors and patterns together.  I'd like to find 5 or 6 more colors/patterns at the quilt store downtown, then I would have a nice variety and wouldn't have to repeat so many of the colors over and over.
It might take me years to finish an actual quilt, or I might start my first block and decide quilting is not for me.  In that case I can always make a pillow.  But I might surprise myself and crank out 3 or 4 blocks by the end of summer.  It will be something new, interesting and challenging and that's just what I need right now in my mundane little world.
Have a Happy Day!

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