Saturday, March 15, 2014

My Big Scrappy Dresden Quilt

I recently finished a pretty dang big quilt for the Riley Blake Basics Challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild.  All MQG members who signed up were given a fat eighth of six different fabrics....and these fabrics were not all from the same line.....and actually looked like they would never look good all in the same me.....because I have a very difficult time with being scrappy.
My favorite one was the orange!  Even Mr. QJ liked that one and said "We have to get some more of that one!" Since I always do what he tells me to do (ha ha ha! only when it has to do with fabric), I'll stock up on that one!  

I decided that I would make something small.  That way, I could finish it within a short amount of time since I'm always waiting till the last minute to get started.  We were allowed to use all of the fabrics or just some of them, and we could add any solid and/or any other Riley Blake print.  I started going through my stash and found several Riley Blake prints that worked!  Yay stash!  
I thought about making a small Dresden plate or just a scrappy postage stamp mini quilt.  But then I came across a few Giant Dresdens online and fell in love. One of my favorites is Rita's at Red Pepper Quilts. I just sewed together six 2.5" strips of fabric, then used my Fons & Porter wedge ruler to cut out each Dresden.
I worked day and night on this thing, and it seemed to take forever.  Here are a few in-progress pics.  Yes, I drink wine when I'm sewing, and I've been known to spill red wine on my quilts.  It always comes out or gets covered with an applique of some sort.  

I used a bunch of Madhuri as well as all of the donated fabric from Riley Blake (except for the solid gray), and also some Riley Blake Gingham and Sunny Happy Skies, Dress Up Days by Doohikey Designs, and Bake Sale by Lori Holt

I'm not quite sure how mine ended up with a much bigger center than Rita's. Must have been a different degree of ruler??  Then I had the challenge of how big I wanted it to be.  Would I ever hang this on a wall?  Did I want to just make it a lap quilt?  Or did I want it to be big enough to have as an extra quilt on my bed?  I went through my stash and found a ton of yardage of this beautiful Sugar & Spice green tonal flowers from The Quilted Fish.  So I made it big.....big and green. 
Now.....the challenge of attaching this huge Dresden to the fabric.  I remembered seeing a great tutorial for starch applique by Natalia & Kathleen @ Piece n Quilt.  I had a question or two about the process and sent Natalia an email.  I know she's a busy lady, and I knew that she would eventually reply, but I really didn't expect to hear from her within just a few minutes!  She was so helpful, gave me some tips, and also recommended that I cut all the excess fabric off the back of the Dresden after I sewed it onto the background fabric to reduce the bulk - brilliant!  

I used my handy little guide to quilt circles about 2 inches apart all the way around.  The center ones don't look all that great, so I'm not even going to show them to you up close, and I thought I might end up redoing them, but I'll most likely just leave them that way.  This thing was a pain in the rear to quilt, especially the center circles.  I really want/need a bigger machine.  One of these days.....

So, here's the finished quilt. The lighting isn't so hot in this pic. I have the best studio for taking pics in the daylight with a big 8-foot window, but this obviously didn't get taken during the day.  

 I knew I wouldn't win any prizes with this, but it was great to challenge myself with a scrappy quilt.  Heck! I even did a scrappy binding!  


  1. This is absolutely delightful! I LOVE it! Congrats!

  2. Enjoyed your journey! Beautiful adventure!

  3. I love it!!! :D Go Lisa! That is one huge dresden. I have never even made a small one, not to mention a jumbo sized one. Yours is so fun!!

  4. I'm like Kelli - I've never made a dresden in any size! I'm such a fan of quilting in concentric circles, but, like dresdens, am yet to try it on an actual quilt. The green background is the perfect backdrop for the colours in your dresden - I love it!

  5. That's a really awesome quilt! I enjoyed reading about your process. It's cool that this was a "challenge" and you challenged yourself to make something scrappy--and you even used scrappy binding!!!

  6. GORGeous!!! I love this! I've never even SEEN a Dresden (I guess I need to get out more in the quilting world. ;) ) I might have to do one of these next time I do a scrappy quilt.


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