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Wednesday, March 28, 2018


This quilt has been a learning experience for me. Not only did I make a block that I have never made before, I used some stitches on my new sewing machine that I don't use, and tried a new binding technique.

I did have to draw a new name for the last drawing. Mona Phelps of Versailles, Kentucky won the mini challenge prize. Congrats Mona! Your prize went in the mail today.

After making the Dresden plates (one whole center and four corners) I placed them on the background fabric. I chose black, not only because I like black in quilts, but I thought it would accent these fabric better than a light background. I over-cut my center square so that I could square it off after attaching the plate to the fabric.
I didn't want to sew the tips down, so I used some decorative stitches on my new Janome sewing machine. I purchased this machine at the AQS show in Grand Rapids, MI after teaching a class with it. It had some wonderful features and I really liked the way it sewed.
Before sewing on the actual block, I had to figure out which thread(s) and decorative stitches I wanted to use, so I played around on some blades that I had sewn together just to play on. I had to determine how wide to make the stitch and the length of the stitch to use. Once I found what I liked I made a chart of the stitch, width and length number. I ended up using Superior's Rainbows thread. It is a very fine variegated polyester thread. I didn't want the stitches to overpower the quilt.

Before sewing the plates down, I pinned them in every blade to hold it down to the backing. Here I sewed down along all the seam lines on the blades. Since I had 6 different blades, I used 6 different decorative stitches.
After stitching all of the blades down, I trimmed the center square and sewed them together. I didn't need to trim the triangles since I cut the long edges to match the edges of the square. (The finished size of the square plus 7/8" cut into 2 half-square triangles.)

Now I needed to put the small circles (and quarter-square circles) on the centers of the blocks. I like to use a freezer paper method of making my appliqué circles. I wasn't doing raw edge appliqué so I added 1/2" to the center circle and cut out the fabric. I then cut a circle of freezer paper that was 1/2" smaller. I placed this shiny side up on the back of the fabric circle, centering it.
I then used a hot iron and slowly pressed the edges of the circle down on the freezer paper making sure that I didn't press any pleats as I went along. Because the shiny side is up it stuck to the paper. I did the same process with the quarter circles for the corner units but only had to press under the curved edge. 

Since the shiny side is in the center I can press it onto the block so that it is stabilized before I started to stitch it down.
I used a blanket stitch.
After sewing, I cut the center out of the back and pulled out the freezer paper. If a few pieces of paper remain, it won't be noticeable. Now I could sew all of the sections together.
I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted to put a border on it so I played with a couple options on my design wall and came up with a small border print that matched one of the fabrics. I was directional so I had to cut it both lengthwise and crosswise. I mitered the corners.
I layered my quilt top, batting ( I used Quilter's Dream Black poly) and backing and started to quilt it on my longarm machine. I just quilted a quarter inch inside the blades with the new Superior MicroQuilter thread. You can see information about it here: Superior MicroQuilter.
I don't want my quilting to overpower the quilt so I like that it is a very fine thread. I also used that thread in the border. I started to echo stitch with a black thread around the petals, but realized that it would not be as accurate as doing it on my regular sewing machine since I wanted to stitch it in 1/4" intervals, so I took it off the machine and proceeded to finish it on my regular sewing machine, using the edge of my quarter inch foot as my guide.

Since this was a month for trying new things, I decided to try a new method of binding. I watched Sharon Schamber's YouTube video on both bias binding and straight binding and tried her method. I really like the way she sewed her seams when connecting the strips and her finishing method. It really increased the accuracy of the binding. You can watch both her videos here (no affiliation). If the videos don't work, try the links under the images. 

Here is my finished quilt.
Thank you for reading! I hope that you also learned some new things along with me. 

Again I will be having a prize drawing of some fat eights of this collection and my personally designed acrylic "Binding Minder". To be eligible please leave a comment as to what you learned  from this blog. Don't forget to leave some way of contacting you. I will have an extra prize for anyone who can give a name to this quilt that I like.

As always, do what you love and love what you do. Feel free to forward and share this blog with your quilting friends.

12 comments: said...

I like how you decided to quilt it. The echo quilting and decorative stitches are a good combination.

Mona Phelps said...

Gorgeous Thank you for the giveaway! couponcrazyinky at gmail dot com

Mona Phelps said...

Name for the quilt - Springtime Fanfare couponcrazyinky at gmail dot com

Love the stitching, by the way!

Anita said...

A beautiful little quilt! Thank you for showing hos decorative stitches can be used!

Quilting Tangent said...

Good way to try out those decorative stitches.

Susan Stitch said...

I love this! The colors are gorgeous, and it never would have occurred to me to use decorative stitches to hold the plates down. I think it is particularly striking on black.

Dione Gardner-Stephen said...

I use Sharon's binding method all the time, I hope you like it as much as I do. Your dresden plates are beautiful - love the colours and the decorative stitches.

Unknown said...

Beautiful finish! How about this suggestion for the title, 'A New Spin on Dresden'. So nice to see decorative stitches complementing your pieced design! Your quilting works well with the overall design. Thanks for sharing all your tips along the way.

Unknown said...

All I can say is, "I learned a lot by viewing both of Sharon's binding videos!" After making quilts for several decades, her methods are new to me! I'll be trying her starch, gluing, and ladder stitch methods. Thank You Toby for sharing! Do you know where to get the glue bottle tip? And what about that sweet little iron?

Kathleen said...

You tried a lot of new things and they all looked great! I love Sharon’s work and it nice ot be reminded of it. This quilt turned out fabulous.

scottylover said...

I never thought about using decorative stitches to sew down applique! I guess that is what I learned! :)

These Dresdens look like sea urchins to me, to I would ball it "Deep Sea Urchins."

Sandy A

Susan Stitch said...

I love the idea of designer stitches along the dresden plate. I never thought of that. I watched the Sharon Shamber video -- WOW! I am definitely going to try that next time (and I might buy stock in glue).

This quilt is so fun! I'd call it Fandango.