Greetings! We are in the deep freeze here in southern New Hampshire – temps below zero with wind chills making it feel even worse. Great weather to stay inside and read and work on quilts! It was a busy week with family and friends visiting over Christmas and the grandkids staying for a few extra days over their holiday break from school.
We enjoyed playing music with friends and family:
Now things are back to quiet for a while! I’ve been embroidering stars on the borders of the silk quilt. Because this will take a while, I took this quilt off the design wall and put “Twinkle” back up to make some final decisions about the borders. I’d only seen the corner bird block with the quilt laid out on the floor. When I saw it on the wall, I didn’t really like the darker color of the maroon background or the birds in the upper corners.
I’ve successfully used circular designs in corner blocks several times in the past and, after thinking about this for a while and looking at options, decided I wanted to try a Dresden Plate (DP) design in the corners and I decided to lighten the background color. I’d never made a DP before and had to figure out how to draft it. I decided to try making it with the English Paper Piecing technique.
I started by drawing a circle the size of the DP – it turned out to be just over 4 1/4 inches – on freezer paper. I wanted 12 sections so had to divide the circle into 12 parts. Since there are 360 degrees in a circle, each part is 30 degrees. First divide the circle into fourths, then use the 30 degree angle on a ruler to divide those parts each 3 times:
After the 12 sections were marked, I decided how deep/pointy I wanted the points to be – not very. I made a mark the same distance inside each of the 12 lines:
Then I made a circle in the center somewhat smaller than I want the final center circle to be:
And I numbered the sections (just in case the sections are a little unequal, if you piece as numbered they should fit together perfectly):
I cut out the circle, then started cutting apart the sections and creating the points:
To create the points I folded the tops so the marks matched and then drew a line from the marks to the outer corner – after the first couple, I was comfortable with cutting just by “eyeballing” the line. Also snip off the tip at the drawn line:
Then use the EPP technique and iron the freezer paper onto the back of the selected fabric, cut out with seam allowance, iron over the edges and sew together. And voila!!! (Click on pic to enlarge):
In the above picture, I haven ‘t sewn down the center circle yet. This was easy and I now know how to create a DP pattern in any size I want! I find the EPP technique very easy for this type of circle. The background fabric is a somewhat dark red, but lighter than the maroon I used for the bird blocks.
After I made 2 of these DP blocks (not sewn down or with centers sewn on yet), I put them up on the design wall in the upper corners and the bird blocks in the lower corners.
I think I like this arrangement and am not inclined to made 2 more DP blocks for the lower corners. I also have to make a final decision about whether to re-do the bird blocks on the lighter red background rather than leaving them on maroon. I welcome any feedback on this!!!!
While my daughter was here over Christmas, she reminded me that, at my prompting, she started making a quilt 15 years ago during a rough patch in her life while living at home for a few months after graduating from college. She had completed the top and was going to try hand quilting it, but never got beyond the piecing because of changes in her life; the project has been in a closet here ever since. We got it out to look at it:
She’d been free to choose from any of my stash back in 2003 and it’s interesting that she gravitated to the few reproduction fabrics I had at the time! As we looked at the quilt, she realized that one block really stood out:
After going back and forth on whether to leave it or not she decided NOT and we went through my stash to pick out a substitute. She chose a much duskier shade of purple:
Now it’s my job to take out the offending block and replace it!! My daughter, while working full time and being a single mom, is also taking courses to become a nurse practitioner so she is not going to hand quilt this! We decided I’d have it machine quilted for her. At the same time, I’m going to have the quilt my granddaughter and I made together last year machine quilted as it is clear it’s not something I prefer to spend time hand quilting:
This makes me think of the “generations” of needleworkers in my family. I have a crewel embroidery picture that my maternal grandmother, Elsie Cole Arnold, made in 1956 (I know she also made utilitarian quilts and one of my cousins has one.):
My mother, Beatrice, knit, made needlepoint pillows, and painted:
I have several of her needlepoint pillows but forgot to take pictures!
And now my daughter, Ingrid, and granddaughter, Svetlana, are both soon to have completed quilts they’ve made. I love it!
By the way, still lots more pictures from Houston to come, but not today!
Wishing everyone a “harmonious” New Year filled with love and the time to do the things you are passionate about.
Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day, Gladi