TGIFF: My First Dresden!

Having my mom as my partner in crime is definitely a blessing in disguise because she’s constantly trying new things and it encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and do the same.

Now my husband may disagree only because when I get motivated to try something new that means trouble for our bank account. NEW FABRIC!!!! Must have rulers!!!! Oh he must cringe when I tell him I’m trying something new and I must go shopping! Ha!

In all honesty, he’s just as encouraging and supportive even if he’s cringing a bit inside. Thanks, love!!!

Before the holidays hit, my mom attempted her first Dresden in the form of a baby quilt/wall hanging. I was so taken with how quickly she put it together and how beautifully it looked that I had to try my hand at my own Dresden plate project. So, I started to cut into my Joyeux Noel set to make my own holiday wall hanging.

I pushed to have it finished before Christmas so I could use it and I literally finished it Christmas Eve!! And I took that thing with me to each of our holiday parties so I could display it.

Christmas Eve binding!

When it was all said and done, I was in love!!!

This project took on a whole different look once it was completed and I was so surprised. It has a rustic charm to it and it looks really well done even though I can see a few areas of improvement. But the overall effect is a well put together piece.

I used a different binding technique which was new for me. I did the double fold bias tape method. I have mixed feelings with this. I think it works BUT it could use some work. I think what saved my crooked lines is that I used a thread color that closely matched the binding color. Had I gone with a contrasting color, my mistakes would have stood out boldly and made the overall look messy and amateurish.

I have to say my favorite part to all of this is my quilting. Yes, I’ll toot my own horn. I LOVE MY QUILTING!!!! The echoing pattern radiating out from the Dresden really seals the deal. Again, my lines aren’t perfect and my start and stop points are messy but the choice to echo outward to the border and then leave the border plain with only a single framing stitch around the edge brought the whole thing together.

I love it! It’s tight, neat, and clean without being too busy and burdening the fabric with too much of a quilted pattern.

Now as I said, there are areas where I could use some work. First, my start and stop points. There was A LOT of nesting issues and I know that’s more an issue with me than with my machine. My machine works perfectly still and I make sure to clean it out, dust it off, and I switch out  my needles regularly so that it stays in tip top shape.

This is an area that I do need some help. I want the BACK of my quilted pieces to look as good as the front. Luckily this is a wall hanging so it will most likely be seen from the front only. If you look closely in the picture below, you’ll see how on the back my starting/stopping points are messy, bunched up, and there are some stitches that have even come undone due to not being totally tacted down.

While I wish the stop/start points were neater, the back is probably my favorite part. It looks to me like an art deco piece. And even though I LOVE the back and how it came together, I forget that I have the option to use two different colors, one in the bobbin and another up top. While this looks good to me, I’m still curious how it would have looked if I had used the deep rusty red thread in the bobbin that I used along the binding.

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So many things to think of and so many options for next time. And there will be a next time. I’ve fallen in love with Dresdens and I can’t wait to make my next one!

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Something New: Dresden Plate Piecing WIP

A few months ago, my mom discovered Pinterest. I had already been working on building my boards and pinning anything and everything I found interesting. Slowly but surely, she did the same.

Then something interesting started happening. We have a board together for quilting and anytime I posted something to read later on (I use Pinterest more as a reminder to read things than a place I post realistically), a day or two later I’d find out that my mom had read the same pin and bought all the instruments/fabric needed to create whatever I had shared.

It’s now become a running joke. If I like something, like a fat quarter set, or if I want to try something ,like this Dresden plate pattern from this site, The Stitching Scientist, all I have to do is pin it and BAM! Like Santa delivering gifts in his sleigh, my mom will have it purchased and delivered before I can say “Please”!

Here is the first string of blades. Isn’t this fabric darling? My mom started out with her first Dresden plate using an adorable Riley Blake Design kit for a baby girl. I didn’t even know she was interested in making one when all the sudden I was receiving text messages showing her progress.

Holy smokes was she fast!!!

Before long she had TWO made!

She then began designing a simple wall hanging/lap quilt that will be bordered with the same fabrics as the Dresden plates. The plates will be appliquéd into the corners of a beautiful clean Kona white center piece.

Even her hand turned appliqué on this center circle is perfect! I’m jealous of her handy work and how far it’s come!

As she began the borders, she did find herself in a pickle. The directions in the pattern weren’t as clear as she wanted them to be. Now, in the past, my mom would have allowed this to deter her from finishing. Instead, the growth in her new skills show in her new abilities to work through a problem and solve any issues by stepping outside the box!

So cute! Love this set of fabrics!

Once I saw what she was able to make and how simple she made it sound, I decided to try it out myself. Using the Joyeux Noel set we bought from Moda, I set to work on my first Dresden plate. And she was right!! It was very simple to piece together.

My biggest issue was the hand piecing in the center. It didn’t go together as nicely as I wanted it to look but overall the process is one I’d like to attempt again.

I chose a simple echoing straight stitch from the edge of the Dresden out. It gave it a beautiful star-like look that radiants from the center. It even comes off as a little art deco, an architectural style I adore!

My only problem with the quilting: first, I should have used a red thread in the bobbin. And secondly, I’m still struggling with the back of my quilted projects looking clean. There was a lot of sniping and clean up to be done once I was finished.

I did a simple straight stitch in the plates, around the center piece, and echoing out to the border. Then I framed it all with a simple box around.

Voila!

Today I picked up some red thread to bind the whole thing together. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do, whether I’ll hand stitch or if I’ll do a decorative blanket stitch, but I’m ready to wrap this project up so it can hang proudly on my wall!

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TGIFF Christmas Finishes!

We’re close to “C” day!  Yay!  It’s no secret that I love the Christmas season.  If I could, I’d leave my holiday decorations up all year.  Cleaning around three trees may be a challenge, but I’d enjoy every minute!

This year, I set out to make at least one runner for myself, and four mug rugs for gifts.  Last night, I finished my runner, and one of the mug rugs.  I’m really happy with the results!

Here is the runner, made with a 60 degree equilateral triangle and Christmas border fabric from the Holiday Magic fabric line by Lisa Audit.  This is only one way to arrange the triangles.  The options are endless!

 

  
The mug rug I finished last night, was made with Moda’s Joyeux Noel by French General.  I saw a mug rug on Etsy, and did my best to recreate it.  I loooove it!  I bought Insul-bright batting from Twisted Cedar Studios, and found it fabulous to work with.

I made another variation of this mug rug, and unfortunately, threw it in the wash with an article of clothing that bled onto the fabric, making it dingy.  I’m researching  color correcting methods in an effort to save this adorable project.  Here it is before the disastrous washing!

 Thanks for stopping by and checking us out!  Katie and I wish you the most wonderful, creative holiday season ever!

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WIP: Joyeux Noel Dresden Plate 

You  know that feeling you get when you are about to cut into some new fabric and you just want to keep them so pretty and perfect but you also want to play with them?

Yeah, this picture sums that up. That tense feeling of “NO! I don’t want to use it, I just want to keep it so I can look at it” mixed with “But I want to play with it too!” It’s definitely a mixed bag of feelings when it comes to cutting into a fat quarter bundle.

Especially one as pretty as the Joyeux Noel kit we added to our stash just last week. It’s drool worthy.

But I didn’t want to keep staring at it and decided to cut into it and attempt my very first Dresden plate. Using four fat quarters from each set of patterns, I cut out my plates using a nifty ruler my mom has. Then I folded each plate, right sides to right sides, along the longer end and sewed the fold together. I chained all 20 of my plates along then snipped them free.

My pile of plates waiting to be snipped.

Now it’s time to press!

Once freed from the chain, my mom taught me how to turn the sewn ends right side out and press down the “dart” so that it came to a crisp point at the tip.

This purple little tool is pretty nifty and helped me get the points nice a sharp.

After everything is pressed and my plates are ready to go, I laid them down and organized them. I had five solid fabrics that I made as my focus points and then placed one of each of the other fabrics in between. That way I felt I had a good mix of colors and patterns.

My final result!! Well, so far! By the time I got the whole circle done, I was mentally drained but very satisfied. So even though my mom sat with me and showed me how to start my center point, I just couldn’t comprehend what she meant for me to do. So I put everything I had done so far aside and promised to come back and finish it once I got some rest and was ready to take on the next step.

Even though I didn’t finish it, I have my center piece picked out and a nice green backing to put it on. I fussy cut the Joyeux Noel piece and plan to appliqué it on the center. This is turning out to be adorable as it is so I may make it into a wall hanging for the Christmas season.

I started this project at 3:00 this afternoon and wrapped up the majority of the sewing by 6:30! So the hardest work was all done within 3 1/2 hours. All I have left is to appliqué it all down then sandwich my finished top, quilt, then bind. My plan is to work with what I have and avoid buying anything new.

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Joyeux Noel! 

Thanksgiving is finally over. The turkey had been eaten, thanks have been given, and our tryptophan comas are wearing off.

You know what that means?

It’s time for Christmas!

Yes, Christmas. Winter. The next big celebration with family and friends and lots of food. Along with all the bright lights and tightly wrapped presents, my mom and I have been drooling over some lovely fabrics.

Especially this joyful and beautiful set of fat quarters by Moda called Joyeux Noel!

The stack is nicely organized with patterns and solids in each set and each set ranging from deep cheery reds to light creams and greys.

I broke into this bad boy and took a look at all the lovely fabrics we can play with!

I loved the addition of the grey to this set of traditional holiday colors. It brings in a feeling of winter to an otherwise normal Christmas set.

And the combination of the grey and cream with the little tones of red really give us a lot of options.

And then the stash flips entirely from reds with a hint of grey to grey with a hint of red and it’s still just as lovely.

It’s hard to tell but there is a hint of red running through one of these fabrics, it’s just not visible here in this set. But even these muted greys are lovely.

Now for the hard part…picking a project to make with them!

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