New Dresden Quilt + Quilting the New Classics book

A year ago right now I was working on one of my favorite projects ever, and couldn’t share because it was a submission for an upcoming book. That book has just come out and I’m excited that I can finally share both the quilt and the book!

The book is called Quilting the New Classicsby Michele Muska and is a fresh take on looking at the traditional roots of quilting and how they’ve affected modern quilting.

This book includes a brief history of 10 classic quilt blocks/designs (such as Bear Paw, Log Cabin, Nine Patch, Hexagons, Yo-yo’s, etc.) and then two quilt patterns for each, one traditional and one with a modern twist.

I was asked to create a Dresden Plate quilt using the traditional Dresden style.
This is the full version of my quilt. Dresden Plate patterns are made with a wedge-shaped block that is so versatile. (Like this Pinwheel version.) I kept this quilt fairly traditional in design, but made it a little more contemporary by making each ‘plate’ monochromatic.

For the fabric, I pulled out my American Jane/Sandy Klop stash and put it to use! If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’ve been a Sandy Klop fan for a while and have been hoarding her fabric for just the right thing. I finally decided this is it! The custom quilting on this quilt was done by Melissa Kelley of Sew Shabby quilting

I love the monochromatic plates, but in the end, I think my favorite aspect is the scrappy pieced border. I’ve always wanted to do a border like this and love the way it finished the quilt. The border pieces are also made using the same dresden wedge block. (I used Darlene Zimmerman’s Easy Dresden ruler.)

The modern quilt partnered with mine is this deconstructed wedge quilt by Marci Warren Elmer. It’s fantastic! Isn’t it cool to see the variety of designs that can be made with the same template?

Quilting the New Classics includes a history as well as images of heirloom pieces in each of the 10 styles. The book includes templates for all of the patterns in the book, but many of the templates match up with the range of specialty EZ rulers and templates by Simplicity that are widely available.

Here’s a sample of some of the traditional styled quilts in the book. One the left is a traditional Double Wedding Ring quilt by Shelly Pagliai and on the right is a design inspired by traditional Flying Geese blocks by Jackie Kunkel

As an example of another modern version of a traditional quilt, here’s this deconstructed Rail Fence quilt by Heather Jones

The contributors to this book are some of the most recognizable in the quilting world. I just returned from Quilt Market in Houston (trade show for the quilting industry) and attended a book signing for this book. Here I am, looking and feeling like Forrest Gump, amid a group of living quilting legends. I felt not worthy. Many of them are talking about their own contributions to this book over last and this week. Here are links to their sites. Some are even giving away copies of the book!
Because of the variety of styles featured, the gorgeous information included, and the beautiful photography, Quilting the New Classics would make a great gift to any quilter. It was an honor to be a contributor. 

Do you have a favorite traditional quilt style that you love to recreate and/or have always wanted to make, but needed a little inspiration? This may be a good book for you too! It sure was a good motivation for me to finally make something that had been on my quilting-bucket list for a long time.

True Colors Modern Dresden Circle Quilt

Today is my day to share as part of the True Colors by Free Spirit blog tour. This past fall Free Spirit fabric company debuted the True Colors collections – a collection of fabric blenders by four of their popular designers: Joel DewberryHeather BaileyAnna Maria Horner, and Jenean Morrison. Creative Bug made a beautiful video with the individual designers talking about their inspiration and motivation to create their True Colors collections. 
I was given the opportunity to play with this pretty True Colors bundle by Jenean Morrison
I also mixed in some of the blender prints from Jenean’s latest collection for Free Spirit: Wishing Well.
Here are is the full collection from Wishing Well. A really sweet bundle of prints and colors.
And this is the project I created with Jenean’s fabrics – a modern dresden circle quilt. I was inspired as I laid out the fat quarters in color order and knew I wanted something using that spectrum. I’ve always loved Purl Soho’s Color Wheel Quilt and thought this would be the perfect way to create something inspired by that quilt.

My circles measure about 18″ in diameter (across). I created them using a traditional Dresden wedge ruler. (Mine is a EZ Quilting Easy Dresden Ruler. I’ve lost track of how often I use this ruler.) For each Dresden (or circle) block I cut 20 different wedges that were 6″ long, but instead of beginning my measurement from the bottom of the ruler, I started it at the 2″ line and finished at the 8″ line so that I’d get a wider wedge. (I’ve written another Dresden circle tutorial here if you would like to see how to assemble the 20 wedges.)

When each circle was completed I appliqued the block to a 22″ square of white fabric, then quilted the block with a piece of batting. I decided to applique and quilt each block separately to make the quilting a little bit easier, but you could applique all four blocks onto a 42″ x 42″ square of fabric as well.

Coats and Clark provided me with thread for this project. The thread worked really well for both piecing and quilting.

After the blocks were quilted, I sewed the four blocks together, pressing seams open to help the bulk of the batting lie as flat as possible. Then basted the front piece to the backing and quilted a little bit more to hold the back layer together. I used more of Jenean’s Wishing Well for my backing and binding fabrics.

This was such a simple project, but I love the visual impact. I’m such a sucker for simple, primary colors – especially when they’re in color spectrum order. I’m hanging this quilt in my new sewing space. 
If you want more inspiration using the Free Spirit True Colors collections, visit these other stops on the blog tour. (You can even enter to win some of that fabric!)
1/20 Sew4Home
1/21 Stitchery Dickory Dock
1/22 I’m A Ginger Monkey
1/23 The Sewing Loft
1/24 Ellison Lane
1/27 Dairy of A Quilter (moi)
1/28 Material Obsession
1/29 Craftsanity
1/30 Stitched in Color
1/31 Craft Buds
2/3 Jay Bird Quilts
2/4 Melissa Peda
Speaking of entering to win, I have a fat quarter bundle of Jenean’s True Colors to giveaway as well as a jelly roll and two charm packs to two more lucky winners. If you’d like the chance to enter, leave a comment on this post telling me what colors you’d choose if you had to pick your “True Colors.” Giveaway open until Saturday, Feb 1 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED. (Please be sure there is a way I can contact you if you are randomly selected!)

Darcy said…

Amy this is absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing such a lovely giveaway and project :-) My one true color is always green but I’m also a complete sucker for a good fabric rainbow.
Lynn said…
I have said before I am loving using the spectrum of colors right now but my true colors are aqua and green together!
 Catskill Quilter said…
My true colors are aqua and orange – love the way they play together! (Thanks for the info on using the Dresden ruler; I am going to try it this week!)

New Dresden block, bow-ties, and valentines projects

I have been itching to sew for weeks. We’ve had a lot going on with holiday hoopla, a family wedding, and extended family staying with us for a week – all very good things – but I have hardly touched my sewing machine for weeks. I had big plans for this weekend to clean up Christmas, start a bunch of new projects, and clean out my sewing room. But then I got my annual post-Christmas bug and instead I feel like a piece of crud. I guess those things will wait.

Before I started feeling too crumby I did get to make a little Dresden bee block for Lori Holt. I think it turned out so cute and it went so fast. This Dresden has fewer and fatter wedges, cut using Lori’s small “thimble” template. Lori has this Dresden tutorial on her blog.

Even though I haven’t sewn much, I did make my first ever handmade bow-ties last weekend for the wedding. I’m kind of proud of how they turned out. I just searched Bow Tie Tutorials on Pinterest, read a bunch of them and then went for it. I may make more of these in my future, because they looked so cute on my guys and weren’t nearly as tricky as I’d feared. :)
If, unlike yours truly, your Christmas decor is cleaned up and put away and you’re itching to get ready for the next holiday, may I suggest some pieced heart pillows?
Inline image 1
My pillows and pattern are featured in the current issue of Quilt It…Today. I snapped a picture of an issue in the wild when I saw it at JoAnn’s right before Christmas (and got some interesting looks while doing so), but must have accidentally deleted it from my phone. :(  This issue is also available from the Fat Quarter Shop.

Also, the Fat Quarter Shop has made this cute Lover’s Lane Quilt using Tanya Whelen’s Valentine Roses fabrics and my Brickyard quilt pattern. Kits are also available!

That will have to suffice for now. More thoughts on goals and plans for 2014 when this wretched cough stops so I can process life again.

Dresden Pillow Tutorial

Today I am sharing a tutorial for a Dresden-inspired circle pillow “poof” using Bari J.’s gorgeous new Bijoux collection for Art Gallery Fabrics. This tutorial will create a 16″ cushion.

The fabric requirements for this project are:
  • 10 fat quarters (I chose that many because I wanted the variety of prints, but you could use as few or as many as you want.)
  • one regular 1/4 of a yard for the pillow side (I used Essential Ovals Elements Mustard)
  • two 6″ squares of solid (I used Pure Elements Honey)
  • pillow stuffing
  • one Dresden wedge ruler

I used the EZ quilt Dresden wedge ruler by Simplicity (an 18 degree wedge) – it’s widely available in the notions department of chain sewing stores, as well as independent quilt shops.  This ruler is available at large chain sewing outlets, as well as lots of independent quilt shops. I’ve used this ruler on projects before including a traditional Dresden block as well as my Peppermint Pinwheels quilt tutorial. This wedge is an 18 degree wedge and requires 20 wedges to complete the circle. (There are other wedge rulers at different widths that will use a different number of wedges to create the circle.)

If you are using 10 different prints, cut a 7″ x 9 1/2″ rectangle of each print. Use the Dresden Wedge ruler to cut 4 wedges 7″ long from each print.  You will need a total of 40 wedges for this project.

Layout wedges to get the color and design placement you want. Match-up wedges into pairs, right sides together, and sew one edge using a scant 1/4″ seam. Press seam to one side.

After sewing pairs together, sew four of the sets into groups of four, and then into two groups of 10 wedges. Sew the final two halves together to create the Dresden circle. Repeat the process to create a coordinating back.

To create the center circle, trace and cut out a 4″ template. (Cereal box weight cardboard is perfect.) Then cut out a 6″ circle of fabric (it doesn’t have to be a perfect circle).  Run a large basting stitch around the edge of the circle, place the template in the center and gather your fabric around the circle. Press the edges well with the template still in place.  Remove the template and press again. Starch will help you get a nice crisp circle.  Then fold the fabric circle into fourths and lightly press to create lines above.
Use pressed lines as guides to find the center of the larger pieced circle by lining up pressed lines with the lines of the pieced wedges. There should be 5 wedges between each quadrant of the center circle. Pin circle and sew in place using coordinating thread. Remove pins and press.Repeat with second side.
Cut and sew a 3 1/2″ x 52 1/2″ strip for pillow side. Sew strip ends together to create a continuous circle. Fold in half and lightly press to mark 4 equal quadrants on the strip. Using the pressed lines as guides, pin marked quadrants on the strip in place every 5 wedges to keep strip equally distributed. Then carefully pin strip equally all the way around the sides. Sew in place using a 1/4″ seam.
Repeat the process, pinning the back side to the strip and sew edges, leaving a 5″ opening to stuff the pillow. Turn pillow right-sides out and stuff with batting. Hand-stitch opening to finish pillow.
And there you go! A beautiful pillow, showcasing lots of pretty fabric, and so much simpler than it looks. I’d love to see what you make using this tutorial. Be sure to add it to the AGF Flicker group!

And finally, some out-takes from the pillow photo-shoot last week before I left. My trusty assistant wanted to show-off his Vanna White skills. They may be goofballs, but they’re MY goofballs and I’m so happy to be home with them.

‘Peppermint Pinwheel’ Dresden block tutorial

I’m so excited to be part of the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild’s EZ Dresden Challenge blog tour today.  
This Challenge is in honor of Darlene Zimmerman’s 20th anniversary of creating tools and rulers for EZ Quilting.  One of these classic tools is the Dresden ruler, used to cut wedge-shaped pieces typically to create a very traditional Dresden Plate block.  
Here is my own traditional Dresden quilt created a couple of years ago. (And still un-quilted, I might add. I should really work on that…) There are lots of excellent Dresden tutorials that show how simple it is to create this very classic block. It has been fun as part of this challenge to see the variety of other ways to use this ruler and how versatile this tool really is!
This is the block that I came up with, using Darlene’s Dresden ruler.  My pinwheel has a diameter of 16″, and here’s a brief tutorial for how I did it.  (I suggest reading the whole tutorial through before you start cutting and creating.)
Fabric requirements for one block: 
  • 1/4 yard striped fabric and 1/2 yard white fabric
Fabric requirements for 41″ x 60″ quilt above
  • 3 different 1/4 yards of striped fabrics
  • 2 1/4 yards white fabric
  • 1/4 yard border fabric
  • 3/8 yard binding
  • 1 3/4 yard backing

The short-cut trick for this block is using a striped fabric. You could, of course, piece strips and cut them with the Dresden ruler as well, if you want a custom stripe.  I used this stripe from Bonnie and Camille’s latest collection Vintage Modern.  The stripe print comes in three color ways, red, pink, and gray.  (You can find this fabric here, herehere or here.)  A 1/4 yard gave me exactly enough fabric for the colored wedges for 2 blocks. If you want a little leeway for mistakes, get 1/3 yard.
From your 1/4 yard, cut 5 pieces of fabric that look like this: with a dark stripe at the top and at the bottom. My piece is 9″ wide and just over 7″ high.  (Of course, you can use any striped fabric you like, just make sure there is a dark stripe at the top and the bottom to create this effect.)
I then cut my wedges 7″ long, so line-up the 7″ line at the top of the fabric and cut fabric into the wedge shape.
Turn the ruler upside down and cut a second wedge. Continue cutting wedges alternating the ruler’s direction.
You should be able to get 4 wedges across a 9″ wide piece of fabric. (As you can see, I trimmed off the ends at the bottom to make the wedge exactly 7″.  Hindsight, I would have just left the bottom edge intact, so don’t feel like to you have to trim off that little piece.)   
You will need 10 striped wedges and 10 white wedges per pinwheel block. Using a 1/4 yard each of the red, pink, and gray stripes I was able to get 20 wedges from each – enough for two blocks of each color.  From the white fabric I cut three 7″ x wof (width of fabric) strips and cut them into a total of 60 wedges – 10 for each of the six blocks.
Using one striped wedge and one white wedge sew them together in sets of two. Combine 8 of the sets into sets of 4 wedges. Combine 2 sets of 4 wedges with a set of 2 wedges to create a half circle, always keeping the striped wedge on the same side of the white wedge.
Repeat the process with remaining wedges to create a second half circle and sew the two half circles together to create a whole circle/pinwheel.
From remaining white fabric cut 6 squares 20.5″. Fold into quarters and crease the sides. Unfold.

Using the four creases as your guide, line up your pinwheel lines with the creases. You should have 5 wedges per quadrant.  Turn your raw edges under a 1/4″ and carefully press and pin in place. You can then hand applique the wheel block to the backing fabric. I just used my machine to sew the edges down.

Once your wheels are sewn down, square up your blocks to 20″. Assemble the blocks together 2 across by 3 down. Cut your outside border fabric into (5) 1 1/2″ strips and add to the outside edges. Quilt and bind as you desire.

Now is your turn to come up with a project using the EZ Dresden ruler and if you do so, you could enter to win some amazing prizes.  September 1-6th you can go to the SLMQG site and enter your projects. All the details are found on the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild site.

For more inspiration, check out these other sites for ideas: 
Don’t have a Dresden ruler of your own? You can buy one at most local quilt shops, directly from or from Amazon.  I also have one to give away! If you want the chance to win one, leave a comment on this post. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

If you are looking for more Dresden inspiration check out these rainbow Dresden wheels, my favorite Dresden quilt, and this Dresden circle pillow tutorial.