Dresden Daydreams

Warning, extremely wordy post!

Happy Wednesday y’all!! I cannot believe it- my Dresden plate quilt is FINALLY finished! You may remember I gave you a sneaky peak, here.

I don’t even know where to start. As usual, I went into this thing not knowing what I was getting myself into. I saw Elizabeth’s tutorial, liked it, figured I’d just jump in with both feet and well, here we are. I feel like my recap posts sound “complain-y” every time I finish and show a quilt, but the truth is, no matter how frustrating the process, I’m always so proud of myself and supremely happy to have put in the work!

This quilt was no exception to the “Joanna jumped too quickly” rule. As usual, I had some serious setbacks in my progress. Here’s how the last couple months of work on this quilt looked.

February-ish to March:
I got the bee blocks back from AMAZING bee members and quickly realized that although Dresden plates are pretty, my layout options were limited. I sat in shock and horror for a few days while the enormity of that sunk in and thought to myself,  “Next time, you should consider this BEFORE you decide to hack up a bunch of fabric, send it all over the world (literally) and hope for the best.” Head Smack.

March-ish: I decided on a scrappy sashing and “plates on point” layout. Of course, I just went ahead without thinking the ramifications through. (I wouldn’t be Joanna if I didn’t.) Halfway through piecing all those itty bitty squares, I realized that scrappy sashing is BEAUTIFUL but it may or may not have been the best idea.

Mid-March: Finished up the sashing, sewed the top together and promptly let it hang on my landing for a week or two.

End of March: I decided that I was REALLY going to finish up the quilt and start adding setting triangles and borders. Enter the first (second?) of several JoannaMath errors. Let’s just SAY you have a 16.5″ square and you decide to turn it on its point. Logic would tell you that you will NOT be measuring 16.5″ from top to bottom of your new diamond. Ignore this because you’re not thinking. Forget ALL about that ol’ Pythagorean theorem a2 + b2 = c2 being USEFUL. Use that 16.5″ measurement and go ahead and cut out your fabric because you’ve used MATH and it can’t POSSIBLY be wrong.

The funny thing is, you can CLEARLY see, even on my rough sketch, that the hypotenuse is longer (duh, because it HAS to be) and I was LOOKING AT THIS when I "double checked" myself. Head Smack.

Umm yeah. I mis-measured (then mis-cut) all of my “side” lengths because I was going on a number that was roughly half of what the actual quilt length/width was. Oddly enough, despite being WAAAY off on my other measurements, all my “setting” triangles came out correctly sized. Go figure.

Unfortunately, even at this point, I STILL hadn’t figured out my mistake. I kept thinking, “this is too big,” but instead of stopping, measuring and figuring it out, I kept looking at my numbers and thinking “I measured, I’m right!” In frustration, I took the quilt downstairs looking for a large place to lay it out and measure it (still not realizing that if it were the CORRECT size I would have been able to measure it on my sewing room floor…). I draped it over our queen sized bed and immediately realized that I had, roughly, a KING sized quilt! Head smack.

LIGHTBULB!! PYTHAGOREAN THEOREM!! Geometry was the SINGLE math class I liked and maintained an A+ grade in throughout the year. Evidently, 9th grade was a long time ago-sorry Ms. Ford! I trudged back upstairs and after much chopping and cussing, I wrested the “king” down to a twinnish 65ish” by 100ish.”

End of March (the next day): New problem- I didn’t have a backing large enough for my new monster! *&%! FINE!!

After working in a quilt shop, I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “don’t use a sheet for a backing.” Yeah, well, whatever. Target has pretty sheets, they’re 100% organic cotton and even if I had to buy the whole set (I did), and even if it cost $30 (it did), I’d STILL come out better buying a sheet than buying quilting fabric. I used the top sheet out of the organic cotton set (it feels like buttah!) and I’ll be turning the fitted sheet into a skirt or shirt or something. It’s BEAUTIFUL fabric and super soft and matches the aquas and blues in my quilt perfectly. So there!

I wanted to add an extra plate to the back (It didn’t want to be added and will get turned into a pillow at a later date) and needed to get the siggy blocks in. I “measured” and cut and hoped for the best. But, we all know I can’t measure and rarely learn my lesson on the first try.  BTW, the “best” never happens, but I almost always have an adventure! *WINK* I managed to cut, piece, tug, pull and add in the decorative, pleated top edge of the sheet as a “design choice” to make it all fit!


Early April: W-H-E-W! I quickly sandwiched, pinned and started making my plan of attack for quilting. By plan, I mean, loose idea in my head. HO-LY COW dresden plates are H-E-A-V-Y!! Quilting it was NOT fun and I wanted to get in a few more lines here and there, but I feel lucky to have quilted as much as I did! I outlined the sashing and each plate (you have to change direction FORTY TIMES for EACH plate-FORTY!) and echoed the sashing around the edges. JUST doing that took me many, many hours and resulted in a very sore back.

Are you as tired of this as I am?! But, we weren’t done yet, oh no. The centers. The centers had to be quilted or the batting would eventually shift. I either wanted to “spiral” them or “cross-hatch” them but alas, neither one was a possibility. I tried to free motion a spiral on one but quickly realized (remembered?) I can’t really free motion worth a flip.

New plan- I’ll hand quilt the centers with some pretty blue perle cotton.

Enter mistake number…ah hell, I don’t even know.

Perle cotton is so pretty, so chunky, so…unwilling to cooperate. Especially when you don’t know how to hand quilt (Oh, I didn’t mention that?). Even more so when you only have ONE needle with an eye big enough to accommodate the thread (and I bent it). And don’t even think about how your husband had to go find pliers to help when you got the *&! needle stuck because you had to superfuse a few of the centers down because seams were popping.

Oh, so pretty!

It’s a good thing that this quilt is GORGEOUS because, really? I can’t believe it even got finished! We’ve now reached the point in this post where I am feeling silly because I feel like I should know better. So without further ado, here it is!!

SOOO worth it!!

Flappin’ in the breeze (or the air under my landing due to inclement weather)!

The Back.

I love it. Even though it was a pain in the butt (and I didn’t even make all the blocks-thanks girls!). Even though it is a strange size (PS- That point TOTALLY works in my favor because it stretches the entire length of the couch and affords ample snuggle room!). Even though I never learn my lesson.

It is stunning and wonderful and I cannot wait to have one of those breezy summer nights so I can cuddle up on the back porch with it!

About Joanna

I married the "one who got away" and try to remember how lucky I am each and every day.
This entry was posted in Bee Blocks, Bees, Finished Projects 2011, Finished Quilts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Dresden Daydreams

  1. Lindsay says:

    I love your quilt design, and your humor! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. John Adams says:

    Hilarious! You’re right — the quilt is gorgeous. And just think, you’ll always have a story to tell about it. : )

  3. Ruth says:

    Beautiful quilt and a great read.

  4. Jennifer says:

    It’s beautiful! So impressed. All my dresden plates are sitting in a pile still. Need to get moving on them because I know I will love my quilt when it’s done. I aim to hand quilt too and it will be my first adventure with that also.
    Way to go!

  5. terriaw says:

    Wow, this turned out amazing! You should be so proud of this finish. I love reading about the process you went through in making this. I love the sheet you used for the backing, and the quilting looks fabulous. How wonderful to have this finished and reading to use!

  6. Pingback: Q is for…quilts, quilting and quiet…(a-z challenge) | jeanne's blog

  7. Kelly says:

    Joanna, so worth the effort and all your troubles !!! It looks fantastic and all the ‘mistakes’ worked out perfectly. I am so happy I could be apart of your quilts journey ! Hugs Kelly X

  8. patricia says:

    I am not sure which I love more, the quilt or your post about making it. Fabulous on all counts and thanks for sharing!

  9. Pingback: Q is for…quilts, quilting and quiet time…(a-z challenge) | jeanne's blog

  10. some spots says:

    Well, I think you don’t learn things unless you go through the process like you did! Errors make great teachers, don’t they? And, you’re right! It looks great! That makes the next one all the easier!

  11. Bree says:

    For all the trouble, it sure looks like it was worth it in the end – ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!

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