Sunday, July 30, 2017

Turning Vintage Dresden blocks into a Quilt

Last fall I was at a little craft bazaar just down the road from my house.  I found these fantastic vintage dresden blocks all hand appliquéd onto muslin.

I've had a love affair with 30's fabrics AND dresden blocks for just about as long as I can remember and to find both of them was like the biggest score I have found in my quilting/sewing experience.

I think I got all 24 blocks for $40!  They all measure at least 13" square.  I could tell they had all been sewn together at some point because there was still the ripped out threads around the edges.

It had never been in a finished quilt I don't think because the blocks were all in such good shape.  There is only one block with a small brown stain that won't come out but I think I can appliqué either another piece of muslin over it or get creative with a patch of some sort.

I threw them all in the washing machine.  You could tell they had not ever been washed and I figured if they all disintegrated no big loss.  They came out great..No stitches lost!  I let them air dry because I was a little afraid that with the muslin it would shrink too much and make the dresedens too puckery.  Even with the air drying there was quite a bit of shrinkage.  This will definitely be a good quilt to tie and not quilt...or maybe a combination with a tie in the middle of the dresden and quilting in between the blocks.

I'm finally feeling the motivation to tackle putting it all together.  Until now I was really just happy to pull them out occasionally, pet them and look at each block.  I was feeling a little stumped as to how to put them together..with what sashing or maybe not even sashing at all.  I decided to add sashing though only because then it would make it big enough for my queen bed.  For the longest time I picked out a yellow for the sashing.  Yellow is so cheery and happy.  But then I sort of felt like that was a little too typical of what you normally see in a dresden or vintage quilt.

Then I pulled out a sea green and I started to veer in that direction.  It felt so much better to me.  I dug through my other blues, greens an aquas and pulled out 4 colors that I thought would look good with each other and the dresden plates.  I kept coming back to that yellow though.  Do I incorporate that somehow?  I'm still not quite sure.  I do know that I want to surround the blocks with a log cabin style strips of alternating colors.  I think that will bring some modern-ness to it.  I'm toying with occasionally throwing in some yellow for contrast but I'm not feeling it 100%.

I need to make up some more of the aqua blocks first an see how it feels.  It's all about feeling for me.  I have to mull it over, pull out fabrics, sleep on it, wait a couple days.  Sometimes things just come right away and sometimes I need to give it more time.  I've come to give myself more time as I've grown in my quilting and sewing.  Maybe I can work with the yellow on the backing?