Friday, January 28, 2011

Inspiration, Envy and Determination

If  you were with me last March when I was piecing quilts, you might remember this wonderful quilt I found by Sujata Shah. I was so inspired with this piece that I WANTED one for myself, and became determined to make my own. It was completely unlike any of my previous work and verged on difficult, tedious and scary to even consider.

But I was finally ready for the challenge and made a template and began paper piecing it. I figured that it would take a level of accuracy foreign to my usual methods.
I contacted Sujata, a really terrific person, and got the OK. She was in the process of making hers on her blog and I was constantly referring to hers as I progressed.
I quit after making seven spiderwebs, since I didn't want another bed quilt. It resides in my closet somewhere right now.

And then I thought I could try it again using fusing and it did go much faster, of course and I planned a bit more and went for darks and lights to assert the design a bit more.
It resides in my closet somewhere right now.
About that same time I saw this quilt also made by Sujata. O dear. More envy. I couldn't muster the will to attempt one, but have not stopped loving it.

Recently while browsing the web I came upon a great Dresden Plate tutorial on this site
And the wonder of the Dresden Plate (nearly the same thing as Sujata's wheel quilt here) became clear to me. I became determined to try it. No way could I run out to the store (snow!) so I was forced to create a template.

I forgot all about seam allowances in my haste and just started cutting wedges. This is where the precut strips sets came into use. I could cut two from about 6" inches at the end of one strip and still have most of the rest of the precious strip left for other future needs.
Thanks to the tute, I was able to quickly put these pieces together assembly line, making two from the wedges cut.

My first Dresden Plate! Awwww. I was able to take advantage of my recent Etsy purchase of premade yo-yos to cover the teeny gap in the center. OK it's not perfect. So?
I then felt a confidence to keep going and do something with this one and it's twin. Not a quilt...

And then I went onto this version

Here's what I learned...I can try out a challenge without a huge committment, to see how I like the process. I did enjoy this one more than the spiderweb, but still I love the scrappy stripped look of Sujata's quilt. When I was in town at Joann's I decided to buy a plastic Dresden Plate Template with inch markings so I can line up sewn strips and cut them accurately. Now I am gearing up to find the courage to start sewing strips...
You wouldn't think that after a 29 year career as a quilter I might have lingering patchwork fears, would you?
But you'd be wrong.


  1. Lovely job on all of it, I really like how the lights and darks make that quilt POP!

  2. I just made my first Dresden plate last week. I don't know why I was so afraid to make them. It came out flat and I was so pleased with myself. A very satisfying experience.

  3. This is inspiring me to finish a Dresden Plate I started years ago.... Always love your usage of colors and I like the bag. Sujata's quilts are beautiful too.

  4. Dresden is so easy (like Bargello!) and very quick....which I love because I have a short attention span :)

    I like Sujata's scrappy spiderweb BUT I like your fused composition more :) JMHO.

  5. You are so funny! I am kind of surprised at you wanting make a Dresden plate. Your quilts are so free.. Just made me wonder how an artist's mind works.. always wanting to try something new.. It's great!
    I love your Dresden plate.. Little projects are great for trying something new.. I must give it a go sometime!

    Thanks for putting me in the spotlight!

  6. Sujata's quilts are wonderful...but so are yours...and the orange bag is fantastic!

  7. Anonymous12:50 PM

    Hi Melody....Great work, you might look in your stash of Artfabric threads now and try a little handquilting! After years of saying I never would, I am now using some of my HUMUNGOUS stash of yours and Laura's threads (mostly size 12) to embroider/quilt smaller quilts using a lap hoop and loving it! I even tried some of the hand dyed tencel and it works like a charm. Amazing what being snowed in in rural Saskatchewan will do to one's mind! Take care, Anne Moore

  8. The bags are a great way to satisfy that urge. I love Sujata's quilts too, but I know I would get bored. I did a spider web quilt in the fall. It also sat in my closet when I got tired of quilting. Then I took it out and put it together with a border to make a lap quilt.

  9. I love your handbags. There are a lot of quilting patterns that I love but would never want to make a large quilt from them.

    Bags and pillows are a great way to express that appreciation and make great gifts.

    Great work.

  10. At least you don't sit there and say things like "oh I can't do that." You even make your own templates! That's what I respect, the fact that you try and keep at it. There will always be new stuff coming up, and the old traditional patterns are fun to play with! Keep up the good work!

  11. Hi Melody,
    The quilt that you love with the 3 wheels of strips is from Piece 'O Cake patterns. I love it too but haven't tried it yet!

  12. I love how you made bags out of your dresden plate! It IS a great way to try something out but not over commit. This is what I did when I took a 'biased curves' class - no way would I ever start by making an entire quilt - but a bag I can handle. Super excited that I found your blog - your work is AMAZING!

  13. Laura8:36 AM

    Gorgeous! Just gorgeous! What a great idea!

    Happy fibering!

  14. Pammyfay12:03 PM

    Putting them on the totes is fantastic! What a great way to use the bundled fabrics you see at quilt shows, the bundles of colors you might not want to do a full quilt in but are just drawn to anyway.

    And thank you, Sujata, for inspiring all of us!

  15. Funny how that fear thing has a way of creeping in...same thing happens to me.

  16. I knew those yo yos would show up sooner or later! Fantastic!

    I too love that scrappy dresden plate!


  18. Thank you for letting us feature this on

  19. No doubt, the chap is totally fair.


So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com