I feel so privileged that I got to work on these quilts. My friend inherited 29 Dresden plate blocks that her grandmother made in the 30's but never got to make the quilt. She's had them in her closet for years. Now, moving to a new house, she decided that she was not going to move the blocks again, so asked me if I could do "something" with them.
First, several of them were yellowed - the background was white.
The blocks were hand stitched, one had a seam right down the middle of the block
They were hand cut and all slightly different sizes.
She wanted 2 quilts, one for her and one for her sister.
So, first I test washed one block in Oxy and it came out fantastic, so I washed them all.
I squared each one up as much as possible.
Then laid them out onto a wide backing - white on white and appliqued the blocks to the fabric. We used a second white on white wide fabric for the backing.
I used white batting. If I do this again, I would choose a heavier batting.
One quilt had the blocks on point - five in the center and two in each corner.
One quilt had the blocks "square on" with rows of 3, 2, 3, 2, and 3
All the blocks were appliqued down with white space between them to minimize seeing the difference in size of the blocks, and to spread the blocks out enough for two quilts. I also designed them so the blocks would fall on the top of the bed and not over the sides.
I made scalloped edges for the first time - and it was a great choice because it complemented the time period of when the blocks were made.
I hand stitched the bias binding down. That was a big stretch for me because I usually machine sew everything - even buttons.
The four left over blocks were made into four throw cushions. Of course I couldn't find pillow forms the size and "poofiness" that I wanted, so I used bed pillows and sewed across them so one side was square and cut the extra off. This is not for the faint of heart - my machine did not like it, but it did get done.
Each quilt and it's 2 pillows had a different quilting theme. The one on point, I used a leaf and vine stencil that I had. I used it to go around the center medallion of the 5 on point blocks. Then enlarged the stencil on my printer to make it big enough to be the border pattern. This worked really well.
To make the separate "shields" to quilt into the open spaces, I again used photocopies of the stencil in various sizes and cut them apart and taped them back together until I had shields the right size for each nook and crany.
For the other quilt, I used feathers for the quilting. First I drew the spine on the quilt top so I could follow it and have the patterns on both sides "mirror image" each other. Then quilting the feathers I did free hand - I get smoother results that way than trying to follow a line for them. I then did a feathered vine all around the perimeter. It again had a scalloped edge and bias binding.
I washed the quilts when I was done and left them in the soft , crinkly state they came out in.
What did I learn? I love rescuing orphan blocks. It was really inspiring to be able to continue the "Nanny"s" work.
I can use Frixxion pens - even on white fabric - and get it out permanently. Just iron them away and then launder the quilt with Tide detergent. I tossed them in the freezer for a couple of hours after washing and the marks did not come back, so then I put them in the dryer only for about 20 min and then hung it on the bannister to dry completely.
Making matching throw cushions out of the left over blocks blew my friend away. She came to tears.
Next time I will take the time to have some professional quality photos taken. I don't have the facilities at my home to photograph a white quilt and have it show up more than one big bright blob. I'm having one of them back the end of May to show in my guild's quilt show, so when it's hanging up, I'll get some good photos for my journal.
Here's just a taste of the quilting -
The shields on the 'leaf and vine" quilt.