Dresden quilt plan a

You have to have a plan, right?
You have to have a plan, right?

I really am enjoying the process of creating this Dresden quilt. For one thing, it satisfies my need for mathematically challenging puzzles. I had decided, you may recall, to make it a 20 block quilt, with four blocks across and five going down. With sashes and edging allowances, I thought this might be about right.

Then I decided to make a special block, with one blade showing every different fabric chosen – twenty-one in all – and I also thought it might be good to use a left-over piece of embroidered lemon silk that I used to make a dress for my granddaughter to attend her uncle’s wedding in Australia, just over a year ago. Having determined this, and liking the idea very much, it just wouldn’t fit with a 5×4 configuration. Not at all!

What to do?


No, don’t be ridiculous! You’re creative,  you’re mathematical, you can come up with a solution. Surely?

My thinking cap sometimes is a little on the large size. This is because when I need it most, my brain seems to shrink to the size of a diplodocus’ brain. For those of you who are not dinosaur nerds, or are neither the mothers of said dinosaur nerds or the teachers of same, the diplodocus was a very, very large dinosaur with a teeny, tiny brain about as big as an orange, which considering it was nearly 200 feet long, meant it was marginally smarter than the vegetation that it ate. On this occasion, I was so enamoured of my colours that my mental plan to create this quilt was all in my head and at some point it was really going to be necessary to actually visualise those thoughts. Seize them like some bewitched fairy, with a gossamer butterfly net capturing the concepts and giving them form, reality, actuality.

Of course, I COULD just have kept going and the quilt itself would be those actualizations. But the mathematician in me just would not be quiet. She needed to *see* how it would fit together. How I was going to solve the mystery of the lop-sided quilt. Plus, as a side concern, how is it that I’ve managed to make a full circle – which you will recall is categorically, undeniably only ever a 360º possibility – get divided up equally into 21 blades? Each blade is approximately 18º, so in theory at least, there should only be twenty in each circle… All I can say in my own defence is that my judgement of seam allowances leaves something to be desired, hence the need to add the extra blades. On the plus side, it does mean that my Dresden’s are completely and totally unique. Go me 🙂

So, I photographed each background, resized everything to fit into a five by five grid and hey presto! This worked! It was symmetrical (satisfying my geometrical OCD) and yet with each block having a different configuration of blades, they would all be different so I am biting my thumb at computative theory and getting creative! all boxes ticked. It just meant that I needed another five more Dresden roundels. One hundred and five more blades to cut, stitch the tops, turn out and press then stitch together, trim and press once again. Harumph!

It’s taken a couple of days to finish the roundels and cut the block backgrounds out, but here’s a picture of what it is going to look like someday soon – I’ve just pinned the roundels onto their backgrounds for the purpose of this picture. The middle block is the yellow silk, which curls up until it’s sewn. The two on either side are purple silk so there’s a similar problem there for now. The rest are cotton and I have to say… I quite like it so far. Each roundel still needs the centre circle appliqueing over the top, and they need stitching down, but you get the idea, I hope.

It's starting to take shape
It’s starting to take shape

The next issue is really whether I should set them directly next to each other as in this image, or should I have a ‘sashing’ between each block, to define the blocks as separate entities? Hmmm….


One Reply to “Dresden quilt plan a”

  1. It’s looking really good. I think you should add the sashing between each block. I think it will look really good but is that going to cause a whole new mathematical challenge?


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