Monday, June 15, 2015

*Inspiration* Dresdens

Let me start by saying that dresdens had to grow on me.  At first this classic quilt block was so. not. my. thing.  But, after I got more open-minded, I discovered that it's all about proportions.  Especially when used offset on a pillow, pouch or wall-hanging, as with this example by Nana Company, dresdens can absolutely steal my heart.

 
Lately I've been thinking about making a dresden plate quilt.  But exactly what do I want to make?  Today I set out to find inspiration on Flickr, Pinterest and some of my favorite blogs.

vintage quilts on aqua and on white

Some of my favorite dresden plate quilts are honest-to-goodness vintage quilts like these two above.  I'm rather surprised to be drawn to these, actually, since they're so soft and gentle.  Not exactly my go-to saturated style!  I like all the negative space in the aqua version and how both quilts used the same fabric for centers as for backgrounds, so that the dresden plates seem to float.  Both are scrappy too!

Vintage Dresden Quilt


Here's another genuine vintage quilt, owned and photographed by Jeni Baker of In Color Order.  Again I'm drawn to the scrappy look and also the larger centers.  This one used a bold color for all centers... something I could definitely get behind.


Today's modern quilters are also making dresdens, sometimes with a vintage flair, sometimes with more of a modern twist.  Here are three of my favorites.  The pillow by Gemma at Pretty Bobbins has great proportions.  I definitely prefer large centers on dresden blocks.  I could see a whole scrappy quilt unified by black centers...

The quilt at upper right is by Natalie at Greenleaf Goods.  I love that she created a pieced, low volume background for her dresdens.  She also used value as a statement in her fabric choices. 

And at bottom right is a quilt from Malka Dubrawsky's book Fresh Quilting.  Quite a departure from traditional dresden plates, these blocks are made with y-seams, entirely machine pieced and based on hexagons.  I actually have the book and have often lingered over this version...

For tutorials on how to make traditional dresden plate blocks, which are appliqued, see here and here

Where does this leave me?  I'm not sure.  Maybe a scrappy dresden block quilt made with large, dark centers on a pieced, colored background?  Maybe a gray background or a red one?  Or blue?  Best to wait until I hit on just the right vision!  I bet I'll know when that moment arrives.

26 comments:

  1. I love that top photo!!
    I, too, was not a fan of dresdens until I saw a more modern version. When my soon-to-be sister-in-law requested a black and white quilt, I searched for inspiration, but came up empty handed, until I remembered that 'modern' dresden.
    While I prefer working with an explosion of color (and as soon as I finished that B&W, that's just what I did ;-) I LOVE how their quilt turned out. And more importantly, they do too :-)
    (here's a link in case you're interested in seeing it http://pursuingjoy.blogspot.com/2015/05/introducing-ties-that-bind-unique.html )
    I am so eager to see what you land on!
    ~Tracy

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    1. I love your black & white dresden quilt!! Just awesome. I never would have thought black & white would look so wonderful. Changing the sizes of the plates makes it sing. Nice quilting designs too.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and research. Inspiration may strike for me as well now. I have a couple of ideas working their way to the surface. Look forward to seeing what you decide on as all are great.

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  3. Dresdens have never been on my to-do list, but you've found some really beautiful examples here. I hope you hit on a plan!

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  4. I really like the first photo. Dresdens are definitely not among my favorites but if anyone can pull it off, I would say it is you.

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  5. Great minds think alike! I've been trawling Pinterest for Dresdens too! I've made a few so far to border my red and white quilt, which has made me all the more itchy for something scrappy and bright. I love the aqua background. I've been thinking about the stringy scrappy version Rita Hodge did a while ago. But maybe smaller, and several on a quilt. hmmm. Must finish current WIPs first!

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  6. Teal and yellow and some blues and always RED haha, those are the colors that attract me
    I like the large centers too. I have a dresden ruler. I want to make one that looks like starlight mints.
    I need to find fabric and I just do not have time right now :-D --- I have a couple of things I should finish first as well.
    I hope the heat and humidity is still bearable where you are. In No Va it is soggy and I do not like summer heat..
    I hope you have a fun week

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  7. There are so many beautiful ones out there right now. Did you see the one on Em's Scrapbag blog this morning? http://emsscrapbag.blogspot.com/

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  8. Like you, I've never been a fan of Dresden Plates, even though I have a ruler (somewhere)! Your photo of Malka Dubrawsky's quilt jumped up and grabbed by attention though! So much so that I've ordered the book. Thanks for the nudge!

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  9. I have an inspiration dresden quilt to show you - it's on Happy Quilting's website at http://www.happyquiltingmelissa.com/2012/06/double-dresden-delight-ez-dresden.html it is definitely on my 'to do' list!!!! You will LOVE this one!

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    1. that was my inspiration for MY dresden quilt :-) ('though, mine was a good bit larger...)

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  10. Rachel- checkout Lee Monroe of May Chappell funky , fresh take on the Dresden:http://www.maychappell.com/tag/hatties-dresden/

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  11. I have always want to make Malka's version but it looks so complicated

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  12. I totally get what you're saying about Dresdans! I like the off-center and the slightly quirky Dresden. My non-sewing friend took a quilting class about 25 years ago and her teacher took off with her Dresden pillow. I still mean to make her a duplicate. Good luck with your planning.

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  13. Oh man - I love the white vintage quilt with the white rocker in front! Incredible! <3

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  14. I've just been making dresdens for the first time too! I bought a ruler several years ago but never tried it out. But once I made one, I couldn't stop- easy and fun to make. :D

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  15. Thanks for the inspiration and reminding me I still have a large quilt that needs a finish... (only the circle of the Dresden center block needs to be appliquéd) and for reminding me I recently found Malka’s book in a book thrift store and didn’t even take the time to take a good look at the content!

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  16. I've said I'd never do dresdens, but I also said I'd never do hexies and epp and am really enjoying both. Thanks for the round up of ideas!

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  17. Rachel, the Malka quilt is the one I was working on when I emailed you about using the skills I learned in your angled class to cut the diamonds instead of using templates. I can send you a photo if you want:)

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  18. Check it this very different take on a Dresden pattern. It makes me smile when I look at it.
    http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/quilting/other/dresden-neighborhood-block-tutorial/97578?rceId=1434463966489~h7zu4gkh

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  19. Anyone is absolutely beautiful!

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  20. Seconded recommendation for the May Chappell quilt - that one kept catching my eye in pictures from Quilt Market. Another recommendation - the Carousel quilt that won Sewvivor last year: http://snipssnippets.blogspot.com/2014/09/sewvivor-challenge-four-lap-quilt.html. There's a pattern for that one in Issue 17 of Love Patchwork and Quilting.

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  21. All these Dresden are beauties!
    Dresden blocks have a curious story, coming from China (see : https://quilteuseforever.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/lassiette-de-dresde-les-origines/ ) .
    They also may be very modern, see here my selection a the end :
    https://quilteuseforever.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/lassiette-de-dresde-constructions-et-perspectives/
    See how I love Dresden too :-)

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  22. I'm glad to have read this - I was so not into Dresden either, but I've slowly come around, and I bought an EPP kit for making them a few months ago. Have been stumped about fabric choices every since. I love many of the examples you've shared... time to start planning! Can't wait to see what you end up doing for yours, Rachel : )

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  23. I'm glad to have read this - I was so not into Dresden either, but I've slowly come around, and I bought an EPP kit for making them a few months ago. Have been stumped about fabric choices every since. I love many of the examples you've shared... time to start planning! Can't wait to see what you end up doing for yours, Rachel : )

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  24. Have you seen the giant scrappy dresden by Red Pepper quilts? It's really quite beautiful.

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