Bedroom Décor: The Making of a Summer Dahlia Quilt
Inspiration for a Summer Dahlia Quilt
It all began in September 2011. My home-care supervisor, who knew I quilted, brought bags of materials left unclaimed from her mother's estate--dusty blues with pink tulip print; another with small, white dots paired in patterns; large floral prints on a white background; and batting.
I thanked her and began studying the fabrics for inspiration. The center, I decided, would be the large tulips, but the piece wasn't big enough, so I sewed a top and bottom together. Next, I framed the sides with the complimentary striped material that came with the abandoned fabrics.
Deciding on a Quilt Block
I found a pattern block in one of my quilt magazines, perhaps McCall's Quilting, that featured a pinwheel-type curve named "Dahlia." I liked it and decided to use it in this quilt.
Tip: When visiting garage sales, yard sales, or flea markets be on the lookout for used quilt magazines. These are very inexpensive and are great for fostering quilt-making ideas.
Quilt Designing Aids in the Kitchen
More measurements and cutting--the casserole baking dishes in the kitchen worked great to create a template pattern for my "Dahlia." I only had to make a quarter of the block and rotate it.
Arranging the Summer Dahlia Quilt Center
Yellows, peaches, solids and prints--white, of course, for the corner backgrounds. Six "Dahlias"--how nice!
Two Dahlias, one at each top and bottom of the tulip-featured center. Then two vertically sewn on each sides of the center. I had to balance those colors because some of the blocks were not the same.
Designing Summer Dahlia Outer Quilt Borders
From that point, I got a little lazy--no little pieces for me--I used large 12" x 24" pieces of fabric and same-size-as-Dahlias blocks to surround the work in progress. (My technique is a design-as-you-go.)
Eventually, I had to think about the outer corners--a trip to the Ben Franklin Store in East Tawas, Michigan, proved fruitful: pink roses on a peach background. Perfect!
Unfortunately, I'm not a long-distance designer. I tend to express quick fixes, so the corners ended as semi-large blocks in checkerboard design (after finishing the quilt, I thought about how nice a clam-shell pattern would have looked--live and learn!).
Hand Quilting Makes the Quilt
The real beauty of this quilt, as many of my quilts, is in the hand quilting. As a punch (also known as "stab"), one-stitch-at-a-time quilter, my stitches are small, sometimes mistaken for machine quilting.
I outline quilted the flowers in the center. The Dahlias were marked with echo quilting from the center out (about 3/4" between lines). I made my own round wreath pattern for the same-size-as-Dahlia blue blocks (six of them) and followed the diamond-pattern print of the fabric on the larger, dusty blue areas. On the corners, I just paralleled the quilting lines 2 3/4"-3" apart.
How About You?
Do you quilt?
Overcoming Procrastination to Finish a Quilt: Movies!
I watched a lot of Turner Classic Movies with the quilt in my lap and working that between needle, a No. 8, sometimes No. 9.
I lost track of time. Each session is like a mantra or meditation for me, but I exalted when I finished the quilting--then the binding, machine sewn and blind-hem stitched to the back.
I finally finished my "Summer Dahlia" quilt 16 1/2 months later on January 12, 2013! And, guess what?
My home-care supervisor fell in love with it after having observed me working on the hand quilting during various occasions. "When I see it, I think of my mother--and you," she said.
"You're emotionally attached to it--it's yours," I told her.
The pictures of my quilt were taken by my friend Jill MacDonald. Some rights reserved. If sharing the images, please reference as: Jill MacDonald via Hubpages, CC-BY-SA. A link to this article or my profile page would be appreciated.
© 2013 Marie Flint