Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Loving This Scrappy Dresden Border!

Late last year I almost started the Love Entwined applique BOM. Almost. I even printed out the first two months directions. Then I just sort of kissed it goodbye in an effort not to tie myself down with such a huge, detailed, applique project. Someday I am going to make a very special quilt like that, but for now I'm enjoying the freedom to go my own way.
Flowers and Flying Geese
Like these scrappy pink Dresdens. I just sort of stumbled into this idea after seeing the pink fabrics fanned out next to my quilt--me sitting there thinking, 'What next? It's gotta be pink!'

It worries me occasionally that all all my ideas will dry up and blow away before I can even get a solid fix on what they are. So silly when I think about how I work. It's not like I draw out an entire quilt idea before even getting started! (Okay, once in awhile that happens, but it's a very rare thing.) For me it generally starts with the fabric. I love to dig into my totes of stash fabric for the unlike-lies, the less than lovable and the ones that are so very shy they are easily overlooked.

If I dig deep enough, there are usually fabrics to be found that have been lurking around for a very long time. Then I have to wonder why they're still there! What is wrong with me that these fabrics haven't been given their special moment in the sun a quilt! Eventually I gather a neat little stack of fabrics together and the quilt starts taking on a life of it's own.

Take this Flowers and Flying Geese quilt. So far I've haven't had to buy any new fabric for it at all. Which just makes me so very happy.  I have finally managed to use the last little bit of fabric bought for a baby quilt for my youngest son (he's now 13). There are a couple fabrics given to me by an aunt at least 8 yrs. ago--originally from the late 80's maybe (a particular ugly time in the life of calico). Then there are the flying geese units which are from the baby quilt I made for a niece (going on 8 yrs? now). The modern looking pinks are from a quilt top I made for my sister back in 2005? And I know the blue flower fabrics are from a challenge project I attempted at least 10 yrs. ago.
A closer look
We should never be afraid of our stash fabric. I can't emphasize that enough! Mostly, stash fabric is just patiently waiting for the right blend of components to help us love them all over again. Sometimes it takes a new piece or two of fabric to help boost them into the limelight, but not always. One of the greatest merits of blending the old fabrics with the new is how the shades and tones change through the years. If you can figure out how to get past the fact that certain colors don't 'match' anymore, you might be pleasantly surprised by how your quilt starts talking to you, maybe even singing. It's brilliant and we have it all right here at our fingertips!

In the interest of full disclosure, I think it's only fair to admit that the biggest challenge usually ends up being the process. Uh huh. How do we make those oldy fabrics blend with the newer ones and still get a quilt that looks 'present'? (And what if we inadvertently make a quilt that takes everyone straight back to the 90's? Ack!) Obviously we have to find block patterns and layouts that resonate with us as well as our fabric choices.

All I can say is TRY, TRY, TRY. Success comes with experience, which is only possible when effort is expended.*sigh  If I find the magic formula I'll be sure and let you in on it. In the meantime, I'm still digging around for some unlikely blues for the next border....

20 comments:

  1. Ooh, yes. The Dresden border frames it nicely.

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  2. How clever of you.....I only think of the Dresden as a whole and I would never have thought of using a half Dresden in a border....but it works and looks so good!
    And I need that comment that you wrote written on a wall in my small sewing/computer space....Try, Try, Try........(if it is ok by you, I think I will print out those words and put them near my sewing table) The start of this year has had it's share of downtimes...MIL is very ill and our business has been experiencing a very quite time, so I need motivation to get myself more involved in my sewing and be willing to try, try and try to experiment and put in more effort.

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  3. Lovely Dresdens. I love them in a border. My inspiration comes to me in the same way as yours does. I would have to add though, that it also often comes to me in a design element - like your border. I will see something in a pattern or on a blog, and want to make that, so I build a quilt around the idea. And when an idea hits, I have to make it now, not tomorrow or in the never never, but NOW, so I dive for the stash. I need a party of little elves to come along behind me to finish off all my starts. LOL

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  4. I'm afraid I am one who said I was going to make Love Entwined and have all the months of instructions printed out but only worked on it for the first 4 months or so and it is sitting aside and I occasionally look at it and then look at everything others have on their LE quilts so far and I think - I really do not think I am going to make it the same way. I am not even done with the center medallion yet and already I know I will change it up and leave a lot out of it and maybe create something totally different! I love those Dresden!

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  5. Your quilt really is wonderful. I really like the Dresden Plates but I also love the flowers.

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  6. Interesting post. This year is the year I have finally started really using my stash and I am finding it so freeing. I just love mixing new and old fabrics and seeing how well they work together. I have finished the center medallion of LE, thru part 7, and am no giving myself a break before doing more. If I get more done great, if not no worry, I have enjoyed the process so far and I am having fun!!

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  7. Que buena idea !!!
    Precioso este borde con Drede
    Me gusta
    saludos

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  8. Well I'm so relieved! I just put a 1994 border fabric on a quilt, and now you tell me it's okay...so glad I've got good company on this one! I couldn't agree more with your comments about sewing from the stash. What the heck is it there for anyway!?!

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  9. A lot of food for thought in your post today. Finding or designing the right pattern for combining eras of fabrics seems to be an important point. Love your border!

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  10. An interesting read today. Your Dresden style border a good choice. Your style of design sounds like it just sort of happens and you go with the flow.

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  11. Whatever your design spirit is---it is working!! I love the playfulness of your piece. The pink dresdens just add the right amount of color to the border, without overdoing it.

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  12. The Dresdens are lovely in the border. And your decision on the LE was the right one. It is a beautiful project, I also thought about doing it, but I already have a similar project, Di Ford's Phebe quilt, that seems to go on forever and it is always in the back of my mind.....

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  13. I have been working on using my stash for three years now. My current plan is to make 8 scrappy cogwheel blocks to go with a compass star block and the backing is going to come from some chintz curtains that were taken down when we moved into our current home. I love trying to figure out how to take what I have and make it into a top. I love your dresden idea and that triangle border is wonderful too! I recently quilted a cable and let the cable run off each border, it was so much fun to let go and just have fun and not worry about turning corners and matching etc.

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  14. The *next* border!? Now I am all agog to see what that may be! I love those Dresdens, too. :)

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  15. I really like your quilt. It looks very happy.

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  16. Another inspirational post. I usually see those questionable fabrics in my stash and bypass them every time. I need to be more brave and mindful of how I can use them in my quilting. Thanks for the push!

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  17. Your quilt is so wonderful. Love the border, it is a great idea.

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  18. What a lovely quilt. The dresden plate border is so unique and looks really great!

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  19. Love the dresdan border!!! I think it's great to use stash fabric. I had a fabric avalanche in my sewing room today and ended up sorting out my cupboards. I found all sorts of fabrics I'd forgotten about.

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  20. You have such a great way of saying things. I totally agree with your philosophy. You already know how I feel about this quilt and I'm pretty sure it's going to be a surprise for me *wink*. Seriously, it looks perfect . And I'm keeping this border treatment in mind.

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