Category Archives: appliqué

A-round the Neighborhood

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday my Dresden Neighborhood mini quilt was square. Today it’s round:

And did you notice there’s more quilting in the background? I decided it needed some squiggly lines to offset all of those straight ones. Better, yes? It adds just a touch more whimsy.

I decided to start with a 28″ circle, knowing I might want to downsize it a bit. No 28″ compasses lying around the house, of course, so I knew I’d have to create my own compass using the time-honored technique of a length of string tied to a pencil. Because of the size of my project, I figured working with a quarter circle would be the way to go, and I wanted to use freezer paper because it can be ironed onto fabric and lifted off later, leaving no residue.

To begin I drew a 14″ square onto a piece of freezer paper. Then I taped the edges to my cutting mat so the paper wouldn’t shift when the curve was drawn. I measured and marked the spot on the string 14″ from the point of the pencil and held the string in place in the lower left corner as I drew the curve from upper left to lower right:

Working from the back side of my quilted piece, I marked the very center with a tailor’s tack, ironed my trimmed pattern piece in place. . .

. . . and stitched along the curved edge. Then I lifted the pattern off the quilted piece, repositioned it in the next quadrant, pressed it in place, and stitched along the curve. Ditto with the third and fourth sections.

It worked like a charm! All I had to do then was trim along the stitching line:

This is what it looked like from the right side:

I could tell right away the circle needed to be smaller so I made a new quarter circle pattern for a 25″ diameter circle and repeated the steps outlined above. After quilting 40 (!) squiggly lines the quilt was trimmed again, the result being the photo you see at the top of the post.

I’ll be back soon with a bound quilt. But first I need to bury all those threads on the back from the additional quilted lines.




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Quilting Has Commenced . . .

. . . on my Dresden Neighborhood mini quilt:

In fact, it may even have concluded. I haven’t decided yet about adding more quilting in the background. After stitching around the green and red circles in the center, I stitched along the sides of the houses to secure the layers of the quilt sandwich, extending the lines from the roofs into the background.

I did something similar with my first wonky Dresden Neighborhood quilt, Uptown Funk, but added more quilting lines and staggered the ends of some of them:

I really like the effect of rays emanating from the roofs, echoing the doors, which also give the impression of rays emanating from the center circle.

Here’s a look at the back of my current version:

The fabric is a piece of yardage from Corey Yoder’s “Holliberry” line for Moda, the same line I used in most of the dresden blades. Somehow I overlooked this particular print when cutting my 20 blades; it would have been a nice addition to the neighborhood!

The next step is to transform this square piece into a circle. Then I’ll decide whether it needs more quilting. I’ve already decided which fabric I’m going to use for the binding. I think you’ll like my choice!




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Not Even Close

The votes have been tallied — and my thanks to you who weighed in! The red button on the small green center . . .

. . . was by far the most popular choice among those who helped me solve My Button Dilemma (subject of my last post). I truly think if I had started and ended with the green button I would have been pleased with the outcome, but as my friend Colleen noted, the red button “just sings!” For those of you who preferred the green button on the small red circle, do not despair. That green button will definitely find a home on my wonky Dresden Neighborhood mini quilt.

On the photo above, the red and green circles have been attached to the quilt top. (The red button is just there for the photo op. It will get sewn on much later.) Here’s a close-up of the center:

Although I could have done a raw edge appliqué technique to attach the green circle to the red one, I chose instead to inset a green circle into a larger red square. All I needed to do next was convert the square into a circle. I did that by drawing the properly sized circle on a scrap of fusible interfacing (using the base of a milk pitcher as my template!), putting the two pieces right sides together, and stitching all the way around the circle.

Then I cut into the back side (interfacing layer only) so I could turn the circles inside out, which meant the fusible side was now on the outside and ready to fuse onto the quilt top:

Here’s the front after turning:

Fusing it onto the quilt top flattened the circles but I still stitched all the way around the outside circle by hand for a more finished look. When I’m ready to quilt the top by machine, I’ll stitch in the ditch around the inner and outer circles and from there stitch down some of the blades to hold the layers securely together.

With every step, I am loving my wonky Dresden Neighborhood even more!




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My Button Dilemma

Thank you all for weighing in on the color combo you prefer for the center of my Dresden Neighborhood mini quilt. The green outer circle/red inner circle got the most votes but my twin sister Diane — who is not even a quilter — suggested that I audition the buttons I have in mind for this quilt before making a final decision. Now why didn’t I think of that? Her suggestion was echoed by my friend Arden, who is a quilter, so I’m going to do just that.

First let me show you the leading button candidates:

Aren’t they beautiful? They are both vintage but I’m pretty sure the red one is older. I love the scalloped shape of the red button but the green button also appeals to me because its center design is reminiscent of a Churn Dash quilt block. Both buttons measure 7/8″ in diameter.

Let’s take a look at the buttons in place on the quilt top. (Nothing is sewn down; the circles are just plunked down in the middle with a button on top.) Behind Door #1:

Behind Door #2:

And finally, the contenders side by side:

Oh, what a dilemma! I love them both but I am leaning toward one. How about you?




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Red/Green or Green/Red?

In my last post I showed my thought progression in auditioning red and green circles for the center of my Dresden Neighborhood mini quilt. My final decision (or so I thought) was a green circle, which I really liked after adding a smaller red circle on top of it. Here’s a reminder of what that looks like:

One of my friends from Quilt Camp came out strongly in favor of red so I took another look. I still felt the red, by itself, was too bold but I hadn’t thought about placing a smaller green circle on top of it. When I did, I really liked it too:

Now I can’t decide which one I like better. Here are the two possibilities side-by-side:

(You will surely notice how different the background fabric looks in the two photos. They were taken on different days in the same spot in my sewing room, with weak afternoon light coming in a south window. Depending on the time of day and weather, the colors can look so different.)

I’d love to know which one you prefer!





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The doors are on my wonky Dresden Neighborhood mini quilt:

I cut the strips for my doors a little taller than designer Kim Lapacek’s pattern calls for. That’s because my house fabrics are pretty busy and I wanted to tone down the prints with some longer strips of solid fabrics — or at least fabrics that read as solid. In fact, there’s only one solid, the true red.

The next decision? What to use for the circle that goes in the center. First I auditioned a scrap of the solid red:

I liked it but felt it was too strong. Maybe one of the red prints would work better? I cut a circle out of a scrap and stuck it on:

As much as I like this print (one of my favorites from Corey Yoder’s “Holliberry” line), it seemed to add to the busy-ness of the prints rather than calm them down.

Next I tried one of the greens:

Okay, this is more like what I had in mind. (And you shouldn’t be surprised. Green is my favorite color, after all.)

But then I wondered:  how would it look with a smaller solid red circle on top of the green one?

Oh, yeah! I’m liking this a lot. As Henry Higgins would say, “By George, I think she’s got it!”

But guess what else I’m seeing? A big green button on top of the red circle. Maybe even a smaller red button on top of the green one. What do you think? Can you see it too?

One of the pleasures of working on a project like this is letting it evolve. Each quilter who makes this charming pattern (Dresden Neighborhood by Persimon Dreams) winds up with a unique project, totally subject to the whims and preferences of its maker.

Now that I have a plan, I’ll inset a red circle into a larger green scrap and turn that scrap into a circle so that I can applique it (by hand) into place. Then I’ll be ready to add the batting and backing and turn it into a quilt sandwich.

Working on this project is making me smile. Always a good thing on a cold and rainy January day!




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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, friends and treasured blog followers! I’m popping in to say hello and point out the stitching around the roofs on my wonky Dresden Neighborhood mini quilt:

It’s still under construction but you can see the rest of the neighborhood here.

I used a simple straight stitch to outline each roof, using my open-toed walking foot so I could easily see every stitch as it was being made:

The threads I used — light green, red, and medium gray — were chosen to blend with the roof fabrics rather than offer contrast. The effect is very subtle but gives the roofs in my wonky little neighborhood a nicely finished look.

Thanks for stopping by on this first day of 2022!




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Up on the Rooftop

My Dresden Neighborhood homes now have roofs over their heads. I just finished fusing 20 slightly wonky roofs in place. But before I show you, take a look at the “before” photo, with the dresden blades attached to the background fabric:

Who doesn’t love polkadots?! I especially love them when they’re scattered randomly across fabric. They add an extra touch of whimsy, don’t you think?

Now for the roofs:

(That’s a circle of freezer paper in the middle, put there just to cover the raw edges.)

Next up: stitching around each roof. I used a heavy duty fusible on them so I’ll use a straight stitch around the edges of each roof rather than a decorative stitch. Doors and windows get fused on next. Hmmm, wouldn’t it be fun to use buttons for some of the windows? I have some really neat vintage buttons that might find their way onto the finished quilt . . .

Preparing to teach a class on this pattern (Dresden Neighborhood by Persimon Dreams) has given me an excuse to play in my sewing room. (As if I needed an excuse!)

Since this is my second version of Dresden Neighborhood — you can see my first one here — I’m going to try out some new ideas (buttons being one of them). As designed, this mini quilt finishes at 24″ square but I’m toying with the idea of making it round. To that end I cut my background fabric about 31″ square. We’ll see where that takes me after I’ve finished decorating the houses.

For crafters and quilters in the area who might be interested in my class, clicking here will take you to the class information page at Montavilla Sewing Center in Lake Oswego.




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A Pearl of a Quilt Guild

One week ago today I was in the small town of Dayton, Oregon (population 2,668) giving a presentation to a brand new quilt guild, the Willamette Valley Quilters. My talk was about the making of this quilt, Give Me the Simple Life:

Give Me the Simple Life, made by Dawn White, quilted by Kazumi Peterson (2019)

It’s my version of Hazel’s Diary Quilt, designed by Shelly Pagliai and featured in her book A Simple Life: Quilts Inspired by the ’50s. The making of this quilt, including my struggle/journey to become proficient at needleturn appliqué, was well documented in my blog during most of 2018 and 2019 so no need to revisit it here. I got to revisit it, though, while preparing for my presentation. It was great fun to go back in time, so to speak, to tell the guild members the story behind the quilt.

The Willamette Valley Quilters held its first member meeting last month, that’s how new the guild is. Here’s a photo of the founding members from the guild’s website:

And here’s a photo of most of them at last week’s meeting:

There’s something special about this photo. Do you see it? In addition to wearing tee-shirts with the Willamette Valley Quilters logo on it, everyone in the picture is wearing pearls! Peggy Gelbrich, the guild’s first president (she’s third from the left), told me the board hopes to make it a tradition. Isn’t that a lovely idea?

The leaders of the guild could not have been kinder or more welcoming when I arrived to set up for the meeting, and it was a delight to interact with them and their members. So thank you, Willamette Valley Quilters!




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“Something more.” That’s what one of my sampler blocks needed. Here’s the “before” shot:

I started with Cluck Cluck Sew’s No Point Star design (a free pattern!) and set it on point. I really like this block but as I pointed out in my last post, it wasn’t quite holding its own with the other sampler blocks made to date:

I decided to embellish the block with a flower fussy-cut from my focus fabric, seen here:

Now take a look at the block with the flower appliquéd in the center:

Better, yes? I’m especially liking that touch of green in the very middle of the blossom.

Here’s a shot of the embellished block with its companions:

I think it’s safe to say it’s holding its own now.




Posted in appliqué, Block of the Month (BOM), Quilt-Along, sampler quilt, update | 5 Comments