Wednesday, May 22, 2013


You may have noticed the photo in my header up there that I changed a few weeks ago. It's a detail from my quilt, Gelassenheit, and I'm excited to finally be sharing more of it with you now.

I took these photos of it in front of the barn at our new house, using the ladder to the tree house.

I really love the contrast of the modern quilt with the rustic wood of the ladder and barn. 

But, I wasn't able to get a full shot of the quilt, so I had a bit of a photo shoot last night.

Gelassenheit is my modern take on a traditional Dresden Plate quilt design, and it measures approximately 53" square. I made it as a design exercise while I was working on my Diamonds in the Sky quilt for Creativebug. I was playing with the idea of strip piecing, specifically how large pieced sections could be cut up and and put back together in a completely different arrangement. I used three different shades of solid cream cotton, a pale blue solid, and a light gray solid for the border and binding. Those colors feel really soothing and tranquil to me, and those are the thoughts that kept popping in my head while I was constructing the quilt. So, as I was thinking of a name for the quilt, I started to look up the word tranquility in different languages and I found Gelassenheit,  a German word, which I thought was quite fitting for a Dresden Plate quilt. But it has an additional meaning in the Amish culture, which I found equally as fascinating. It is an important part of Amish life in which one humbly yields to the will of God, which derives from the Biblical passage, Luke 22:42, in which Jesus says, "not my will, but thine be done."

I was also on a deadline to complete a quilt for an exhibition at the International Quilt Festival in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild had been invited to participate in a special exhibition of quilts that were a modern take on the Dresden Plate, so I decided to applique one large Dresden on top of the pieced section. The printed fabric is Amy Butler's Alchemy Organic Paisley in Sky Blue, which is so gorgeous, and I love how its design is also changed when it's been cut and pieced back together. 

I turned down the edges of my Dresden Plate and topstitched it to hold it in place.

And I used a chartreuse green solid as the center of the plate, which I also appliqued, although I used a fusible webbing to hold it in place, coupled with zig zag stitches around the perimeter of the circle.  


I quilted Gelassenheit it with straight lines, my absolute favorite, spaced about 3/8" apart. I just love the result of all those line of quilting.

While I do love the result, it's really tough to quilt so densely on my domestic sewing machine. There is a lot of straining of my neck, back, and arms that occasionally happens as a result of spending so much time in front of my machine, so I'm hoping my friend Jill will be able to help me out with her new machine.

Here's a better shot of the border and binding. I used the same fabric for both of these areas because I didn't want the binding to be a distraction from the rest of the quit design.

And for the back I used a lime green solid cotton, with a bit of the gray solid pieced in. I really love the unexpected pop of color that happens as a result of incorporating a new shade that isn't on the front of the quilt. 

I took a few photos of the quilt in progress too, and I thought it would be fun to share those with you as well. Here it is as I was getting ready to stitch the Dresden plate section down to the front of the quilt. 

And here it is, all basted and ready to quilt.

Here a shot of the quilt about midway through my straight line quilting.

My constant companion didn't help make things any easier during the quilting process, but he seemed to really enjoy the quilt. 

And here's a shot where you can see just how much the added texture of the dense straight line quilting adds to the finished look of the quilt. It's really amazing how much it changes everything; although at the same time I feel it doesn't compete with the design of the quilt top, just enhances it.

My son Aidan loves the quilt too, and in fact, he actually claimed it before I was finished making it. I explained to him that it would be a while before he could use it, knowing that it had to be on display at the Festival in April, and I finished it back in November. That didn't matter to him, and he even made a drawing of himself in front of the quilt, so of course, I had to take a photo of him, holding that picture, in front of the actual quilt. The cool kids call that meta, right?? 

So, I added this dedication to the label on the back of the quilt. Looks like Aidan might have to wait a bit longer for the quilt because it may be traveling to a few more places. Our Dresden Plate exhibition was really popular at festival and there has been talk of it being shown in a few more venues around the world. More on the show soon!

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