Giant Dresdens Quilt

Giant Dresdens for Baba O, 62'' x 90''

Sometimes quilts are really hard to give away. And sometimes you are so excited to do just that. Not because you want the quilt off your hands, but because you know the recipient will love it. Then there are the times you are sad to see the quilt go, but it is totally worth it because you get to see your cousins you hardly see in order to pass it on to their family. Sometimes.

I come from a giant extended family. My mom, an only child, became the 11th child of her aunt and uncle because that's how things work in big Ukrainian families on neighbouring farms. So I grew up with that family as mine as well. And while almost all of the family was in Saskatchewan, there was one set of cousins with us in Edmonton. We spent a lot of time together growing up, dancing, eating, playing, tormenting each other, laughing.

A few months back they asked me if I would make them a quilt for the Baba on the other side of the family as they are celebrating her 90th birthday this fall. Even though I don't really do commissions I wouldn't say no. Plus, I got to play with some ideas and that is always fun.

Three big Dresden plates, made with the

Fat Cat Ruler

. Gorgeous fabrics and loads of negative space to quilt on the long arm. Pretty quick to get together  - I think each Dresden took me about an hour to make, then only appliqué time. I machine appliquéd, so that wasn't very long either. Just 3 blocks to sew together and long strips for the side. And that was it.

I have a feeling there will be more Dresdens in my future. Maybe. I might need another request from the cousins in the midst of the other deadlines...

My dot to dot quilting on the long arm needs a fair amount of work, but I'm feeling very comfortable with all over free motion work. It is quite liberating and such a thrill to have it come together quickly. For this twin size quilt I was off the machine in slightly less than 4 hours, including my loading time and breaks for texts and instagram.  I used what I call a Paisley pattern, and my long arm teacher calls  headbands.

I've used it before

, but on my home machine.

The back was pieced with what I had at home, including this Amy Butler print from years ago. I bought it for another project that never came to fruition. I was worried it would be too girly for a 90 year old, but my cousins assured me that Baba O will like it. A few extra inserts of fabric that was also used on the front to bring it up to size.

On the front, in the centre of the Dresdens I wrote out birthday wishes. This way there is no need to flip it over to see the real reason Baba O is receiving this quilt. On the back are the labels - one with wishes from the family and one with maker and care info. As I pointed out, the quilt is likely to outlive even them, so the history needs to go with the quilt. But thankfully my cousin's wife has very neat handwriting so she actually wrote out the labels instead of me! I stitched those on over deck cocktails with my cousins. A gaggle of our kids eating popsicles and popcorn and playing in the backyard. Our conversations full of the stories of now and yesterday. Love, history, and the future all coming together, thanks to a quilt.