Sunday, May 19, 2013

Thinking of Dresden Plates

I have that Sunday Morning quilt that I'm not quite satisfied with.  I'd been thinking of making some pastelish Dresden Plates to go on it.  No decision about it yet.  I'll have to play a little.

This weekend I pulled out two of my mother's quilts to take some photographs of them.  As far as I know my mom made only Dresden Plate quilts and only 3 quilts in her lifetime.  You can see that my mother created the plates with reckless abandon:  no need to balance color or placement or fabric pattern.  I love them all the more for it. Two of the quilts were matching in so much as they both alternated 14 plate blocks, each about 10" in diameter, with plain pink fabric blocks.  The other quilt was made of 24 larger plates, about 12" in diameter, laid out with yellow sashing around every block.  The two plates above are different sizes, not obvious by the photographs. 

The one on the left is a block from one of the pink quilts she made (in the late 1950s or early 1960s).  The plate has 15 sections and is a chunky little block.  She pieced and appliqued the plates by hand and probably machine-stitched the blocks.  She and my grandmother quilted it.  For having so little experience with quilting I was surprised to see their tiny stitches.

The block on the right is from the yellow-bordered quilt.  The plate has 16 sections and was also hand pieced and appliqued.  The blocks and sashing are machine stitched.  The top was never quilted but has all the markings on it just awaiting needle and thread.

I'm trying to learn to like yellow.  Well, I do like some yellows:  the ones that lean toward orange.  I don't like the ones that tend toward green.  The sashing on this quilt is definitely lemony leaning toward green!  I thought about removing the yellow sashing and replacing it with blue -- my mother's favorite color.  She probably got the yellow fabric on sale and decided it would do -- but I can't quite bring myself to do that because all the quilting lines are marked.

It wouldn't be a big deal to remark the sashing pattern but this is the reason I can't remove it:  my father made the wooden templates used to mark the quilting lines on the sashing.  My parents were both in their late 60s or early 70s when Mom probably told Dad her dilemma of not having a way to mark the quilting (and not wanting to spend money on a one-time use item) and Dad solved the problem by finding out what she needed, then making it for her.  I think it's rare to have the touch of both father and mother on a quilt.  My brother, sister, and I chuckled when we saw the wooden templates when we were cleaning out my parents' home.  None of us claimed them -- and now I fervently wish I had!

I don't know which came first:  Did I think about Dresden Plates for the Sunday Morning quilt and then remember my mother's, or did I think about Mom's Dresden Plates and then the idea of using Dresden's on the Sunday Morning quilt follow?  It doesn't really matter.  Either way, it will be fun to make a few plates and try them on the Sunday Morning quilt.



  1. Go for it! Love the story about your mum and her quilts.

  2. Hi Nancy, love your mother's dresdens and the story about them. Maybe these "Garden Party" links may help with inspiration for your Sunday morning quilt:

  3. Dresden plates are on my "some day" list. How nice that you have your mom's quilts. I also wish that I had kept a few of my mom's things that I let go away. Sometimes looking at those things as we get older takes on some new meaning or gives us other insight into our parents that we didn't have the maturity to see or understand when we were younger.


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