The Nightmare and the Dreamcatcher in My Dreamcatcher

After mulling for ages over what to do in the centre square panel of my Dreamcatcher quilt, I finally made up my mind. Some of you may remember my original plan was to do the Endless Love whole cloth quilt pattern by Geta Grama. However, that is such a beautiful and intricate pattern, that it would have become the centre (literally!) of attraction, taking away attention from the pieced quilt blocks.

I then had a brainwave; I wanted, what else, a dreamcatcher in the centre! So that it did not draw attention away from the blocks, I would place it off centre, instead of bang in the centre of the quilt. Pinterest came to my rescue and what do you know, I found a moon dreamcatcher mandala which was off centre. I knew this was it! To balance it, I added a smaller dreamcatcher hoop on one side, just like the dreamcatchers of old, which had two hoops. (Says Wikipedia)

The pattern has two hoops; the larger is a ‘moon dreamcatcher’.

I love this design, but getting here has been a nightmare! First, it took me 7 drafts and nearly 15 hours spread over 3 days to get it like this. Then there was a problem with the drafted pattern and it wouldn’t print! You do know I draft my patterns on the free Quilt Assistant software, don’t you? Arnout Cosman, the designer of the software, was so very kind and offered to look into the problem when I wrote him. Well, after trying out various things, I managed to get a print out after another 2 days and was ready to trace it on to the fabric. That is when it was discovered that the fabric had frayed a bit, and the original 18.5″ square was no longer so. 

No problem, I had some of the Fossil Fern fabric lying around. To be on the safe side, I folded the fabric and cut a 19″ square from it. Would you believe it, I had cut it wrong??? It was 17″ x 19″! The first time in my life I make such a mistake and that with my last length of fabric in that colour!? I debated joining a strip of fabric; had it not been the centre I would have not thought twice before doing it. The only solution was to tell my son in the US of A to send me more of the fabric. It would arrive only in December. This was yesterday. 

“The Ojibwe people have an ancient legend about the origin of the dreamcatcher. Storytellers speak of the Spider Woman, known as Asibikaashi; she took care of the children and the people on the land. Eventually, the Ojibwe Nation spread to the corners of North America and it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children. So the mothers and grandmothers would weave magical webs for the children, using willow hoops and sinew, or cordage made from plants. The dreamcatchers would filter out all bad dreams and only allow good thoughts to enter our mind. Once the sun rises, all bad dreams just disappear. ” ( Wikipedia)

Today morning I took out the less-than-18.5″-square, starched and ironed it stiff as paper, tugging it to stretch it. Pure delight –  I ended up with a 18.6″ square. The pattern was traced, the batting and backing cut. You can be sure I measured a dozen times before I cut either! 

And so here we are. The Goddess of All Things Quilty ( or was it Asibikaashi?) has finally smiled and I hope She will continue to do so when I start putting the QAYG panels together. Just in case you are wondering what is so nightmarish about the panels, let me show you a diagram.

The layout showing the five quilt-as-you-go panels which ‘nest’ into each other.
Yes indeed – just what was I thinking? Nested seams in quilt-as-you-go panels which will be joined without a sashing? Oh, just what was I thinking?  Well, tomorrow is another day.

While I sit down to pray, please admire what I think may be my best design so far…

I strung some beads on the moon dreamcatcher , to add some interest. No, I will not hang feathers from it!

More Layout Options for the Rainbow Dreamcatcher

Here are some more layout options for the 8-block Rainbow Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt!

Layout 2.1

Layout 2.2


Layout 4


Layout 5

Layout 5.1

By now, I am thoroughly confused. The Consultant still votes for Layout 3! I think I will put away this quilt for the time being and come back to it after a month.

Layout Options for the Rainbow Dreamcatcher

Managed to finish only eight of the Dreamcatcher Round the Year BOM blocks? Here are layout options for queen sized quilt with as few as just five blocks!

I ended up making only eight of the sixteen Dreamcatcher Round the Year BOM blocks in the Rainbow colourway.

Now, eight is a pretty odd number of 18″ blocks to end up with, if you are wanting to make a queen sized quilt. In no mood to make any more blocks and not sure of how I was going to put them together, I tried out various layout options.

Layout Option 1

One could place the blocks in two columns and off centre them, adding borders on either side. It has a lot of negative space and the quilt doesn’t look too busy…

Layout Option 2

This is the same that I have used for the Dusk Dreamcatcher. Again, this gives me lots of negative space and the blocks look nice like this, I think.

However, I do want this layout to be different from what I have already done. To clinch the matter, The Husband responded with a grimace when consulted about this! Perhaps blue flying geese will look better than blue? No. I really do not want to do the same setting in this quilt. So we move to the third layout!

Layout Option 3

Here, I use only 5 blocks in a row, towards the foot. The bottom border is strips of various widths in white, black, the white & black prints and blues, greys used in the blocks. The top border is just 2-3 strips and only a 1″ blue  border on the sides. Two blocks are made into cushion covers set in blue squares and one into a framed wall hanging!

While I have approval of the Consultant in Residence, I would still like your opinion. What do you think will work best?

Been There, Done That?

Didn’t anybody tell her?  

Didn’t anybody see? 

I sit down to sew after more than 100 days, and this is what I do? Why did no one ever tell me, “Right sides together! Always, right sides together! ”

Did someone say, “Right sides together!” ?

This is, therefore, tagged ‘Piecing Tips’. 

Serendipity, Endless Love And The Dreamcatcher

 

Practice piece for the centre of the Dreamcatcher quilt – pattern by Geta Grama
 
serendipity
ˌsɛr(ə)nˈdɪpɪti/
noun
the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
“a fortunate stroke of serendipity”
synonyms: chance, happy chance, accident, happy accident, fluke;

My Dreamcatcher quilt is being quilted in 5 panels, four of which are 4 blocks put together and the centre piece is a plain square. You can see what I mean here.

 

How it will all come together…
 
 I had been wondering what I was going to do in the centre square – browsed through several pins on Pinterest and googled through hundreds of images. And then, suddenly, the answer landed up in my email inbox last month! 

I have been an admirer of Geta Grama, the Romanian quilter, ever since I took up quilting some 8 years ago. She does the most fantastic FMQ and her trapunto is to die for! You will fall in love with her gorgeous patterns. Well, to cut a long story short, she has designed a whole cloth quilt pattern (Endless Love) and…believe you me…it has been quilted on Fossil Fern (by Benartex) fabric which I am using for my quilt – even the colour of the fabric is exactly the same blue I have there in the centre of my quilt! Now if that is not serendipity, what is?! 

There were two patterns in the package I bought ( with excellent, detailed instructions) and I decided to try out the simpler one on a practice piece, before I start working on the blue fabric. 

I traced the pattern (using a regular lead pencil) to a orange- yellow Fossil Fern Fabric square …

 

I taped the printed paper pattern to a sunlit window; taped the fabric square on it and traced the pattern with a pencil.
 
It took me almost two hours to do this, beginning from starching  and pressing the fabric to finish tracing it. Extremely tedious!

I used the embroidery foot R of the Husqvarna Viking Topaz 20 to quilt the rosette. The pattern is so designed that you can quilt it in one continuous go – without having to lift the foot. It was surprisingly easy. I think it took me less time to quilt it than trace it!

 

The rosette was free motion quilted
 
I was not very happy with the uneven stitch length and opted for the regular foot B to do the scallops.  I really love the fact that I could just snap off the R foot and put in the B foot, changed the machine setting from Fmq to regular and I was ready to go! I have to admit was much slower going than the free motion quilting, but the results were quite worth the one and a half hours I took over them!  In fact the designer says the entire piece can be quilted using a walking foot! I am going to do that for the blue fabric. 

 

The outer scallops were quilted with the regular B foot in my Hasina!
 
As suggested by the designer, I added some more fmq to the pattern to make the rosette and scallops stand out. Here is the final result! 

 

The extra batting has been trimmed to 1/4″ , while i decide what to do with this piece
 
 
The rays of the setting sun show off the quilting!
 
A couple of views of the back…but before that, tell me what you do when you look at the back and discover that the tension had gone off suddenly in a couple of places? Do you rip that and re-do it? I had a couple of such areas! Thankfully they were near the edge and will be hidden under the binding. 

 

The back…
 
 
Pretty, pretty!
 
At the end of this exercise, I feel confident of being able to tackle the centre. If only, but only, someone would offer to trace out the pattern for me…sigh! 

The Final Block! 

That is the wedding ring block quilted…

 

I think it is a case of overkill! Too busy – but I am going to leave it as it is
 
…which leaves me with a 9″ border in a 100″ square quilt yet to be tackled. My calculator tells me that is 3276 square inches to be done. Am dreading it because it is on dark fabric and I shall not really be able to see what I am doing if I quilt with dark thread as I was planning to! 

Winding My Way Through the Last But One! 

 

Does anything need to be done in the centre?
 
I used the walking foot to quilt those lines.  I did venture on some feathers for the four ‘petals’ but with disastrous results. 

 

Is that ugly, or what! ?!
  
Why, just why, can I not wrap my brain around feathers?  Actually, I don’t think God intends me to quilt them, so I shall stay away from them henceforth. 

The last block is the double wedding ring and then I start working on the dark blue ‘border’. 

Quilting the Offset Mariner’s Compass

Quilting on yet another block completed today! 

Here are some close ups of the quilting on Southward Bound, which was the seventh block of the Dreamcatcher Round the Year Quilt. 

 

‘Stitched in the ditch’ with a bit of echo quilting.
  
I used the walking foot to ‘stitch in the ditch’ all the needles and the inner circles. 

i decided against doing any more quilting on the inner circles. Any suggestions?

I debated if I needed to quilt the middle ( blue) offset circle, but decided against that. 

Getting the hang of doing free motion quilting with the machine on auto-mode.
 
I am getting the hang of free motion quilting now! I am absolutely certain that you cannot get good results ( as a beginner, at least) if you do not use good quality thread and needles. For this block, I used a Schmetz needle and Sulky threads and the difference it made was amazing! 

A picture of the back will give a better idea o the quilting on the wedges! 

 

The quilting shows up much better on the back, doesn’t it?
 
This was a block which was more difficult to draft than to put together!  Would you like to make your own 18″ block? You could make a mini quilt with a single block or even frame it! The free pattern is available here

You could do a really modern version to , like I have done, in ‘Rainbow’ colours. As soon as I finish this quilt, I will start putting together the Rainbow Dreamcatcher too!

 

The centre circle is also a smaller compass! However, the pattern is not given for this centre.
 
Here is the full block! 

 

Quilting done! On th Dreamcatcher Round the Year quilt – Block Seven Southward Bound
 
I move next to the Winding Ways Block. Mulling over how I shall tackle that! 

Spinning The Wheel! 

I finished quilting the Chakra Block, Block Ten of the Dreamcatcher Round the Year quilt today! 

  

The Chakra – Block Ten of the Dreamcatcher Round the Year quilt
  

I quite love the way it has turned out! A close-up of the quilting…

 

The ‘Dharma Chakra’…
 
You can follow this link to find the free pattern for this block inspired by the ‘Ashok Chakra’,  or the Dharma Chakra ( Wheel of Righteousness), which finds the pride of place at the centre of  the Indian national flag and is taken from the edicts of the great emperor Ashok, who ruled over almost the entire sub-continent, in the third century B.C.

Just three more blocks to do, then I move to the outer dark blue fabric panels! Do share your quilt blocks on my facebook page ‘Patchwork of My Life’. Have a great weekend!