Let me digress for a moment here. I am very fond of historical trivia, so as I was piecing the Dresden plate together I was curious as to why it was called that, so I googled it. It turns out it is named after the town of Dresden in Germany, which became famous in the Victorian Era with its fine decoration of porcelain plates with colourful flowers, fruits, and foliage. The 'Dresden plate' became a very popular quilt pattern in the 1920s and 30s, a time when Dresden porcelain was also hugely sought after. The pattern is called by other names as well, including Grandmother's Sunburst, Friendship Ring, Aster, Dahlia and Sunflower, though these are rarely used these days. So, there you go, a small piece of quilting history for you. Also, I found it fascinating that the plate on the right below is a plate for oysters. How wonderful!
(*images courtesy of Rubylane.com)
Anyway, back to the baby quilt. I have decided to make it bigger than the 'original version' of this quilt by Nana Company. Initially it will be used as a floor mat for Alice, who is now rolling (where has my newborn gone? I blinked and she is 4 months old!). She therefore needs a lot more space for her floor adventures. So I will be adding a patchwork border or two to make the whole thing bigger. See the orange and green specks within the floral fabric? The border will feature those colours as well as the pinks and florals coordinating with the Dresden. This is a trick I picked up recently, and it applies to all patchwork items, not just quilts. Every patchwork needs a few 'pops' of colour - otherwise it can look too flat and matchy-matchy. And the best colours to give that 'pop' are the colours of the little accents in the dominant patterned fabric, that you may not notice at first glance. It's all rather clever, really. Colour theory that is. I have seen so many quilts, painstakingly pieced together, and beautifully quilted, but they look a mess because the colours don't work together or the patterns clash. Getting the colours and fabric combinations right is so important, and possibly one of the hardest things about quilting. So I hope this one turns out OK!
Once the quilt top is ready I am going to hand quilt it. I mean, why make life easy when I can make it difficult, right? Thankfully I love sewing by hand, and I also love the puckered hand-quilted look. It will take longer, but hopefully the result will be worth it.
In fact, I have a bit of a confession to make here. This is not only my very first Dresden plate, or my first shot at hand quilting and binding, it is literally MY VERY FIRST QUILT (in fact that's what I may call it when it's finished - if I am not too chicken) . So a first in literally every aspect - except perhaps the central embroidery, which I am an old hand at. So please bear with me whilst I slowly work on this quilt, I am on a steep learning curve here. Also this little one is really keeping my hands occupied at the moment.