Thursday, September 1, 2011

September Bee Block - The Circle Game

"And the seasons they go 'round and 'round
and the painted ponies go up and down;
We're captive on a carousel of time.
We can't return, we can only look
Behind from where we came,
And go 'round and 'round and 'round
In the circle game."
--Joni Mitchell, the Circle Game

This month I celebrate the big 3-0 (eek!), and I want to make a quilt to mark this milestone.  I also happen to be the "Queen Bee" for the NYC Mod Bee this month!  I decided to combine the timely lyrics above with a quilt technique that I've wanted to try for years but only had the courage to tackle now....

Dresden Plates!

Here were the instructions that I gave the members:

Make a Dresden plate with your modern "SPIN" on it!
--Make it any size, from 10 to 20 inches.  Please center the Dresden Plate on the background fabric and keep at least an inch of plain background fabric on each side.
--Make it with pointy spokes, rounded spokes, uneven spokes or no spokes at all (wagon-wheel style). 
--Make it with 6 to 600 spokes.
--Make it ultra-scrappy or perfectly coordinated.
--Attach the center circle and background using either hand or machine applique.  Visible stitches are fine.
--GET CREATIVE!  As long as it's pieced and round, it's good to go!

--I have sent wildly-colored Kaffe Fassett fabric to each participant.  Feel free to add from your own stash!
--There is red polka-dot fabric for the center and light-blue for the background.
--Please return large unused pieces of fabric, but you can keep the smaller scraps.

I found a bunch of free tutorials online to get you started:

A.  A 16-inch classic Dresden Plate with a free template.
B.  A 16-inch scalloped Dresden Plate with a free template.
C.  A 13-inch spokeless Dresden Plate with a free template. 
D.  A 12-inch spokeless Dresden Plate with a free template.
E.  A 10-inch scalloped and spiky Dresden Plate with a free applique template.
F.  Ultra-scrappy Dresden Plate.  (uses a ruler, but you can use another website's printed template).
G.  Scrappy Wagon Wheel.  Uses a basic compass and foundation piecing.
H.  Check out these beautiful examples! And the closeup of this pattern!
I.  A Youtube Tutorial!

I created my first-ever Dresden Plate block using Darlene Zimmerman's EZ Dresden Tool, and it was surprisingly simple.  I have a feeling that I may get hooked on Dresdens!  :)

My first Dresden Plate!  Circle measures about 18 inches.

Closeup (showing stitching).
The packages of fabric that I sent to the Bee members.


  1. i like the extra points you put on your dresdens!

  2. Nice, nice, nice! I bought that tool years and years ago. When will I use it?! Maybe soon.

  3. Hello! I came over from Lily's Quilts; I love the name of your blog, by the way! One day when I get up the courage to do dresdens I'll have to try that EZ tool--I love the pattern but it seems so intimidating. I'm excited to see what blocks you get back from your bee!


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