Friday, May 6, 2016

Northcott fabric Chip Challenge - Spiral Dresdens

Back at Quiltcon 2016 in February, I met some lovely people from Northcott who were sponsoring a challenge - take 5 charms of solid dark purple, combine with a limited array of background solids in whites and greys, and make a 30 inch square modern quilt. We took an armful of chip packs back to our local Las Vegas MQG and got as many people involved as we could.

May 1st was the deadline to submit your entry online. Here is mine:

A bit about my process. The spiral dresden block is a free paper piecing pattern from Orchid Owl quilts, aka my bestie Vicki Rueble. She calls it Swirly Twirly Dresden. You can get it here.  (It's super easy and fun to make.)

I did a test block to see how much of the block I could do with five charm squares. It turned out cute and colorful.
In this case, I was using a few shades of green charm squares. I figured out that I could make almost two full dresdens with five charms. I used my permitted background colors to make two more, overlapping them to cover the missing purple strips. (Can you tell where they are? or are not, in this case?) 

Then I went a little off the rails.  I decided that not only would I double batt my quilt with cotton and wool, but I would also put a layer of cotton batting inside the dresdens. Three layers of batting made those dresdens really puffy, and rather thick. My Innova didn't have any trouble sewing through all those layers but it did struggle to get them squished between the machine head and the dead bar. 

But we managed. I also used some silk thread from Superior Threads. I've used silk before on Helga and loved it. But on Olga I snapped a needle.  Which is terrifying on a longarm. No horrible thud like you hit something metal. Just a broken needle.  After some deep breaths I put in a new needle and tried again.  Good for a bit and then snapped another one. Lots of trouble shooting later, I came to the conclusion that I had no idea. I think it might have been a bad cone since when it snapped the thread would be tight all the way back to the cone. But despite that frustration and an unsolved mystery, I got through the quilting and finished in time to take to show and tell at my local MQG, where there were so many fun variations, and to submit it for the challenge. 


  1. This is absolutely gorgeous. I attended my first meeting of the LVMQG last month and love it!

  2. Love this piece. Those spiral dresdens are great and really like the quilting you did. I also find it scary when a needle breaks on the longarm-as it did this afternoon and like you I have no idea why it happened.

  3. Whoop whoop indeed . Not only is this gorgeous but it shows what you can do with a very little fabric

  4. I love the movement in your piece! Well done!!

  5. So smart to overlap the dresdens to cover up the spots where you were missing fabric! This is a gorgeous piece!

  6. Hello Ida, what a lovely piece. Thanks for sharing the free pattern. Can't wait to play with it!

  7. Just a couple snaps and you can get the opportunity to browse a lot of textile machines. bursting strength tester


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