myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Dresden Porthole Quilt

At last a finished quilt to share with you! 
I feel like all I have been talking about is business recently – new shop, Stitch Gathering, blah-di-blah… I always wanted this blog to be separate from my working life but somehow it keeps leaking though (or more like taking over!).
So it’s lovely to show you something pretty I’ve made, which is the reason I started this blog in the first place.
I actually finished this quilt a few months back but I only managed to meet up with the person it’s for just this afternoon and handed it over.

It’s for my very good friend Patricia who had a special birthday at New Year (so it’s really late!). I asked her what sort of colours were in her bedroom and designed the quilt to (hopefully) fit in.

I’ve made a lot of Dresden Plates for cushions but never for a quilt so I thought it was about time I gave it a try.
With my cushions I have embroidered or heavily hand quilted the centres. As that was out of the question for a whole quilt (no matter how much I love my pal!) I decided to use the Porthole method (taught me by Lu Summers at Fat Quarterly 2 years ago) to make a sort of ‘floating ring’ effect.

There are 16 blocks, 15 red with green centres and 1 green with a red centre.

Unfortunately I decided to trim all the blocks at one of my Craft Clubs (a desperate attempt to multi-task under pressure), and due to not paying proper attention I trimmed some of them too much and then realised I’d not left enough room for binding! So I added that thin strip of fabric (the same as the binding would be). This has worked okay and given a sort of ‘stepped’ binding effect that I could pretend I’d intended all along, but I don’t mind admitting to my mistakes, they make us human!

The colours of the petals are graded in tone to give a subtle spiralling effect (I hope!). And, inspired by so many modern quilts I’ve seen recently, I chose all those low volume fabrics as backgrounds. I just love how that looks!

And to echo the spiralling effect I FMQed spirals all over for quilting. This was fun and I like the close textured effect. I didn’t bother to wash it, I’m starting to like the ‘fresh and flat’ FMQ look and worry that ‘crinkling’ spoils that a bit.

As regular readers know, if I am particularly pleased with something I’ve made I tend to take it all over Shangri La Farm taking photos of it like it’s a Supermodel and I’m shooting the Pirelli Calendar!

A shot of the back. I used this paisley Riley Blake fabric that features in the front too.

It was a bit hard to say goodbye to this one…

But I do love my pal very much! Here she is with her quilt, she’s just stopped crying here! I think that means she likes it.

It’s 86 inches (172cm square). Here it is on my bed.
Bye bye lovely quilt *waves*!!


  1. Lovely quilt the circle in circle centres are a lovely detail and when I saw the picture but not the caption I was going to say: You made your friend cry! (in a good way obviously!)

  2. Another stunner from you Jo, so I think it deserves to be treated like a super model. Beautiful choices of fabrics and the quilting just sets it all off. Your friend is a very lucky bunny.

  3. Just stunning, no wonder she cried. The dresden was the first block I ever did, and using EPP too. In fact I have only used EPP for my dresdens but really should have a go with a machine as I know it is much quicker.

  4. I love it. I love the way this makes the dresdens seem fun and modern, it makes me want to make some too. The colours you chose, including the backgrounds work so well, it is full of colour but not overwhelming. What a great gift, anyone would cry at receiving one like it.

  5. How lucky is your friend!! The quilt is amazing. I wish I could FMQ. I've had a couple of goes but don't seem to be able to get the hang of it. I hope it's a bit like learning to ride a bike so that once I do 'get it' I won't forget.
    I saw a very different dresden plate quilt to this on a visit to a craft centre on the weekend. It was one HUGE dresden plate, made out of opened out neck-ties. The background looked like a woollen, tweedy fabric (I couldn't get close enough for a proper look).
    Teresa x

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