2017, art gallery fabric, cotton + steel, creativity, dutchmans puzzle, family, quilting

Dutchman’s Puzzle

Up until the past year or so, I would have described all of my quilts so far as modern or improv. Sometimes I would follow a pattern, but many times I’d create something as I went. Part of the reason for this is that I wasn’t very good at following instructions – or at least I hadn’t mastered the ¼” seam, which meant everything was always “off.” Instead of trying to figure out why (duh), I just did my own thing.

Now that I have the right foot for my sewing machine and understand how it works a little better, it’s easier for me to work off of patterns. Traditional pieced blocks that I shied away from are now intriguing to me. I look forward to each Wednesday when I get the block of the week for the Solstice quilt I’m working on. I like learning new techniques and getting better at ones I already know.

My grandma was a quilter. She made the traditional quilt blocks, but without the aid of the modern quilting tools we have today. I think about her a lot when I sew – I know she’d love to see the advancements and watch me work. Unlike me, and many people today, she hand quilted her quilts. Sometimes she did this on her own, but many times her quilts would be put in the rack and several women from church would sit around it and quilt together.

My grandma made me a quilt many years ago. I still use it on our bed when I need an extra layer in the winter. This is a traditional block called Dutchman’s Puzzle. By moving colors around, this block can be transformed in an instant. You can see a different version here – it’s the same pattern, but the colors are laid out differently.

I got this quilt in 2000. I didn’t start quilting until 2013, so I never really paid much attention to the detail of the quilt she made until more recently. Looking at it I’m amazed by the small, consistent stitches. I recognize some of the fabric from the summer dresses she made for herself. Once I learned the name of block, I knew I wanted to make a quilt with this pattern but with my own twist to it.

Last year I saw a tutorial from Missouri Star Quilt Company using the Dutchman’s Puzzle block but with a modern twist. Rather than being small blocks, they are each 12” blocks. Rather than piecing together small triangles or making flying geese, this one works off of half-square triangles. (If you aren’t a quilter, it’s okay if you don’t understand this paragraph!)

I used fat quarters from a Cotton + Steel basic starter box. I purchased the border and backing from Quilt Addicts Anonymous. The fabric is from Art Gallery Fabric and it’s some of the best fabric I’ve ever felt!

I think this is the largest quilt I’ve quilted on my own. I stuck to straight line quilting to keep it simple. I was able to maneuver it in and around my sewing machine, but it’s far from perfect! I still have a long way to go when it comes to quilting, especially larger quilts. However, I’m really proud of this one! I don’t know who it’s for, but I’ll know when I know. 🙂


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