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Posted by on Jan 8, 2014 in Featured, Finishes | 72 comments

Finish: The Inheritance Cycle Quilt

Finish: The Inheritance Cycle Quilt

Also known as: The Dragon Quilt of Doomity-Doom-Doom-Doom

dragonquilt

This is by far my favorite quilt I’ve made to date, but it certainly did not start out that way!

At the beginning of last year, my then 8-year-old niece asked for a dragon quilt for Christmas. I told her that I’d ask her again closer to Christmas to see if she still liked dragons. I was informed in early October that yes, even at 9, she still loved dragons, and could I please make the quilt in golds, greens and blues after the colors of the good dragons in The Inheritance Cycle books (the Eragon series).

babydragons

I had drawn a couple of baby dragon doodles for her which she’d had pinned to her wall for the last year, and she said she wanted something like that, but in quilt form. No problem.

threadsketch

And from there I had NO IDEA what to do. Well, I had an inkling of an idea of what I wanted to do but no experience doing it, and I was fairly certain it was really hard. So I thought about paper-piecing, which was comfortable, but the dragon doodles were cutesy and round which is not very conducive to paper-piecing.

After exhausting many other possibilities (including fabric paint), I finally realized I should stick with my original idea: FMQ sketching and appliqué. I’d never done it, but I loved the look of it, and since she liked my sketches, I figured it was the best way to incorporate it.

butterfly

So I drew a bunch of dragons. Over and over again, freaking out that I was never going to be able to draw a dragon I liked. And then one day I suddenly drew one in style I liked. So from there, I drew a basic quilt design. And then I freaked the crap out about the whole thing. And then you all talked me down. (Thank you!)

threadpile

And the next day I decided that I could still be scared, but I should at least do something, because let’s face it, I was really running out of time. I worked through some technical issues, but by the end I was really comfortable with the technique and thoroughly enjoyed it! I can’t wait to try it again. :)

dragonip

But I had made the appliqués quite a bit smaller than they were supposed to be in my original design. And I kinda freaked out again. Because I really needed to make a quilt around these things, and I had no clue what to do. So I started sketching in Illustrator. I couldn’t get anything I was happy with and I was really worried about time. I had about a week left at this point.

dragonquilt-midcrazy

And then my best friend talked me down from THAT design (well technically I sent it to her and she just laughed at me, and now you know why.)

layout

I ended up scrapping everything in the design except the placement of the blocks, and making something much simpler that I was also much happier with (and it even got a bit more simplified in the end). Then it was just about executing it.

dragonback

I finished the last seam on the front of the quilt at 5:30p on Thursday, and rushed over to the local quilt shop which closed at 6p to pick out a back. I was headed to a friend’s house to baste it the next morning, so needed the back completed. I found this Tula Pink print in voile, and used it upside-down (on purpose) to make it look like scales. It was the end of the bolt, so I used a chartreuse voile to make it wide enough. (As an aside, basting spray does not work on voile. Lesson learned.)

basting-front

After getting it basted, I spent the next two days quilting it and got the binding on the Sunday before Christmas (I chose to machine bind due to the intended recipient and time concerns), and we left for my brother’s house the next day. PHEW! Talk about in the nick of time!

dragon3

On Christmas Eve (when we open gifts):

My Niece: Did you make me my dragon quilt?
Me: What dragon quilt?
My Niece: Oh no! Auntie Anne, did you forget?!

niecequilt

HAhahahaha. She was so thrilled when she got the quilt! She whipped it out of the box and immediately started wearing it. We spent some time that night on the couch cuddling under the quilt, reading the text prints and I pointed out some of the special things I’d incorporated into it just for her. It was a really wonderful experience. :)

dragonip

I showed her some of the blog posts about the quilt so she could see the design process, and when she saw the name she informed me that I needed to change the name to “The Inheritance Cycle Quilt” instead of Dragon Quilt of Doomity-Doom-Doom-Doom. Pfft. I suppose.

dragon2

Along the way, someone asked me how I planned to quilt it. I hadn’t actually considered that at all until I was asked, and it became an issue when I got to the big appliqué squares. I used a very forgiving batting, and I ended up quilting mountains and such into the backgrounds of the dragon blocks. I wish I’d used a slightly darker thread so it showed up more, but I think it ended up working fairly well. :)

dragon1

And now I should probably make a quilt for my nephew!

binding

There’s been a lot of interest in this quilt (thank you!!) and I’m going to try to make it into a pattern. As soon as I figure out how to do so. :)

dragonquilt

Quilt Stats:
Dimensions: 54″ x 74″
Fabrics: Linen in natural (pre-washed, 1/2″ seams), kaffe shot cottons, quilting cottons, voile.
Back: Tula Pink – Snail Scallop in Olive + a solid voile in chartreuse (I didn’t note brand)
Binding: V & Co. – Geometric Eyelet in Navy
Design: By me!
Thread: Black sketching – Aurifil #2692 50wt (black), Quilting on linen – Aurifil #2314 50wt, Piecing and quilting – Aurifil #2024 50wt (white)
Number of creative meltdowns caused by designing this quilt: 3 -  dragon design, quilt design, quilting design

I thought I’d try something new and collect all the posts about the quilt. I like reading the creative journeys on other people’s blogs, but have trouble finding the posts sometimes.
Previous blog posts about this quilt:
Planning For the Holidays
Finishing Line
Bentos and Templates and Dragons Oh, My!
Re-entry
Comparison Critic
Quilt Backs
Last Bee Blocks of the Year
Dragon Quilt of Doomity-Doom-Doom Progress
Big Cats and Small Dragons
Small Progress
The Last Dragon
Doodle Dragons Done
WIP Wednesday
Prep Work
In Which a Quilt Top Begins To Emerge
Happy Holidays

orchidsig

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72 Comments

  1. Oh Anne. I simply love it!! Absolutely completely different than anything I’ve seen before, in the best way. :) The way you filled in the design around it is perfect. Color too. I think she will love it forever! And I think including the floral prints and the sweet little butterfly make it just girly enough for a girl dragon quilt.

    • Thanks so much, Sarah! I just saw her last weekend (her family came to visit) and she brought the quilt with her. :) Which of course made me all proud and happy! As soon as the crazy slows down, I’m going to do some research about writing quilting patterns, because I’d love to see other people make these too!

  2. It is a wonderful quilt and I love that your niece loves it. It will be fun to watch you plan the next one.

    • Thank you! It was definitely gratifying that she loved the quilt. :D
      I’ve been wanting to do some more thread sketching, but I need to wait until the second half of the month. In the meantime I’m mostly working on old WIPs to try to clear the slate a bit for the new year. :)

  3. I really liked to see the first draft of your pattern. It is not easy to show our “mistake” to the rest of the world and laugh about them.

    • I figure if I show my mistakes, people will feel less bad about making them. I know other people must do the same things, right? :)
      I’m really glad I had my friend there to talk me down from that design. :) There’s no way I would have been able to finish that in time, AND it would have really taken the attention away from the dragons. It’s a good reminder for me that I shouldn’t always stick with the first thing that pops in my head. :)

  4. I think your dragon quilt is so amazing! every time I read and see pictures about it I love it more. Your niece is one very lucky girl. I love the colors you used and the placement of your dragons. I don’t think I could ever make something like that but would love to have a pattern to try. I can’t wait to see your next project :)

    • Thank you, Kathleen! I really had so much fun with this quilt! Well, once I got out of my own way anyway. ;) I really want to make a pattern for this design because I think it’d be amazing to see what other people do with it!
      I have a couple of ideas brewing but mostly I’m focused on old WIPs right now to try and clear the slate a bit for the year!

  5. I have really enjoyed watching this quilt come to life. I am so glad your niece loves it! And I love that you have collected all your posts on your quilt and the process. And although she objected, this may always be the Dragon Quilt of Doomity Doom, at least in my mind. Congratulations on a great finish!

    • It’s definitely the DQoDDDD in my mind, despite what she wants me to call it. :) She’s an opinionated little thang but so’s her auntie. ;) This was definitely an epic quilt, and I am hopeful that I can work on something similar this year. :) Preferably with fewer meltdowns though. That part wasn’t so fun!

  6. This is fabulous! I dread to think what your nephew will ask for! And I would definitely be interested in a pattern, though you may find that as much of a challenge as the quilt itself!

    • Hahaha Fortunately my nephew is only 5, so it’ll probably be a bit before his tastes have solidified enough to want a quilt like this. :) Last year it was trains, this year it’s ninja (ninjango legos) and cats. I’m pretty sure he’ll swing again before next Christmas, so he’ll just be getting small projects for a while. :D
      I really want to make this a pattern because I really want to see what other people do with it. Sadly, I have no idea how to go about making one, so it’s going to require a bit of research first. :)

  7. it’s perfect (although the new name is a total disappointment, frankly!)

    • HAhahahaha that’s okay, I totally agree about the name. So while on the surface it’s called The Inheritance Cycle Quilt, in my mind it will always be the DQoDDDD.

  8. seriously one of the most awesomely fabulous inspiring quilts i’ve seen. i’m totally crushing on this quilt, as i’ve said before. would even be tempted to follow a pattern so i can make my own version if you were to release it… i couldn’t make anything as awesome to go into the dragon panels… but i seriously love this quilt!!

    • Thank you for all your kind words and encouragement, Erin! I’m going to do some research into making this a pattern because it would be so cool to see how other people interpret it. :) And I’d likely make the dragon applique patterns available too (more research!)

  9. I think this quilt is pretty awesome and I’m glad your niece loves it. I especially love the colour balance throughout as well as the “sketchy” aspect of the quilting in the dragon blocks. Well done.

    • Thank you, Nicole! Since my niece is such a big reader, I wanted to capture the feel of the words and drawings coming to life. I don’t think I was completely successful in that aspect of it, but I like how it came together anyway. :)

  10. It is very original and creative. Well done!

    • Thank you, Vera! I definitely want to try to do more projects like this in the future. :)

  11. I’m thrilled to see this finally posted. I don’t care for the new name, either, but your niece doesn’t have to know. :D It will always be The Dragon Quilt of Doomity-Doom-Doom-Doom to me. You did a fabulous job!

    • Hahaha I figure my niece can call it what she wants, but it is the Dragon Quilt of Doomity-Doom-Doom-Doom in my mind, too. :) Thank you for the ongoing encouragement! I’m so happy that it’s finished and that it matched the vision in my head for it. :)

  12. Awesome quilt and a beautiful story! The colors really pop and I LOVE your sketching! So special!!

    • Thanks so much! This quilt took me way outside my comfort zone, but I’m so glad I went for it and didn’t follow the safe route. :) I’ve found a whole new area of quilting that I really love because of it!

  13. What an awesome quilt! It came together beautifully, and your sketchy dragons are wonderful.

    • Thanks so much! This was definitely a leap of faith outside my comfort zone as far as the design was concerned. So I am thrilled (and a bit surprised) that it came together in the end. :D

  14. Really magnificent. Delighted you got it finished in time and I am sure your niece will really treasure her quilt.

    • Thanks Paula. :D There were times when I was sure I wasn’t going to make the deadline, but somehow I managed to get it all done in time. :) I told my niece if she ever got tired of it that she should feel free to give it back. lol ;)

  15. It’s fantastic. Somehow I missed that this was your first time with the sketch doodling. The back is PERFECT. It is completely dragon scaly!

    • I practiced sketch doodling a lot at our quilt retreat before taking on the real thing. But it wasn’t until the 3rd dragon that I felt like I’d finally got the hang of it. :) And I’m glad you appreciate the back! I thought I was so clever with that. LOL It’s hard to find a good dragon scale print!

  16. I love this quilt but am not showing it to my daughter. I fear she would want one.

    • Hahahaha well if I ever figure out how to make this into a pattern, you could make one for her. :) And I could make one for myself! :)

  17. I’ve loved watching you make this quilt! I had no idea what it would look like finished, and it’s amazing. I love how you framed the dragons, left them plain and sketchy, and the gradients! It turned out really great.

    Good luck with the nephew. He’s definitely going to have high expectations!

    • Thanks so much! I spent most of my time making this quilt outside my comfort zone, but I’m so glad I did! :) As for my nephew, he’s only 5, so fortunately he doesn’t have much in the way of expectations yet. :) But I should probably make him something so he stops trying to steal his sister’s quilt..

  18. this quilt is just so incredible beautiful, with is was mine

    • Thank you! To be honest, by the end, I wished it was mine, too. ;)

  19. She can call it what she likes, but you know it will always be the DQODDDD to all of us :) Any ideas for the nephews quilt? how old?

    • Hahahahah yah, I don’t think I fooled anyone with that title up there. :) My nephew is 5, so he’s still in the “changes interests all the time” phase of his life. So I probably have a couple of years before I really need to make him one. But I feel like I should make him something handmade, maybe a pillow or a lego bag? :)

  20. The inheritance of doomity doom….
    I love, love, love this quilt. I could not love it more unless you we’re lie ing about giving to your niece and it was actually in a shipping container on its way to me. I think you did an absolutely brilliant job! And I am glad she is so happy with it. I wonder if you’ll be brave enough to ask your nephew what he wants on his quilt…
    E xx

    • Thanks so much, Erin! Sadly I’m not lying and I did in fact gift it to my niece, but I know what to make you should the need arise. :D How about a pattern? To add to your list? ;)
      My nephew is 5 and right now he’d want a Ninjango quilt, with cats on it. That’s probably not going to happen, so I figure if I wait and just keep asking, I have a couple years before his interests solidify. :)

  21. What an awesome quilt! You are really doing great work, Anne!

    • Thank you, Maria! I feel like this is the first quilt I’ve made that is really “me” if that makes sense? Hopefully I can work from here and make more things that feel like me. :)

  22. This beauty is just magnificent. And makes me want to learn to applique because I clearly need to make something half this fantastic one day.

    • Thank you! I’m pretty new to appliqué but it looks a lot harder than it actually is. :) Draw thing on paper cover fusible steam-a-seam 2 (mirrored), remove back paper cover, stick one side to fabric. Cut fabric to match drawing. Remove other paper cover, stick to backing fabric. Make sure it’s placed how you want. Iron. Sew. Done. :)

  23. Wow! What an undertaking! The things we will do for the special little people in our lives! Your niece is very lucky to have such an auntie! :)

    • Thank you!! And you’re right. I probably wouldn’t have gone through that much effort for an adult. lol But she’s the only other leftie in the family, and we lefties gotta stick together. :)

  24. Your 9-year-old niece read the Inheritance cycle??? She must be an excellent reader. In my mind this quilt will always be called the The Dragon Quilt of Doomity-Doom-Doom-Doom! Great job and I like the idea of putting all the related posts in one post!

    • Yes, she’s an avid reader and ran through the stuff at her school library very quickly. She started in on Harry Potter a couple years ago, I think? I’m not sure if her mom has let her finish them though since they get pretty dark at the end. :)
      I think most everyone is in agreement that my sassy niece can call it what she wants, but we’re all going to keep calling it the dragon quilt of doomity-doom-doom-doom. ;)

  25. Love, love, love, love, annnnnnnnnddddd love. I honestly don’t know what else to say. This quilt is a total show stopper, it’s 100% you and seriously so damn cool Anne! I wants one of my very own now too. Maybe I could be an adopted niece? Huh, huh? I’ll let you think about that :)

    • Hahaha thank you Kelsey! <3 I love that you said it was me, it feels like the first quilt I’ve made that’s “me” so it’s awesome to hear someone else say that. :D I think I should make a pattern and we should do a QAL, because I want to make one for myself, too. :) Dragon Quilt of Doomity-Doom-Doom-Dooms for everyone! ;)

  26. This quilt is awesome – I’m not at all into dragons but this quilt is so fantastic! I love the low volume bits and the triangles and your use of colour, it’s magnificent. What an awesome gift for your niece.

      • Oh, thank you! I am going to try to remember to do that in the future. :) I love reading other people’s journeys on their quilts and it seems to make it a lot easier.

    • Thank you! Since my niece is such a big reader, I knew I’d need text prints in there somewhere, so the low volume came about pretty naturally from that. :) The triangles were just because I’d never made a flying geese and I really wanted to. lol But now I can’t imagine the design without them!

  27. I love a story with a happy ending!!! Renaming it to The Inheritance Cycle Quilt reminds me of my first quilt made for my daughter. I am so happy that you persevered and were finished in time to gift it. What a treasure! I have been following along on your progress and enjoy seeing the process you have gone through. Adding links to the finish post was a brilliant idea!

    • What was the first quilt you made for your daughter? Did she want you to rename it as well?
      I’m so glad I managed to finish it in time! There were some days in there where I thought it was going to be impossible, but once the design was figured out, it all just came together very quickly. :) And it helps that I did very simple quilting, too…
      Thanks for following along, Lorna! I’ve appreciated your encouragement throughout!

  28. Dude, so freaking amazing! Tears in my eyes imagining the opening of it. Nothing I like more than giving a gift I know someone will love :)

    • Awww, thank you!! I admit there were times I was seriously worried that she wouldn’t like it (she’s at that age where she will tell you if she doesn’t like something) but she was obviously just thrilled about getting a hand-made quilt. It wasn’t until after she’d run around for a bit that she stopped and actually looked at it. lol

  29. What a great write up of your story! I love that you were so honest and included the part about your friend laughing at the first draft – I imagine all the intricate piecing on a last minute time table? : P This is such an interesting and unique piece. Absolutely love how you appliqued the dragons!

    • Oh my gosh, looking back I have no idea why I thought that initial design was at all doable. lol I would have been in a world of hurt! I’m so glad I had my friend there to laugh at me and bring me to my senses. :)
      Thanks so much for the kind words, it’s been a pretty rocky road getting to the end goal with this quilt, but I’m so happy I did it. :D

    • Thanks so much! Definitely one of those “epic” makes, but totally worth it in the end. :)

  30. This quilt is just unbelievable. I would wear it the whole day too.

    • Thank you!! I’m just happy it turned out like the vision I had in my head for it. :) AND that my niece loved it!

  31. Seriously, wow! Just wow. I’m so in awe of this quilt, I have no other words.

    I just tried some fusible/raw edge sketchy appliqué but that was just tracing around a letter to initial the little pillows I made for my nieces, but I really like the sketchy look when you go around a couple times. While you’re figuring out the whole pattern thing, would you possibly consider a little tutorial or just a process breakdown for the dragons? I’d love to see the process from the completed sketch to how you prep the fabrics/design and then how the stitches evolved. Can’t draw to save my life but I’m wondering if it could then be applied to some simple line drawings, like a kids colouring book page.

    • Thanks so much. Honestly, it’s so nice to hear such great feedback. :)

      I could definitely do a tutorial! I went over a bit of the process in some of the earlier posts, but nothing that in depth. You could definitely apply it to a kids coloring book page! I’ll try to write up the tutorial next month. :)

  32. It came out so perfect! I love the newer design you ended up going with. The color is so amazing. I love how you envisions something so dyanmic and bring it to life:)

    • Thank you Paula! Your compliment made my day. :D I’m so happy I had to modify the design. Even if I’d had the time, I don’t think I would have liked the original design nearly as much. :)

  33. Oh holy crap dude! I have no idea how i missed this post! This quilt has had me since the beginning and to see it all finished, swoon! It’s perfect Anne! I love the use of colour in sections and the almost sampler kind of feel it has to it. Genius quilting on the applique panels as well, the mountains are great. And that first mock up you did… um, wow, awesome and really ambitious for a deadline! Though i think what you ended up with works so much better! :)

    • Yay!! I’m glad you found it. :D The sampler feel is what I was going for (actually I really wanted to mimic those traveling quilts if you’ve seen them? Where everyone works on a section and they’re put together very organically.) so I’m so happy you think it resembles that! ^_^
      That first mock up was born out of the wish to mimic those traveling quilts and I went too far. Wayyyy too far. LOL I’m so much happier with where it ended up!

  34. Thanks for sharing your process. I,too, love the look of sketch doodling combined with applique and for over a year and a half am scared to death to give it a go. I am wanting to make some collage zettis and add sketch to them and am still contemplating how to get started. Maybe your post will get me moving in the right direction. Thanks

    • Oh, I hope you give it a try! I got started by practicing a lot. :) I took a piece of fabric I didn’t care about, glued it to a piece of paper to give it some stability and went for it. I sketched out things in pencil and tried tracing, and I tried freehand drawing. I preferred the pencil + tracing method, so that’s what I used on this quilt. I just kept practicing until I felt like I had a good plan, and enough skill to do what I wanted. With sketch doodling, the imperfections really make it, so it’s important to not worry about them as they happen. :)

      I hope that helps! I’d love to see any progress you make. :)

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