Also known as: The Dragon Quilt of Doomity-Doom-Doom-Doom
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).
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.)
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!
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?!
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.
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.
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.
And now I should probably make a quilt for my nephew!
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.
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
Bentos and Templates and Dragons Oh, My!
Last Bee Blocks of the Year
Dragon Quilt of Doomity-Doom-Doom Progress
Big Cats and Small Dragons
The Last Dragon
Doodle Dragons Done
In Which a Quilt Top Begins To Emerge