Stack and Whack Dresden Plate/Grandmother's Garden Quilt- The Whole Story!

I eluded to the length of time this quilt took to get done. I also eluded to the full story on its beginning, the technique and why it took so long to get the darn thing done, even to this point! Its still needing the corner triangles and the border, stay tuned!
This photo was taken at the main lodge at Loon Lake

This quilt will be king size when complete. I bought the whole chunk of fabric, I think it was around 6 m. back in 1997-1998. ( I think it was around a $125 for the main fabric) The print that I chose was a limited edition wildlife print called Canadian Endanged Species. My husband is a wildlife/habitat biologist and he was the reason for the print. I wanted to finally make us a quilt for our own king size bed. I needed a large chunk of fabric because the Stack and Whack Dresden Plate does take a large chunk of fabric for all the various fussy cuts for the Dresden Plate Fans. The class was taught at the Moody Blue Quilters workshop space in Christina Lake, BC and the instructor was Louisa Robertson of Merrit, BC.

My life has had its challenges, also has been full of love, determination and drive to succeed. During these years, we were home educating our two sons and on an extreme limited budget. Home educating is a loss of one full time income and so for many who actually home school their kids, its a financial struggle. 
I wanted to succeed at demonstrating how easy it is to reuse clothing fabric into quilts. The only problem was that when I started reusing, no one else was reusing anything and it was a long, lonely road to redemption. Quilters often balked at my desire to actually bring my work to the monthly gatherings. Eventually, some took it upon as a challenge, but many preferred the ease of purchased fabric, crisp and precise for cutting.

When I attended this class, it was $75 for the whole weekend of sewing. (Another cost that we could hardly bare!) But thankfully, my husband knew I needed to have a little break from home school teaching. We started on a Friday night, learning about what makes a stack and whack possible and why the large chunk of fabric was needed. We continued to cut the fan pieces on Saturday and some were already onto sewing by evening. Sunday we continued with sewing and getting our fans made.
Our instructor Louisa was patient and organized. She took us by the hand and lead us down the Stack and Whack garden path. Much like how I teach today. I wonder where I picked that up?

Why was this method such an expensive proposition for a frugal quilter? Did it really need to be so much? No one else seemed to mind and when the class was over, we all went our various directions. My quilting guild at the time, maybe did actually reuse some fabric, but I stretch the truth by suggesting only for dog beds. 
My needs for the rest of the fabric to make the king sized quilt was put on the back burner. I worked on the hand applique method of attaching the circular fans on the backing and suddenly, it was 2001.We moved again in 2003 back to our beloved Bulkley Valley.

I was alone in my quest for reusing, recycling and getting real about the cost of cotton! We moved once, then twice and then back to the Bulkley Valley in 2003. Hence, this is part of the story of why it took so long!
Moving means many things and one of them was our two sons were ready to enter the school system again, Gr. 12 and Gr 10 classes became the norm for our sons. They did well, graduating with honors and scholarships! We did home education for 9 years and wouldn't change a thing!


As you can see in the past few photos, the stack and whack method is about 'repeating' and the technique is complicated and I'm happy to say that Louisa Robertson has given me permission to adjust her original methods and use this to build a new class that teaches the technique, allows for unique placement but with/without the huge single print.

I've begun this process, its actually well under way and will be offered soon alongside my current workshops offerings.

Now, lets talk about the Dresden Plate itself. Its not a real complicated place to start, but this posting is the opening suggestion of a new tutorial of Dresden Plate Fans, that's right a tutorial for the entire quilt will be posted as we go. Any number of quilters can participate, so invite your friends who live near by so you can do a little exchanging or invite friends to participate from around the world.

Its just a fun way to share 'traditional techniques with modern applications' and see what we all come up with?

Sounds like fun? I will post this tutorial by mid October, so get busy, start checking into your stash or what recycled fabrics you may have on hand to get this whole thing started.
Remember, the tutorial will be posted here online, so if you are going away, no worries, you can catch up when its convenient for you!

Here's a photo to empower your brave spirit and reuse as much as you can! I suggest that taking the little snippets of your scraps be a great place to start and while using your quilting scraps, bring in a few of favorite colors from reused cottons from your own clothing or the thrift store.

Like this one for instance, the background red flowers is a Cloud9 Fabrics organic cotton in Crimson Moss. Its very lovely to work with and you can buy it here.

This quilt is a soft antique feel to it and its mostly reused cotton! I'm making it for my friend Barb who lives in Enderby. My goal it to have it done by the end of 2011. Its coming along well! I chose to post it here because I'm hoping that many of you will take up the challenge to reuse as much as you can in the Dresden Plate Fan Tutorial.

This lovely little table runner is reused cotton in the pinky striped, green varigated stripe and the lighter colored fabric in the squares. Yes, I used some new fabric and its a blended approach. You can too!

Get ready for Dresden Plate Tutorial and lets have some fun!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story and telling us about the tutorial coming up. The Dresden Plate has always been one of my favorite blocks and one of the scariest for me to make. Maybe, with your help, I will be able to try it at last.
    I love your quilt!
    Hugs, Deborah

  2. Your quilt looks amazing....

    I homeschooled as well, my sons entered back in the school system in the 9th and 8th is a challenge on a limited budget but can be done as you know!

  3. Deborah, thanks so much for your enthusiasm! One of the most important reasons why blogging is healthy is because the people who like your stuff are actually going to say so!


  4. Barb, Hello!!
    How is is going in your town, fall must be in full bloom, we are almost winter! I know home schooling is a long grind of little money, unless you are independently wealthy.

    Love it and was glad when we done!


Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting!
I think its neat when other's feel compelled to write a comment. I check on notifications frequently. If you are a no-reply commenter, please leave an email address if you wish to hear back from me directly.

Popular posts from this blog

Hexie Quilt Top WIP

Sashiko Sockeye Bowls

A little bit of stitching...