Friday, May 24, 2013

A Quilt Story...

Doesn't every quilt have a story?

Recently, someone saw this quilt or one of its other versions on the interwebs (maybe in my binding tutorial) and sent an email to inquire about the pattern/fabrics, etc.  There's a story behind this quilt, and it is one that has made a serious impact on my quilty world!

Rewind to 2004, when my then-14-year-old daughter, Lauren, decided that she wanted to make a giant dragon quilt.  She had read 85 Fantasy books that year, and when she spied an adorable dragon in a quilt made by Allicia Politis (pattern HERE), she knew it was perfect! 

We super-sized the pattern using an overhead projector, then she pieced the border and used fusible web and a blanket stitch to applique' the dragon.  Prairie points for his spine added the perfect touch.  Her Dad suggested that instead of a little jalapeno in the pattern, she should replace it with a book!  Her quilt won sweepstakes in the youth division at both the County and State Fairs that year!

Fast-forward to 2010.  Riley Blake Designs donated fabric (Sublime by Doohikey Designs) to feature in the Home Machine Quilting Show's annual Design Challenge contest portion of their show.

Lauren's adorable dragon seemed the perfect fit for the show's theme (Every Quilt Has a Story), and the print seemed to suit an adorable little dragon.  I even fussy-cut the dragon so the print gave it scalloped lipstick!

The little quilt was a collaboration, made by myself, my friend Debbie and her daughter, Kami, then I finished with the machine quilting.  We were thrilled to learn that it won third place in the contest.  The 24 or so quilts made for the challenge were put on display for the duration of the show, then sold at a live auction to raise money for the HMQS 2010 charity of choice.  Our little quilt raised the unbelievable amount of $825.00!!  We were thrilled!

The original Design Challenge Quilt:  Every Quilt Has A Story

At auction, the quilt was sold to a school teacher, but the folks at Riley Blake Designs loved it so much that they commissioned me to make another for their new office.  I ended up making three more quilts with the fabrics they supplied.  One for their office:

Version #II was also a Sweepstakes prize-winner at the county fair!

One for Collette at the RBD warehouse (she loved the brown colorway),
Version #III

And there were enough scraps to make a final one that I hang in my quilt studio.  ♥ it!
Version #IV
... And now, the rest of the story ...
This quilt began my relationship with Cindy Cloward, owner, and Jina Barney, designer at Riley Blake Designs.  Knowing I was a 4-H volunteer sewing/quilting teacher, Cindy invited me to write a monthly column of sewing and quilting basic tutorials for their website, "Cutting Corners", which evolved into a series of "How to Quilt" video tutorials, and an opportunity to go to Quilt Market in Houston last fall and Portland last week to demonstrate Make & Take projects at their booth.  Love this company - the people and their products!  And next September (2013), I'll be teaching several classes at RBD's Fabric Fest in Las Vegas!  Hope to see you there!

...And now, ten years later another addendum to the story....
That little quilt started an amazing quilting trajectory for me.  I ended up writing regular tutorials for Riley Blake for nearly five years.  I then was able to participate as a project designer on their fabric influencer team for another five years, developing quilt patterns and sewing projects that were directly inspired by RBD fabric designs.  Those tutorials and many of the projects will be featured in my upcoming book in the Fall of 2023!  Stay tuned!



  1. this is the cutest little quilt ever, such personality in that dragon! Love it.

  2. great story and a wonderful Quilt.

  3. Great story and that is such a cute quilt.

  4. Great quilt(s)! Love the picture of little Lauren...she looks just like you!

  5. Could you tell me which category you entered?
    I looked around but didn't see your adorable dragon. I'd love to vote for it.

    Love your story and your daughter's quilt is awesome too.

  6. What a fabulous story! I love the reading dragon.

  7. Lovely story and so many reading dragons around, how fun, I like seeing how each one looks different based on the color way used.

  8. Love your quilt, it is so adorable and your story is awesome!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  9. Love the story and the dragon!

  10. Each one in the different color ways is just as cute as can be.

  11. This quilt has more than a story it has a history! What a wonderful design and how great that it inspired so many!

  12. Such a sweet story and an adorable dragon...your quilting is beautiful on it! :O)


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