Big Dottie – A finished quilt

Wahoo! A finished quilt! Look in my Gallery 2020 page and you’ll see that is a rare occurrence!

I was drawn to Rachel Hauser’s Dear Dottie pattern when she first started sharing it on her blog Stitched in Color. I’d been inspired by lots of the curved piecing that other modern quilters were incorporating into their designs and wanted to have a go. Rachel led a Dear Dottie Sew-Along towards the end of 2019 but I knew I really couldn’t take on another project right then. However I bought and downloaded the pattern thinking I would make the time in the New Year…. Coincidentally an advert for the Classic Curves ruler by Color Girl Quilts had me succumbing to my ruler obsession (again!). I decided to use the ruler rather than the pattern templates to cut out my Dear Dottie fabrics, as a result my finished blocks measure 9½” rather than 6½” – hence my quilt being named ‘Big Dottie’.

Along with the Dear Dottie pattern Rachel gives advice about fabric choice – specifically about using colour value (dark, medium, light) to make patchwork patterns easy to distinguish across a quilt top. I wanted to use up some of my stash and scraps so decided to raid the boxes of pink fabrics for the dots and boxes of low volume fabrics for the scrappy background. I chose shades of blue for the few blocks that required dark backgrounds and deeper shades of pink where dark dots were needed.

I soon realised I didn’t have enough variety of pink fabrics to keep the quilt looking scrappy so I began raiding my small stash of purple fabrics and also added a few blue quarter circles to mix it up.

Finally I did have to reach into my pocket and purchase some new fabrics – thank goodness for internet shopping, along with stores and delivery services that have been able to adapt their operations to these times of social distancing. To finish the blocks I bought pot-luck packs of pink and low volume fat quarters along with a 2m length of pink fabric for the backing.

Using the guide in the Dear Dottie pattern I arranged my 42 blocks into a 6 x 7 layout. This saved me a lot of time fiddling about with block positioning – I would have spent hours trying to make the layout look random but balanced…

The quilt top went together really quickly – big blocks and not many seams to match 🙂 Then I spent a whole morning auditioning and positioning fabrics for the pieced backing. Those long seams seemed to get longer as lunch time came and went – I was determined to finish the backing in one session!

I listened to Stephen Fry reading part of a Harry Potter book while I pin basted the quilt sandwich (I had just enough Cotton/Bamboo wadding in ‘stock’) before setting up my tables and my machine for walking foot quilting. I had planned to do parallel straight line quilting to fit with the modern vibe but, scrolling through Instagram, I saw a quilt by Pat Quinn @patsknittingandquilting which grabbed my attention: she had stitched echos of a shallow curve across her quilt. The gentle curves gave the whole quilt movement – like a corner had been caught by a breeze. (I allow myself a little smile here as the word ‘billowing’ came to mind – there are a lot of ‘billowing cloaks’ in Harry Potter books!).

Drawing an elongated curve down the length of my quilt top was a bit tricky. I used a few seam intersections as reference points and employed my Hera marker and a Chaco marker to give me enough of a guide to stitch the first line through the middle of the quilt. After that it was easy to follow the curve using the walking foot guide bar set at two inches.

Last but not least the binding. ‘Scrappy’ fitted the bill. My first thought was blue to act as a frame around the quilt but this didn’t look right: blue drew too much attention to the dark blocks in the quilt while making the pink dots look rather faded and insignificant. So I made a binding using left over fabrics from the pink/light purple dots and one other fabric from my pink stash box.

My Word for 2020 icon by Allison ReidThe Big Dottie quilt measures 57″ x 66″ and makes me very happy! It will take up residence on the sofa bed in my sewing room as a smile-maker and a reminder that my word of the year is GROW. My piecing and fabric selection skills have grown through making this quilt – that reads like a primary school self-assessment! 😀

Linking with Susan for Midweek Makers – Susan is making a medallion type quilt with a circle in the middle 😉 Michelle is struggling to find a moments peace to have a shower let alone sew in a busy household – find out more more in this week’s edition of the Beauties Pageant. And Alycia has a Churn Dash quilt to share for Finished (or Not) Finished Friday. 🙂 As this is a rare finish for me it’s bound to be my candidate for the ‘Favorite Finish Monthly Link Up‘ hosted by Cheryl at Meadow Mist Designs.


24 thoughts on “Big Dottie – A finished quilt

  1. I just LOVE everything about this quilt Allison! The colours and the discussion of value, and success of it within your stash and scraps. You nailed it and that quilting is terrific pattern; I may have to borrow that for this next quilt…the one I just finished has a very similar backing construction to yours; something about them that seem so homey and cuddly.

    • Thank you for your encouraging message Sandra!I agree there is something homely about pieced backings – even if they can be a bit time consuming to put together!
      I think I will be using that quilting design again – just shows scrolling through Instagram isn’t a ‘waste of time’! 😀

  2. Big Dottie looks great! I love the addition of purple and blue fabrics because the pinks look magnificent! Your quilting design is perfect. Congratulations on your finish!

    • Thank you Terry. I’m really happy with the way this quilt has come together.I’m doing the Quilter’s Color Quest, the latest challenge is to work with the colour wheel finding ‘analogous’ and ‘complimentary’ colours. I now know that pink, purple and blue are found in one quarter of the colour wheel and are therefore ‘analogous’. It’s good when experience fits with learning!

  3. Love the colours & finished effect Allison. The scrappy binding looks great & reinforcing my decision to try that out! The curves seems to add a sense of gentle movement &yes, I may have to look that one up and do some “growing” too. So enjoy following your journeys x

    • Thank you Helen. It is really satisfying when all the elements of making a quilt come together – it doesn’t always happen but we are learning a craft that has plenty of room for artistry so ‘failures’ and surprises are coming our way all the time!

    • Thank you Susan. The advice about colour value given in the Dear Dottie pattern was very helpful. I will certainly apply it when I’m choosing fabrics for quilts in the future.

  4. So glad that you added the purple and blue to Big Dottie! I have enjoyed following the process from start to finish, and Big Dottie finishes beautifully! 🙂

    • Thank you Jayne. It is very satisfying when the colour choices work well – I have to give plenty of credit to Rachel Hauser and the colour value advice she gives in the Dear Dottie pattern 🙂

    • Thank you! I was surprised how even peachy-pinks and purple-pinks all fit happily together in this quilt – I wouldn’t have thought to put them together except that my plan was to use up my scraps!

  5. What a fun quilt top and I love the pieced backing! Also I think the curved quilting design fits very nicely with your pattern. Enjoy your finish and stay well xo Melanie


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