More Dresdens

I just got home from teaching at Quilt Odyssey (Hershey, PA) and my most popular class was the Modern Vortex. 25 students had such a great time and I loved seeing all the different fabric combinations.

In case you don't know what my Modern Vortex looks like, here it is. I created this in 2012 as the result of a blog hop challenge.
Modern Vortex

Mine has been imitated by some other "famous" quilters, but my inspiration came from the vintage Vortex quilt that I'm sure you've seen:
Original Vortex quilt, c1910
How about some other versions? I've taught this workshop over 2 dozen times and my students have given me some great ideas.

How about multi-colors? Jane H. of Centreville, MD took my workshop a few years ago and decided to take the plunge and use more than 2 colors. She worked out the cutting and color placement. What do you think?

Multi-colored Vortex
 I decided to follow suit and now my pattern includes this version. Here are my sample wedges:

Two sets of the four needed wedge sets
And I made one myself:
Modern Vortex #2
That complicated looking block on point "set into" those corner triangles and borders is a clever piecing trick I devised 20 years ago and resurrected for this project. They are just pieced setting triangles (honest)!

And another colorway in blue and white. I use this to teach how to make the pieced corners. I believe my students should see REAL steps to making the class project. I also have one in purple and silver . . . Someday I'll be finishing these samples when I retire the class. But this class is still a sell out!

Blue and White Vortex. 20" block
Now for some student quilts! How about green and white?

Cindy's Vortex
Barb T. was in my class last Saturday and she finished her quilt already (just needs to stitch down the binding). Isn't this amazing? I sat next to her when I needed to stitch and she had the most luminous green shot cottons.

Barb. T's Vortex from my class at Quilt Odyssey July 2018
And Diane M. made more than one block. Don't you just love it? Can you see how she let the tips of the wedges "flop" around. That's because she didn't stitch around them, but along that last seam all around. Several of my students last week did the same thing. I love the 3-D approach.

Diane M and her multi-block Vortex quilt
Let me show you a few more of my variations. Did you know you can use those border prints you have been hoarding in your stash and make some awesome blocks? You just cut a strip, use the template or your EZ Dresden ruler (or my ruler). There is an illustrated sheet in my pattern that explains how to work with border prints. Here are a few of mine.

Vortex wedges cut from a border print
 Since you have to cut for two blocks to get one, the next crazy quilt is the result of those leftover wedges. (This is because you flip-flop the ruler up and down and so it lands on a different section of the striped fabric.) All explained in the pattern.

And here are two of my blocks cut from another border print. Both blocks from the same strip:

Vortex block using a border print
 And the second block (you have to cut 40 wedges to get 20 to work together)
Vortex block #2 showing the variation of print placement
And one where I ran out of fabric real fast. I never plan ahead; I sew until I run out of fabric.

Vortex "ghosts"
And just a little runner I made using a charm pack (5" squares). You can get two dresden wedges from each 5" square. I'll have more on that when I finish quilting it.

All of these quilts were made using an 18 degree Dresden tool. When I teach the workshop, all my students use either my ruler or their own (I don't make my students buy my ruler; I tell them to dig through their sewing room drawers, looking for that ruler they bought years ago that they never knew what to do with!)

What fun with these rulers. Remember, an 18 degree ruler means that you get 20 wedges to make a full circle: 18 x 20 = 360!

I'm playing with 150+ yellow wedges I cut out a few years ago and have planned on a serious Sunflower quilt. Holy cow. That's a lot of wedges, but I'm on home stretch and will keep you posted.

You can find my Modern Vortex pattern on Craftsy. I include how to work with border prints, how to cut and stitch any size with the triangle base, how to make the two color quilt and the multi-colored one, and also how to set that block on point with those pieced corners. A real power-packed pattern!


  1. That is a lot of possibilities from ONE pattern! Thanks for mentioning it, as I think I DO have a Dresden template that someone gave me. I have to look to see how many degrees, because I know there's more than one type.


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