Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dresden Doilies Blade Count

Hi Everyone,

Boy was yesterday a fun blog day!  I posted my blog about Dresden Doilies and was surprised to see Thelma's post that she was undertaking the same project.  We emailed back and forth through the day, and that was quite fun.  Anyway, I was intrigued because Thelma's dresden plates had 18 blades as the directions in the magazine stated and mine had 20.  We discussed it a bit and Thelma even emailed Gerri Robinson, the designer of the pattern, to ask.  Gerri returned a very nice email to Thelma, who shared it with me, saying that if you follow the instructions in the magazine, we should be fine.

So I got out my magazine and read the instructions again.  Yes, it said to use 18 blades for each large dresden plate.  Then I noticed where it called for 16 blades for the medium and only 14 for the small ones.  The instructions described using the Easy Dresden Quilt tool, or said that you could also use the "more precise templates" in the pattern section.   The directions for the Easy Dresden ruler say that you need to have 20 blades (or sections) to make a full circle.

Okay, I'm no mathematician, but I did take some geometry and trigonometry in high school and it seems to me that using the same angle of tool (18 degrees if 20 are needed to make a circle since  360 divided by 20 equals 18.)  So no matter what size of blade you cut with that ruler, they will always be the same angle and you will always need 20 of them. 

I decided to compare the ruler with the templates and noticed some differences:

This is the first template, for the large dresden plates.  You can see that the ruler does not align with the template.  The difference is easier to see if you look at the seam allowances.  They meet up well at the top, but there is quite a difference at the bottom.  (Enough to account for the difference between 18 and 20 blades.)

This is the ruler and template for the medium dresden plates.  These two are even more off, accounting for the difference between the template using 16 and the ruler using 20 for the full circle.

And the third picture, for the smallest dresden plates, shows that the ruler and the template are much different.  They template would require only 14 blades for the whole circle and the ruler still requires 20.

So now that I have the discrepancy figured out, I see that I have 2 choices.  I can use the templates and follow what the magazine says, or I can use the ruler and make all the dresdens with 20 blades.  Since I've already gotten most of the large plates complete, I think I'm going to stick with using the ruler.  I don't think that the number of blades or sections in each dresden plate will have a significant difference in the overall look of the quilt.  It will require a bit more work, though, but that will be fine.  I'm just glad to find the solution to a puzzle.

I finished quilting my Lincoln Schnibble yesterday, so I will be binding and washing it today and will show it to you tomorrow!

Have a great day!


  1. Wow, I d say twenty blades would be just fine. Hard to believe such a a small difference would equate to two blades.

  2. Thank you for this informative post! I've made two Dresdens using the ruler and swear by it (and no at it!).

  3. I made some Dresden blocks recently using the ruler and had 20 blades. I, too, swear by the ruler.
    I'm anxious to see more progress.

  4. JoAnne I have used the Dresden ruler as well and love it. Your quilt is going to look amazing. I wish I could follow along...maybe if I am really quick with all my other projects I could make a mini one...best get unpacked first tho

  5. What a nice post explaining what the differences of the ruler and templates can be attributed to. I have the Dresden ruler but haven't used it yet... seems that most readers agree that it's the way to go!

  6. Oh JoAnne, I missed yesterday's post with the gorgeous dresden project - very nice and the FG fabrics will be beautiul. Intersting to see the differences between the templates and the rulers. I guess it shows how thorough pattern reading (and understanding) is wise!!

  7. I've only made a Dresden once before (without a special ruler) and it was SO painful and turned out SO awful that I have absolutely no interest in trying another one. Kudos to you for tackling it and pointing out the discrepancies to Thelma and Gerri .... Linda

    1. I don't know that I was pointing out discrepancies to anyone in particular, I was just trying to figure out why my dresdens were turning out different. Since the ruler makes making them so much easier, I'm sticking with that. Did you try making yours with a ruler/tool? I know I tried dresdens waaay back and they didn't come out so great. I'll share how to use the ruler in a future post so you can see how brilliant it is and how much easier it makes things!

  8. Glad you got it all figured out!! Things like that bug me until I figure it out!!

    Can't wait to see the finished projects!!


  9. Love your Dresden Quilt and am glad you figured the difference in the template and the ruler. Which magazine were the instructions for the quilt found? I haven't tried making a Dresden yet but am looking forward to trying one.

  10. Love your Dresden Quilt and am glad you figured the difference in the template and the ruler. Which magazine were the instructions for the quilt found? I haven't tried making a Dresden yet but am looking forward to trying one.