Monday 22 March 2021

Windmills of Your Mind

This is my favourite quilt.  I finished piecing it in 2013 and quilted it the following year.  It is named Windmills of Your Mind after the song with the same title which I have always loved.

The design started with Michelle Yeo's Giant Dahlia, a quilt I have made a few times now as it is so easy to make with her templates.  One day when Michelle was dropping off a quilt I asked her if she could make me smaller sets of acrylic templates, which she kindly did for me.

I only added borders on two sides, partly because it was so large, but also because I wanted to offset the circles.  I also used two background fabrics to enhance the frame.

I quilted it with circles and straight lines.  The two borders were more formally quilted with half circles and feathers.

The lighter thread shows up nicely on the back with darker thread on the circles.

If you are interested in how I made the quilt, the first thing I did was make three full dahlias in the three sizes.  Then I lay them out in various configurations to see what appealed to me. I didn't like this straight line arrangement below at all.

You can see even small differences like the placement of the smallest dahlia either above or below the large dahlia make a difference to the look of the quilt.  The second photo below is the arrangement I liked the best.

I then pieced the largest dahlia into its frame on three sides, leaving one side open (this side is under the smaller dahlias in the picture below)  I also added part of the outer frame to the point where it will meet the smaller dahlias.

I pieced in the smaller dahlia first as I wanted it under the medium sized one.

I then pieced the medium sized dahlia.  To piece both of the smaller dahlias I lay them over the top until I was happy with the placement.  Then I marked the circle with erasable pen.  I also marked registration lines that I used to match up when I sewed them together.  I then carefully cut one quarter of an inch within this circle.  

I nearly had a disaster when I was cutting for the smaller dahlia.  I had a moment of inattention and started cutting one quarter of an inch outside the marked circle (instead of inside the circle).  This would have made the hole too big.  If you look at the picture below, imagine it with the cutting line outside the marked line - the hole would have been too big and I had cut into the large dahlia.  

Luckily I realised my mistake before I had cut more than about a third of the circle and was able to slightly move the placement of the small dahlia and mark a new circle.  If I had not realised when I did, the quilt may never have been finished because I would have either had to remake part of the large dahlia or completely change the layout I had chosen. I could have been so annoyed with myself I might have put the quilt in a cupboard and never gone back to it.  I am so glad that didn't happen.


  1. Oh my GOSH, Desley! This is beautiful!!! Thank you so much for sharing!


  2. I remember seeing this one - It certainly was stunning!

  3. I love the offset look & that you used two different background tones!

  4. This is absolutely beautiful! Live the creative layout and the quilting is exquisite as always!

  5. oh wow...that quilt is amazing!