Crafts: Dragon Mosaic Quilt

I've been creating quilts for awhile now, and have generally confined myself to the basic geometric shape patterns. However, I've always felt that there's a real opportunity for artistic exploration in the area of quilt "mosaics" - quilts made from small repeating blocks in a multitude of colors and fabrics, that create a picture when viewed from afar.

I asked my husband what picture he would most like on a quilt, and he asked for a dragon. After some furious Googling, the image he came up with that most closely mirrored his imagination was this wonderful piece on Elfwood: Alexandra 'Erkegris' Alexandersson "Dragon Tarot - The Tower"

Once I had a picture in mind, the next step was mapping out the quilt. I always use what I call a 16-block pattern, which is to say 16 blocks of 12" x 12" squares. Each block is further decomposed into 16 blocks of 3" x 3" squares (3.5" with seam allowances). The individual 3" squares can be decomposed further as needed, but in general I try to keep away from too much detail work - it *is* a mosaic, after all, and I'm notoriously impatient with tiny fabric pieces. The pattern I came up with on grid paper looked like this:

A big problem with mosaic quilting is finding a huge variety of fabrics in small portions for your projects. I refuse to buy pre-cut fat quarters because the price is usually a rip-off, and getting three or four dozen fabrics cut at my local Joann's would take almost as long as the actual quilt. Thankfully, I found this absolutely wonderful online site and ordered a quarter yard of practically every red, blue, black, drak green, and brown color on the site (not literally, but close): Quilters Warehouse

After that, all I had to do was the cutting, some color arrangement, a close eye to detail, and then the top / bottom / sides border strips that I always make for my quilts. I wanted to make it seem as though the dragon was facing the rising sun in defiance (before it must flee back to its cave, and leave the tower residents in peace), so I was careful to arrange the lightest blue fabrics in the lower right corner and the darkest blue fabrics in the upper left corner. Everything in the final product was blocked directly, except the dragon hand which I hand sewed as an applique, which is about the fanciest as it gets in my projects. Now that I have my AccuQuilt cutter, I'd piece the hand instead, but it came out just fine, I think.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the finished product:


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