Sue Pelland Designs

Specializing in rotary cut appliqué


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Rachell Reilly and the Fire Fighter Quilt

Maltese Cross

Rachell Rilley saw my Leaves Galore Templates in Quilter's Newsletter Magazine and has used them in some very interesting  ways! I thought you might like to have today's blog post written by Rachell so you can see her amazing Fire Fighter Quilt.  Enjoy!  Sue Pelland

Hi! My name is Rachell Reilly and I blog over at Sue asked me to share the story of my original block design using her Leaves Galore template: I call it the Dresden Maltese Cross or the Maltese Cross Dresden. The Maltese Cross has become the symbol of the American (United States) firefighter.

My husband is a firefighter. Once I got back into quilting, my husband asked me to make him a warm quilt for his bed at the fire station. Since he spends a third of his life at the station, he needs a quilt: working 48 hour shifts, he is sometimes able to sleep at the station!I began to think and plan his quilt as a firefighter theme. I thought it would be great to create a quilt block of the Maltese Cross. However, I couldn't find anything like the cross I wanted. 
The Quilt-Pro software had the Maltese Cross as several blocks, but they were primitive Medieval-type crosses, and not the stylized version of today's firefighters.
My hubby didn't like the Quilt-Pro and primitive versions. Finally, it went into the back burner of my thoughts. About that time, I was getting into blogging and wanted to start my own blog. In June 2012, I stumbled across a blog tour introducing the Salt Lake Modern Quilt Guild's "EZ Dresden Challenge", using the EZ Dresden ruler.  Anyone could enter the challenge. I wanted to enter because Dresden Plates are wonderful, but I didn't know what I could offer after seeing the creativity of the featured bloggers. More back burner thoughts, as I started designing my blog.
Then suddenly in July, both the ideas of the Dresden and the Maltese Cross merged together. I think I was taking a nap and the inspiration woke me up! After my nap, I went back to Quilt-Pro and started playing. I pulled up a medallion-style block, inserted a Dresden plate, and deleted a wedge from each quarter of the circle in positions to create a perpendicular cross. Then the center circle got enlarged. I had the base of my cross! But I still had no idea how to create the stylized, curvy points on the arms of the cross! There is both a concave and a convex curve. I am not good at free-handing much at all. Then the August 2012 issue of Quilters Newsletter Magazine arrived in the mail, and the featured "new tool" was Sue Pelland's Leaves Galore template. An article by Sue featured a project and a tutorial on how to use the ruler. Somehow, inspiration hit, and my eyes zeroed in on the curves of the ruler, not the leaf shapes.
There was my stylized, convex and concave-combined curve for the cross arms! I immediately ordered a template, crossing my fingers about the size of the template. Everything fell into place as I started cutting and working, and I'm so proud of the results! I've made two quilts with my block, and two more blocks while making the tutorial. Even though my Dresden Maltese didn't win anything in the Challenge, at least the Challenge created the situation for me to achieve my idea and make my block a reality! Sue's template helped me finish the block and truly make a Dresden circle into a Maltese Cross.
The finished Challenge quilt: Maltese Cross Dresden mini-quilt. 24" square. Original design by Rachell Reilly. All work, embroidery and quilting by Rachell Reilly.

My hubby is pretty proud of me...he loves how it looks. I finally finished his quilt top with the Maltese Cross Dresden and paper-pieced rescue vehicles; now I need more firefighter fabric for the back. My hubby was very involved in the layout of his quilt and he's very happy. If you would like to make your own quilted Maltese Cross, here's a link to my tutorial:

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