Project Quilting 10.5: Abecedarius

This week's Project Quilting challenge theme is Abecedarius.  If you've never heard that word, you are not alone! Trish, the challenge theme mastermind, describes herself as "a quilter and a word nerd." Luckily she let us know that the word "abecedarius" means "an alphabet primer" and encouraged us to create a project that was about the alphabet. Several ideas swirled through my mind: Alphabet soup, Braille, Morse Code, Quilters Alphabet just to to name a few. 

Many of my brainstorming sessions involve my very creative mother. Earlier this week, I was feeling a little overwhelmed, and turned to my dear "mumsy." While chatting on the phone, I shared some of my dead end ideas, none of which really excited me. She chimed in by suggesting a dot to dot puzzle, a popular kids' activity where children draw lines to connect the dots, which are ordered numerically or alphabetically, in order to solve the mystery picture! Brilliant!

My mind was now racing with design possibilities!! I thought it would be fun to create a quilty image, and tried to find existing dot to dot worksheets that were quilting or sewing related.  Unsuccessful in my search, I went about creating my own dot to dot design based on one of my favorite sewing notions! Many dot to dot puzzles include a few lines or shapes and so I opted to piece in some simple background shapes.
Go Off One's Dot

For this season of Project Quilting, I've been experimenting with two-sided quilts, with each of the two sides related yet distinct (reversible sewing machine cover and my Pixelated reveal).  I thought it would be fun to continue that idea and create a two sided quilt with one side being the dot to dot puzzle (before) with the puzzle reveal on the otherside (after).  Of course there were a few construction challenges that needed to be resolved to execute my vision.
Connect the la la la la!

A few different marking pens were auditioned for creating small dots onto my minimally pieced tops.  I opted for the Sakura Gelly Roll pens as they produced a crisp dot and line. The dotted design was applied to each side using a combination of light box, as well as using an awl to punch holes to create a paper stencil. A dry iron was used to heat set the marks, and then it was off to my sewing machine to start connecting the dots. As I was stitching away, Pee Wee Herman's "Connect the la la la la!" song was definitely playing in my head.
Side One Finished

Have you connected the dots yet to figure sewing notion I absolutely love?!?
Join Up the Dots

I really wanted to capture the cross-wound thread on a large spool of Aurifil thread. I drafted a few simplified drawings that suggested the cross-wound design. The real puzzle was determining the
total number of dots needed to include sufficient detail along with ordering the dots to minimize traveling! Initial doodles were done with paper and pen, but soon I pulled out my acrylic plastic sheets and a plastic sheet protector to use a fine dry erase marker to order and connect all the dots.  I managed to get the spool of thread down to 35 dots (A to Z=26, plus 1 through 9=9, for a grand total of 35 dots, which is the same number used in the surrounding heart).  I also pieced in a simple blue rectangle to fill in the background of the wound thread.
Dot One's i's

Of course, Aurifil threads played a leading role in my finished design!  To showcase the dot to dot designs, I chose Aurifil 12wt in both Dark Navy (#2784) and Lobster Red (#2265).  I was delighted at how easy it was to use the 12wt thread in my machine.  Following Aurifil's tips for using 12wt, I installed a 100/16 needle and a thinner thread (I opted for 50wt) in the bobbin.  White (#2024) Aurifil 50wt was used for the background quilting.  Trapunto gave my center heart a bit more loft.  Once the heart was quilted, I trimmed away the extra batting along the stitched heart outline, and then layered it on top of another layer of batting and the uncompleted dot to dot puzzle (using my front window to align the two designs).  A dense zig zag meander was then stitched along the background.  All along, I had planned to add a border, but worried that the trapunto and/or quilting would cause some distortion to one or both sides of my quilt. With a little engineering, I added the borders after the background quilting was done. I wish I had taken pictures of this process, but I basically stitched strips onto the left and right sides onto one side of my quilt, turned it over, and stitched the strips just inside the stitched line.  I repeated the same process with the top and bottom strips achieving a perfect alignment between both sides!   

"Connect the Dots" Finishes 12" x 12"

I usually wait to post my entry closer to the deadline, but this weekend, I will be busy teaching in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. I hope you will check out all the amazing quilted adaptations of the Abecedarius challenge theme, and VOTE for your favorites starting on Sunday around 12 noon through Friday evening! Hint-hint: look for entry #30!!


  1. I hope you tag aurifil on your design! It's wonderful!

    1. Thanks Nikki! I am an Aurifil Artisan, so I will be sure to forward it along to Aurifil and tag them when I post more info via social media.

  2. WOW!!! Not only super creative; it is also such an excellent execution! And fun! You totally slayed this week's challenge.

    1. Thank you Kay! I really enjoy exploring new themes and techniques thanks to the wide range of challenge prompts. Always something new and different, which is exciting!!

  3. This is so clever. You’ve outdone yourself, Mel.

    1. Thanks Ann...thank goodness for the brainstorming session with my mother as I really had fun exploring the dot to dot idea! And I am really enjoying the challenge of constructing two sided projects!

  4. Brilliant as usual. I love the reversible aspect of this ;)

    1. Reversible seems to be my theme for Project Quilting this year and really enjoy how the construction is challenging me and engineering some creative solutions!


Post a Comment

I am delighted you took the time and thought to leave me a comment. It may take a day or two for your comment to appear as I moderate them prior to posting to filter out spam and inappropriate content. Cheers!