Dorothy’s House

Today is the Endeavourers third Art Quilt reveal day. Our challenge theme for this quarter has been ‘spiral’ and my submission is called Dorothy’s House.


I knew I might well be short of time this quarter so I decided to go with my first idea – Dorothy’s House (from the Wizard of Oz) caught in the cyclone. I imagined it would be quite quick and simple and would also be a memory of going to see ‘Wicked’ with my daughters when it was my birthday in April. I was correct on the second point. The show was amazing. You can see a trailer below and I can think of my quilt as a sort of souvenir.

On the first point, however, I was mistaken. I learned the baravelle spiral technique from the book Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts and I have used it to make mini quilts twice before. With the mini quilts, however, I used regular polygons and paper pieced onto baking parchment. With this one, I used an irregular polygon, based on the shape of the house. The technique involves drawing the largest polygon and working inwards and by the time I came to the house the fit with the centre was not perfect but, by this stage, my perfectionism had been long abandoned!

Version 3

And I used an old table cloth as foundation, which I ended up having to stabilise with the piecing…

And I found out after I had planned for the whole thing to comprise seven clockwise spirals but, mercifully, just before I started sewing, that cyclones spiral anti-clockwise. Although I know in truth that rainbows don’t spiral at all, I just could not bring myself to have an anti-clockwise spiralling rainbow so I ended up having to redraft the whole thing in mirror image on the back of the cloth, take a photo of the fabrics and number them and write the numbers in each triangle before I could persuade myself to risk sewing on it. Thankfully, after the first couple of rounds I started to be able to see which colours to put where and I think having the rainbow and cyclone spirals going in opposite directions has created a much more interesting effect that my original plan.

And, in the end, the most annoying thing was this was a careless placement of some newsprint fabric – shown in the bottom rectangle on the fabric below – which from a distance looks like a mistake with the adjoining grey. It shows how careful you have to be but I really wasn’t up for frogging.


For the house, I drew the house on the quilt with a frixon pen, traced it onto baking parchment, transferred it onto some brown woven fabric in pieces that meant the ‘wood’ lines would follow the weave of the fabric and stitched over all the lines in threaded running stitch. Then I appliqued the pieces into the centre of the quilt.

But I found the house got lost in all the cyclone text fabrics so I added a lot more (and darker) stitching.

Finally, I got to the witch, who still has the ruby slippers because it’s before Dorothy’s house has landed on her. Although I wanted to focus on the spiral, rather than make a general Wizard of Oz quilt, I felt this was essential element to indicate it is Dorothy’s house and not a random garden shed! It was also the most fun part. Her dress is pleated, her broomstick is stitched with embroidery silk and her shoes and stocking are drawn with permanent ink on white cotton and then appliqued.

Version 2

And the label was added to cover a corner where I ran out of fabric :(


And the clogs are just for fun! Really these are my front door clogs for going out onto our relatively civilised path and drive and I have scruffy backdoor clogs for embarking into the mud that is invariably everywhere else but during our unexpected summery spell I’ve been able to wear them interchangeably and I may even have worn house slippers, once or twice to shut up the chicken…Happy days!


For our next Endeavourers challenge, I’m tempted to try going for something that strikes me as complicated and time consuming as I seem to be a very poor judge in these matters!


In the meantime, I’m very excited to see what my fellow group members have been making. Please visit The Endeavourers to see their Spiral Quilts :)

Janine @ Rainbow Hare

I’m linking this post with Anja Quilts for this week’s TGIFF link up.

21 thoughts on “Dorothy’s House

  1. MiriamD

    Oh my that is so creative and beautifully executed! I don’t know anything about quilting but I like your composition, your placement of the witch and how you created the spiral. I’m terribly impressed!


  2. Carol DeLater

    Oh man. When I saw your picture in my blog roll I had to stop scrolling to the beginning and stop and read this marvelous commentary on how you created this most wonderful piece! I’ve seen that book and I think I’ll go put it on my wish list. I feel very encouraged to read that you had some issues while you were creating the piece. Gosh, I love this piece so much!!

    I had to smile at you talking about your clogs. I do the SAME THING. Back door shoes, front door shoes and slippers and of course clogs are ALWAYS my shoe choice.


  3. TextileRanger

    This is amazing! What a lot of thought you put in, and it is executed so beautifully. I love the way the spiral rainbow leads your eye in from top left, and the witch and cyclone lead your eye in from top right. And then your eye is rewarded with the detail in the center!
    And what a great idea, to make your own souvenir of an experience!


  4. catherine

    What an achievement this one was – I’m still trying to get my head round the construction! I think you’re absolutely right about the rainbow and the cyclone – there’s such a feeling of movement. It was a while before I could spot your ‘mistake’ because I actually think it just adds to the effect.


  5. Ruth

    you are so right about the rainbow spiral direction. I didn’t see that until I read your post. Great make, it makes me smile as well as draw me in and I can feel that vortex about to squish the witch!


  6. Elizabeth E.

    Another stellar quilt!! I love everything about this, from the ruby slippers, to the rainbow in the cyclone to the little patch in the corner. Your technique is fun to read about, too, reminding me of why I love your quilt so much! Fabulous quilt, wonderful construction–congratulations on a wonderful finish!


  7. Kim Sharman

    Wow…just WOW!! I don’t see any “mistakes” at all. All I see is an amazing work of art showcasing your brilliance at design, quilt making and fun commentary and thoughts behind your creative mind. Your Dorothy’s House is a triumph. I want a pair of red clogs for the front door to magically skip down my yellow brick front path.


  8. Maureen

    Janine, isn’t it the truth that the artist is the #1 critic? I look at your wonderful quilt and see only perfection. OMG it is fab and, just like you, puts me in mind of when I saw wicked! Wasn’t that a Great Show?!?

    That being said, I was about to cry in frustration over the possibility of four colors Not Meeting Perfectly in a small bargello quilt currently under construction. I have pinned 120 little intersections and am SO OVER doing that and the other half still to go. Haven’t made a quilt in about 5 years. This was Not the way to get back in the water!

    Arrrrrrghhh! (We now return to our regularly scheduled normal person.)

    xo, maureen & Josephine


  9. Flashinscissors

    Janine, I can’t even begin to think how long your spiral would have taken me to figure out!
    Such wonderful ideas. I love the witch, the shoes, even the socks, and a polygon, my goodness, and especially because it’s Dorothy’s House!
    And I love the fact you change your shoes! Well who wouldn’t, we certainly do as our back garden is muddy most of the year and we are out there every day ….. feeding the birds, cleaning and filling water bowls and feeders. (I wear purple clogs btw.)
    Barbara x


  10. soma @

    It’s a wonderful mini, Janine! You have added so many lovely details. I did not see the “mistake” until you pointed it out. I was “distracted” by all the lovely details you added and the feeling of vortex you created :)



  11. Sandra Walker

    Janine, this is incredible! I am wowed by so much here, and jealous as all get-out too…you see I HAD tickets to see Wicked in NYC!!! But the week before the show, the actors went on strike…yep this was back in 2007, and I’m still not over it. I have that Ranae Merrill book, a gift from my mum, was thinking of doing something for an Island Batik challenge… Thank you for explaining your process, I especially was intrigued and impressed (as all get-out ha) by the house and the shoes and stockings, so talented you are! Clogs – my mum has an ornamental pair in her china cabinet that she used to say reminded her of hers when she was a kid. :-) Wish she was still here to read your post.


  12. Anja @ Anja Quilts

    Great finish. The cyclone effect is wonderful. Thanks for linking up with Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday (TGIFF).


  13. Benta

    Funnily I immediately thought of “my” rainbow spiral (in daily use as a cushion in my sewing room) when I saw this one – what a fantastic idea, and executed perfectly, well done,


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