East Dakota Quilter


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the sampler quilt that was finished… and then wasn’t

I felt like a rockstar last week when I completed all 49 blocks of my original 7 x 7 sampler quilt design:

49 sampler blocks by craftprowler

It is decidedly more traditional than the quilts I’ve begun in the meantime.

In my original design, I included a border on either side to round out the queen-size requirements. I chose this over another row of blocks. But I’m not sure how well the quilt-as-you-go method would work for borders, and I also felt silly avoiding 7 blocks when I’ve already come so far. So… I have a new goal of 56 total blocks (design below).

56 sampler blocks by craftprowler

Since I started working on the quilt in September, I typically completed either 4 blocks per week or absolutely 0 blocks. This means I completed about 7 blocks each month for 7 months. Of course, this includes the time spent graphing my blocks, cutting fabric, and all the preparatory work, plus the holidays and a death in the family where progress halted. Could it really take a whole ‘nother month to finish a portion of a project that I had nearly written off as complete?! On the other hand, I made room for some fun new blocks that I only discovered after cutting all the pieces for my original 49, so I am excited in spite of myself.

My sister’s dog, a pit bull, wanted to be sure he wasn’t missing dinnertime when he heard me moving around.

dog helping by craftprowler

Top left:

sampler quilt top left by craftprowler

Top right:

sampler quilt top right by craftprowler

Bottom right:

sampler quilt bottom right by craftprowler

Bottom left:

sampler quilt bottom left by craftprowler

Earlier posts about this quilt (in chronological order): Starting a Dear Jane Quilt, Quilt Expo – Madison, Wisconsin (embroidering the Sarah Jane Studios design for one of the blocks), Sampler Quilt Progress, Sampler Quilt Update: First 12 Blocks, Sampler Quilt Progress Report, [Needle]working Through Grief (several blocks appear at the end of the post), and Quilt Planning & Practice

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How Marcelle Medallion Brought Balance to My Week

I completed the center of my Marcelle Medallion quilt… finally! I’ve been spending much less time indoors with the nice spring weather, plus I have been hosting visitors from out of town, including my parents. But I’m pleased with the result now that it’s finally done:

MM center by EastDakotaQuilter

MM center block by EastDakotaQuilter

In particular, I’m happy to have made it through the y-seams. I tried four different times the first night and started to think that I’d either cut the fabric crooked or was lining it up wrong until a quick google search revealed that marking is really important with y-seams. I was under the impression it was a waste of my time. I mean, it was easy to line up the other pieces! (Hmmm… this flat end must line up with that corner…) But that whole trick of marking the y-seam corners was magic.

I am finding in blogland that quilters often apologize for imperfections. I myself planned to throw in a comment that my y-seams still weren’t perfect, but that I’m happy with them because they add character, right? Then I realized: quilting is probably the one area of my life where I don’t fret about imperfections. It is so liberating to decide a y-seam is good enough and seriously not give it another moment’s thought. It might not be the reason I started sewing, but it’s definitely the reason I’m still doing it. I had to laugh when I thought what it would mean if I used the same philosophy at work: Well, the acquisition is finished and the employment contracts are drafted, but I couldn’t work out the details of the non-compete clause, so I left it out. Now the former employees are starting a competing business across the street. It adds character to our business! Yeah, that’d get me fired. But my y-seams definitely have character. 🙂

I have the fabric for the remainder of the quilt and I’ve planned which fabrics to use for most of the borders. The hardest part of the quilt, the center square, is complete. I’m really looking forward to seeing the final product, imperfections and all!

MM center by EastDakotaQuilter

MM Fabrics by EastDakotaQuilter

MM planning by EastDakotaQuilter


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Design: A New Frontier

I chose “craftprowler” as a blog name because I never, ever thought I would be able to design my own projects. I figured I would just make minor alterations to the projects I found on Pinterest. However, I’ve spent a lot of time designing projects since the last time I posted photos. The burst of creativity feels amazing, but there is blessed little to show for my efforts so far!

Design Book

I bought the notebook featured above at Target. It is responsible for maybe 30% of the projects I’ve designed so far. (Another 40% is Pinterest, and 30% is me.) The reason? It has gridlines, with heavier lines around every 8 boxes. It’s perfect for sketching out quilt ideas.

I haven’t gotten far with sewing the Marcelle Medallion quilt, but I selected all the fabrics and cut out the middle pieces already. This is the layout so far:

marcelle medallion center by craftprowler

(Confession: I actually did start sewing the middle, but the Y-seams stopped me short. I am going home tonight to rip out some of the seams and try again. Apparently, marking is important. Oops! I like the pattern enough that this is the first time I won’t just plow forward with the awkward, first-try version.)

I’ve also drawn several more templates for my Barn Quilt, including this 1982 Buick LeSabre:

1980 buick by craftprowler

I drew a fox to grace either a purse or a pillow – haven’t decided just how to use it yet. Embroidery? Appliqué? Both are possibilities. If you want to use the image and end up making something before I do, please email to let me know! I’d love to see your projects.

After seeing some neat images at the Etsy store of cheesebeforebedtime, I tried doing a self-portrait with the intent to post it as my thumbnail here on the blog. The first result was embarrassing. The second definitely looks like a person, but not like me. Let’s just say it might take a few more tries before it’s worth posting online.

I have also been scheming the past few weeks about how to take better photos for my blog. A major issue is my work schedule. My evening commute is around 2 hours, so even if I get out at a decent time, there’s not much daylight left by the time I get home. The windows of my apartment also face directions/buildings that are not conducive to natural light. My new goal is to work on projects a week ahead of time so I can photograph them on weekends. (Disclaimer: Procrastination may still mean low-resolution iPhone photos.)