East Dakota Quilter


Quilting Happiness: Finding Your Quilting Style

I am selective about the books and magazines I buy related to sewing, probably because I’d prefer to spend my money on fabric! However, a new book called Quilting Happiness is coming out soon, and I became excited since reading about it on some of the blogs I follow.*

The book features a creative exercise to hone your understanding of your quilting style. You look through a few books and magazines–they need not be related to quilting, but from personal experience, I do not suggest using many lawyer magazines because the photos are BLAND–and pull your favorite images for a collage. Looking at the photos, you try to identify common themes. There is Blog Hop, but I just did this on my own for fun. Here’s my collage:


At first, it seemed there were two distinct styles emerging: rustic/farm and modern/bright. Since I couldn’t define my preferences into a single style, I started listing features of images I didn’t like side-by-side with the images I preferred.

quilting and image preferences

With the list, I realized it didn’t matter whether the images were rustic or modern: I still preferred de-cluttered, clean lines–like the ones in Thomas Edison’s lab. I preferred images with either one central focus (a line of galoshes) or “anything goes” images (the lab full of stuff) over those that fell somewhere in between.

Not only did I not select any asymmetrical quilts for my collage, I even exercised OCD in repositioning some of the images I chose! The maximum angle I am comfortable using hovers around 19 degrees. : ) I haven’t been able to reconcile this with the fact I was okay using a manilla folder when I didn’t have any paper handy. No OCD there!

Interestingly, I selected images that (for me at least) indicate a challenge. The postage stamp quilt is comprised of simple squares, but I find palettes challenging and liked the one in the photo. I played violin for 12 years and want to improve my wrist position. The CD/record quilt uses reverse appliqué; appliqué is a technique I hope to try soon!

Finally, I was drawn to images that were somehow nostalgic, historical, or sentimental. The fox and raccoon stuffed animals reminded me of a bear my aunt made me when I was little. I spent my childhood reading and love books; I started writing a novel when I was about 7 years old on an old typewriter and am therefore in love with Julie Rothman’s fabric.

I made this collage because I thought looking through a bunch of images sounded fun. I was surprised I actually learned some things about myself. Try the exercise and see if you do, too!

*I don’t have a copy of the book and did not get paid to write this. I do find the advice of some of my favorite bloggers is spot-on and hope the book is as good as it looks.

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Marcelle Medallion Quilt Top Finished!

I can hardly believe it: my quilt top is finished!

MM quilt top by east dakota quilter

I added several extra borders to bring the quilt to full size. I almost always make queen size quilts, having had a queen size bed since I was about five years old, so this one was actually small for me.

extra borders by EastDakotaQuilter

My first “bonus border” (moving outward, it’s after the plus signs and the border that surrounds them) was inspired by this border on Lynn Droege’s Tangerine Rose quilt, exhibited at the Quilt Show in Madison, Wisconsin, in September 2012.

Lynn Droege’s Tangerine Rose photo by EastDakotaQuilter

On my quilt, the finished width of each column is 2″. I made the sketch below to remember the height of each piece (dimensions show sizes to cut):

bonus border by EastDakotaQuilter

Pieces above are for one “set.” Each side of the quilt requires 5 full sets and 1 partial set. A partial set excludes either the left or right column. The finished border width is 4.5″ with cornerstones (cut at 5″).

I intended to have a solid second bonus border, but my half yard cuts were insufficient for the width I wanted. I added print squares as a filler. You might notice I also did this for one of the original borders when I accidentally measured wrong and made the strips too short.

From Anna Maria Horner’s feathers to the arrows on ABeautifulMess, feathers and quills are all over the blogosphere. For my third bonus border, I tried paper piecing for the first time. I created my own arrow pattern after seeing this pillow by Jennifer at Hopeful Homemaker. (She based her pillow on a pattern by Sew What Sherlock.) Below was my initial sketch:

arrow border by EastDakotaQuilter

The finished border was 4″ wide. The colored shaft of the arrow running the length of each border is 1″ finished, 1.5″ unfinished in width. Each side of the arrow is 2″ unfinished, 1.5″ finished. My arrowhead and feather pieces are each around 5″ tall unfinished. (I wasn’t being super careful about the height of these, but I just cut the shaft to suit.)

My final border (only on the sides) is another simple one: alternating blue blocks.

I got to photograph the quilt–all but the final bonus border–over the long Fourth of July weekend with the help of my two favorite men (my dad and boyfriend) in my favorite place (South Dakota).

MM in Dakota by EastDakotaQuilter

MM on a fence by EastDakotaQuilter

The next question is how to quilt the darn thing. I have seen at least two people do concentric circles or spirals. A handful of people have quilted straight lines across the solid borders. One person had an amazing longarm quilter consider each border individually. Hopefully I can come up with something worthy of the quilt top soon; it would be a shame to leave this bad boy sitting on a shelf somewhere!


We interrupt our regularly scheduled quilting broadcast to bring you… International Quilt Festival 2013

My Marcelle Medallion progress has been painfully slow the past few weeks. After a late night yesterday, I have just one final border–not part of the original design–to add before my quilt top is finished. In the meantime, I wanted to share some photos I took at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago a week and a half ago. The photo quality isn’t great; I wasn’t sure whether a large camera would be allowed in the conference space, so I used my iPhone.

First up is a portrait quilt of the quilter’s mother. It’s called “Make You Happy” by Brigit Aubeso Bell-Lloch of Girona, Catalunya, Spain, and won first place in the Art – People, Portraits, and Figures category. (For a tutorial on making your own pixelated portrait quilt, click here.)

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

Next is another portrait – “Raven Blanket” by Lynn Czaban of Vancouver, Washington, USA. It won Honorable Mention.

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

This is called “Departure.” It won first place in the Traditional Pieced Category. It was made by Kiyomi Takayanagi of Kitanagoya, Aichi, Japan.

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

This one is “Mabel – 1952 REO” by Susan Cane of Canaan, Connecticut, USA. It won second place in Art-Pictorial.

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

This colorful quilt is called “Colorstrips #1.” It was sewn by Lynda Faires of Louisville, Colorado, USA. It won first place in Art-Abstract, Large. (The stripe across the bottom is the barrier tape used to keep visitors from getting too close or touching the quilt.)

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

This quilt is “Flamenco” by Jin Gook Yang of Suji-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea.

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

This quilt is “5-HTP Squared” by Jennifer Carlton-Bailly.

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

The next quilt is “Ladies of the Sea” by Carolyn Stine of Springfield, Illinois, USA. I was surprised by how much I liked this quilt. Nautical themes aren’t my thing, and on first glance, it was more traditional than some of the other quilts I favored. Then I noticed the amazing variety of ships: everything from a pirate ship to a junk to a rowboat with sails! I also like how she incorporated color into the borders.

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

Next was the Berne House Quilt. It was made by the members of the Bernese Quilters for an exhibition in Berne, Switzerland, in 2010.

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

It was much more impressive as you got closer and saw individual houses:

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

I loved the monochromatic look with just a pop of color in “Rainy Day – San Francisco, Monday, October 25, 2010” by Sally Wright of Los Angeles, California, USA. (That was a mouthful even to type!)

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

This quilt didn’t especially catch my eye the first second since it looked like a photo printed on fabric (versus a pieced portrait quilt):

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

…but then I noticed the quilting. Metallic thread was made to look like the sun’s rays streaming across the beach and the little girl. The quilt is “Childhood Exhilaration” by Julie Brandon and Valerie Schultz of Williamson, New York, USA.

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

This beautiful house was the subject of “Lazy Afternoon” by Michelle Jackson of Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

There were, of course, many more quilts. These were just a few that I personally considered highlights. I also stocked up on some pretty sweet fabrics. In all, it was not a bad way to spend a few hours after work on a Friday night.

Quilt Festival 2013 photo by CraftProwler

If you’d like more details about any of the quilts, send me a message or leave me a comment. I took photos of the placards for all the quilts I posted above.