East Dakota Quilter


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QuiltCon 2015 – Recap

Disclaimer: This is going to be a LONG post. I have a few goals:

  • First, I want to share photos for anyone who wasn’t able to attend QuiltCon this year.
  • Second, I had a lot of questions about what to expect for my first-ever QuiltCon experience, so I want to share tips for future attendees.
  • Third, I bought a Janome machine at QuiltCon and thought it might be helpful for others to know how the negotiation process worked. (Spoiler: I paid the price they asked, but it was way below retail.)

Awhile back, I noted I was in the market for a new sewing machine. Fellow members of the DCMQG told me I should consider buying my next machine at a show, that their purchases were made significantly below retail value. That decided it for me: I would use my anticipated savings to attend QuiltCon. It was a bit of a gamble, but it totally paid off! And I had the best time.

Before I go any further, let’s look at some of the awesome quilts in the show. I obviously didn’t photograph them all, but here were some that caught my eye:

Quilts of QuiltCon - Photo by East Dakota Quilter

The quilts above are: (1) [The American Context #16] Christina’s World by Luke Haynes, (2) Holy Sh*t, Sherlock by Kristy Daum, (3) Woodcut by Holly DeGroot, (4) Wavelength by Lee Heinrich, and (5) Huckleberry by Bryan House Quilts.

A few of the quilts begged for a close-up.

Double Elvis at QuiltCon

Above is [The American Context #68] Double Elvis by Luke Haynes. I’d always wondered what his appliqué looked like up close!

Quilts of QuiltCon 2 - Photos by East Dakota Quilter

(A) Bauble by Emily Cier, quilted by Angela Walters; (B) Geometric Rainbow by Nicole Daksiewicz; and (C) Eggs and Darts by Amanda Leins, pieced by Susan Bishop.

The next four quilts have unknown makers but are all from the collection of Bill Volckening:

Bill Volckening Collection at QuiltCon

Okay, now where to begin with my experience? I got into Austin, Texas, late Friday night, arriving around 1am.

Pro tip: I didn’t have extra vacation time, but if you can swing it, I definitely recommend arriving at the start of the show. I missed the Moda Party, some of the Cotton + Steel fabric I had hoped to buy was sold out, I missed some of the workshops/lectures I would have found most interesting, and I missed certain other promotions. It wasn’t the end of the world, but I think the extra few days would have been worthwhile.

Registration on Saturday started at 8am. The process was professional and easy. I scanned my barcode (received in an email and printed out at home), although you can also search by name. Then my official nametag was printed, and I received a sweet swag bag.

Pro tip: Each nametag has a barcode that is used to scan the attendee into sessions (s)he has registered for.

I showed up promptly at 8am. There was no line. I was finished in less than 3 minutes. My workshop didn’t start until 9am, and the exhibition hall didn’t open until 10am, so I went to check out the contents of my swag bag, review my schedule, and get a coffee. Here’s a photo of some of the contents of the swag bag (charm packs of fabric didn’t fit into the photo):

QuiltCon Swag Bag

My first workshop was English Paper Piecing with Katy Jones (on Instagram as @imagingermonkey… but you already knew that!). I thought the session was great. She picked a project with enough different shapes so skills will translate to other projects. There was fairly minimal instruction. She showed us how to do each shape the first time, then let us make repeat pieces. Once we’d worked for awhile, she showed us how to connect the pieces. The cool thing about the class was having someone check our work and give one-on-one feedback (increase stitch length, don’t pull so tight, etc.). The class size was less than 30 people, so we all had the opportunity to ask questions. As Katy joked, I feel confident in my new English Paper Piecing skills because I learned them from someone English!

Pro tip: Full-day sessions have a two-hour lunch break from 12pm-2pm. Vendors are in their booths during this time, and the quilt show is open. There are also some demonstrations that are open to all attendees.

The workshop was scheduled from 9a-5p. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I would do handwork for that long without getting squirmy. I needn’t have worried. First, there was a lunch break. (This also answered for me when I would contact a sewing machine sales rep about getting a good deal.) Second, Katy said she would buy a drink for anyone who made it even halfway through the project; she didn’t think it was possible. I’m hugely competitive, so that was all I needed to hear. I worked like a madwoman. I got close but didn’t make it. Here we are with the work I completed in class:

KatyJones_EPP

(Dunno why my face was flushed like I just ran up the stairs to the top of the Empire State Building, but a little B&W adjustment fixed that!)

Katy teased me about the template I made with Microsoft Word and brought to class. But I know it made me cool, haha.

EPP_Template_Quiltcon

During class, I learned that Katy’s magazine, QuiltNow, is finally being sold at Barnes & Noble in the U.S. I haven’t seen it in stores yet, so I’m really excited to get my hands on a copy!

I had my sights set on a Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 and told my fellow EPP classmates while we stitched away. They had excellent news! A Janome rep visited all the workshops a day or two before I arrived and said the 8900 was the machine being used at the show. Attendees could get a machine (used in workshops for the 4 days of QuiltCon) at an extremely reduced rate. The only “catch” was that only a limited number of machines were available.

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900

If you think talking about money is gauche, please skip the next paragraph. However, it’s difficult to find sewing machine prices online, you don’t always have a ton of local vendors to be able to shop around, and so I appreciated reading past bloggers’ experiences. I want to share mine in case it helps someone else.

I already knew the Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) had gone down $1,000-2,000 to $4,000 recently. Other bloggers mentioned getting their machines at a show for $2,500 or $2,300. I was hoping for a rate like that. Instead, I got my machine even less expensively… for just under $1,900!!! The rate included shipping to my house and was either inclusive of taxes or not subject to taxes (because Texas).

After the show, all the machines are going back to the local rep’s warehouse, and they’ll ship from there within the week. I also bought a table to go with the machine. They’re not sold by the same company, and the tables ordered for QuiltCon didn’t arrive in time, so that will ship approximately 3-4 weeks from now. I’m sure the rate was somewhat reduced, but nothing near the 50% discount on the machine!

The machine-buying experience, which I’d planned to span the 2-hour lunch break, was complete in less than 15 minutes. (When I asked the rep whether it was the fastest sale he’d made, he responded with a curt, “No.”) I have to admit that, as awesome as QuiltCon was, the next few hours were a tiny bit anti-climactic after the awesomeness of buying a machine. For hundreds less than anticipated. With a table into the bargain.

QuiltCon was surprisingly smaller than some of the other shows I’ve attended (blogged here and here). That said, I felt the vendors present were more targeted to the type of quilting I enjoy, so the smaller size wasn’t at all a detriment. (Example: I’m not the biggest fan of batiks, so it was nice to have one or two batik vendors instead of having to navigate between what seemed, at other shows, like a million of them.)

One of the most-photographed booths at QuiltCon had to be Cotton + Steel. It was divided into sections. To the far left was the Tinsel line and a mock fireplace. To the right of that was a sewing station. You could pick through boxes of C+S “scraps” (some of which were bigger than FQs) to make either a pincushion or a headband. To the right of that were the apparel fabrics. And on the far right was a temporary tattoo booth and the B&W prints, many of which were part of a Halloween theme.

Cotton + Steel at QuiltCon

I was most excited about the Tinsel and Black & White lines of fabric when I arrived, but Melody Miller personally pointed out to me some new rayon fabric that will make great apparel (it felt amazing and draped beautifully), so now I’m equally excited about those. This also comprised my most embarrassing “sewlebrity” experience. I got completely tongue-tied. I think all I told her about the rayon was, “This is great.” Then I went and stood in line for a temporary tattoo—not because I was disinterested in the fabric or talking with Melody Miller, but because I knew I couldn’t be counted on to say anything more intelligent than that! Talking with Sarah Watts about a temporary tattoo was easier because at least there was a clear course for the discussion – “I like this tattoo best. Here’s my left arm. Thank you.” Haha. I did stick around long enough to learn that B&W comes out in April, other lines in May, and Tinsel in July.

QuiltCon - Temporary tattoo by Sarah Watts

Pro tip: You will get to see a lot of the new fabric lines at QuiltCon, but you won’t actually be able to buy them yet. Manufacturers make display items from the strike-offs to show their lines before all 3,000+ yards are printed and available to the public.

All the C+S girls were friendly and gracious. One of the cutest QuiltCon moments for me was watching them help some up-and-coming quilters sew their projects at the sewing station in the booth. Here are Alexia and Melody helping:

C+S Help at Quiltcon

Alexia also took a photo with me. I am so excited!!! You might recall that I sewed her Marcelle Medallion pattern awhile ago. It is still my favorite quilt pattern.

QuiltCon - Alexia & Tiffany

Marcelle Medallion

I was also really excited to see a photo of my Pixelated Panda quilt on display in the YouPatch booth. Andi was kind enough to take a photo with me and a photo of the quilt:

EastDakotaQuilter and YouPatch Andi

In terms of other booths, there was great fabric from all the vendors, but I think the one with the widest selection on the bolt and therefore the longest lines was Island Quilter. Many of the other vendors focused more on half yards or FQs. It makes sense: pre-cut fabric is way easier to transport. It was also a nice way to get a wide vareity of fabrics.

Kona Cotton’s booth had a popular game where you could try to name 30 preselected fabric colors in 2 minutes. After your guesses, you could spin a wheel to win a pin, a FQ, or a color card. (I got a pin.) Elisabeth Woo was the rep by the color cards when I was there, and I had another sewlebrity blank-out moment. I’m blaming this on the adrenaline crash after buying my new sewing machine for such a fantastic value!

Quiltcon - Kona Color Wheel

Pro tip: Check in advance which booths are manufacturers versus retailers if you’re looking to buy something specific. Aurifil’s booth was right next to the Kona prize wheel. They had a lovely display, hosted a game with prizes, and, as sponsors, provided nice things in the swag bag, but I was surprised you couldn’t buy vast quantities of Aurifil thread on-site at the Aurifil booth. Similarly, you couldn’t buy C+S fabric at the C+S booth. Both were sold at the booths of their retailers. However, they were great about directing you to the appropriate booths.

After my EPP class, I also attended the keynote by the quilters of Gee’s Bend. It wasn’t at all what I expected! Instead of talking exclusively about technique, they also talked about their experiences growing up and sang songs, my favorite of which was, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Mary Ann Pettway is the head of the group. She said she works on many projects at once. If someone wants to buy a quilt of hers, she says, “Go ahead and pick out your favorite of my WIPs. If you can wait 2 years, I’ll get around to it!” Haha. The next day, I ran into her on the floor of the quilt show, and she took a picture with me!

Mary Ann of Gees Bend

QuiltCon - Gees Bend Quilt

The coolest part was that she wanted to show us the label on the back of her quilt. As attendees, we obviously aren’t supposed to touch the quilts, but she pulled up a corner to our audible gasps. She said, “It’s my quilt! I suppose I can touch it.” She was friendly and so funny!

After the keynote, I went out to explore Austin, settling on Stubb’s BBQ for dinner. I think moving QuiltCon to other cities is a nice idea (the next event is in Pasadena, and the one after that is in Savannah) so more people can attend locally, but am sad that not everyone will experience Austin. It didn’t feel like other Texas cities where I’ve spent significant time (Houston, San Antonio, Dallas). I think a whole blog could be—and probably is—dedicated just to the facial hair of Austin. Ginormous beards were the norm. I saw some interesting variations, too. One guy dreadlocked his beard and tied up the strands at the top of his head. Another had a waxed moustache that stuck out at least 3 inches past his face on each side. (He also wore a top hat.) Studded jackets and military gear were everywhere. I noticed that although some of the style is “tough,” the people I talked with were universally friendly. I loved that.

I was back to my hotel around 8.30pm. Probably I should have gone out with other attendees, but I was exhausted! It was weird. I know I got in late the night before, but I spent almost the whole day sitting in one spot, working on EPP. That’s not exactly exhausting work! However, I noticed the same thing the following day: being bone-tired as soon as the events were finished for the day.

Pro tip: For this reason, I suggest traveling with or meeting a specific friend so you are forced to make the most of your time. I didn’t fight it and instead got halfway through my EPP project by staying in.

EPP by East Dakota Quilter

The next day, I already knew that the vendor hall/quilt show wouldn’t open before my workshop, so I got a later start. My class was Compositional Drawing with Krista Withers (on Instagram @lolablueocean). It was fantastic!

My current Singer machine is great for piecing but is a total pain for quilting. It is difficult to get the tension even on both sides, so I’ve been resigned to straight line quilting, and even that has unfortunate puckering for any crossed lines. There’s also no speed control, and the foot pedal sometimes stalls, then drives about 100mph. Needless to say, I am SO excited about getting a new machine, and this class was perfect for helping me know where to start with quilting.

Krista’s method (which I won’t describe in detail since it’s not mine to share) involves breaking the quilt into sections and then quilting those sections across the quilt. It’s weird, but I actually felt a sense of relief in the class, like, “Wow, I’m not going to have to figure this out on my own once my machine arrives.” Watching her do her thing was my favorite part of the class.

QuiltCon - Krista Withers Workshop

She assured us we can develop muscle memory in quilting. I hope to goodness that’s true. I need the help. Since my flight was canceled in the middle of class, I spent a lot of time on phone with the airline and skipped using my ruler for most of the session to save on time. My test piece is UGLY as a result. Seriously. Still, I got great ideas to bring home. We also got some plastic to practice with in the course kit, so I will be drawing on the plastic (set on top of the fabric) over and over before my new machine arrives!

At the end of class, Krista also agreed to take a photo with me.

QuiltCon - Tiffany & Krista

My afternoon lecture on Sunday was the time slot I was most excited about. I attended Heather Ross’ discussion about what she’s learned over 20 years of designing fabric. I don’t plan to start a line or anything, but I am a huge Heather Ross fan (not just the fabric; her books are SO worth reading!) and found that most of the concepts she discussed apply equally well to creative ventures more broadly. I am impressed any time a speaker can have a “conversation” in a huge room with an audience. It felt a lot more intimate than it was—although it was a smaller session than I’d expected. Heather’s lecture was funny, heartfelt, informative.

Heather Ross Lecture at QuiltCon

Pro tip: The show is WAY emptier the last afternoon as everyone heads for the airport. If the stuff you want to buy isn’t sold out, it’s a much quieter time to make purchases.

After the lecture, I went to her book signing at the Stitch Lab booth. I’m on my fourth copy of How to Catch a Frog since I keep recommending and lending it to people. I would buy the book twice as many times again… although I won’t be lending out this copy:

IMG_5751

My favorite essay in the book is about the Polar Bear Plunge. Her husband is the hero of the story, and I read it while wedding planning, so it stuck with me in a big and happy way. Of course, when she asked if there was anything in particular I would like her to draw, I realize in hindsight that a strawberry or cat or flower or frog or ANYTHING featured in her fabric lines might have been a more obvious choice. But I just love this book and the sketch! After my book was signed and I was already walking away with a big dumb grin on my face, she asked, “Do you want a picture?” “Um… YES!”

QuiltCon - Heather Ross & Tiffany

The best part about the book signing was obviously the book signing experience itself. But the next best thing was seeing who else was in the line with me. It was almost like scrolling through my Instagram feed of all-stars!

Heather Ross Book Signing

Heather’s new collection is called Tiger Lily by Windham Fabrics. She said it should be in stores in July. A FQ bundle arrived at the Windham booth just before her lecture, and I stopped by to see it after the book signing:

Fat Quarter Bundle of Tiger Lily

It was still wrapped with a bow when I saw it, but check the Instagram feed of @emmylizzy to see it spread out. You can at least see the colors in this photo. We also got to see a few sneak peaks during the lecture, and I’m really excited about the Climbing Trees print. Heather said it was one of the more difficult prints to design since it includes lines (vertical lines of tree trunks). It’s hard to see much of it as just one FQ (guess I’ll just have to buy some yardage!), but it looks incredible! Many thanks to Windham for the charm packs of Far, Far Away from when I stopped to coo over Tiger Lily.

And with that, QuiltCon was over. My flight situation didn’t really resolve itself. Due to weather, I was delayed a day. The silver lining is that late last night, I finished my EPP project! Hooray for one less WIP! I still have to make it into a cushion/pillow cover and quilt it with some contrasting thread, but it was fun.

EPP by East Dakota Quilter

Now I’m thinking about starting a La Passacaglia quilt. Sewing all 2900 pieces by hand. Because I’m insane. I may have already invested a small fortune on the pattern… although, compared with competitors’ prices, my purchase at Paper Pieces was reasonable. I even got 20% off by Googling a discount code – EPPFB. Until Paper Pieces bought 200 copies of the book, it was difficult to get in the U.S. So I’d rather have the option to spend a lot of money to get the stuff I want than not have that option. Besides, my husband is perfectly content with ramen noodle dinners, haha.

Passacaglia_Purchase

Katy mentioned La Passacaglia as the ultimate EPP project in her class, and Jenny Fox-Proverbs from Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine, in conjunction with the C+S team, gave a demonstration of how awesome each cog of the quilt can look.

QuiltCon Demo - La Passacaglia

As many photos as I’ve included in this post, there are so many moments I didn’t photograph. I saw a ton of designers (of fabric, quilt patterns, and otherwise) I admire. I didn’t go out of my way to run into them. In fact, like I said above, I was so tongue-tied that I needlessly avoided some. But just to give you an idea of the awesomeness of QuiltCon, I saw the following people with my own two eyes: Katy Jones, Krista Withers, Katy Jones, Alison Glass, Nydia Kehnle, Tula Pink, Alexia Abegg, Melody Miller, Sarah Watts, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Kimberly Kight, Denise von Minden, Holly DeGroot (@bijoulovely), Heather Jones, Alex Veronelli, Gemma Jackson (@prettybobbins), Jen (from Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine), the quilters of Gee’s Bend, Lizzy House, Sherri Lynn Wood, Kristi McDonough (@schnitzelandboo), Cat (@hellofromcat of Cat and Vee), Elisabeth Woo, Matt Wheeler, Andi (from YouPatch). I’m sure there are more I can’t remember at the moment; my method of listing them was a casual scroll through my IG feed. I might be bragging, but that’s not my intent. What I really want to illustrate is just how accessible the entire quilting community is at QuiltCon! It was amazing!

Arrival at DCA

I blogged about the QuiltCon registration process here. I hope to review my new machine soon. If you have other questions, I’ll be happy to try to answer them in the comments section. I’m not sure I’ll ever be lucky enough to attend another QuiltCon (I did just spend a bunch of money on a new machine, after all), but this was a really great experience. Thanks to the MQG for putting it together!


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WIP Wednesday: Major Fabric (and Pattern) Purchases

There was only so long I could use scraps from my stash instead of buying new fabric. I may have gone on a bit of a spree. But at least I have a plan for every single yard purchased!

I plan to use this pattern to make an A-Line Skirt out of this unicorn houndstooth fabric.

A Line Skirt by East Dakota Quilter

I plan to use Alexia Abegg’s Michelle My Belle pattern (in the book Liberty Love) to make a dress with this swan fabric. Of course, if I decide to move away from the Michelle My Belle pattern, I could also choose from among the dozen or so 1940s patterns I purchased last week…

Yep, I’m branching out and attempting (or at least planning an attempt) to sew clothing!

Michelle My Belle by East Dakota Quilter

I also plan to use this fabric to make a reversible Christmas tree skirt. (I grew up on a farm and hope to have my own acreage someday.)

Santa at the Farm fabric photo by East Dakota Quilter

It all started when I saw a photo of the unicorn houndstooth on Instagram. I saw it was almost sold out and felt pressured to get some right away; I have waited to buy some really great fabrics in the past and missed out, to my regret! Some of this most recent fabric was even on sale… so I’ve decided not to berate myself for my fabric-buying weakness as long as these projects are finished in one year or less!


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Reaching the Finish Line

You guys. My Marcelle Medallion quilt is finally finished! Can you even believe it?!

Marcelle Medallion by East Dakota Quilter

The mister and I went away two weekends ago to stay in a Civil War era cabin near the Shenandoah Valley. I was a paragon of domesticity, making homemade baking powder biscuits for breakfast and hand sewing the binding on my quilt. It felt pretty good… since it was just for a day!

I like to wax my thread with beeswax to prevent tangling when I hand bind my quilt. My grandma taught me that trick when I was small. Does anyone else do this?

Marcelle Medallion by East Dakota Quilter

I had been using a cheaper wax candle since I ran out of beeswax (or lost my piece) ages ago, but I resupplied during a recent visit to Gather Here in Cambridge, MA, and beeswax makes all the difference! I wouldn’t have expected the contrast to be so stark. (Also, the store was amazing and I had a great conversation with the girl at the checkout counter. Go there!)

My goal was to finish the quilt in time to take some photos during sunset. TOTALLY missed that deadline, but I got a few photos before we left the next morning.

Marcelle Medallion by East Dakota Quilter

The cabin was very near the Appalachian Trail, so we also got in a morning hike. Uphill. Before coffee. But you know what? I felt AMAZING when we made it back down.

Cabin Creekwood by East Dakota Quilter

I find weekend getaways are a perfect way to revive when work stress or other life issues get to be too much. If you know of any great weekend get-aways from D.C., be sure to let me know!


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The Big Move… and a New Sewing Room!

I loved living in Chicago; however, I am settling happily into my new place in the Washington D.C. Metro Area. The proximity to other destinations along the east coast is really exciting. Perhaps best of all? My new sewing room!

My boyfriend built a pegboard for my sewing supplies, and I finally have someplace to hang the only oil painting I’ve ever made so Myrna Loy is not smirking at you while you watch TV, use the restroom, etc.

EastDakotaQuilter_sewing_room

Here’s a close-up of some of the things I keep on my pegboard:

EastDakotaQuilter_sewing_room

 I have a place to spread out my Marcelle Medallion while I’m working on it so it doesn’t get crushed:

EastDakotaQuilter_marcelle_medallion

The room is doubling for now as a guest room, and there is some spillover with extra books. (*cough cough* The dresser might be full of fabric, though. And all the plastic tubs and blue crates, too.)

EastDakotaQuilter_sewing_room

Here’s my sewing machine. She’s on her last leg, but goodness, I love her!

EastDakotaQuilter_sewing_view

I even have room for some family heirlooms!

EastDakotaQuilter_iron_heirloom

 

I still have a lot of unpacking and organizing to do (and wall space to fill – yay!), but I love that I have a dedicated creative space. I hope to get back on track with this blog and begin to post more projects in the next few weeks.


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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!


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Bonus Borders & Fabric Shopping

I’m plodding along on my Marcelle Medallion quilt (prior posts here and here and here and here). I finished all the original borders, plus one “bonus border” that brings my quilt a few steps closer to full-size.

Marcelle Medallion WIP by craftprowler

Marcelle Medallion Bonus Border by craftprowler

The clothesline photo above was taken at a friend’s house. It was fun to get out of the city for a weekend, but this trip was extra-exciting because she had given me a gift certificate for my birthday in January, and we planned to cash it in at her local quilt shop during my visit. The store, Old Times Quilter’s Heaven, specializes in florals and traditional prints. It took me a few minutes to get out of my Marcelle Medallion/ modern quilting mindset! Once I did, I found these fabrics, most of which I plan to sew into kids’ clothes:

Fabric Purchases 06 2013

I have just a few bonus borders left on my Marcelle Medallion, all with less piecing than the original borders. I’m crossing my fingers I’ll be finished next week!


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Marcelle Medallion: Nearly Complete!

My poor sister. I have been staying with her the past few months during a geographical transition, and she has had to put up with fabric scraps all over our apartment for weeks! It all started when I saw the Marcelle Medallion quilt on a few blogs.

marcelle medallion in liberty love, via craftprowler

Within the month, I bought a copy of the book Liberty Love by Alexia Marcelle Abegg that features the quilt. I was actually looking for a copy of the UK magazine Love Quilting & Patchwork, which has the quilt as its cover star, but it was sold out everywhere! (I finally located a copy of the magazine a month after starting the quilt.)

love quilting and patchwork

Both Liberty Love and Love Quilting & Patchwork have several other projects I want to try. I usually do not follow patterns or tutorials (not even for piecing my Sampler Quilt), so that’s saying a lot. Happy to have BOTH!

medallion love via craftprowler

Since my last post about the Marcelle Medallion quilt, I’ve added additional borders. I can’t say I have found piecing them as “addictive” as some other bloggers described. I am too impatient! What I find addictive is seeing the new borders finished and added. It’s turning me into a bit of an antisocial monster. Good thing the center was the most difficult portion; the rest has been going pretty smoothly.

marcelle medallion center by craftprowler

marcelle medallion border 2 via craftprowler

This is one busy quilt! But I do like having so many different things to look at in a single quilt top. I also like that I was able to incorporate little pieces of so many past projects, including Lotta Jansdotter’s Bella line from a baby quilt I’m working on, lots of greens and purples from my Mardi Gras quiet book, some red-and-whites from a new quilt that’s percolating, and random reds, aquas, and yellows from the quilt I use now.

marcelle medallion border 2 by craftprowler

By Border 4, my measurements were a little off. (Alexia warns of this in the pattern, so it’s not a big deal.) My quilt ran short, so I just removed one triangle from each side. Now I’m back on track.

marcelle medallion border 5 by craftprowler

My Marcelle Medallion involves a number of firsts for me:

  • It is the first quilt I have made from a pattern;
  • I made my first [successful] Y-seams (I tried to use them in my first-ever quilt – HA!);
  • This was the first time I made flying geese;
  • It was also the first time I sewed triangles (other than HSTs); and
  • It was my first large project that includes at least 50% scrap fabric from my stash.


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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