East Dakota Quilter


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DIY Personalized Stamps

I thought for sure I would finish the Marcelle Medallion quilt top as designed this week (although I will add some extra borders later to make it full size). I wanted to bring it for show-and-tell at the first-ever quilting event I plan to attend, the monthly meeting of the¬†Crystal Lake Modern Quilt Guild. (I live in Chicago but find this suburban group has a strong online presence and seems really energetic.) Then my machine’s feed dogs fell and refused to be coaxed back up. I’m taking her to the repair shop tonight.

broken feed dogs

With my sewing machine out of commission, I amused myself with other projects through most of last week. One of these was carving rubber stamps. I bought some tools from Blick Art Supply to print my own fabric for a longer-term project, and I thankfully had the foresight to buy extra rubber because carving is fun! After seeing this pin on Pinterest, I decided to make some portraits.

Would making my own face into a rubber stamp appear too vain? I couldn’t tell, but I figured if it was merely practice for stamps of kids’ faces that would accompany a homemade, educational activity book… well, then I was in the clear! Here’s how my own stamp turned out:

craftprowler hand carved portrait rubber stamp

And these are the stamps I made of my friend’s kids:

craftprowler hand carved rubber stamps - kid portraits

The mustache on the top kid isn’t natural, as you might imagine. I bought them some stick-on mustaches last October and thought this would be a cute way to prolong the fun. The photo of the little miss is courtesy of Susanna Bayer’s Photography.

With any luck, my sewing machine will be ready to go for the quilt guild’s sew-in. But I have to admit I’ve enjoyed making stamps in the meantime!


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Embroidering Hollywood: The Great Gatsby

Have you seen the movie remake of The Great Gatsby yet?

I remember seeing the preview. When I saw the bright colors and all the excess, I thought, Finally! A movie where CGI glitz actually makes sense! I want to see it! Then I looked over at my boyfriend, Johann, expecting to see his face disfigured with a nasty expression. It wasn’t! We even decided we would re-read the book together before going to the movie.

That was months ago, and I am still waiting to see the movie! Since then, Johann started teaching and has revitalized his family’s business. (Read: I don’t even get to complain about the delayed movie premier except on this blog since what he’s doing is productive. Grr.)

In the meantime, I think I looked up every photo from the movie that was available online. Eventually, I moved past movie-specific infatuation and found myself admiring the era’s clothing. I decided to work on some Gatsby-related project to alleviate my stifling anticipation. Here’s the embroidery design I came up with:

Gatsby Embroidery by Craft Prowler

I didn’t decide whether this is supposed to be Daisy and Gatsby, Nick and Jordan, or some other couple at one of Gatsby’s parties.

I’ve never been a great drawer, so I used some engagement photos to see what it looks like for couples to walk side-by-side, a Robert Redford movie shot to determine I should have his hand in his pocket, and countless other photos of clothes from the Roaring Twenties to help with the beads, feathers, and dropped waistline. I always thought original drawings needed to come straight out of someone’s head. I found my method is actually more like making a collage — and it worked!

gatsby embroidery by craft prowler

I wanted to photograph the piece outdoors. I drove to a forest preserve near my office over lunch, thinking how great it would be to prop it against a tree and include the textures of grass and bark. Know what? They don’t mow the grass around trees! And I should have known because I grew up in the country with an enormous yard; I mowed the lawn all the time. Here’s the best I could do:

gatsby embroidery by craftprowler

Process:

I typically use three strands of floss for embroidery, but since this is 8″ x 10″, I used all six to make the lines thicker and to fill the space. I used fewer strands for the facial features to keep them from getting bulky.

Most of the embroidery is done with backstitching. Exceptions are the eyes, buttons, and necklace (made with colonial knots, tutorial to follow), and…

gatsby embroidered necklace by craftprowler

…the skirt trim and headband (made with chain stitch).

gatsby embroidered skirt by craftprowler

The outline is nice, but I think it still looks a little blank. What do you think? Should I try using crayon to fill in the image? (I’ve had success with this before, even after the stitching was finished.) I am especially concerned about his hair.

gatsby embroidery by craftprowler