East Dakota Quilter


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A New Favorite: Aneela Hoey’s All In One Box Pouch

There’s another birthday for my #birthdayclubhandmade in July, and when I saw the recipient’s inspiration board for the Heather Ross mini swap, which included hexis of a few munki munki prints, just a few photos down my Instagram feed from Aneela Hoey’s new all-in-one box pouch pattern, I knew it was a match made in heaven!

All in one Box Pouch by East Dakota Quilter

All in one Box Pouch by East Dakota Quilter

All in one Box Pouch by East Dakota Quilter

All in one Box Pouch by East Dakota Quilter

I’m usually good about giving away the things I sew. They’re sewn with a particular person and his or her tastes in mind. This pouch, on the other hand… I had to talk myself into packaging and shipping it. Guess I’ll have to make a second one for myself!

The pattern itself was well-written and easy to follow. I especially liked her method of boxing the corners, where you cut the fabric BEFORE you sew it — that was novel to me!

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of sewing curved lines OR zippers, so combining the two was a bit of a challenge. (“A curved zipper?! What have I gotten myself into?!!”) But I didn’t even have to rip out the seam. I’d say it’s a project for an enterprising beginner or an intermediate sewer. The only seam I had to rip was the one with the pouch tab at the top. The thick layers caused me to sew a little crooked, and instead of stopping and fixing it right away, I thought I could fudge a little bit. The moral of this story is DON’T DO IT, haha.

I like that there is ample space inside the pouch but also some clear pockets for smaller items you want to be able to find quickly. It’s been a real pain finding my thimble and needle when I take my La Passacaglia quilt with me to a coffee shop. I also like the simple back pockets for storing things as you work. I might keep my mini scissors in the bag when I travel, but it will be nice to have a quick place to tuck it as I spread out my project. I love the pattern, and I think the finished product is a success!

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La Passacaglia & EPP Research

I mentioned in my QuiltCon blog post that I intend to begin a La Passacaglia quilt. Naturally, I’ve begun with more research than can help me actually do the work and make the quilt. I thought I’d summarize some things for anyone else who wants to do this project because it is blowing up all over the interwebs!

THE BOOK THAT STARTED THE CRAZE

First, we’re talking about the La Passacaglia Quilt pattern from the book Millefiori Quilts, which features 19 of Willyne Hammerstein’s quilts.

Millefiori Cover

Millefiori Contents

All that Italian actually does a great job of describing the style: millefiori is a combination of the words “mille” (thousand) and “fiori” (flowers). Certainly the concept of a thousand flowers applies to the La Passacaglia, which has many rosettes/flowers making up the quilt. Passacaglia comes from the Spanish “pasar” (to walk) and “calle” (street). Think walking or dancing down the street—perfectly appropriate if you imagine winding, cobbled lanes and compare that against the many curves in the quilt.

Instructions in Millefiori Quilts are for machine piecing the quilts. However, if you’ve ever done a Y-seam, you can understand why a majority of people are choosing the English Paper Piecing (EPP) method instead.

I bought ALL THE THINGS to start this project from paperpieces.com. (UPDATE 2017: Since the link from paperpieces is no longer working, Karen of the DIY Addict was kind enough to send me a link to her site, where you can still buy the supplies!)

Passacaglia set by East Dakota Quilter

Items include the book, acrylic templates, and all the paper pieces necessary to make the quilt. I might have bought a smaller set of papers if I had it to do over again since you can just reuse them, but it’s nice not to have to.  Between these items and the fabric, it’s probably going to be the most expensive quilt I’ll make… but have you seen how awesome it looks?! I’ve also seen acrylics on Etsy that have holes at the intersection of each seam allowance in case you want to machine piece and mark your Y-seams.
LA PASSACAGLIA INFORMATION

The La Passacaglia Quilt includes approximately 2900 pieces in five different shapes/sizes as follows:

Piece A (1¼” diamonds for 5-pointed stars): 468 Pieces
Piece B (1¼” diamonds for 10-pointed stars): 206 Pieces
Piece C (1¼” pentagons): 640 Pieces
Piece D (¾” pentagons): 272 Pieces
Piece E (1¼” isosceles triangles): 1368 Pieces

 

Passacaglia Shapes by East Dakota Quilter

This info comes from the number of pieces in paper piecing packs, rather than the pattern itself. I was surprised not to see any hexagons and also that there were only five shapes for the entire, very busy quilt top.

 

EPP GENERAL INFORMATION

Cutting the Fabric

Standard EPP protocol is to add 3/8” of fabric around each side. Common alternatives are ¼” or ½”. Acrylic templates are available in each of these size preferences.

Measuring the Pieces

In EPP, most pieces are the same measurement along all sides. (An exception from the pieces above is the isoscolese triangle, which is equal on the two long sides but has a shorter “bottom” that matches the length of the pentagon sides.) EPP pieces are measured along one of the equal sides.

EPP Measurement by East Dakota Quilter

Basting Each Piece

There are several methods of basting EPP pieces.

One method is to sew around the shape. Even this has several different versions. In one version, you just tack the fabric along each corner of the piece. In another, you weave your thread along the length of fabric between each corner. I plan to do the first of these since that’s the method I learned in my EPP workshop with Katy Jones of imagingermonkey. And it’s faster and doesn’t mean ripping any paper at the end of the project.

Another method is to glue baste. Some glue pens are specifically made for gluing fabric; I have the Fons & Porter version. I’ve also read that a plain, washable glue stick works well. (It worked great when I glue basted a zipper on this bag.) I have been gluing some of the fussy cut fabric pieces lightly to the papers to keep them from shifting while I hand baste around the edges. It’s been working pretty great. So far, I’ve only used the glue pen, but I’ll likely switch to the Elmer’s when that runs out.

Glue for EPP by East Dakota Quilter

Creating Patterns from Fabric (and being consistent)

Solids are a great choice for EPP. However, one reason I’m excited about this project is a chance to make repeatable patterns from fabrics. I’ve mentioned BEFORE that while I like the look of a repeatable pattern across an entire quilt, I deplore the monotony of chain piecing. Now is my chance to let precision shine! By “fussy cutting” fabrics, you can highlight a portion of the design. It works great with florals/swirls. I’m also thinking about including a few Heather Ross novelty prints. If you don’t know where to start, Google Amy Butler, Tula Pink, and Anna Maria Horner prints to see fabrics with repeatable patterns.

The tricky part about fussy cutting is ensuring all the pieces are consistent. Florence of Flossie Teacakes had the genius idea to make her own plastic templates and draw with pencil the outline of her repeating fabric pieces.  Modifying this concept, I have been using erasable marker on the acrylic templates I purchased. It is working great and wiping off cleanly.

Wet Erase Marker for EPP by East Dakota Quilter

Selecting the Right Thread

For the back of your EPP, you can use any thread you want. I still use Aurifil brand thread for this because it doesn’t break or tangle as easily as other threads, but since you aren’t relying on it to hold long-term, you can use anything that will last until you stitch your pieces together.

For stitching pieces together, some threads are less visible than others, so you can decide how “handmade” you want your EPP to look. A woman in my EPP workshop said she swears by silk thread for connecting pieces. Florence blogged about a polyester thread (Superior Threads brand, Bottom Line type – bought mine here) that piqued my interest.

I can’t tell whether I like it. I admit the end result is much prettier/less visible stitching, but the thread is kind of “bouncy” to sew with. When I pull the thread tight at the end of each stitch, it’s kind of like a bungee cord; it stretches longer than it seems it should, then bounces back to a resting position. So it feels weird to sew with but looks fantastic! I think I will continue to use it. I hope it’s durable when I’m putting so much time into one project! I’ll post photos of my first Passacaglia rosette when it’s finished so you can compare.

Superior Threads

RESOURCES

Other bloggers who have written about the La Passacaglia quilt that I found inspirational (obviously not an exhaustive list) include:

Flossie Teacakes – here and here and here

TheLittleRedHen – or here on Flickr

Mommy by Day, Crafter by Night

Lilabellelane

Michal Erika

Seldear

Pattern Jam (feat. Ashley Spilman)

 

You can see about a million more great passacaglia photos on Instagram. Check out:

tulapink (especially the behind the scenes in Artists & Makers magazine; you can see her Passacaglia in the background), lilabellelane, carriestraka, alexouq, kamiemurdock or hashtags #lapassacaglia and #passacagliaquilt

 

A few more on Flickr:

Michal Peter-Anderson (via Rossana Ramani), Melissa (@honeythorpe)

 

Lorena Uriarte of ikwilt doesn’t feature a Passacaglia but does great fussy cutting.

 

If you are interested in EPP but don’t know where to begin, here are some resources:

EPP: Where to Begin

How to Fussy Cut Fabric for EPP

EPP Basics

Stitching for EPP

 

OKAY, I’M READY TO START!

I plan to make my La Passacaglia in blue and orange. It’s my favorite combination, and I found a crazy amount of inspiration from @elisabew’s Farmer’s Wife and blue & orange Marcelle Medallion quilts. I’m concerned the cogs might flow together a little bit, but Pinterest user Quilt Passion (Åsa Holmér) did a good job of distinguishing hers using only a blue and white palette. My quilt will have blue and orange AND white, so with a whole extra color, I should be fine… right?!

Well, I think that about covers EPP generally and La Passacaglia more specifically. There’s nothing left but to dive in. Which is exciting… but also a little unfortunate since the planning/research is my favorite part, aside from having a finished quilt to show off. Since it’s going to take me forever, I have a WIPs page (tab at the top of the blog) available so it is easy to track my progress on this and a few other long-term projects.


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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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Steampunk & Scrapbooking: Today is brought to you by the letter “S”

Two of my great-aunts have supported my blog and are accomplished sewers/crafters themselves. Over the years, their projects have included cross-stitch, dolls, scrapbooking, costumes, and crochet. I have received a number of gifts from them, from handmade items (like the hand warmers below, teddy bears, and dolls) to family heirlooms.

hand warmers by dorothy

(The hand warmers came with adorable paper cutouts of hands inside to indicate they were NOT beer cozies, haha.)

I wanted to show my appreciation, but what do you give someone who can make things with more skill? –especially when I didn’t want to send something that would just collect dust.

For one of the two aunts, I decided on a pillowcase, but not just any pillowcase… an embroidered steampunk pillowcase!

My aunts have attended steampunk events the past few years. Since I have no experience with steampunk and a pretty fluid concept of history, I didn’t want to make a mistake and include items from different decades/centuries that didn’t make sense together. Then it dawned on me: I could embroider an image of my aunt in the costume she made!

I present Lady Leontine:

lady leontine pillowcase by eastdakotaquilter

lady leontine by eastdakotaquilter

steampunk detail by eastdakotaquilter

The pillowcase even has French seams! I used this super simple tutorial.

The second of these two great-aunts makes incredible scrapbooks. For her, I made a scissors-themed mug rug. The block was inspired by the one in the book Patchwork 318 (see a similar block here), although I had to make my own pattern since the book is unfortunately no longer in print.

scissors block by eastdakotaquilter

Also included in the package was a cute necklace I bought at a craft fair in D.C. called Crafty Bastards. The chain is tiny, but I couldn’t resist.


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1930s Reproductions, Pajamas & Memories: A Quilt Story

My grandma’s death last year was difficult. She’d had Alzheimer’s for many years, so in a way, our loss was more about the years we lost during her life than about her death. Alzheimer’s also meant there were no attics to search for treasures, no inspiring little finds; those things had been done long ago. All that was left with her really were the pajamas she wore in the nursing home and a favorite print she’d received as a gift from her brother. I decided to use the pajamas to make a memory quilt.

Grandmas_Pajamas by eastdakotaquilter

I decided to incorporate small pieces of the pajamas with larger 1930s reproduction prints. It wasn’t until I started researching 1930s repros that I realized where my grandma got her style. All those cartoon kittens and ducks? Straight from the 1930s!

1930s repro prints by eastdakotaquilter

I decided on a layout that would showcase both the repro prints and the pajama pieces.

grandma quilt layout by eastdakotaquilter

At first, I thought I would use a white background. Then I realized some of the pajamas were a little dingy from multiple washings. A quilt store employee in my home state suggested I use a darker color to make the smaller pieces pop. Although pinks and purples aren’t my style, they were my grandma’s. I decided to use a purple (Robert Kaufman’s Quilter’s Linen).

basting by eastdakotaquilter

With a color scheme my grandma would have liked, I decided to include a few details that would also make it more “me.” I wanted this to be a quilt that linked us through the generations.

In particular, I wanted a pop photograph of my grandma on the quilt. I think on one hand she would have hated it and thought it was too ostentatious. On the other hand, I think she would have been flattered and would have thought I was being goofy. It makes me smile to think that she would have teased me for my selection. I turned a photo of hers into a Spoonflower design and had it printed.

grandma portraits by eastdakotaquilter

My grandma was BIG on sending birthday cards, sympathy cards, letters, etc. She kept every card she ever received. Ever. I wanted to somehow incorporate that part of her into the quilt. I used her birthday calendar to get samples of her handwriting, then embroidered her name and dates onto one of the quilt squares. I was lucky she had several friends with the same first name, and obviously family with the same last name, so it was easy to cobble together her name!

grandma signature by by eastdakotaquilter

When it came time to bind the quilt, only one color would do. Fuscia was her favorite.

quilt strips by eastdakotaquilter

(Don’t you love my washi tape “design wall”?)

langdon house by eastdakotaquilter

fuscia binding on gma quilt by eastdakotaquilter

For the quilt back, I used up the remaining portrait fabric. (I bought a yard so I would be sure to have at least one full portrait, plus a few extras in case I messed up.) I also used smaller pieces of 1930s feed sacks that I bought on Etsy, along with 1930s repro prints.

quilt back by eastdakotaquilter

I kept the quilting simple, using straight lines along the outsides of the bigger/repro squares with painter’s tape to mark the lines. The finished quilt is lap size.

This is a quilt I think my family will appreciate for a long time. My mom (whose mother is memorialized in this quilt) has first dibs, and if she decides the colors are too bright, my sister has expressed interest. My sister said the sweetest thing, “There aren’t many things left from Grandma. If I have kids someday, I would love to show them this quilt and tell them what I remember about her. It would be my way of passing along her memory.” How could a quilt be more appreciated?! I am so glad to have created a piece of family history.

Another great thing about this quilt is it was finished in February, which means my current finish rate is one quilt per month! I don’t know that I can keep it up, but I feel such a sense of accomplishment in 2014 so far.


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Riley Blake Challenge – Trivet

At my first-ever meeting of the D.C. Modern Quilt Guild, I received some free fabric as part of the Riley Blake Challenge. The challenge rules are pretty broad: create anything from the fabric in the bundle, using any additional solids or Riley Blake fabrics you’d like, and post your project in the forum by February 17, 2014.

I decided to use the fabric to make something I was lacking: a trivet large enough for my roaster, which matches my [late] great grandma’s.

Roaster by EastDakotaQuilter edited in Waterlogue

I adore the Marcelle Medallion design, and I decided to use it for my trivet. I tried paper piecing it this time. It was one of my first forrays into paper piecing, and it worked out pretty well, I think.

paper piecing by EastDakotaQuilter

(I finished all but the binding of this project well before I started the Sew Kitschy paper piecing BOM. Check out my blocks here and here.)

Marcelle Medallion Trivet by EastDakotaQuilter

My trivet includes a layer of Insul-Bright, which is a a heat-resistant batting. I would essentially have a mini quilt if I hadn’t used Insul-Bright. I later saw the Riley Blake blog has a free oven mitt tutorial using the same product, designed by Sew at Home Mummy. I even used the tutorial once before but didn’t manage to get a photo before I gave the oven mitt as a gift.

Another first for me on this project was hand quilting. I love the way it looks but was afraid to commit to doing a whole quilt. The trivet was a perfect size. I used Anna Maria Horner’s tutorial and size 5 purl cotton thread.

IMG_5130

I scrounged my ever-growing stash for some backing fabric and was pleasantly surprised to discover I had many Riley Blake prints left over from my original Marcelle Medallion quilt. I picked this one in blue, and I love the star quilting from the front.

trivet back by EastDakotaQuilter

 

I can’t wait to see what others made!


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Sew Kitschy Cookie Jar

This is month two of the Sew Kitschy Block of the Month (“BOM”), and I’m not sure why I’ve never done a BOM before! Sewing just one block per month is really easy (at least if you’re not participating in multiple groups!), and at the end of the year, you basically have an entire quilt top.

I re-worked last month’s block a tiny bit since I was lazy about lining up the last seam:

Jan Sew Kitschy BOM by EastDakotaQuilter

Still not perfect, but much improved.

My month 2 block came out much better, in my opinion. It’s a cookie jar. I’m going to embroider the word “cookies” on the jar once I select a font.

sew kitschy cookie jar by EastDakotaQuilter

 

I’m also subscribed to the Lucky Stars BOM, but I haven’t selected the colors or fabrics for it. I am thinking I might just try to hammer out both years’ worth of blocks once they’re all released and see which strategy I like better. If you’ve had a favorite quilt-along, I’d love to hear about it.


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Paper Piecing: Practice Makes Perfect

I am SO excited that Kristy at Quiet Play is making her Sew Kitschy quilt block designs available for FREE as a block-of-the-month (BOM) quilt along. Check out details about the Sew Kitschy BOM here, or download the first pattern at her Craftsy site here.

Quiet Play

I already traced (kind of) the blocks to create a coloring sheet so I can determine a palette for my blocks.

Sew Kitschy planning by EastDakotaQuilter

My plan for Sew Kitschy is to use bright colors. The only way I can justify starting a new project when I have so many pending is to use scraps or fabrics I bought solely to add to my stash. I am embarrassed how much money I spent on hobbies last year. I am even more embarrassed when I consider how few projects I finished. But no matter.

fabric selection by EastDakotaQuilter

I even finished January’s block, an oven mitt and pot holder:

sew kitschy potholder by EastDakotaQuilter

It was working great until the very last seam: the bottom of the oven mitt doesn’t line up exactly. I’m hoping it’s less noticeable once there are more blocks. I think the colors will look better together once there are more blocks, too.

While sewing this block, I also learned the important lesson that big prints are okay, but you shouldn’t use two prints with the same background color (e.g. white) side-by-side if a shape is supposed to emerge.

When I’m finished with all the blocks, I hope to make a lap quilt for my sister. How perfect a gift will this be for a pastry chef?! To make the gift more personal, I used some of the same fabrics for the January BOM block as the fabrics I used to make her a real oven mitt and potholders for Christmas!

EastDakotaQuilter Potholders_2013

I’ve only done one other paper piecing project so far, so I am especially looking forward to a new challenge. I am also looking forward to watching other quilters’ color selections. There’s still time to join the BOM!


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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.


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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!