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.
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.
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.
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.
I already traced (kind of) the blocks to create a coloring sheet so I can determine a palette for my blocks.
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.
I even finished January’s block, an oven mitt and pot holder:
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!
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!
I have noted in past blogs how slow I am to finish projects. I am therefore incredibly excited that I finished my first project of the year in the first month of the year. I made a baby quilt for a dear friend who is expecting:
The fabric is Violet Craft’s Waterfront Park line.
This is the first non-mini quilt that I quilted myself, so I’m kind of proud of that–especially with the high loft polyester batting I used to make this beast fluffy!
My mitered corners have also vastly improved compared with past projects, and it’s the first time I’ve actually enjoyed sewing on the binding.
And the colors are so cheerful!
Finally, I embroidered a label in the form of an owl since my friend’s late mother collected owls. (The free embroidery pattern is available here.)
My friend’s daughter was so funny when she said her prayers the day I gave them the quilt. She said, “Dear God, thank you for Tiffany so now we will have a blanket for the baby.” I’m sure the baby would have made do without me. 😉
Here’s hoping I am able to finish many more projects this year!
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.)
Next is another portrait – “Raven Blanket” by Lynn Czaban of Vancouver, Washington, USA. It won Honorable Mention.
This is called “Departure.” It won first place in the Traditional Pieced Category. It was made by Kiyomi Takayanagi of Kitanagoya, Aichi, Japan.
This one is “Mabel – 1952 REO” by Susan Cane of Canaan, Connecticut, USA. It won second place in Art-Pictorial.
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.)
This quilt is “Flamenco” by Jin Gook Yang of Suji-gu, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea.
This quilt is “5-HTP Squared” by Jennifer Carlton-Bailly.
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.
Next was the Berne House Quilt. It was made by the members of the Bernese Quilters for an exhibition in Berne, Switzerland, in 2010.
It was much more impressive as you got closer and saw individual houses:
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!)
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):
…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.
This beautiful house was the subject of “Lazy Afternoon” by Michelle Jackson of Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
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.
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.
I attended my first-ever quilting event that involved talking with other quilters: the Crystal Lake Modern Quilt Guild monthly meeting and sew-in. Unfortunately, I missed the show-and-tell portion. (I was late for a variety of reasons. I HATE being late for anything.) I had most been looking forward to that part of the meeting, but it was at least fun to look around the room and see what kinds of projects others were working on.
The prospect of talking with other people about quilting scared me. I only know what I have found on the internet, and some of my methods are “non-traditional.” In other words, I anticipated more judgment for some reason. I am far less secure with my creative abilities than my professional abilities. I needn’t have worried; everyone I talked to was nice. I received only kind comments about my Marcelle Medallion, which was the project I brought to the meeting. Since the quilt pattern is all over the internet, I was surprised not everyone knew about it already. I was happy that I could share useful information with quilters who are more experienced than I am.
Proof I was sewing in public:
I finished the piecing for my first “extra” border to convert the quilt to full-size but didn’t quite have time to sew the border to the quilt top. Instead, I took a small break this week to make my dad a gift for Father’s Day.
My dad grew up in rural South Dakota and has been going back to the family farm a few times a month for as long as I can remember to help with things like mowing the massive lawn (it’s a house in the middle of the prairie, so I’m sure you can imagine), putting up hay, fixing things, etc. My grandma recently sold the house she and my grandpa built together, but the family still owns some land. What this means for my dad is he still had the responsibility of farm work but no place to stay. It wasn’t a huge deal since my parents’ home is within driving distance, but when a used camper came on the market, my dad decided it would work perfectly as a home-away-from-home. It stays on the farm property and gives him a place to stay when he’s helping out. I made him this to make it a little more like home:
The hoop is tiny, just 3″! The pattern is Sublime Stitching’s Camp Out.
What are you doing for Father’s Day? Does your family have any traditions? I had a hard time thinking of what to make or do, as I do every year. I thought a fun project another time would be to make a Dresden plate pillow out of all the ugly ties we gave my dad when we were kids. How many M&Ms ties can one man wear?!
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.
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.)
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!
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.
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.
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.
My Marcelle Medallion involves a number of firsts for me:
True to spring, the April weather has been unpredictable, but the fluctuations became even more drastic when I traveled for work the past few weeks. I went from a partly cloudy 88 degrees in Dallas one day to 22 inches of snow in Minnesota the next!
Ever since I saw this post by Dana of Dana Made It, I’ve been wanting to see the Mustangs of Las Colinas (a fountain), which I discovered is just minutes from my company’s Dallas office. Who knew?! I went one day over lunch:
My photos don’t do it justice. You can walk right up to some of the horses, which are bigger than life-size, and you can cross the water in a few places, too. When you step back, you notice that the little fonts by the horses’ hooves make it look like they are splashing through the water. I loved it. I will say I had a little trouble finding it because I didn’t expect it to be in an office park!
Because of all the travel and a nasty bout of the Plague, I didn’t get much done on the creative front, so I photographed some works in progress instead. First up are the two embroidered quilt blocks I finished for my barn quilt:
Ultimately, the quilt should look something like this:
The images on the quilt include those places that are dearest to me: my grandparents’ house, my childhood home, my grandpa’s tractor, etc.
The on-point setting made the quilt blocks awkward to photograph, however. So did being in public. Do other bloggers live in more rural areas [than Chicago], or do they just have a ton more confidence when taking photos? People walked by me every 5 seconds or so, and several had comments, which ranged from “That’s cool!” to the incoherent and/or hostile. (I live in an “interesting” neighborhood.) Still, I saw two really amazing places I wanted to use as backgrounds but just didn’t have the guts. I was really glad I skipped one of the two since a guy who glared at me walked past me into the building a second before I’d planned to photograph it with my quilt blocks. Eek!
I complained a few weeks ago that most of my poor photos are due to getting home too late to catch the natural light. For the photos above, I did at least have the last shreds of light for the day. I think the photos are still mediocre at best, so… I think I’m taking my first-ever photography course! A community college near where I work offers it as continuing education. The course is on Mondays, which would leave the rest of the week free for work travel, and it’s late enough in the day that it shouldn’t conflict with most of my meetings. I am really excited.
With that bit of info, perhaps you can excuse the poor lighting of the following late-night shots. Since I’m sewing a million little blocks together, I’ve been doing them in strands, and they make the cutest banners:
I like looking at the colors in even the unfinished state of the quilt:
When I was designing the quilt, I was on a lunch break and couldn’t actually touch the fabric. I made this little doodle while I daydreamed about the colors:
With any luck, the blog will soon go from shady instagram sketches to magazine-quality photos!
I felt like a rockstar last week when I completed all 49 blocks of my original 7 x 7 sampler quilt design:
It is decidedly more traditional than the quilts I’ve begun in the meantime.
In my original design, I included a border on either side to round out the queen-size requirements. I chose this over another row of blocks. But I’m not sure how well the quilt-as-you-go method would work for borders, and I also felt silly avoiding 7 blocks when I’ve already come so far. So… I have a new goal of 56 total blocks (design below).
Since I started working on the quilt in September, I typically completed either 4 blocks per week or absolutely 0 blocks. This means I completed about 7 blocks each month for 7 months. Of course, this includes the time spent graphing my blocks, cutting fabric, and all the preparatory work, plus the holidays and a death in the family where progress halted. Could it really take a whole ‘nother month to finish a portion of a project that I had nearly written off as complete?! On the other hand, I made room for some fun new blocks that I only discovered after cutting all the pieces for my original 49, so I am excited in spite of myself.
My sister’s dog, a pit bull, wanted to be sure he wasn’t missing dinnertime when he heard me moving around.
I chose “craftprowler” as a blog name because I never, ever thought I would be able to design my own projects. I figured I would just make minor alterations to the projects I found on Pinterest. However, I’ve spent a lot of time designing projects since the last time I posted photos. The burst of creativity feels amazing, but there is blessed little to show for my efforts so far!
I bought the notebook featured above at Target. It is responsible for maybe 30% of the projects I’ve designed so far. (Another 40% is Pinterest, and 30% is me.) The reason? It has gridlines, with heavier lines around every 8 boxes. It’s perfect for sketching out quilt ideas.
I haven’t gotten far with sewing the Marcelle Medallion quilt, but I selected all the fabrics and cut out the middle pieces already. This is the layout so far:
(Confession: I actually did start sewing the middle, but the Y-seams stopped me short. I am going home tonight to rip out some of the seams and try again. Apparently, marking is important. Oops! I like the pattern enough that this is the first time I won’t just plow forward with the awkward, first-try version.)
I’ve also drawn several more templates for my Barn Quilt, including this 1982 Buick LeSabre:
I drew a fox to grace either a purse or a pillow – haven’t decided just how to use it yet. Embroidery? Appliqué? Both are possibilities. If you want to use the image and end up making something before I do, please email to let me know! I’d love to see your projects.
After seeing some neat images at the Etsy store of cheesebeforebedtime, I tried doing a self-portrait with the intent to post it as my thumbnail here on the blog. The first result was embarrassing. The second definitely looks like a person, but not like me. Let’s just say it might take a few more tries before it’s worth posting online.
I have also been scheming the past few weeks about how to take better photos for my blog. A major issue is my work schedule. My evening commute is around 2 hours, so even if I get out at a decent time, there’s not much daylight left by the time I get home. The windows of my apartment also face directions/buildings that are not conducive to natural light. My new goal is to work on projects a week ahead of time so I can photograph them on weekends. (Disclaimer: Procrastination may still mean low-resolution iPhone photos.)
You may recall that last year I started what I thought was a Dear Jane quilt, only to discover it was probably closer to a Farmer’s Wife or Sampler quilt. However, my blog has received a fair bit of traffic from people searching for Dear Jane information. (My thanks to WordPress for showing the search terms that lead people to my blog!) I thought I could help by redirecting Dear Jane searchers to the info that helped me determine my quilt isn’t actually a Dear Jane:
My Time with Jane by Miriam Bruening. Displayed at the Madison Quilt Expo, September 2012. Photographed by the CraftProwler.
Free Blocks of the Month (BOMs) for Dear Jane quilts are available here.
The Dear Jane complete autographed book and templates are available here, and the Amazon copy of the book is available here.
Note: A woman named Brenda Papadakis seems to be the leading expert on Dear Jane quilts. Two of the links above go to her website/book. Internet rumor is she also responds to email requests and is a very helpful person in general.
A ton of block tutorials are available on this website. The tutorials are linked on the right side of the page, just below the Google members.
Another blogger has drafted her own Dear Jane templates and posts photos online here. Scroll to the bottom left of the page to see additional redraft links.
Dear Jane foundation piecing tips are available on this blog.
Hope this helps some of you Dear Jane enthusiasts!