East Dakota Quilter


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Birthday Exceptions

I got married a little over a week ago and had an absolutely perfect day! Friends and family pitched in to decorate, cook, and welcome people to our newly-extended network.

Soon after our engagement, I started thinking of projects to make our day special. I knew I would have limited time to pull it all together, but I couldn’t help getting wrapped up in the excitement. It meant my blog pretty much stopped because I wanted the little touches to be a surprise to our guests. Pretty much all my creative efforts were tied up with wedding projects.

There was an exception. A few months ago, I put out this call on Instagram:

Handmade_Birthday

It received a positive response, and we kicked off the club with a September birthday. The project I selected for our first birthday girl was a welcome change of pace after months of wedding to-dos. In response to a questionnaire I circulated, Katelyn mentioned she liked blues and grays as a color combo, loves pillow covers, and admires the work of Elizabeth Hartman. I used those suggestions to make an Aviatrix Medallion pillow cover.

Aviatrix Medallion by East Dakota Quilter

Elizabeth’s instructions are great, but I did have a moment of inspiration for connecting the diamonds. She suggests matching up the dots on her pattern with a pin. I printed two paper copies of the diamonds, matched up the dots with a pin, and used double-sided tape to stick the pieces together. Then, all I had to do for matching up diamonds was place the fabric diamonds over my paper template for perfect placement every time. It made the whole thing SO EASY!

Aviatrix Medallion Templates

Here are a few more in-progress shots… just because I have them. 🙂

Black and White by East Dakota Quilter

Aviatrix Closeup by East Dakota Quilter

Ready to Bind by East Dakota Quilter

Since I wrote “Happy Birthday!” on the package, Katelyn’s mom hid it until the appropriate day. Thanks, Mom, for making the birthday extra-special! If you want to see the other gifts, check out the Instagram hashtag #birthdayclubhandmade.

Now that the wedding is over, I’m trying to source photos of all the projects I mentioned. Can you believe that except for one selfie, I didn’t take a single photo the day of my wedding?!

 


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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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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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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


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Stuffed Chicken [with Pouch] Tutorial

I found an amazing stuffed chicken sewing project on Pinterest but was disappointed when the link stopped working. Other users reported inappropriate content. However, I had no trouble with the link to the blog’s main site (which I typed in manually), and I was able to view older posts until I eventually found the chicken pattern here.

chickens by EastDakotaQuilter

Since the website is in Chinese, I thought it would be helpful to provide the English-version tutorial. I am NOT trying to take credit for creating the pattern, just trying to make it available in the English-speaking market. I could not find the link to Sunny’s Lovely Quilt that is listed (via photos) on the Chinese site and on the chicken pattern itself. If someone finds the link and discovers this tutorial already exists in English, please let me know! We don’t want any copyright violations around here! In this spirit, I also did not include photos in this tutorial of anything that already appeared in the original link.

Download the pattern on the original website, then follow these instructions. (Note: I re-sized the chicken to fit a printout of 11 x 17” because I wanted it bigger.) All seams are ¼ inch unless otherwise specified.

Materials needed:

Cotton fabric (different colors for head, wattles/comb, beak, outside of chicken, and lining)
White felt (I used a combo of interfacing or batting instead)
Beads for eyes
Filler of your choice (I used polyester stuffing)
Needle, thread, scissors, etc.

Instructions

1. Print the pattern four times.

2. Add a seam allowance. I measured ¼” from each line and did a connect-the-dots thing, but I’ve seen you can also tape two pencils together and draw along the lines (the pencil tips will be approximately ¼ inch apart).

adding seam allowance by EastDakotaQuilter

Trace the chicken pieces as follows:

On the first printout, draw along the side of the beak, wattles, and comb that connect to the chicken body. Continue by tracing along the rest of the pieces. You can also draw along the entire chicken bottom on this printout.

parts of a chicken drawing by EastDakotaQuilter

On the second printout, draw along the side of the chicken head that connects with the body. Continue around the rest of the chicken head.

On the third printout, draw along all edges of the chicken body (excluding the connecting pieces you have already traced). On this page, I also traced around the beak. There was slight overlap, but I traced the small beak onto another piece of paper rather than printing a fifth chicken.

On the final printout, trace along the entire chicken body including the head but excluding all other pieces.

2. Cut out all the pieces. This is your final pattern.

3. Cut the following pieces of fabric:

Head: 4 pieces with two reverse
Body (no head): 2 pieces for outside of chicken with one reverse
Body (with head): 2 pieces of lining with one reverse
Bottom: 2 pieces consisting of one outside piece and one lining piece
Beak, wattles, and comb: 2 pieces each with one reverse each

On the body (lining) pieces, trace the wing outline using the water- or air-soluble ink of your choice. Do the same for the X shape on the bottom lining piece.

4. Cut off the seam allowance for the body (with head) and bottom pattern pieces. Cut one bottom piece plus one normal and one reverse body piece of white felt. These should be a quarter inch smaller than the fabric pieces on all sides. (I used the instructions to cut interfacing and batting instead of felt.)

A photo of the pieces you should have appears on the original website.

5. Sew along the sides of the beak, wattles, and comb that do NOT connect with the body with right sides together. Turn the pieces right-side-out and stuff. Baste along the sides that will connect to the body to keep stuffing in. (This is pictured on the original site.)

6. Sew one head piece to the corresponding body piece (outside piece). Repeat for opposite side of chicken.

7. Layer one body piece with head added (outside) and corresponding lining piece right sides together. Sew along the edges, leaving about 2” along the bottom unsewn so you can flip the chicken right-side-out. After flipping, insert the felt lining and sew the 2” hole closed. Repeat for opposite side of chicken.

8. Sew along the wing outline and remove the line. (You are basically quilting the wing. I added feathers to my wing shape.)

9. Repeat steps 7-8 for the bottom piece, layering the outside and lining pieces, sewing all but 2 “, flipping right-side-out, inserting felt, closing the hole, and quilting the X.

10. With the two remaining head pieces, sew along outside (leaving a hole), stuff, and close hole. This will be called the “head stuffer” in step 13.

11. Pin comb, beak, and wattle to the lining side of one quilted body piece. Sew using slightly less than a ¼” seam (so the stitching won’t show when you sew the two body pieces together). This is pictured on the original site.

12. Place outside sides of body together. Sew from the tip of the tail to the bottom of the chicken, but not along bottom. Sew from the back of the head, over the top of the head, to the bottom of the chicken. Do not sew the back or bottom of the chicken! All seams in this step should be as close to the edge as possible.

13. Put the “head stuffer” into the chicken head and place one eye on either side of the chicken. Using a tapestry or other long needle, connect the eyes through the head stuffer to keep it in place.

14. Pin the bottom piece to the chicken and sew around it. Because I am still pretty new to curved lines, mine didn’t turn out perfectly, and I can’t tell whether it’s a pattern issue or a sewing issue. (My oval for the bottom was too big.) I suggest checking the size of your oval before sewing to the chicken. Still, it’s pretty cute – and it’s lined with leftover bird fabric from a baby quilt I made.

inside chicken by EastDakotaQuilter

Uses:

The chicken was originally intended to hold eggs, according to the earliest pinner on Pinterest, but I will use it to hold chicken bean bags from this tutorial. The goal is to play this game or this game at the park with my cousin and her kids when they visit later this spring.

If you have questions, please leave a comment. Thanks for stopping by!


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Exploring Quilt Shops Near Madison, Wisconsin

I had a fantastic weekend. My boyfriend and I decided to get out of the city. Since we didn’t want to spend the whole weekend driving, we settled on nearby Madison, Wisconsin. Most of our weekend activities don’t really relate to this blog: we ate at cute restaurants, went to a museum, walked through the capitol building and the university arboretum, etc. But I did squeeze in a few minutes at two of Madison’s fabric stores: the Sewcial Lounge and Mill House Quilts.

Madison_Medley by EastDakotaQuilter

I regularly check the blog In Color Order. The blog’s author teaches classes at the Sewcial Lounge, which is how I heard of the store. I was excited to visit a store specializing in modern fabrics. In fact, the shop doesn’t bother with any non-modern prints! It was nice not to sort through “filler fabrics.” I expected the store to contain a lot of fabrics with a small sewing space, but quite a large portion of the space was a dedicated sewing area/lounge. The small shop was bustling when I went in, so it seems I was not the only one who appreciated the fun colors! I especially liked a print with small houses and cats (which I thought they were foxes at first). I’m kicking myself for not getting at least a small piece since it’s not on their website and I haven’t been able to identify the fabric with Google since returning home. This might warrant a phone call at some point…

Comparatively, Mill House Quilts is enormous. I don’t know why I don’t remember seeing them at the Quilt Expo last September. Maybe their booth was so full of people that I decided not to stop, or maybe the fabric selection was so wide that I felt overwhelmed. Maybe I got distracted by coffee… In any case, I see the sign every time I drive from Chicago to visit my parents in South Dakota, only I don’t want to make the ten-and-a-half hour drive take longer than necessary. I was glad for a chance to stop without cutting into family time.

mill house snowman

The store was frankly even better than I’d expected. Again, I was expecting some kind of megastore the size of a warehouse. It wasn’t that. But it was still the biggest fabric store I’ve seen that wasn’t a Joann’s, and I would have been happy to receive as a gift almost any fabric in that store. There were dedicated areas for civil war prints, modern fabrics, batiks, etc. There was a whole room full of sale fabrics. I think the best part, though, was the variety of quilts hanging from the rafters of the store. There were many styles, many colors, and it SO made me want to go home and start a new project! I took a brochure with me and was a little awed by the large number of classes. I only wish I lived closer (and didn’t spend 3 hours a day in commuter traffic already) so I could attend some of them!

DMC floss at MillHouseQuilts by EastDakotaQuilter

modern brights at MillHouseQuilts by EastDakotaQuilter

MillHouseQuilts sample by EastDakotaQuilter

MillHouseQuilts civil war section by EastDakotaQuilter

EastDakotaQuilter purchases at MillHouseQuilts

Okay, so I broke down and bought a few red and white fabrics for an idea that’s been percolating–even though I’m not finished with the myriad other projects I’ve started. That’s me standing outside the store with my purchases!