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Eads QAL #12: Finished Top.

Eads QAL #12: Finished Top.

The top is done! What an adventure.

But let’s back up a bit. Since I’ve been documenting this entire process, I thought it’d be fun to do a video of the laying-out process. Big disclaimer to come.

My blocks were gathered and generally sorted into piles by color–very generally. They’re more stacked by groupings on the design wall. Had I not been in such a hurry to lay it out (–out of sheer eagerness), I could have done a better job grouping them. Not really a big deal.

So yeah…you ready for the video? (BTW, do you spot the Blake cameo?)

A few things to note. First, don’t make a video of yourself. Although, I kind of don’t mean that. There’s something fun about watching it take shape. The reason why I wouldn’t recommend filming the process–or why I’m casting a little caution–is that it makes you all too aware of every move that you’re making, which then makes it way too easy to start over thinking things. I’m not usually into bringing unnecessary stress in to the creative environment. Heads up on that.

Over thinking layout (and almost any other choices when getting your creativity on) can be an easy place to lose perspective, which is exactly what I did. I fussed around with this layout way past the point of any changes making a difference. And, knowing that it was all being filmed, I felt pressure to make choices relatively quickly. (That’s not super great for the creative flow.)

But still, I’ll admit, it is cool to watch a project take shape.

Aside from the unnecessary pressure of knowing that I was being watched, I was far less decisive with this layout than usual.

For one, I think it does make a difference whether or not you’re able to build something and see it in its entirety as you go–whether that’s by using a design wall or the floor. Seeing something in its entirety as you build it means you’re well aware of the overall picture before having to nail it all down, leaving less of a chance for big changes at the end. I totally admit, having the kind of space to do that isn’t always feasible, but nonetheless this was a realization for me. It made me think of other back-burner projects that just get taken out when I have the time and how I can use that segmentation to my advantage or how to reduce it if it’s not working for the project.

Most of the time I’m chugging through projects, because there’s a close deadline, and they can feel like one continuous thought–more or less. This one was such a great series of creative breaks that helped break up the flow of other projects that I’ve been tackling. As I look at the final layout, I think it captures that.

While reorganizing some stuff in the studio, I noticed these swatches–a note to self made awhile back. In making my very first blocks, I discovered this combo that I love between this Arroyo fabric and one of the new crosshatch colors. It was a fun discovery that I had to note for later.

What’s cool is that this is actually represented in the quilt. I made sure of that once seeing my little reminder. If you look down towards the bottom in the next picture, you’ll see how I paired blocks that used those fabrics. There are so many other cases of this in this quilt, that I know it will be a fun one to cuddle up with on the couch. While in use, this quilt has so much to discover and to remember about the process of making it.

Eads QAL 12 . Carolyn Friedlander

Now to decide on quilting and backing.

First, the backing. Conveniently some of my new extra-wide fabrics just arrived. What do you think of the colors?

As for the quilting, to be honest, I’ve been thinking about handing this one off. There are so many great quilters out there, and I keep saying that I’d love to collaborate. But as usual, an idea started to simmer while I was sewing the blocks together. Who knows how it’ll end. I’ll keep you posted.

Tips:

+ Don’t over think your layout. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae, and in many cases tweaking a few blocks here and there won’t make a big difference. I know this, and yet I totally fell into this trap this time. Oh well!

+ As for filming yourself, I know that my own review is a mixed one, but it was a worthwhile experience. Sometimes it is good to check in on yourself and to see how you operate. I learned something, and maybe you will too. Or, at least you’ll get a good laugh at watching me scramble around on the floor. Ha!

+ When teaching, I always get asked about when to take the paper off. I’ve saved this tip for this stage of the game, because now it’s relevant. I always prefer to keep the paper on as long as possible. It keeps the blocks clean and flat (big heart emoji!). But, it can get bulky and weighty, especially in projects like this were you have many blocks to sew together. My first pointer is to always remove the paper in the seam allowance after sewing 2 blocks together–this will make it easier to press and will eliminate those wee bits of paper at future seam intersections. Second pointer, I kept the paper on the blocks when sewing them into rows. Then, I took all of the paper off before sewing the rows together. This is kind of a new thing for me to do, but I tried it while making my recent Russell. It helps with the bulk, but still gives you the guidance and structure in the beginning. If you have other thoughts–I’m curious to know!

Eads QAL 12 . Carolyn Friedlander

This Eads QAL has been a really interesting experience, and I’ve learned a lot–I hope you have too! It’s been fun sharing these bits and pieces with you as I’ve gone along, and I’ve loved seeing your progress and thoughts as well.

Because of how much I appreciate your following along, and because I think we should celebrate making it to the end–let’s do a giveaway! Leave a comment sharing something that you’ve learned/enjoyed/thought about/etc during this QAL. I’ll draw 3 winners Tuesday, Sept 5 at 9am EST, and they’ll win some fabric and pattern goodies that I’ll gather and send out. Sound good?

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Eads Quilt Along #6: Crowdsourced.

Eads Quilt Along #6: Crowdsourced.

You guys are making some awesome stuff, which is why I think it’s a fitting time to take a look at some of it now that we’re at the halfway mark.

@erushman has a super fun mix of colors and prints happening. It’s a great progression of color and value.

@erushman . eads quilt

@erushman

@stephanie.hill75’s colors are working in a fun way. The 2-block units give it an engaging order that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

@stephanie.hill75 . eads quilt

@stephanie.hill75

@curlycquilter’s consistent use of a light-colored fabric in each block emphasizes the shapes within the block and the beautiful color palette that she is working with.

@curlycquilter . eads quilt

@curlycquilter

It’s been such a treat seeing each new addition for @bellylaugher, because of the color-themed styling in each photograph. Just lovely!

@bellylaugher . eads quilt

@bellylaugher

@annuin is making beautiful progress on hers and also taking some lovely shots with different backgrounds. It’s always interesting seeing blocks in a different context. Plus, it looks like this project might be using the kit. I’m eager to see it come together! I think that this project especially can take on different looks even using the same fabrics.

@annuin . eads quilt

@annuin

@treadletothemetal has been rocking some beautiful fabric pairings. It’s been fun seeing her snippets and super satisfying to see how they all come together!

@treadletothemetal . eads quilt

@treadletothemetal

This all-solids version by @thenextstitch is such a good one to take a look at. Using all solids can achieve a wonderful definition of shape, as well as a respectful attention and emphasis on color. This palette is especially intriguing to me, because of how the colors are mixed and matched in different ways making some of the same shades look very different depending on who they are paired with. Such a fun color study!

@thenextstitch . eads quilt

@thenextstitch

@houseonhillroad mentioned this being a Laura Ashley theme, which it totally is! It can be a tricky thing to be so evocative with your palette, but this one accomplishes that, and I can’t wait to see more.

@houseonhillroad . eads quilt

@houseonhillroad

@procrasticraft’s blocks also have a cohesive look to them as she’s using liberty + something light, which is just right.

@procrasticraft . eads quilt

As for me, it’s been a crazy week. I’ve gotten into this bad/good habit of Eads sewing early Thursday mornings. The truth is that I’ve been in the midst of massive secret sewing, which has made it too easy to put off working on my Eads. I knew this would happen when I originally started thinking about this Quilt Along, but that’s also kind of why I decided to do it. For a long time I’ve wanted to get into a rhythm of fabric play once a week, and I knew sewing along with you guys would be the perfect excuse to do it. It’s easy to get swept up in tasks, and so a dedicated break to play is important–especially in times of pressure and deadlines.

Eads QAL 6 . Carolyn Friedlander

Thanks to you guys inspiring me to stay on track, my time Eads-sewing this week resulted in loosening me up a little bit. I finally got my hands on some Homesprun (newish Essex linen/cotton product from Robert Kaufman), and no surprise–it’s a fast favorite. It turns out that it goes with everything and adds a ton of tasty texture. My favorite combo of the day is some homespun with some carkai.

Eads QAL 6 . Carolyn Friedlander

Sewing is fun.

Eads QAL 6 . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ See what your friends are up to. Sometimes a look at other projects will help you think of yours in new ways–and they don’t need to be working on the same project! Any change of scenery can be a great thing.

+ Change your rotary cutter blade. If you’re like me, it’s a safe bet that it’s time.

Eads QAL 6 . Carolyn Friedlander

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Eads Quilt Along #5: Using A Design Wall.

Eads Quilt Along #5: Using A Design Wall.

After being away last week at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, I was pleasantly reminded of a big benefit of using a design wall–it can be pretty! Coming back and being confronted by my blocks was a lovely, visual welcome. In fact, seeing them waiting for me made me eager to sew.

Many of you may have been traveling last week with the holiday–was anyone else eager to see their project when they got back? Maybe you noticed a freshness to it after spending time away?

Eads Quilt Design Wall . Carolyn Friedladnder

Design walls are great, and I believe that they should be used in whatever way works best for you and in a way that complements the way that you work. I realize that saying that sounds pretty obvious, but I’ll bet that it will also feel liberating to hear me tell you to use a design wall however you want. Do it.

As an example, I’ll show you how I used mine for the Eads quilt on the cover.

Based on the beauties you are all posting on Instagram, I’m noticing that some of you work linearly, some of you jump around and some of you work in other ways. It’s all good! Do what feels most natural. For me, you’ll notice that I started in one area, and then built around it in ways that made sense as it grew. I was open to some changes along the way, and I didn’t get trapped in any of the positions being totally set.

On the technical side, there are some things to consider when using a design wall. First, is the design wall itself–check out the first QAL post for specs on mine. Second, is what to do when you outgrow your design wall, because unless your design wall is infinite in size, you are likely to outgrow it at some point.

Eads Quilt Along . Carolyn Friedlander

In my video, you’ll see that I outgrew mine and had to start improvising. Of course you could totally work in sections, but I wanted to see how everything was working together. Because my design wall was set up against a wall of fabric, I was able to pin blocks around the design wall. Then, it still got bigger, and so I moved it to the floor.

Eads QAL 5 . Carolyn Friedlander

While on the floor, I was able to move everything around as I wanted. I waited to move it here until I was ready to actually sew the blocks together.

Eads QAL 5 . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s that. What do you think?

As for my ongoing project, this week I’m outgrowing my design wall again and using tape to hold things in place. Whatever works! (Also, my sewing space is getting CRAZY. There is a lot happening in and outside of this photo…)

Eads QAL 5 . Carolyn Friedlander

In terms of colors and fabric, it was fun pulling in more greens–especially some from the new UPPERCASE collection that have been inspiring from the beginning.

Eads QAL 5 . Carolyn Friedlander

I’m still mixing lots of my stuff with other stuff. At this point it’s feeling a little wild and crazy, but that’s kind of the fun of it too.

Eads QAL 5 . Carolyn Friedlander

From the angle, you can see the pins that I’m using to hold blocks to the foam core. They’re the thin, cheap kind that seem to come in an endless supply.

Eads QAL 5 . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ Leave the paper on your blocks. This keeps them flat and clean.

+ Use thin (cheap) pins to hold the blocks to the wall. Thin pins are effective at holding while not being visually distracting. Where pinning isn’t doable (i.e. for blocks outside of foam core, use painter’s tape to stick to the wall).

+ While a design wall can be visually inspiring or welcoming, don’t hesitate to put it away if your project is ever causing stress! Sometimes a few days of not looking at it can bring on new and exciting ideas.

Eads QAL 5 . Carolyn Friedlander

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