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cf Mini QAL #7: Making Friends, Mixing Genres.

cf Mini QAL #7: Making Friends, Mixing Genres.

The fussy-cut/directional challenge from last week made me want to play with directional fabrics and a lot of stripes.

Directional Davie . cf mini QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

Originally, I’d planned a toned-down palette with plenty of paleness but also a punch of acid lime. In the end, I went even softer than that and didn’t use any acid lime. The punchier bits are from deeper browns and greys.

Directional Davie . cf mini QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

The directional theme I was going for was to have vertical stripes in most of the sets.

Directional Davie . cf mini QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

When you’re going fussy, you draw the line on how fussy you want to me. For me, I wasn’t necessarily drawn to complete perfection in all ways, but like in the block above, I wanted the roof stripes to be perfectly vertical and relative to each other. It was a complete surprise and accident when they almost line up at the seam on the left. Yay for accidents!

Directional Davie . cf mini QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

I like this group of four and went ahead and sewed them together. I’m still tossing around the idea of sewing all of my minis into one bigger quilt, but there’s something about these guys that I might end up leaving them on their own. They’re just so cute together.

Directional Davie . cf mini QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

This next challenge is another one that I hope you’ll have a lot of fun with. It’s all about making friends and mixing genres. What does that mean?

There are many different genres and styles of fabric out there. We have solids, basics, batiks, various reproductions, modern, contemporary, etc, as well as loads of designer prints that have their own look as well. Sticking to one category or designer can make things easy as they can easily work together without too much thinking. But sometimes it’s fun to mix it up, and that’s what the challenge this week is all about!

Like all of the previous challenges, this too can mean a lot of things, but to get you started I’ll show you in an example of my own, and walk you through a mixed-genre fabric pull.

Like any fabric pull, it’s good to start with something that speaks to you. Anna Graham’s latest collection, Forage, for Robert Kaufman is such a fun one and where I wanted to start.

 

I grabbed one of the floral prints from the collection and added a couple of pieces from my scrap bin–a bright tangerine (from Botanics) and a grey (from Architextures). While these colors do coordinate nicely with colors already in the print, they also pack a little more punch and take it in a slightly new direction. This is a good start and an easy way to stretch what’s already there.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn FriedlanderTo do something different, you don’t necessarily need to find the most different thing for the sake of being different. Instead you can think of colors that aren’t already used and can bring a new spirit to it.

 

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn FriedlanderAcid lime! It didn’t make it in last week, but it might be great in this next group. I’ve also added a pink gingham that plays well too.

Since I like where that’s going, the next step is to explore building it out a bit more. I’ve added more yellows, another grey and the tangerine from earlier.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

What’s important–to me at least–is laying them out and grouping them in ways as I pull. This makes it so easy to see how everything is shaping up and how it might work together.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

If you feel like you’ve gone too far–or want to zoom in on something nice you’re seeing, you can always pull back. I could decide to take the tangerine bits out and focus more on the yellows and wasabis.

Or, you can clear it away and start again with another idea–for the sake of another push.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

I just LOVE these guys together. The print mix is really enticing and there’s something good about the coloring too.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

As before, you can start figuring out how to build the idea out more–not forgetting about things you may have already used.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

And a little more…

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

And already I have a lot of options! I may have too many, which means I definitely need to start sewing before I feel too overwhelmed and can’t make a decision. This is such an important step–get sewing!

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ What makes good friends? Connect your own dots between genres through similar colors, values or whatever make sense to you.

+ Scrap-pile sewing can be an excellent way to source some surprise combinations. Many of my favorite pairings have been the result of accidental findings. For a challenge like this, I love hitting my scrap bin for ideas.

+ Take pictures along the way. You can often work in good ideas from early in the pull later in your project–or into another project. It’s good to have these ideas on hand.

+ Have fun with the pull, but don’t let it stop you from sewing! Give yourself a time limit and get going.

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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cf Mini QAL #6: Fussy and/or Directional Placement.

cf Mini QAL #6: Fussy and/or Directional Placement.

Did you have fun creating a gradation?

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I created a few more blocks to add to my Davie pile from last week, and I like how a gradation adds a bit of harmony and composure to the group.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

As for the colors, I expanded on some that I started last week and went with my gut on what to put together next. I made sure to lay out each block as I worked to see how it was shaping up.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

On to the next challenge, are you ready?

This week, we’re going to explore getting fussy and/or directional with your placement.

Local Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

What’s fussy and what’s directional placement? I think of fussy as any way you get picky with your fabric placement. Maybe it’s putting a cute cat into a certain position on your block, or maybe it’s making sure that something lines up just the way you want it. Directionality comes into play with directional prints–think stripes, checks and any motifs that are best read in one way or have an up/down/side to them. In this case, you may decide that you want the direction of the fabric to be reflected in a specific way in the final project.

Getting a little (or a lot) fussy is all a matter of preference and skill to some degree–so don’t stress! If you’re new to it, a good trick is to know the good places to start and how to grow your skills from there. Also keep in mind that like most anything, it gets better with practice and as you start recognizing opportunities.

Fussy Cut Envelopes_detail_Carolyn Friedlander

When paper piecing, the first piece on the template is always the easiest place to get intentional, and my Envelopes project (especially the version above) is a great example to start with. The inside liner is the first piece, and you can see how I’ve added special motifs to each one. Because this is the first piece, you’re able to place your fabric however you want.

austin house for nichole

Another relatively easy place to consider fabric placement is in your border. In my Austin House (above) you can see that I cut my border fabric strips lengthwise for the vertical piece and widthwise for the horizontal piece so the dots on the fabric are running in the quilt as they do on the fabric. Matched up or not, keeping a directional fabric directional in your borders is relatively easy and always a fun place to start.

((Tip: If you’re working on Lusk version C, the side panels would be a great place to play with this idea! Simply cut them together and they’ll match up wonderfully.))

To take directionality up another notch, take a look at this other version of Austin and how I kept the gingham background fabric going up/down. This may look totally normal, but without paying attention to the directional placement of the fabric the gingham would be going a many different directions.

Austin House 3_detail_carolyn friedlander

I like this example because it shows how directional placement can unite areas seamlessly. Of course this kind of means that the hard work you put into it isn’t noticeable. But to me, it’s not only entertaining to get things like this to work out when you’re sewing, but it’s also a fun detail to have working for you in the end.

Here’s another example in the same vein.

Outhouse Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Of course you could probably take it a bit further and match up the top background a bit better, and if we’re getting super picky, my bottom stripes are a hair off, but you get the point. This single block from my Outhouse pattern gives you all kinds of opportunity to play with your fabric.

((Tip: An easy first attempt for this block could be to get something fussy in the door. That’s the first section on that part of the block, and a wonderful place to slip in a little critter or something else fun.))

You ready? I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Tips:

+ I find that using a light box is helpful when paper piecing in general and especially when getting fussy with your fabrics. I like using the Daylight Wafer 1 with a clear cutting mat on top.

+ Being fussy and/or attentive to directional fabrics can be approached in a range from hard-core to more subtle. Pick your pleasure, and don’t get too stressed about it. I always find it entertaining to see if I can get things to match up or positioned in a specific way. When it works, yay! When it doesn’t work, no biggie. You took a risk, and I’ll bet you were able to learn something that you can apply to your next attempt.

+ Further reading: The Fussy Cut Sampler by Nichole Ramirez and Elisabeth Woo (Hardy). This book doesn’t get into paper piecing and fussy cutting specifically, but it is certainly an excellent resource for fussy cutting tips in general and inspiration.

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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cf Mini QAL #5: Gradation.

cf Mini QAL #5: Gradation.

How was last week?

Here’s what I made.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

This week, my focus was on Davie. With last week’s challenge being about all colors, I tried not to over think my fabric and color choices, which is easy to do when anything is an option. Instead I went with my gut as I started looking through fabric. I pulled several different things, and laid them out loosely focusing on groupings of 4 since the Davie blocks require that many fabrics for each of the block sections.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Even though my goal was to make 4 blocks, I didn’t pick all 4 groupings at the beginning–although you totally could. Instead, I made the first block with the first 4 fabrics that I liked, which was the bright yellow house with a brown roof in the middle. My subsequent block selections grew from there based on how I was seeing each block shape up.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Also, I’ve been wanting to play a bit with mixing up the background sections in this block, and so I inserted a little accent of something here and there in pretty much all of the blocks. I think it’s kind of fun!

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

This was a really fun week, and I’m actually looking to build from it in moving forward with the next challenge.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Our next challenge focuses on Gradation. Gradations can be lots of fun to put together and incredibly impactful. Here are some examples to consider.

Savor Each Stitch_Aerial Grove_Carolyn Friedlander

The Aerial Grove project from my book is a good one for employing a gradation. I love projects with little bits of a lot of different things, and this one captures that idea and uses gradation to organize those colors for maximum impact. Above is the version in the book, and below is a version using only Kona solids.

Aerial Grove quilt_1_Carolyn Friedlander

I’ve made so many versions of this project mostly because I love picking out the colors and figuring out how to arrange them.

Ebb is similar in that it also is a great way to show many different colors and how they can transition in fun ways.

ebb quilt pattern . carolyn friedlander

This recent version of Sessoms also creates a gradation from all of the fabrics in Gleaned.

Sessoms Throw Quilt Pattern . Carolyn Friedlander

And here’s a new one that you haven’t seen yet. How about this Lusk mini that I also made in Gleaned?

Gleaned Lusk . Carolyn Friedlander

I had a mini-charm pack of Gleaned that I decided to turn it into a mini. I paired the fabrics in the collection with Olive Essex Yarn Dyed. To make the gradation, I simply worked the blocks in order from the mini-charm pack. That’s a tip–if you have trouble arranging your fabrics, try working from a precut, because they’re usually arranged in a pleasing gradation of some sort.

Gleaned Lusk . Carolyn Friedlander

Creating a gradation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create a rainbow from red to purple. You can also think of a gradation as a way to tell a story, from light to dark, from blue to yellow–from anything you want! Here’s one more example that I crowdsourced from @bastingbeauty. It’s just too pretty not to share. I love the creativity of not only the design but of also the fabric use and way it transitions! It also gives you a bit of a transparency effect too.

@bastingbeauty

This week, have fun figuring out a gradation–in whatever way you’d like!

Gleaned Lusk . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ Not good with creating a gradation? Buy a precut and use it in order. OR, stalk a precut that you find attractive and take notes on which colors are being used and which order they are being used in. You can do it.

+ Gradations do not have to be a full spectrum and in rainbow order. If the standard isn’t speaking to you, come up with your own color story and define your own limits.

+ On a technical note, I’m sure you’ve noticed that these little seams can be get a little bulky. This is why I usually try pressing them flat in order to even out the bulk as much as possible. While first working on Davie, I realized that using a seam roller to open out the seam first, made it much easier to iron open and achieve a good press. I’m glad to see some of you noticing this handy trick too!

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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