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New Pattern: Collection Quilt Block of the Month

Meet the Collection quilt.

collection quilt pattern_carolyn friedlander

Collection is my new block-of-the-month pattern and part of my Slow Sewing Studio.

collection quilt snippet_carolyn friedlander

I’ve been teaching hand appliqué more and more over the last couple of years, and I’ve found that people are really receptive to the technique, as well as to the overall experience. (Handwork is fun!)

I often think back to when I was first learning the technique, and how blindly I chose projects. It’s impossible to know what’s doable for a beginner without any experience. This was my very first attempt at needle-turn. (No judgment–it’s clearly still not quilted or even sewn into a top–ha!)

taro block_carolyn friedlander

It’s a Taro block from a Hawaiian quilt book that I’d picked up on a trip to Hawaii. It marked the beginning of an Hawaiian quilt obsession, as well as a complete needle-turn appliqué addiction. Looking at this block now, I see how far my own skills have come with practice, and I also see that I took on some real challenges with my first project–not necessarily a bad thing.

As a designer, I’m always thinking about the best ways to educate when it comes to how I develop my patterns as well as my classes. I loved the idea of creating a Block-of-the-Month pattern for hand appliqué, because I knew that the format would allow more of an opportunity to educate the process.

collection quilt development_carolyn friedlander

Collection is a 9-part series focused on exploring shape and color. Each “Collection” (or part of the project) is broken down by skill. For example, in Collection #1 you’ll be able to get the hang of the basic process before I start throwing any crazy shapes at you. Each following Collection will focus on another appliqué variation through illustrations, photographs and diagrams.

The Collection Quilt pattern blocks_carolyn friedlander

This is the quilt I would have wanted to make when I was first learning to do hand appliqué. It needed to be something fun (#1), but also something where you can really explore and learn how to tackle shape with your needle.

collection quilting_carolyn friedlander

And if you already know and love appliqué? Not to worry. I have you in mind, too. Because, hey, I know and love appliqué, and I wouldn’t develop a pattern that I wasn’t interested in making myself (after all, I make my own patterns a lot!).

collection quilt_1_carolyn friedlander

There’s also a color component to the project. I’m often asked how I choose fabrics and work with color, and so I wanted to incorporate some of that info into the project as well. Many block-of-the-months are built to coordinate specifically with a fabric collection, and with this one, I decided to go in a slightly more versatile route. Of course, all of the fabrics that I used are spelled out specifically in the fabric requirements on the back of the cover, BUT what I also did was to list the fabrics by color so that you could easily make substitutions or adjustments as desired.

To help with those decisions, there’s a black and white line drawing of the project in the first part of the instructions. Alongside it, I talk about overall composition and color for this project and encourage you to take some tracing paper and colored pencils to it to explore your own possibilities. Then, at the beginning of each Collection, I talk more about the fabric choices and colors for that block specifically.

So, it’s a lot in one project, and here’s where I feel like an infomercial…

But wait, there’s more!

(anyone else addicted to Ronco as a kid or was it just me?…)

I also have 6 alternate projects included that are made from blocks in the project. It was hard to hold back when I had the opportunity to include them, and I liked having ideas for using the blocks to make other projects like wall hangings, baby quilts, etc.

collection quilt_sketches_carolyn friedlander

So this is Collection. It’s just starting to ship to stores and distributors this week. I’ve received a lot of inquiries from folks who are interested (yay and thank you!), and so I’m working on compiling a list of participating shops and will keep you posted you can find a list of participating shops here.

As for it appearing in my own online shop, that will happen, but I’m planning to give shops a chance to get their programs up and running first since I won’t be able to offer it in the same way that they will. They will be able to kit the project, host monthly events and demos for it, sell the hard copy and more, whereas I can only plan to offer the full download in one installment. Which is also good. You can take your pick.


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Spring Quilt Market 2015 in Minneapolis.

Big thanks to everyone who participated in the webinar last night. It was a new experience for me talking to the computer without really knowing who was listening and watching from the other side. After reading your comments on Instagram, I’m thrilled to know that it resonated with many of you, and I can’t wait to see where handwork takes you in the future!

But now, to Quilt Market. It was my first time in Minneapolis, and the city was a lot of what I expected–good food, friendly people, plenty to see and do (if not at the convention center). Luckily, it wasn’t too crazy cold, but it was a change of temperature from the 90s that I’m used to in Florida. One major (personal) highlight was the sauna in my hotel–that’s how I like to do a trade show! A friend and I made the sauna an early morning ritual each day before the show, which made a massive difference in taking the edge off of what is an otherwise exhausting event. I do love a sauna.

Overall it was a good Market. I didn’t get out to see everything and everyone as much as I would have liked, but that’s kind of the way it is. I always say that folks following the show from Instagram see more of the show than those of us who are actually there. Or at least those of us spending most of our time in our booths.

Here’s the convention center at the beginning of setup. It was an interesting building with three very large domes. I’m not sure what happens up there, but they sure have plenty of ladders and walkways to cover them.

Spring Quilt Market 2015 before set up

The first day of set up was a little slow for me because of some errands, but there was plenty of focus on the second day as I tried to pull it all together.

spring quilt market set up_carolyn friedlander

The booth strategy was a fairly simple one. I liked the ideas of layers and layers (of fabric…ideas…projects…), which I articulated by way of lots of fabric, plenty of quilt blocks and some of my drawings and sketches.

Carolyn Friedlander Spring Quilt Market booth 2015_blue wall

I knew that I wanted to get people stitching in the booth, so before setup I did some local junk foraging and found some goodies.

stitching in the booth at Quilt Market 2015_carolyn friedlander

I didn’t know if people would be in to sitting down and stitching, but they totally were. I know that it was a welcome reprieve from the hustle of the show floor. Plus, it was a great chance for me to catch up with them, making it a win-win.

stitching in the booth 2015_3_carolyn friedlander

Even Ken Kaufman took a turn working the needle.

stitching in the booth 2015_carolyn friedlander

My booth neighbor, Valori Wells, had some really beautiful samples including many that she’d overprinted.

Valori Wells for Robert Kaufman

It was a delight to welcome 3 new designers to the Robert Kaufman family–Elizabeth Hartman, Angela Walters and McKenna Ryan (whose booth I sadly did not get a picture of–but it was lovely and won an award!)

Here’s Elizabeth’s booth showcasing her brand-new fabric line, Rhoda Ruth.

Elizabeth Hartman for Robert Kaufman

This was Angela’s booth, which featured her new line, Drawn.

Angela Walters for Robert Kaufman

Darlene’s booth was lovely as always, with plenty of great details.

Darlene Zimmerman for Robert Kaufman

I’m obsessed with this sewing machine.

Little vintage sewing machine

Darlene was even stitching away on some of my blocks during the show. I was totally flattered.

Darlene Zimmerman stitching away

Julia from the Kaufman team kept everything in order at the pre-cuts booth. Plus, she rocked amazingly-handmade garments everyday of the show–including this beautiful Doe dress.

Julia handling the Robert Kaufman precuts

I never take enough pictures, but one of my favorite parts of the Robert Kaufman booth was the sewing studio where they had tons of garments, quilts and other projects made out of their apparel fabrics. It was inspiring to scope through it all and plan out some future projects. Also in that section was a Social Tote, which I did manage to get a photo of.

Social Tote in Robert Kaufman fabric at Quilt Market 2015

Elsewhere on the show floor…

Jen Kingwell’s work always blows me away.

Jen Kingwell at Quilt Market 2015

I loved seeing some Nest Egg totes in the Dear Stella booth.

Nest Egg Totes at the Dear Stella booth

I scouted some Nani Iro dresses that I’d like to make.

Nani Iro dresses at Quilt Market 2015

Angela and I traded talents. She taught me to longarm, and I taught her to handstitch.

Angela Walters teaching me to quilt_Carolyn Friedlander

Then Elizabeth, Angela, Valori and I took a group shot with our beastly blow-ups after it was all over.

Robert Kaufman designers with big heads

Kinda freaky, huh?

But fun too.


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New Site, New Shop.

Well, welcome!

There’s been a lot happening behind the scenes recently, and now you can see the results of some of that. The site has a new look, and on the back-end it’s entirely new. This means that it should not only run faster, but we’ve also tried to make things easier to find and more available for you.

And, the biggest news is that I now have a shop. (See 2nd menu item above and left.) In it, you will find a selection (that will grow) of my patterns available as PDF downloads. To start, we have Shirts, Outhouse, Social tote, Nest Egg tote, and Catenary.

Shirts Quilt Pattern snapshot_Carolyn FriedlanderOuthouse Quilt Pattern snap shot_Carolyn Friedlander

Social Tote Pattern snapshot_Carolyn Friedlander

Nest Egg Tote Pattern snapshot_Carolyn Friedlander

Catenary Quilt Pattern snapshot_Carolyn Friedlander

My book, Savor Each Stitch, is also available in the shop–it’s not for download, but is the physical, real deal that you will receive in your mailbox.

Savor Each Stitch book_Carolyn Friedlander

The addition of a shop and doing downloadables has been a long time coming, and it doesn’t arrive without some bittersweet feelings about it on my end. On the one hand, I love downloadable products. My own hard drive is chock full of PDFs that I’ve eagerly purchased from designers. They are a handy means to great projects that I’ve enjoyed making. As someone who doesn’t live close to a quilt shop, I can appreciate the convenience, and as someone who is often struck with moments of creative compulsion, I can appreciate the instant gratification of what just a few clicks can do for you.

Having said all of that, there still isn’t a replacement for having a beautiful pattern in hand or finding that pattern in the environment of a well-curated and thoughtful local quilt shop. The support of the independent retailers and distributors who carry my products over the last few years has helped me grow my business immeasurably, and so it’s important for me to recognize their role in this system not only as a designer, but as a consumer as well. Just like cruising blogs or instagram for project ideas, some of the best independent shops deliver us the same creative inspiration by doing their own homework to source the best patterns and supplies for us to see and use. For this reason, you’ll still find a directory of such shops, and I encourage you to support them as well.

In my book, I talk about how bringing ourselves into our projects makes them different, and quilt shops work in the same way. Each shop owner makes buying decisions based on any number of factors that they deem important. Because of that, you never know what you’ll find when you step into a new place. Or, you also end up seeing familiar things in a totally new context that makes you think about them in a new way, which I totally love. In traveling so much, I’m lucky to get to see so many of these amazing places, which is such a treat. (A dangerous treat, but still a treat…)

carolyn friedlander fabric at Superbuzzy

Colorful fabric bundles at Superbuzzy


cat fabric at Bunnys in Austin

Just a taste of the cat fabric at Bunny’s in Austin


Cabin blouse at Fancy Tiger Crafts

Inspiration is everywhere at Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver


Classes at Fancy Tiger Crafts

Class offerings at Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver


So, it’s with much happiness that I launch my new shop–I hope that it will be a great resource for you! I can’t wait to see what you make.

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