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Doe Fabric Makes A Couch: Part One.


doe couch and fabric swatches_carolyn friedlander


Time to talk about my new couch.

This was a fun project to think about–and I thought a lot about it!

For months.


+ Base goods acquisition:

Finding the right couch to recover was certainly not an easy part of the equation. I’m always a fan of finding something old to fix up, but my local market for good finds can be a bit tricky. Luckily, one of my local quilting buddies tipped me off to a couch and two chairs that she drove by at a yard sale, and sure enough, they were exactly what I was looking for. Score!

Sadly, this is my only before picture. Oops!


doe couch before_carolyn friedlander


As you can see, it’s a couch and two chairs with removable, two-sided cushions. The wood part wasn’t in the best of shape, so my mom and I stripped and refinished it before moving on to redoing the cushions.


+ Technical strategy:

I wanted to cover it in my new fabric, but what I was mostly challenged by was thinking about a way to stabilize and add body to quilting cotton so that it would look a little more polished. You certainly can use quilting cotton to do it–my mom and I have recovered many things with just quilting cotton before and it’s worked out great–but I knew that I wanted something a little more sturdy. So I decided to make it like a quilt to add structure and thickness.


My biggest concern with doing this was that I worried whether the many layers involved in quilting would make it too bulky to sew up easily. I really had no way of knowing, and so I’d just have to see by doing it.


+ Design strategy:

I liked the idea of incorporating patterns from my pattern line, and the plan was to use fabric from Doe and all of the coordinates. Many of my patterns work from strips or scraps, so I went ahead and cut strips from all of the fabrics that I had to work from, and I laid them out. I’m one of those people who needs to see everything in order to work with it, and so this is how I did it. My cutting table was very full!


doe fabric and kona cotton solids_carolyn friedlander


After a thorough survey of my pattern line, I chose to work with Aerial, Totem, and Focal. To me they worked well together, and they’d each give me the right opportunity to explore using all the different fabrics that I had to work with in the way that I wanted to.


carolyn friedlander blocks in doe fabric


Since all of the cushions are two-sided, I also had to decide on a design strategy for the second side. For that, I decided to go with a project from my book, called Circle Lattice. Choosing this particular project for the second side was a breakthrough for me, because it made me realize that instead of treating each individual cushion as its own canvas, I could treat one entire side of the cushions as a giant canvas to cut up into smaller sections. Because the Circle Lattice block is so large, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of wasting any of it. Building each side as a unit would make better use of the block, and it would also make it much easier and efficient to make.


Here’s the start to the Circle Lattice side. (The near matchup of the two Doe prints was completely accidental, but much appreciated!)


doe fabric_circle lattice quilt_carolyn friedlander


+ Piecing:

To figure out how big each side needed to be, I simply added up the cushion dimensions laying side by side with the back cushions above the seat cushions. That resulting shape was a rectangle that I then mapped out onto my floor with painter’s tape. I did the painter’s-tape-on-the-floor approach, because I wanted to physically audition the layout of each side. I needed to see it.


I struggled quite a bit to figure out the layout for the AFT (Aerial-Focal-Totem) side…


doe couch quilt making_carolyn friedlander


The CL (Circle Lattice) side wasn’t as tricky to lay out since it was mostly a matter of how to float the one large block…



doe couch_circle lattice quilt top_carolyn friedlander


+ Quilting:

Then I layered and quilted each side separately with straight(ish) lines. With all that was going on with the piecing, I wanted the quilting to be simple and a unifying factor.


doe couch quilting_carolyn friedlander


Here is the AFT side after quilting.


doe couch quilt_aerial totem focal_carolyn friedlander


doe couch quilt_aerial totem focal detail 1_carolyn friedlander


doe couch quilt_aerial totem focal detail 2_carolyn friedlander


doe couch quilt_aerial totem focal detail 3_carolyn friedlander


doe couch quilt_aerial totem focal detail 4_carolyn friedlander


And here is the CL side after quilting.


doe couch quilt_circle lattice quilted_carolyn friedlander


doe couch quilt_circle lattice detail 1_carolyn friedlander


doe couch quilt_circle lattice detail 2_carolyn friedlander


Next, in part two, we’re hacking it all up…
















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Coordinating Konas, New Architextures Crosshatch Colors, and Swatch Mixing.


warm doe swatches and konas_carolyn friedlander

Photo by Modern Handcraft


warm doe swatches_carolyn friedlander

Photo by Modern Handcraft


Getting the chance to put together a coordinating set of Kona cotton solids to go with my collections is always a treat. I like to use it as an opportunity to build out the color range of the line further rather than try to match everything perfectly.


Here’s a flashback to that process. First, I like to order the collection in some way by color. Then I’ll start to think about how to fill in and expand on any gaps with the solids.


picking out the coordinating Kona solids for Doe_carolyn friedlander


Here are the colors that made the final cut. (See here for the names.)


Doe Coordinating Kona Solids_strips_Carolyn Friedlander


In other news, this also happened.


crosshatch colors_carolyn friedlander


I was able to add some new colors to the Architextures crosshatch print. New to the group are shades of Chestnut, Poppy, Pickle, Limestone, Cadet, Niagra, Fog, Shadow, and Shale. The pic above shows one of the new FQ bundles that has all of the current and available colors in it.


Related to swatches and solids, I thought I’d also highlight another section of my booth, which was my smaller swatch wall. One of the first things that I did with Doe was to play around with how the different prints, coordinating solids, and extra crosshatch colors would play together. Anytime that I had a swatch set that I liked, I’d pin it up on my studio wall as a reminder for later. I wanted to bring this element into the booth, and so I had some extra swatches at play on my small side wall. (Big thanks to Nicole at Modern Handcraft for letting me use some of the great pics that she took in my booth! To check out her Market recap of my booth or to see any of her other beautiful posts, visit here.)


doe swatches_carolyn friedlander

Photo by Modern Handcraft








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New Pattern: Outhouse Quilt in Doe Fabric.

Doe Outhouse Quilt at Quilt Market_Carolyn Friedlander


My third and final new release this fall is the Outhouse Quilt.

Outhouse is new to my paper piecing line, and honestly, it’s just a fun pattern. I had the idea of simple but quirky little houses that you could further personalize and flavor with fun fabric choices.


Doe Outhouse Quilt_Carolyn Friedlander


At my new place, I actually have a funky little outhouse that the previous owners built themselves. There’s a great view of it from my office, and so I’m sure that looking at it everyday has played into the speed with which I’ve been able to add this source of inspiration into my pattern line.


Doe Outhouse Quilt detail_carolyn friedlander


Yesterday, I needed to whip up a smaller version, and so here’s a peek into the process.


Fabric pull and audition …


Doe Fabric Pull and Audition_Carolyn Friedlander


Block assembly …


Doe Outhouse Block Assembly_Carolyn Friedlander


Quilt her up …


Outhouse Quilting_Carolyn Friedlander


Bind and finish.


Doe Outhouse Mini_Carolyn Friedlander



The fabrics in these first two versions are from Doe.

I’m also scheming about a Doe/Architextures/Botanics + Liberty version. The nice thing about these little houses is that they only take a small smidgen of fabric, making it a perfect Liberty and/or scrap project. Or if you’re into pre-cuts, a pack of  5″ squares will work just fine too.


Doe and Liberty Outhouses_Carolyn Friedlander


If you’re in Ann Arbor next week (Wednesday, November 12), I’m teaching a class for this project for the Ann Arbor Modern Quilt Guild. If you can’t make the class, we’ve also got a trunk show scheduled that evening.









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