Archive | Tips + Techniques

Aerial Update And A New Version In My CF Grid Group Fabrics

I’ve been wanting to make a new Aerial quilt for quite some time. It was one of my early patterns, and one I’ve been eager to get back to. Here is my Aerial update.

aerial quilt . carolyn friedlander
photo by Alexis Wharem

The Design

The design is inspired by an imaginary view from above. It’s a fairly simple idea with loads of horizontal sections divided by diagonal slices and blocks of differing sizes.

aerial quilt . carolyn friedlander

Technique and Fabric

The project is made using foundation paper piecing, which makes everything super easy and clean. You can work from 2 1/2″ strips. Bring on the scraps, yardage or whatever you have! I worked from the roll up of my newest CF Grid Group and a special Kona Cotton roll up that I put together to coordinate with it. To me this is a great example of how grayscale doesn’t necessarily mean lacking in color. Don’t you think?

CF Grid Group and Kona cotton fabrics for Aerial Update quilt . carolyn friedlander

Working With Other Substrates

Aerial works really well with solids and textural prints. It’s also great for working in other substrates, which was a big focus for me in my first version. Sewing onto the paper foundation stabilizes a variety of fabrics, making it easy by limiting stretch, drape or any other imbalance between the fabrics you are using. If you are new to foundation paper piecing and/or working with a variety of substrates, this is a great way to go.

Tip: Pre-wash and dry all fabrics when doing this to equalize any differences that might occur when laundering in the future.

The Aerial Update

I’ve updated the pattern to include the new sample. I made some tweaks to the blocks, and I changed out some of the project sizes so that the pattern includes four different size options; Throw, Runner, Wall and Baby. The pattern has six different blocks and coloring pages to map out your own version.

aerial quilt pattern . carolyn friedlander

Planning

In planning this project, I don’t tend to make an overall plan, instead I start with the fabrics and then I think about groupings of three fabrics for each block. I find that this helps break down many choices into something more manageable. Plus, it gives cohesion to each block and the quilt as a whole, while also making the sewing experience entertaining as I tried coming up with new three-fabric combinations for each block.

aerial quilt . carolyn friedlander

There’s an optional “Block Yardage” listing in the fabric requirements that you can use to add cohesion or to provide extra wiggle room if you are new to paper piecing.

Project Details

Pattern: Aerial Quilt Pattern

Fabric(s): CF Grid Group and Kona Coordinates

Bonus: Aerial was also a design I used in my couch! Here’s part 1 and part 2.

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2021 Printable Calendar

Happy New Year! I hope things are off to a good start for you. I’ve enjoyed using this simple calendar that I created for the Hunt Quilt Along, and so I thought I’d share an update with you in case you’d like to use it too! Here’s my 2021 Printable Calendar.

(Download via the toolbar that appears at the bottom of the calendar below.)

CF-calendar-2021-PDF

You can check out this post for tips on printing, cutting it down and using it.

2021 printable calendar . carolyn friedlander

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Ray Quilt Along #4: Baste and Quilt.

Ray Quilt Along #4: Baste and Quilt.

Basting my Ray Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Who’s ready to baste and quilt? I have to say that it always feels like a big milestone to get a project basted and ready to quilt. Since I’ll be hand quilting this one, that means I can get the Netflix and couch ready!

Here’s the video.

Because of all that we’re covering this week, this video is longer than the others. As with all of my videos, you can make use of the “Chapters” in the description to jump around to any sections you wish to revisit.

I share some thoughts about batting in the video, and if you’d like to use what I’m using I put together a listing for it in my shop.

quilters dream batting . carolyn friedlander

What’s your favorite way to baste your project? Do you use your cutting table like I do? And how are you thinking you’ll quilt your project? I’d love to know what you are thinking about.

quilting my Ray quilt . carolyn friedlander

The Quilt Along will be taking a break for the next 2 weeks. I’ll see you back here on December 31, 2020 with the final part of the project! Your homework for the next couple of weeks is to get your quilt basted and quilted.

You can do this! Share what you are working on using the #cfRAYqal on Instagram. I love seeing it.

Supplies:

+ quilt top, batting, backing fabric, Flatter, clamps, safety pins, scissors (small and large), hand quilting supplies, thread (see suppliers below)

Thread Suppliers:

+ Cosmo Sashiko Thread in my shop

+ Snuggly Monkey

+ Brooklyn Haberdashery

+ Upcycle Stitches

+ A Verb For Keeping Warm

Ray Quilt Along #4: Baste And Quilt (video on YouTube)

Ray Quilt Along #3: Sew It Together (video on YouTube)

Ray Quilt Along #2: Cut It Out (video on YouTube)

Ray Quilt Along #1: Make A Plan (video on YouTube)

Ray Quilt Pattern

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Ray Quilt Along #3: Sew It Together.

Ray Quilt Along #3: Sew It Together.

Ray Quilt Along #3: Sew It Together

With everything cut out, let’s sew it together! This part always feels like I’m cleaning, because I’m taking a bunch of pieces off the floor and turning them into a single quilt top. So satisfying!

Here’s the video.

A fully-sewn-together quilt top is pretty satisfying, right?

Ray Quilt Along quilt top . carolyn friedlander
Ray Quilt Along quilt top . carolyn friedlander
Ray Quilt Along quilt top . carolyn friedlander

I may not be the best quilt holder, but you get the point. It’s bright and exuberant just like I wanted. Basting and quilting will be coming next!

Your homework for this week is to get your quilt top sewn together too. You can do this! Share what you are working on using the #cfRAYqal on Instagram. I love seeing it.

Supplies:

+ Cut pieces from Ray #2, sewing pins, seam roller, 1/4″ foot/Magnetic Seam Guide and/or Washi Tape, CF Handy Guide, sewing machine, iron, ironing board, wool pressing mat

Ray Quilt Along #3: Sew It Together (video on YouTube)

Ray Quilt Along #2: Cut It Out (video on YouTube)

Ray Quilt Along #1: Make A Plan (video on YouTube)

Ray Quilt Pattern

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Ray Quilt Along #2: Cut It Out.

Ray Quilt Along #2: Cut It Out.

This week, let’s cut everything out! Grab your fabrics and cutting guide, and let’s have some fun.

Here’s the video.

How about that? I’m pretty excited about where mine ended up, and I can’t wait to sew it together in the next video.

Ray Quilt Along 2: Cut It Out . Carolyn Friedlander

Your homework until next time is to get all of your fabrics cut out! And don’t forget to share what you are working on using the #cfRAYqal on Instagram. I’d love to see it.

Supplies:

+ Fabric, Cutting Mat, Rotary Cutter, Rulers (I’m using 8 1/2″ x 24
and 6 1/2″ x 6 1/2″), Marking Tools, Iron, Ironing Board, Sewing Machine, Thread, 1/4″ foot/Magnetic Seam Guide and/or Washi Tape, Seam Roller, CF Handy Guide

Note: My Long Leaf templates and pattern are coming to the shop soon!

Ray Quilt Along #2: Cut It Out (video on YouTube)

Ray Quilt Along #1: Make A Plan (video on YouTube)

Ray Quilt Pattern

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New Sew Fine Thread Gloss Scents in Yuzu, Orange Blossom and Petal.

New Sew Fine Thread Gloss scents in Yuzu, Orange Blossom and Petal.

Looking for a handwork refresh? I’m delighted to share new Sew Fine Thread Gloss scents in Yuzu, Orange Blossom and Petal! As with any of the scents that I’ve collaborated with Sew Fine to bring to you, I’ve personally spent a lot of time working with each of these new scents over the last several months. I find each to be delightful in their own way, and I hope that they strike a chord similarly with you too.

Let’s meet the new scents!

Sew Fine Thread Gloss in Yuzu

Yuzu

Yuzu is a slightly tart, slightly sweet, citrusy scent that is both fresh and light. It is easy to like and very uplifting. To me there’s nothing more refreshing than citrusy smells. This one has its own special twist that I think is just right.

Sew Fine Thread Gloss in Yuzu
Orange Blossom Sew Fine Thread Gloss

Orange Blossom

Orange Blossom is a scent very near and dear to my heart. I’ve spent a good majority of my life around orange trees, and the smell of the blossoms in the spring is like nothing else! It’s such a distinct scent, and this one captures it like few things do. Orange Blossom doesn’t really smell like oranges, to me it’s highly floral, only slightly citrusy and very fresh.

Orange Blossom Sew Fine Thread Gloss
Petal Sew Fine Thread Gloss

Petal

Petal is a floral scent that has the feel to me of getting dressed up. It is a lush blend of orchid and osmanthus with warm hints of bergamot, sandalwood and musk.

Petal Sew Fine Thread Gloss

Each of these new scents are available now in the shop. If you aren’t looking for something scented, you can always go the Natural route.

Want to know more about thread gloss?

I love using thread gloss, because it strengthens my threads and makes handwork an easier and more enjoyable experience. For the record, I never thought I’d like using scented gloss, but it turns out I totally love it. The scents are all light enough to not be overpowering or stay with you or your project too long, but they are present enough to bring a special, enjoyable comfort to the sewing experience. I’m a big fan.

I’ll link a few relevant posts below if you’d like to find out more.

+ Why I love collaborating with Sew Fine.

+ Thread Tips and Tricks

+ Needle-turn Appliqué tools

+ Thread Gloss in the shop

New Sew Fine Thread Gloss scents in Yuzu, Orange Blossom and Petal

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Scrappy CF Coasters

One set wasn’t enough, so here are some more scrappy CF coasters that I made recently.

scrappy CF coasters . carolyn friedlander

Actually, I guess that I have a lot of these in the works. They can be made from a charm pack, and so I grabbed a stack of 5″ squares from Collection CF and started pairing the fabrics together in different ways and in different sets. The first grouping was this one, and here is another grouping in pinks, peaches and lilacs. If I let myself really dream a bit, I think it’d be lovely to make an entire set of these big stitch coasters in all of the colors.

scrappy CF coasters . carolyn friedlander

Binding Selection

One thing that is a little different about this set from the first is that I used different binding fabrics on each of the coasters. There’s no right or wrong in deciding this, it’s all a matter of taste and what you are feeling. In a scrappy set like this, I think the variety is fun, and I love seeing how all of the different fabrics play out in the bias trim.

scrappy bias binding in collection CF
scrappy CF coasters . carolyn friedlander

Selecting Thread Colors

I quilted each coaster with a different color thread. This adds even more character and color to each coaster and to the set as a whole. The quilting becomes more engaging, because you can think about and explore using different colors as you go–an entertaining way to quilt, if you ask me.

scrappy CF coasters . carolyn friedlander
scrappy CF coasters . carolyn friedlander

This is a great project to grow (or start growing) your big stitch quilting skills. I also think it’s a great way to explore different ways to pair fabrics and explore color. Plus, it’s something that you can use around the house or gift to a friend.

scrappy CF coasters . carolyn friedlander
scrappy CF coasters . carolyn friedlander

Binding Tips

If you haven’t seen it already, I have a new video that I posted on making the binding and how to attach it to the coasters. You can head over here to check it out.

scrappy CF coasters . carolyn friedlander

Project Details

Fabric: Collection CF

Tutorials: Big Stitch Coaster Tutorial (here), Binding for Quilted Coasters video (here)

My favorite Hand Quilting tools.

scrappy CF coasters . carolyn friedlander

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How to Bind the Quilted Coasters

I’m delighted to have something new for you–a video on How To Bind the Quilted Coasters.

big stitch coasters . carolyn friedlander

The binding on my Big Stitch Coasters seems to be a sticking point for many, and so I’m happy to be able to show you exactly how I do it.

how to bind quilted coasters . carolyn friedlander

The video includes picking out your fabric, creating your own bias tape, and then I go through all of the steps for attaching it to your coasters. I like to sew the top by machine and then hand stitch it down on the back. I’ll mention some tips too on how I’d attach it all by machine if that’s something you’re curious about.

Of course there are a million ways to do just about anything in sewing, this is just the way that works for me. I’m hoping it helps you too!

Everything gets better with practice. Don’t feel bad if it takes a bit to get the hang of it.

Let me know what you think and happy binding!

Links:

+ Big Stitch Coasters Tutorial

+ Binding Tutorial (on YouTube)

+ Here’s a link to some of the supplies I used in the video that can be found in the shop: Clover Seam Roller, Thread Gloss, Aurifil Thread, Hand Sewing Needles, Kai small scissors, Kai medium scissors. (Oh, and a special Crew pincushion makes a cameo too.)

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Big Stitch Coasters in Collection CF

With the newest fabrics in Collection CF arriving in stores, I thought I’d share with you these new Big Stitch Coasters that I made in Collection CF.

The coasters are made using this free tutorial that I put together a few years back. (I’ve now given it a fresh update!) I use these coasters all the time, and they’re a fun thing to give away to friends.

big stitch coasters tutorial-stitch layers . carolyn friedlander

Small projects are perfect for trying out new techniques. If you’re wanting to give big stitch quilting a try, this is a great way to start. The commitment is small, and the possibilities are endless. Of course you could machine quilt them if handwork isn’t your thing, but I love the added color and texture of the big stitches.

It’s also a small and speedy project that can update something you use around the house, which I am all for. Or maybe you could send some to a friend to let them know you’re thinking of them. Both are worthwhile motives in my mind right now.

I made a point to update my favorite hand-quilting supplies, if you’re new to the game and want to find out more.

There are a couple more versions, but I’ll share them in a future post. Have fun!

Project Info

Tutorial: (Free) Big Stitch Coaster Tutorial

Fabric: Collection CF

Shop Supplies: Thread, Scissors, Needles, Marking Tools

+ Learn more about Hand Quilting Tools.

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New Supplies in the Shop.

I have some new supplies in the shop, and I thought I’d pop in to share a bit more about them.

CF Handy Guide . carolyn friedlander

CF Handy Guide

First up is a brand-new little tool I’ve been working on. I’m calling it the CF Handy Guide, because it’s just that–handy. It’s my take on the classic seam gauge, but with the quilter specifically in mind.

CF Handy Guide . carolyn friedlander

There’s something nice about a measuring tool that can fit in the palm of your hand, and this one is kept compact for that reason. Use it when checking in on the 1/4″ basting step in my appliqué patterns or to measure anything starting at 1/8″ and up.

The angled side at the bottom features a 120 degree angle–or that of a hexagon. If you’re piecing hexagons (or my hexagon project Arlo) and want to mark your points, it’s there at 1/4″ and 3/8″. The Arlo templates have these references as well, but here’s just another way to use it. You could use those reference lines to mark out a seamline too.

There are holes for marking corners 1/8″ to 1″. The little tabs that go out from the sides are great for marking seam allowances, etc, and the running measurement at the top is good for longer dimensions too.

It’s made of a rigid, clear plastic with a hang hole that you can thread a ribbon through or hang on its own. I’ve been meaning to thread one through a necklace to wear when sewing away, plus I think it’d be cute. Anyway, it’s handy! Let me know what you think. You can find it in the shop here.

Other New Supplies in the Shop

These other supplies are my go-tos. I don’t know about you, but with the reshuffle in the world over the last 6 months some things have been a bit harder to come by. Plus, I know that it’s often the small stuff like random needles, thread and other notions that can be a) hard to source, and b) hard to source all in one place. Here I wanted to make available my favorite things so you can get what you may need without any trouble.

That said, I recently updated my Needle Turn Appliqué tools list, which you can check out here.

Pins, Needles and Clips

My favorite Clover appliqué pins are now in the shop. They are insanely handy.

Clover Appliqué Pins

The needles (also by Clover) that I love are now in the shop. These are my go-tos for appliqué, sewing binding and any other general hand sewing.

Clover Gold Eye Appliqué Needles

My favorite thimbles for hand appliqué and hand sewing (not hand quilting) are in the shop here. They are adhesive leather pads that can be reused again and again and again. I keep one stuck on a tin of thread gloss or my scissor case so it’s there when I need it. One pad lasts a surprisingly long time. If you are someone who feels like thimbles are clumsy or cumbersome, this one is easy to forget you are wearing. I have walked away from projects still wearing it many times.

Colonial Thimble Pad

I’ve added the small Clover clips that I use when cutting out any appliqués that require folding. The small size and strong grip allow for the perfect mix of doing the job while not getting in the way.

Clover Mini Wonder Clips

Marking Tools

In stock are my three favorites in this category as well; Frixion Red, Navy and the Gelly Roll in White. Big disclaimer on this and on all marking tools–always test your marking tools. That said, I use these to mark shapes that will be a) cut out and b) usually marked on the wrong side of the fabric. I am much less concerned about the removability and whether or not the marks will come back in these scenarios. The white pen is not removable, but given the situation I described above, that doesn’t matter to me. What is more important is how easily it marks on fabric and how clearly it shows up on the dark fabrics.

Also, the Frixion pens are the clicker style. That is totally my preference. If I’m going to pick something to offer to you, it’s going to be exactly the thing I want to use. Caps can be annoying, right?

Pilot Frixion Clicker Navy

Hand Quilting

The right tools make a big difference–especially when it comes to handwork. This is why I’m forever trying new things, plus I’m a total nerd on this kind of stuff. New needles that I have been LOVING lately are the Olympus Sashiko needles, which are available in a 2 pack or 4 pack. I started with the 2 pack, and I most often use the shorter needle, but the longer one is great too. (These are the needles I’ve been hand quilting my Hunt QAL project as well as Clay.)

Olympus Sashiko Needle 2 pack

I still love the Colonial Big Stitch Needle pack, and so it’s available here. It’s just a good mix of sizes with a big eye to accommodate the larger threads.

Colonial Big Stitch Quilting Needle Pack

Unfortunately I’m already out of the bright yellow thread that I used in Clay, but I plan to get more in later this month. I’ll keep you posted on that.

I hope these new shop additions make sewing a little easier and more comfortable for you. Feel free to reach out and let me know what you think!

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2020 Printable Calendar

I know, it’s June and sort of a weird time to be talking about calendars, but hear me out. Did you use the Hunt QAL calendar? I did, and since it ended last month I’ve needed a new one, and I figured maybe you could use one too. Here’s a 2020 printable calendar to help you through the rest of the year.

CF-calendar-2020-carolyn-friedlander

The pages can be printed on 8.5″x11″ or A4 and them trimmed down around the outside lines.

CF 2020 printable calendar . carolyn friedlander

Feel free to get fancy with the paper you use. I grabbed some colored pieces that I had on hand to spice it up a bit. It’s maybe a weird combo, but I like it.

CF 2020 printable calendar . carolyn friedlander

Grab a straight edge and Xacto blade.

CF 2020 printable calendar . carolyn friedlander

Get to trimming. I got ambitious and sliced through the stack all at once, but feel free to cut one at a time if that’s easier for you.

CF 2020 printable calendar . carolyn friedlander
CF 2020 printable calendar . carolyn friedlander

Clip together with a binder or paper clip and hang on your wall or sit on your desk. You have a page for each month with the dates above and some planning bits on the bottom. I like to set goals for the month in the “goals” section, look ahead to the next month in the section below, and then use the left “good stuff” section to celebrate whatever is worth celebrating from the month. Whether it’s accomplishing a goal, reading a good book or discovering a new recipe, take notes!

CF 2020 printable calendar . carolyn friedlander

Hope you enjoy the 2020 printable calendar! And even more, I hope the rest of the year brings you many good things.

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Shoji Cardigan and experiments in natural dyeing.

It’s not too often that I finish a knitting project, and so it’s a celebration when I do. This Shoji cardigan (pattern by Norah Gaughan) is a project that I started back in December 2016, and I finally finished it a few weeks ago. Yay!

I loved the project as soon as I saw it in a Brooklyn Tweed collection a while back. Living in Florida can make knitting challenging at times, because it’s never cold enough to warrant a ton of knitted stuff. What I liked about this design was that it looked like a cozy blanket that you could layer over whatever else you’re wearing. This seemed appropriate for how I tend to dress in the winter here. Plus I was intrigued by the shape and construction. It’s knitted as a long rectangle that gets sewn together and added a collar.

The yarn I used underwent quite a transformation after being fully knitted and dipped into a natural dye bath of cutch with my friend, and expert dyer, Kim Eichler-Messmer. Below are some of Kim’s very helpful samples dyed from a variety of things. They aren’t a promise for what will happen, but good approximations of what all can happen. My Shoji, a swatch and extra yarn pre-dyed are there at the bottom. It’s very different, right?

Natural Dye samples with Kim Eichler-Messmer

The yarn was a fun color to start with, but even though I alternated skeins every row the color variation was too much over the course of the entire project. It looked super patchy, and I wasn’t totally convinced by the shade of pink. As it was, I didn’t think I’d ever wear it outside of my house. I figured it was worth a shot to see what could happen with a little experimenting.

The color came out more gorgeous than I could have ever imagined! That’s it on the left. (We tried some other dye baths as well.) For some reason I figured the only fate for this sweater would be to become navy or black. Brown was not something I’d even thought of as possible, but after seeing her samples, I knew that’s what I wanted to try. I figured it could be a good fit.

The sweater fared the dying process surprisingly well. I know that it probably grew a bit, which is fine–it is still cozy. I ended up tightening up some of the seaming that was loosened during the process, but otherwise not much else needed to happen.

Now that I’m officially done with my Shoji, I can a) wear it(!), and b) get back to work on another knitting project that I started over a year ago. The front and back are done, and I’m working on the sleeves.

pattern: Shoji by Norah Gaughan

yarn: Tosh DK in Pink Clay Optic, overdyed with cutch (and the critical help of expert Kim Eichler-Messmer)

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