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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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Eads Quilt Along #4: Color Moods.

Eads Quilt Along #4: Color Moods.

Do you get in color moods? I feel like I do all the time, and this week was a reminder of that for me. While sewing away, I thought about how different any project would shape up depending on the color mood that you’re in depending on the time you sit down to sew.

Eads QAL 4 . Carolyn Friedlander

Before sewing up these 10 blocks, I was really set on sewing with the greens that originally drew me in. That’s what I started with, and as I sewed, I became enticed also by teals, blues and some other goodies.

Eads QAL 4 . Carolyn Friedlander

This week was really fun, as I caved to some momentary color cravings.

Eads QAL 4 . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:
+ Notice how your surroundings, general mood and/or momentary experiences can affect your palette. Paying attention can pay off.
+ If there’s a color or fabric that you’re really excited about—use it! Seeing and sewing with something you’re excited to use will not only make the project fun, but I’ll bet it’ll give you ideas and excitement for moving forward.

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Fabric napkins for the win.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

Fabric napkins for the win. Are you a cloth-napkin user? I am and have been since college. In fact, I’ve been using the same cloth napkins since college, which means my cloth napkins are quite old. So old, that every time I find myself folding and putting them away I’m thinking–I should really make some new napkins… It’s always been one of those “some day” tasks, but finally, I’ve made myself some new fabric napkins, and it basically took no time at all.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

This is hardly even a weekend project. For me it was a I-need-a-break/distraction-to-feel-productive-for-maybe-an-hour kind of project. And boy are they.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

Even though the colors look curated, they are the result of pulling fabric in order off my shelf, which I guess is curated…and in color order, but still. It was an easy effort. I grabbed and cut fabrics until I felt done grabbing and cutting, which apparently was 9 pieces.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

To back up a bit, the idea came after seeing these from Purl. For anyone wanting to follow a tutorial, you can totally follow that one, it’s good. On mine, I simplified the steps a bit and changed the overall size.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

I first made a snip at 19″ with scissors and then ripped the full width of fabric, which means that my fabric was 19″ x width-of-fabric (44″ish in this case). Ripping the fabric ensures you’re following the grain of the fabric, which does make a difference when you’re planning for frayed edges. (Plus, ripping fabric is a surprisingly fun task.)

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

I then threw those 19″ strips (ripped on 1 side) into the washing machine and dryer before ripping them into 18″ squares, by making a snip at 18″ and ripping each side, basing all subsequent sides on the first ripped side.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

After getting all of the squares made, I frayed the edges, but unlike the tutorial, I didn’t do an overall stitch around the sides. I figure the fraying will be fine. After you fray some edges, you start to see how unlikely more of it will be from becoming more un-frayed. Or, if it does become crazy in the future, I can always add some stitching. No prob.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

Of course, some stitching could be a lovely decorative element if using a contrasting thread or interesting stitch. It all depends on the look you’re going for! In my case, it was a no-muss, no-fuss situation. I like the looseness.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

I know that some people have some concerns with fabric napkins. First, to address the wrinkle issue, these napkins haven’t been ironed at all. I took them straight from the dryer, ripped to size and then just hand smoothed them before this photo shoot. Not bad, huh?

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

And this was just the first wash, they’ll get softer and softer with each wash. If you’re into ironing or have some guests to impress, you could certainly give them a good press before setting them out. Otherwise, I find them to be totally acceptable straight from the dryer.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

Another question about fabric napkins has to do with stains. This is a good question since you will be using them around food. There are a few ways you could look at it. First, if you’re really concerned about stains, you could just pick out really dark and/or busy fabrics that could easily camo some stains. Second, I haven’t noticed too many stains that really stick in my experience with cloth napkins, and I’ve been a cloth napkin user for almost 15 years. Third, if you do happen to get a pesky and unrelenting stain, just make a new one! This is a low-commitment project that only gets better and more exciting with new fabric.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

Fabrics included are from my collections, friedlander, architextures and doe.

Yay for fabric napkins!

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