Archive | tips and techniques

Bartow Quilt Finally Finished.

This quilt top has been sitting around in the studio since 2014. But good news, this Bartow quilt is finally finished!

Bartow Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Back in 2014 Robert Kaufman released a new batch of Kona solids, and my Bartow design became a pattern that I created for that release. (Free pattern here, and notes on the first version here.) I’m pretty sure that this version was my first version, or at least it was where I got inspiration for the design.

Bartow Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

At a Quilt Market around that time I saw a charm pack featuring a custom palette of Konas by Elizabeth Hartman. Elizabeth does a great job putting together colors, and I really liked this set and how they were arranged.

Bartow Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I wanted to have little slivers of all of the great colors transitioning in the same way that her charm pack was arranged across the quilt. Maybe it looks tricky, but it was pretty simple. I kept her colors in order and sewed them up by following the Bartow pattern. On my other Bartow quilt I kept the borders the same color as the background, but here I opted for colorful ones with a little bit of print mixed in. I think the borders here are mostly Flame Kona.

Bartow Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

The top has been finished since 2014 and was sitting on a shelf in the studio. I dug it out and sent it off to Gina Pina to quilt. She quilted it up with a 1″ grid, and I just LOVE it.

Bartow Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Bartow Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

As for the binding, I had it in my mind to use a piece from Friedlander Lawn, but as I was sewing it together I realized I had a scrap of Polk binding that would be perfect to mix in as well.

Bartow Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Bartow Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

On the back is one of my Friedlander Wide prints. This colorway has been one of my favorites from that collection. It adds just the right pop to the back.

Bartow Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Feels good to have it finished!

Bartow Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Pattern: Bartow (free pattern from me via Robert Kaufman)

Bartow Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

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Cutting Up My Kona Card.

I have been planning on cutting up my Kona card for a while now. It has been a few years since cutting up an older Kona card, and my lack of a system for that one (they were all thrown into a box) plus the addition of many new colors has made working with it an ongoing mess.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

Earlier this year, I did a rough poll to see how others are organizing their color cards, and the answers were really helpful! I recapped some of those different styles and approaches in this newsletter if you’d like to see.

The systems I saw ranged wildly in terms of additional materials required, time investment to set up and resulting usability. I love being organized, and I love how being organized can help you work more efficiently, but it’s also important to weigh the options.

For me, I prefer a direction that requires the least amount of upfront time and extra materials to set up, with the most appropriate level of usability in the end. Not only am I often picking swatches to coordinate with collections and to use for projects, but I also like seeing all of the colors as a whole. Because of that, I like the idea of having a way to see all of the colors together, as well as to work with them individually. With two color cards, and I knew that I could keep one intact and I could cut the other one up. With just 1 card, it might be better to go in a different direction, maybe one like @modernhandcraft installed, which is impressive, but that would also require a lot of time and equipment to set up, as well as the physical space to put it. I’m not mad at a system that I can fold up and put away.

Instead, I was drawn toward @houseonhillroad’s approach which uses a special box to store the swatches. I think her box is one for storing embroidery floss that you could find at a craft store, but I also heard of others using tackle boxes and other things similar.

To be honest, all of this was fantasy thinking, because projects like these aren’t usually my favorite. They can be easy for me to dream about but not anything I’m quick to act on. There are too many other things I’d rather be doing and making! However, the stars aligned and I happened to find the perfect slotted container at the Dollar Store, when I was there rooting around for something else. I picked it up hoping it would be about the right size, and it turns out that it totally was! Yay! Plus, it was only $1. You can’t beat that.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

There were many good tips that I learned from others. For one, I numbered the back of each of my swatches as well as their position on the uncut card. This way, I can easily find what I’m looking for AND put it back when I’m done with it.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

It really helps to cut the swatches to the same size. This was made easier by the fact that the newest Kona color card has standard sizes for the colors. Because of the layouts on some of the older cards, the swatches were different sizes. Having them all the same size makes everything easier to work with, and it makes them stack up so nicely.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

This new system is already paying off in terms of time, mess and general convenience. Even though it took me a few hours to cut up and number the card and swatches, I’ve easily made that up in how easy it is to work with. I would totally make myself do this again with the release of a newer color card. Now having done it, I know how much easier it has made everything. It might not have been at the top of my list before, but it will be higher on the list moving forward.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

I should note that I tried punching holes into a couple of the swatches. Also while at the Dollar Store, I nabbed some book rings, and I thought it could be nice to put the colors for certain projects into their own ring while I was working with them. I quickly discovered that you’d need either a stronger hole punch, a drill and/or more physical strength than I was willing and able to put into it, so I abandoned that direction after a couple of failed attempts. If I feel inspired, I can bust out my drill and add some holes in the future. For now, all is great.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

You can find a Kona color card on the google or at shops like ilovefabric and plenty of others. Just make sure to get the latest card with all 340 colors, and you’ll be set.

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WainwrightAL #3: Basting Progress.

WainwrightAL #3: Basting Progress.

While away from home, I’ve been basting away on my Wainwright–yay for portability!

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

The cool thing about it being basted is that it’s ready to go anywhere.

Last week I mentioned my palette for this QAL project, but here’s a better look. I’m using mostly greys and darker fabrics. I have added in some Kona solids, but I also have fabric from my botanics, euclid and gleaned collections as well as a print from Erin Dollar’s Arroyo collection. As I go, I might decide to add and/or subtract. That’s the beauty of it–you can see how things are looking and make adjustments as needed.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

A note about cutting and arranging your pieces and templates. As noted in the pattern and in Week 1, the fabric ratio to keep in mind is that 1 square of appliqué fabric can yield 2 blocks. This means you’ll want to set aside 2 background blocks for each set of appliqué shapes that you cut. Personally, I find it helpful to grab 2 background fabrics when I grab 1 appliqué fabric to take to the ironing board to fold and press at the same time. This way I know I’m keeping my ratio in check. Of course, if I decide a background isn’t working, I may prep an extra or two later, but in general, I think this is a good way to start.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

If you take a look at the cutting template, there are 3 (solid) cutting lines, and (dashed) lines to show how to align the template to your block. Make sure to align along folds and raw edges as noted. Once you cut the appliqué (your top shape) along the cutting lines, you will have 3 sections (that nest) to place onto your backgrounds. Take note that the small circular corner pieces don’t need to be used. They’re tiny.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

The great thing about this stage is that you can really see how things will shape up. I like to cut things up and lay them out as I go so I can see how my fabric choices and shape mixing is working out. We have an 1/8″ seam allowance, so just keep in mind that there will be a little more space around your shapes as you stitch them down. For example, the black appliqué in the above photo (bottom, left) is actually 2 shapes with a cut line separating them–although it looks like one right now. The shapes match up before being stitched, but a gap between them will appear after each side is appliquéd. You can see this a bit better in my first version (below). The first few rows have already been appliquéd, and so you can see that gap appearing between the neighboring shapes.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

Work in the way that feels good to you! For me, I like cutting and laying things out so I have a good idea, but if you prefer to cut and arrange in smaller sections, by all means do it! This is the beauty of appliqué, you can see how something is coming along before even sewing it together. You can see that I haven’t pinned anything down yet. Since I’m auditioning different shapes and fabric combinations, I keep things loose. Once I decide I like a combination, I pin them down with the appliqué pins, and then do my basting.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

If you want to join in and need a copy of the pattern, you can find it here.

Otherwise, you are all posting some beautiful starts!

Tips:

+ Sometimes using a longer needle works well for basting. Because of basting not needing to be a super-short stitch, the longer needle can help you stitch along more quickly and easily.

+ Machine baste or hand baste? Both work, but I’m personally more of a fan of hand basting for a few reasons. One, it’s portable. Two, once you get comfortable doing it, I find it to be faster and much easier than navigating tricky shapes on the machine. Three, it’s more gentle on the fabric. If you are machine basting, make sure to use a fresh (sharp) needle. Four, hand basting is way easier to remove than machine basting.

+ Using a fun basting thread is just that–fun! I pretty much always use my Aurifil 1104 for basting–except for when my fabrics match 1104–which happens! I do love that color.

+ Basting stitches are temporary, so you do not need to knot them. Leave thread tails loose and on the top side of your work. This way you know exactly where they are when you’re doing your appliqué stitches later.

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