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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 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 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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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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Using the Arlo Templates

I thought it’d be fun to put together a little post on using the Arlo templates. They are a completely optional add-on to the project–all shapes needed are included on paper in the pattern–but I find the acrylic option to make things much easier.

arlo quilt acrylic templates . carolyn friedlander

First off, there are two different sets to choose from–1/4″ and 3/8″. Either option will work to make the project; it basically comes down to a matter of personal preference and how you plan to sew it together as to which option to pick.

Arlo Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Since there is some flexibility as to how to sew the the project together–be it by machine, by hand or by using English Paper Piecing (EPP)–you might have a preference on your seam allowance as well. For that reason, I created the 2 template options as well as wrote the pattern requirements on the pattern for both options.

Which to choose? If you’re normally a machine piecer and you’re comfortable with a 1/4″ seam allowance, I’d go with the 1/4″ option. In fact, that’s what I like to use when I’m doing this project. But, if you’re a hand piecer with a 3/8″ preference, or you like to set up your EPP this way, or if you just prefer a slightly larger seam allowance, then you’d be more happy with the 3/8″ option.

Both template set options have all of the pieces you need, are super sturdy and have the relevant reference lines and drilled holes to help you put together your project.

arlo quilt acrylic templates . carolyn friedlander

Once you have your set picked out, here are some tips for how I like to use them.

You can use the templates to trace out all of your shapes before cutting them out, or you can use them to mark and cut as you go. Feel free to try both ways and see which way you like best. If I’m cutting around the template, I’ll either move my mat toward an edge of my cutting table so I can cut from a few sides without repositioning, or I find using a rotating cutting mat to be handy too.

arlo quilt acrylic templates . carolyn friedlander

Cut around all sides. Larger rotary cutters can work, but I like using a 28mm cutter with this project because it cuts to just what you need cut.

arlo quilt acrylic templates . carolyn friedlander

arlo quilt acrylic templates . carolyn friedlander

After cutting all of the sides, you can mark your points at the holes. (Take note that I’m doing this on the Wrong Side of the fabric.)

arlo quilt acrylic templates . carolyn friedlander

arlo quilt acrylic templates . carolyn friedlander

I like having a seam allowance marked, so after marking where the holes are, I’ll slide the straight edge of the template down and connect all of the dots. This is totally optional and depends on your personal preference.

arlo quilt acrylic templates . carolyn friedlander

arlo quilt acrylic templates . carolyn friedlander

Now you have nicely cut and marked pieces ready to go.

arlo quilt acrylic templates . carolyn friedlander

The issue of marking tools is an important one. Actually, I think the issue of marking tools is always important. For Arlo, it’s important to consider two things: You’re marking the wrong side of the fabric, and depending on how you sew it, you might be ironing the pieces (and still be needing the markings).

arlo quilt acrylic templates . carolyn friedlander

I tried many different marking tools when I was working on my project, and here are some of what I found to work.

marking tools

First, I have a big disclaimer; Because I was using all dark fabrics, it didn’t matter to me if any of the markings were removable. On dark fabric, and with marking the wrong side, you’d never see the markings.

The next thing is that I knew I’d be ironing the pieces while still wanting the markings. For this reason I didn’t want to use any marking tool that can be removed by heat or time. With those conditions, here are some options that I found to work. (From top to bottom in the above picture.)

Muji Gel Ink 0.5mm pens are one of my favorites. There are many color options, and they glide across the fabric nicely. (Note: These are not removable.)

These white felt pens were also my favorite. The ink showed up really nicely on dark fabrics, and the markings were clear and easy to trace on the fabric. They say that they are water soluble, but I haven’t tested that.

I did all of my marking for Arlo with these first two pens, but here are some others that I’ve found to work as well.

Uni-Ball Signo DX 0.38mm – Another ink pen option with a lot of colors to choose from. These are finer than the Muji ones. (Note: These are not removable.)

Clover 0.7mm mechanical quilting pencil – I am having a hard time finding a link for this exact one, but other brands make something similar. It’s basically a mechanical pencil, see next rec.

Bic 0.7mm #2 pencil (variety pack link, see note below) – I love these, and they work. You might be able to erase the marks, but do a test to double check first.

Sewline white lead – You can definitely get the mechanical pencil and lead set, but somehow I found myself with just the lead refills and no appropriate holder. Because the refills are 0.9mm they’ll fit perfectly in any 0.9 mechanical pencil. I put mine in one of the Bic holders (variety pack noted above has the 0.9mm size), and it works great. I put a white piece of tape around it so I know I have white lead inside.

Sewline white click pencil – Same effect as some of the others, but with a thicker lead.

There are so many marking tools out there! These are just some that I’ve tried and found to be conducive to using the templates. Any marking tool comes with caveats, so always beware and always test what you’re using on your fabric first.

What are some of your favorite marking tools? In addition to scanning the notions wall at your local quilt shop, I find talking to other quilters helps too!

There we have it, how-to use the templates for my Arlo pattern!

Arlo Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

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Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss.

I have some fun news–I’m very happy to announce a collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss!

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

To start, I never imagined how exciting thread conditioner could be. For the last several years, I’ve used Thread Heaven–a silicone based thread conditioner, which–for the record–is very nice. If you’re using Thread Heaven and you’re happy with it, that’s totally great.

But as many of you might know, the owners of Thread Heaven have retired, and they decided not to sell their special recipe. A pot of Thread Heaven is one of those supplies that I feel like takes decades to run out of, and so I wasn’t initially concerned about running out. But as an increasing number of students began to express panic over the situation and then ask me about alternatives, it seemed reasonable to keep my eyes open for other options.

It was somewhat serendipitous when Jenn of Sew Fine Thread Gloss reached out to me about her Thread Conditioner. In general I’m very hesitant to take samples of products that I haven’t tried before. There’s nothing worse than having to judge a product when there’s even a speck of obligation, and that was definitely not going to be the case here.

Harriot Hand Sewing . Carolyn Friedlander

With Jenn’s product, I was really curious to try it. She sent me a few of her scents, and at first, I wasn’t sure why I’d want my project to have a smell to it (which by the way, they don’t)…but, I’ve since changed my mind on that, which I’ll get back to in a minute.

To be very honest, the first time using it felt a little weird. After using a silicone-based conditioner for so long, the beeswax felt clunky and full of drag. It even made a different sound going through the fabric. (I know, I’m a total nerd and do too much handwork that I’m breaking down the sound of it.) Determined to give it a fair shake, I kept going and it quickly started to change my mind. I was doing this super-lame thing of alternating Thread Heaven and Sew Fine each time I changed thread, and before too long I realized that I was preferring the Sew Fine.

There’s a heartiness to it that seems to result in fewer knots than with the Thread Heaven. While I was starting to prefer that, I was also learning to adjust my preferences a bit. When using Thread Heaven, I would usually thread my needle first and then use a Quilter’s Knot before applying the conditioner. With Sew Fine, I switch it up. I wax my thread first, then thread my needle before making a knot by way of a Garment Knot instead. Of course, this is what I find to work well for me, but feel free to try different things to get the mix that works best for you!

Harriot Hand Sewing . Carolyn Friedlander

As for the scents, I quickly started to love them. Jenn formulates everything to a respectable strength that is gentle, fun and not overpowering. I’m pretty sensitive to smell, and so I appreciate her formulation.

Harriot Hand Sewing . Carolyn Friedlander

In addition to the smell being quite pleasant, I discovered that there was something motivating about changing the scent as you move along with your project. I’ve done a lot of handwork projects over the last 10 months, and it has totally amazed me how refreshing it can be to swap out the scent on a project as you go. Like when I was working on Hunt, appliquéing through the various colors kept it visually engaging, but the scent changes that I made along the way added a whole new sensory to the experience. Even now, I have a real debate with myself everytime I pull out some handwork, because I need to decide what scent mood I want to be in while working on the project.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

All of this is very nerdy, but if you’re like me, it’s these little details that make sewing such a captivating experience.

In addition to all of that, Sew Fine Thread Gloss is made with locally sourced beeswax that has NOT been chemically processed. It is handmade in small batches just outside Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The light amber color is attributed to this wax being very natural and only one step away from the hive, with absolutely no bleaching or other additives. The beeswax is filtered just once to separate it from the honey and from any leftover hive particles–which I just love.

Plus, the woman behind Sew Fine, Jenn McMillan cares deeply about her product and has been a total delight to work with.

On the collaboration! Together, Jenn and I came up with 3 new scents–each of which is a little different, but all of which are clean smelling and enjoyable to use.

First up is Sencha.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

To say that I’m a green tea fan is kind of an understatement. (I’m drinking green tea as I write this!) My strong love for it made scents related to it top of my mind.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

The Sencha blend has a green tea focus, but it also has hints (to me) of gardenia or even orange blossoms. (This is probably why I’m so drawn to it!) The result is super fresh and very verdant.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

I should add that it’s quite hard to describe a scent. After having friends and family smell many samples over the last few months, I know that we each seem to connect with smell in our own ways. It’s very interesting.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

The labels were also really fun. Jenn had the idea of throwing some of my fabric designs on there, which I just love. Plus, it was fun to think about which prints might go well with which scents.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

Next up is Citrus & Sage. It’s pretty dreamy and very bright smelling.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

I’d say that the citrus-ness comes forward first, but then there’s a very mild herbaceous-ness that grounds it a bit. This one might be the one that seems to have piqued the interests most of my friends and family who have been sniffing all of my samples.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

The third scent in our collaboration is Tea Flower, which I know…another tea-related scent, but I couldn’t help myself. It’s so good and quite different from Sencha.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

This guy is a crisp and complex blend featuring a fresh aroma of green tea with long-lasting sweet and citrusy middle notes. In comparing Tea Flower and Sencha, Tea Flower (to me) has more of a sweet, floral quality, whereas Sencha is more verdant and almost grassy.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

I’d say that all of the scents have a nice cleanness feel to them. Jenn does such a good job formulating the scents so they do not overpower. I find the level of scent to be just right.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

While all 3 of these new, collaborative scents are in the shop, I also thought it would be nice to offer up Jenn’s Natural gloss. I have grown to love using scented thread conditioner, but I also completely understand that that may not be the case for everyone or for every project. Natural has no additional fragrances added, and the familiar scent of beeswax and honey is delicate and modest.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

You can nab some of this in my shop too!

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

Yay, yay!

It was so much fun working with Jenn on this project. It’s honestly my favorite conditioner to use, and I find that it makes such a big difference. My hope is that you will enjoy using it too.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

Oh, and while putting together this post, I realized how much I like nerding out over thread. (Ok, maybe not new news…) And so I’ve created a follow-up post with some thread tips and tricks for you. Enjoy!

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

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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!


+ 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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WainwrightAL #2: Tool Updates and Travel.

WainwrightAL #2: Tool Updates and Travel.

appliqué supplies . carolyn friedlander

We’re moving along with week two! I’m seeing some great starts from many of you on instagram, and I’m moving along (quite literally) at QuiltCon in Pasadena. Since this is a traveling week for me and because handwork is super portable, I thought it’d be fun to put a slight travel twist on things. In addition to going over some of my favorite appliqué supplies, I’ll be making note of some of my favorite travel-friendly tips as well!

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated my appliqué tools-of-the-trade post, and really, not much has changed. Those are all still my favorite things, but I do have some updates to add in to the mix.

wainwright quilt appliqué supplies . carolyn friedlander

First, clover clips! With many of my appliqué designs being folded and cut multiple layers at a time, these little clips are super handy for holding everything together. There’s even a new set with a thinner profile, which is just perfect.

I also have an update with the thread conditioner. I’ve always liked it, but I’ve recently decided that it makes a bigger difference than I was maybe willing to admit. Full disclosure, I’d mostly gotten lazy and wasn’t using it as much in recent years. I always would have it with me, and I’d use it occasionally, but I’d generally just fallen out of the habit of using it. It’s an extra step–not a hard step, at all–but definitely a step that is easy to skip when you’re wanting to cruise through a project. When I was making my first Wainwright, I was having issues and decided to give it a try. Immediately I noticed a huge difference. It’s not that I didn’t notice a difference before, but I think that because I basically made Wainwright in a straight-shot marathon, it was much more noticeable how much of a difference it made. It makes it glide through the fabric much more easily. Without it, the thread feels like it’s dragging, not in a super obvious way, but definitely in an obvious way if you’re really in tune to the process.

wainwright quilt appliqué supplies . carolyn friedlander

Another big update is thread! Since my last appliqué supply post, some magical thread things have happened. Aurifil released their 80wt cotton thread, and it is my FAVORITE thread to use for hand appliqué. I still use their 50wt cotton to baste, but 80wt is the only thing I use for the appliqué itself.

wainwright quilt appliqué supplies . carolyn friedlander

And, I’m delighted to have my own appliqué thread set which I put together to cover pretty much all of the major colors you’ll need–or that was my goal anyway. (And I have some in the shop now too.)

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread Appliqué

One more new discovery that isn’t pictured is my new Daylight Slimline light. I’ll have to take some good pics once I get my handwork set-up back in order. I started seeing these lights at QuiltCon last year, and I was very intrigued. Unlike most of the sewing lights, they look really sleek. Plus they offer a wide bar of light that you can adjust in all kinds of ways. Eventually, I picked one up, and it sat in the box while I was making my first Wainwright. About halfway in, I realized that I wasn’t seeing things well, and so I opened the box and was immediately kicking myself for not having done so sooner. It is a game changer. It perfectly lit up my project and was easy to orient so that there were no shadows on my work–which was the issue I’d been having with my other lights. Now, I’m a massive convert. It’s worth the investment.

appliqué supplies . carolyn friedlander

To recap, you can read this post about my favorite appliqué supplies here while keeping in mind the updates mentioned above.

+ Thread for project (such as Aurifil Cotton 50wt for basting and Aurifil Cotton 80wt for appliqué)

+ Appliqué needles (such as Clover Gold Eye Appliqué Needles No. 10)

+ Appliqué pins (such as Clover Appliqué Size 12)

+ Large fabric scissors (such as Kai 7230 9″ tailoring shears, or these other favorites)

+ Small fabric scissors (such as Kai N5100 4″ scissors)

+ Removable marking tool (such as Pilot Frixion pen–always test on fabric before using)

+ Seam gauge (such as Dritz Measuring Gauge)

+ Iron

+ Heavy paper or template plastic (for copying template)

+ Thread Conditioner (such as Thread Heaven or beeswax)

Optional supplies: Thimble (I like the adhesive leather pads), needle threader

Finally, here’s a look at the fabrics that I’ve pulled…

carolyn friedlander wainwright quilt along

I’m wanting to go grey…so we’ll see! I think I’ll probably add in some solids too. Maybe.

carolyn friedlander wainwright quilt along


+ Fabric tip – Solids vs Prints in appliqué: In general, solids hide less and prints hide more. If you’re new to appliqué, using a print–even a subtle one–can be a little more forgiving than a solid. Of course, if you’re most excited about solids and you’re a newbie, don’t let me stop you!

+ I always travel with my Nest Egg tote, the very first one I made in fact. It’s still going strong, and I really like how I can zip it up and throw it into my backpack. While on the plane, I take it out, and open it up on my tray table and work away.

nest egg tote and supplies . carolyn friedlander

+ Also handy when traveling is a fold-up thread catcher. The one I use was a gift, but I put together a quick tutorial for you that will be coming out tomorrow. Stay tuned…

nest egg tote and supplies . carolyn friedlander

+ The Aurifil smaller spools are my preferred travel-handwork thread, and the smaller version of the Petal Pouch by Noodlehead fits them perfectly.

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread Appliqué

+ This tip skips ahead a little bit, but I know that many of you have already started your appliquéing, and so I hope it will be helpful. Inner points in appliqué can be tricky to turn when you’re just starting out. This is easily the step/shape I demonstrate most in workshops, and while it is helpful to see it in action, it’s also a case of practice really being the key to making it easier. I promise! This is also why I like designs like this, because they can give you great practice in tackling such shapes. After doing several of these, you’ll no doubt see improvement. It is helpful to see this step in action, and so I’ll highlight my Appliqué Quilt Top class on Creative Bug–which you can find here. This block has many tricky inner points, which makes it a great one to watch for seeing how to do it. Hope that helps!

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Kai Scissors in the Shop and a Look at My Favorite Scissors.

Kai 7230 Scissors

In all of my appliqué classes, we start with a little tool talk. I’m generally cautious to push too many tools, but in cases where it’s important, I do. With handwork, this is especially true, because you can literally feel the impact of everything that you are using.

Kai 7000 series scissors

While scissors are essential when sewing, they are especially critical with appliqué–or at least in how I do a lot of my appliqué since it often involves cutting multiple layers of intricate shapes at once. It’s in cases like this where you really notice which tools are working and which ones aren’t.

It wasn’t until I was demo-ing at an event when my previous scissors failed in front of a class. That was embarrassing! At home, it can be easy to write things off as not a huge deal, but when you’re showing someone else how to do something, it’s suddenly very clear when something isn’t working. My scissors weren’t cutting to the tip, and I was very annoyed.

After that, I was on a mission to find something that would work better, and not to bore you with the details, I ended up finding exactly what I needed in Kai. The brand is incredible, their products are of the best quality, and most importantly, they stand by their product. If anything gets dull or worn down, you can send it in, and they’ll sharpen it for you at a reasonable cost. Since my previous pair of scissors could not be sharpened, I was especially enticed by something that I wouldn’t need to buy again.

At the risk of this post coming across as an infomercial, I still wanted to share it all with you, because I get asked this stuff all of the time, and it is important. Tools matter. Since these have made such a difference for me, I decided to start carrying my favorites in the shop. With them being a super new addition, I thought I’d go over what we have.

Yay, for Kai!

Kai 7230 Scissors

First up is my first pair. After trying everything on their demo table, I arrived at the 9″ tailoring shears, and I’m happy to report that years later they are still my favorite–and they actually haven’t needed sharpening yet. Bonus.

Kai 7230 Scissors

It’s the right size for cutting my appliqué projects, the blades are super sharp and the cut is incredibly smooth. If you have plans to start a Kai arsenal, this is definitely my recommended first purchase.

Kai 7230 Scissors

We can continue chronologically, because somehow my own arsenal has grown parallel to how I’d prioritize them. Of course, your needs might be different, but hopefully this will give you an idea!

My next couple of pairs were their basic 4″ scissors. I grabbed up both their regular and serrated options. After getting just 1 of each, I realized I needed a pair for every handwork spot in my house and every travel bag. They’re lightweight, sharp and perfectly handy for thread clipping and fabric snipping.

Kai 5100 Scissor

Serrated vs non-serrated is a question of preference that I’m not sure I’ve ever decided on. I guess I don’t need to draw any conclusions, because I have and use both, all the time. A serrated blade grips the fabric as it cuts, and a smooth blade glides as it cuts.

Kai 5100 Scissor

A couple of years ago, Kai added a couple of smaller sizes to their 7000 series–my favorite series–which in my opinion, was exactly the right move. I quickly grabbed up all sizes to try.

These first two (7170 and 7150) are really great. They fill the need for a 7230-like scissor, but smaller, for those more intricate cuts. For projects like Alturas, these are my preference.

The 7170 has a 6 2/3″ blade and is a little bit longer.

Kai 7170 Scissor

The added length of this pair might make me like them slightly more than the 7150, but they are both really great.

Kai 7170 Scissor

By the way, both the 7170 and 7150 are great for clipping fabrics when garment sewing. Garment fabrics range from anything thick to thin, stretchy to super stable, and so I always have one of these nearby when I’m cutting out a garment. (Side note if you’re curious, I usually cut out garments with a rotary cutter, flat on my cutting table. I use scissors like these for snipping match points, grading seams, etc.)

Kai 7000 series scissors

The 7150 has a 6″ blade, which is just slightly shorter.

Kai 7150 Scissor

A lot of this just comes down to your own preference when cutting. A shorter blade gives you more control on smaller, more intricate shapes, whereas a longer blade allows you to cut further more smoothly.

Kai 7150 Scissor

Last up is the 7100, which is a 4 1/4″ blade. These are like the luxurious version of the 5100. They’re a bit beefier, the handles are much more comfortable and the blades are of the same high-quality as the other 7000 series scissors.

Kai 7100 Scissor

They are snips that pack a punch.

Kai 7100 Scissor

There we go. That’s the scissor tour (and PSA). If you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me an email. Kai stands by all of their scissors, and you can send them back to Kai for sharpening at a reasonable price. Personally, I’m over buying disposable goods and into investing in things that I can use for a long time.

Kai Scissors

Kai 7000 series scissors

Happy cutting!

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Eads Quilt Along #1: Getting Started.

Eads Quilt Along #1: Getting Started.

You ready?

Let’s start with your sewing setup…or actually, let’s start by taking a look at mine.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

Here’s my current sewing set-up. I’ve got my sewing machine set up on a big desk. It’s huge, which is awesome, because I can also fit my serger and coverstitch machine on it without any problems. Since we’re talking about paper piecing today, I’ll save the specifics on my serger/coverstitch setup for later, but the above pic gives you a nice overview. You’ll also notice that I have a small folding table to the left of my machine. This is awesome and so handy. It gives you cutting and pressing space while sewing, as well as quilt-resting space for when you’re quilting. (FYI it’s also where I throw my smaller, non-straight-stitch machine when I need to sew buttonholes.)

As for (paper piecing) tools, here we go.

Paper Piecing Supplies . Carolyn Friedlander

From left to right and up:

+ Flatter. Yep, I use this, especially since I designed the labels for the newest scent. (See next pic for closer look)

+ Mini iron by Clover. This is a new addition as of the most recent Quilt Market. I’m obsessed with this iron and mad at myself that I didn’t get one sooner. I bought it to use during the show, but it’s quickly become my go-to while working.

+ Small ironing board. This last Quilt Market seemed to up my supply ante as this and the mini iron were purchased to use at the show, and I cannot imagine sewing without either of them! This mini ironing board came from Ikea. It’s $5 and I covered it in some Blake. Small and portable. It can’t be beat.

+ Cutting mat. You’ll need one. This 18″x24″ fits perfectly on my folding table and lives there 99% of the time. Rotating cutting mats are handy, but for the Eads block, I’ll not be using one. Usually if I’m using a rotating mat, I’ll use it on top of this one anyway.

+ My Maine bookmark. A friend gave me this, and I love using it to fold back the paper. Anything else will work…an index card, the pattern itself, etc.

+ Xacto knife. I have many of these and use them to slice up my paper templates. You could use scissors too, but I like the speed and efficiency of an Xacto.

+ Paper scissors. Either these or an Xacto will be needed to slice up your templates.

+ Rotary cutter. Pick your fave. This one by Kai is lightweight and lovely. (Full disclosure, I have many rotary cutters in many sizes. This is my preference for paper piecing.)

+ Clover Roll & Press. I’ve not always been a fan of seam rollers until meeting this one. I love it. It’s lightweight and very effective. It also feels good in my hand.

+ Small scissors. No matter the project, you’ll always need a pair of small scissors for thread clipping and stuff like that. This one lives by my machine.

+ Pins and pincushion. Yep. Standard stuff. (FYI Cute Dumpling Pincushion pattern by Alchemy Tea.)

+ Thread. I use Aurifil 50wt cotton when I’m piecing. As for color, match to your lightest fabric.

+ Ruler. This neon, Omnigrid 4″x14″ ruler is one of my favorites. This particular size is perfect for the Eads project. With any ruler make sure the markings are clear and legible to you. Just to note, add-a-quarter rulers are well liked for paper piecing. Feel free to look into them if you’re interested. They are great, but my personal preference is a regular ruler, as it’s a multi-trick pony.

+ Fabric. You’ll need that! See back of pattern for amounts.

+ Paper templates (not pictured, but needed). There are MANY different papers for paper piecing out there. If you’re up for trying them out to see what works best for you–go for it. My preference is recycled office paper. It’s very available, it’s a little more responsible and I prefer its weight/thickness.

Paper Piecing Supplies . Carolyn Friedlander

Handy enough, this Clover mini iron comes with a mini spray bottle. The sprayer is surprisingly effective! I fill mine up with flatter and keep it nearby.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

To take a closer look at my sewing set-up, I’d like to point out a couple of other things. First, an extension table–no matter the project–will make your (sewing) life much easier. Since my table doesn’t have a cut-out for my machine, the extension table expands the flat area of my sewing surface.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

Let’s take a look at the floor for a sec, and not just because it’s freshly vacuumed, although that is a miracle to be captured! I’ve got 2 waste baskets to the right (both from Ikea). One is for fabric scraps and the other is for paper scraps. Since I do a lot of paper piecing, I like having a separate bin just for paper so that I can recycle it later.

Also of note down here is my new(ish) pedal for operating the thread cutter–hands free! I love my machine, but unlike some other straight stitch machines, the thread cutter function is only operable by the button on the front. After talking to some machine folks, we discovered a 3rd party foot pedal that works with this machine. It couldn’t be easier, you just plug it in (you must have the outlet on your machine–look for a hole with a scissor icon next to it) and start cutting. It’s life changing. I know that sounds dramatic, especially if your machine doesn’t have a thread cutter at all, but it is. One of my most prized functions is the automatic thread cutter, and the ability to operate it hands-free–yes! For information on this pedal, contact the folks at Pink Castle Fabrics. They helped me out, and they can help you out too.

I imagine that someone will ask me about a knee lift, I know that those are handy too, but the screw on mine broke, so until I get my act together and locate a replacement, it’s not part of my routine.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

I’m a pin hoarder and like having different pins for different fabrics, projects, etc. It makes life easier to store different types in different pincushions. The above are from my Crew pattern.

I also love having these nesting boxes (pattern by Aneela Hoey) by my machine. They hold bigger scissors, my seam gauge, washi tape, wonder clips, marking tools, etc. There are so many handy things that you’ll want access to while you are sewing, and these nesting boxes are a pretty and functional way to house them.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

To back up a bit, you’ll also notice a piece of foam core against the wall behind my machine. I have many of these panels floating around, and while originally purchased for something else, now I use them as design walls. This one is freshly blank, because I’m ready to fill it up with some Eads QAL action. Yeah!

Blake knit design wall . Carolyn Friedlander

Just to give you an idea, here’s one from when I was working on blake release projects. I love having multiples, because I am always working on multiple things happening at once–like I’m sure you are too. You can either purchase foam core panels like these, OR a cheaper option would be to hit up your local hardware store and grab some rigid insulation panels. They come in 4’x8′ sheets, and you can easily cut them down with an Xacto and/or cover them in batting.

Let’s talk about project planning.

Eads quilt project planning . Carolyn Friedlander

Here’s the extent of my project planning for the first Eads that I made. After getting the design nailed down, I took colored pencils and markers to a layout and started exploring options. You can see that I didn’t spell everything out, I’d say that these explorations were more about getting a sense of the feel in terms of color and tone. After doing that, I made a block, just to see how that went. It was after this point that I pulled the rest of my fabrics.

Eads quilt fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

And yes, this is actually how I often to work and definitely how I worked things out for this project. While cutting out my strips (as outlined in the instructions), I laid them on the floor. You can start to build relationships between the different colors and prints this way, and it’ll also give you a good and visual sense of how your pickings are shaping up.

Of course, you may have a different way of working, so never feel bad about working in a direction that feels most comfortable to you!

OK, so I’ll stop here for now. But I’ll leave you with some tips:

+ Assess your sewing space. It’s good to be comfortable and have access to the things you need for a project.

+ Use the coloring sheet that is included with the pattern to start mapping out ideas and directions for your project.

+ Have FUN pulling fabrics. Assessing what you like and don’t like as you go helps better shape the project to your tastes and interests.

+ Ready to paper piece? Learn how from one of my videos on Creative Bug.

And one more thing. Let’s do a giveaway! I’ve got 4 fat quarters of my fabrics from a few different collections. Just leave a comment on this post sharing something special/helpful/non-helpful about your sewing space or favorite supply. I know you guys will have some worthwhile tips. I’ll pick a winner randomly on Monday, June 19 10am EST. Giveaway now closed–thanks to everyone for participating!

Carolyn Friedlander Fat Quarters

If you need a copy of the pattern, you can check quilt shops for the paper version or here for a digital version.

Share what’s happening on Instagram using #eadsQAL . I’m eager to see your progress!

Eads quilt along . Carolyn Friedlander

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Tools of the Trade: Big Stitch Quilting.

big stitch tools_carolyn friedlander

While I’m talking about tools, here’s what I use when I’m doing big stitch hand quilting.

+ Thread (such as Presencia Perle Cotton in all different sizes. 8- and 12-wt are my favorites.)

+ Safety pins (not pictured, but I like using the curved kind)

+ Thimble (such as Clover Protect and Grip)

+ Plastic adhesive thimbles (such as Colonial Thimble-It)

+ Needles (such as Colonial Big Stitch Quilting Needle Pack)

+ Small scissors or snips (such as Kai N5100 4″ scissors)

And that’s it.

perle cotton thread_carolyn friedlander

Except for the Nest Egg Tote. I have one strictly devoted to holding and hauling my big stitch supplies. It lives a full and active life.

big stitch supplies in a nest egg tote_carolyn friedlander

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Tools of the Trade: Needle-Turn Appliqué (Updated).

applique tools_carolyn friedlander

I have a slight update on my needle-turn appliqué tools since my first post almost two years ago. Actually, if you look back you’ll notice that not much has changed. I still like many of the same things–Aurifil thread, Clover pins, thimble pads, Dritz seam gauge…but, I have changed my thoughts when it comes to scissors.

Earlier this year, I was at a show where I was able to get my hands on some Kai scissors. My previous scissors had failed in a demonstration while I was teaching–which totally bugged me–but it also made me realize that they’d gotten dull after a lot of use. (Understandable). With many of my patterns, I’m cutting through multiple layers of fabric at a time, and so I need a pair that is really sharp and precise. Because of all of this, I was especially receptive to trying something new.

applique tools_scissors_carolyn friedlander

After trying everything on the Kai demo table, I bought a pair of their 9″ professional shears. I was ridiculously eager to go home to try them and sure enough, they were amazing! Cutting through 8 layers felt like cutting through just 1. In fact, they seem a little too sharp to only be cutting through one layer at the times when that’s what I’m doing. But the best part is that if they ever get dull, I can send them back to get resharpened. I’m all about equipping myself with things that are made to last. To read more about other Kai scissors that I like and why, you can check out this post here.

Scissors soapbox aside, I always say that the tools for handwork are really important. When your hands are literally in the process, you can feel the difference between something that works well and something that doesn’t.

To recap, here’s my supply list:

(Disclaimer: everyone’s hands are different, so I recommend trying a variety of things to get a feel for what works best for you. Needles are a perfect example of this. Go to the store with a friend and each of you buy a couple of different packs of needles–they usually aren’t too expensive. Then do a trade. In exploring the options, you’ll be able to find one that feels right and will work well for you.)

Carolyn Friedlander Aurifil 80wt Thread Appliqué

+ Thread for project (such as Aurifil Cotton 50wt and 80wt. I like using 50wt for basting and 80wt for appliqué.)

+ Appliqué needles (such as Clover Gold Eye Appliqué Needles No. 10, and see disclaimer note above)

+ Appliqué pins (such as Clover Appliqué Size 12)

+ Large fabric scissors (such as Kai 7230 9″ tailoring shears)

+ Small fabric scissors (such as Kai N5100 4″ scissors)

+ Removable marking tool (such as Pilot Frixion pen–always test on fabric before using)

+ Seam gauge (such as Dritz Measuring Gauge)

+ Iron

+ Heavy paper or template plastic (for copying template)

Optional supplies: Thimble (I like the Colonial adhesive leather pads), needle threader, thread conditioner (such as Sew Fine Thread Gloss)

What are your favorite tools?

Kai 7170 Scissor

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tools of the trade : needle-turn appliqué.


applique tools_2_carolyn friedlander


I like to slow down and enjoy each project that I’m working on, especially when it comes to some good handwork. That’s the goal anyway and a big part of my slow sewing studio. But like everything else, it’s great to have the right tools for the project. So I thought I’d put together a list of the things I like to use when I’m doing needle-turn appliqué. Of course, I know there are plenty of other good brands and products out there, these are just what I’ve found to work well for me.


+ fabric for project

+ thread for project (such as Aurifil Cotton 50 wt.)

+ appliqué needles (such as Clover Gold Eye Appliqué No. 10)

+ appliqué pins (such as Clover Appliqué Size 12)

+ large fabric scissors (such as Karen Kay Buckley 7 1/2″ Perfect Scissors)

+ small fabric scissors (such as Karen Kay Buckley 4″ Perfect Scissors)

+ removable marking tool (such as Pilot Fixion pen or chalk marker)

+ seam gauge (such as Dritz Measuring Gauge)

+ iron (not pictured)

+ heavy paper (like cardstock) or template plastic (for copying template)


optional supplies : thimble, needle threader, thread conditioner (such as thread heaven)


What are your favorites?





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testing a new tool. (+ bias tape tutorial)


applique iron


I picked up a mini iron this week for a project I’m working on, and I’m surprised how much I like it already–she is surprisingly effective!


I splurged on the upgraded model with the safety guard, which was a good call. I can be a klutz and so any risk reduction in that area is probably worthwhile, especially since I still managed to singe myself on the hot holder on day 1. Watch out for that too.


Here’s a quick tutorial for double fold bias tape since I was just cranking some out. To be honest, I wouldn’t have thought this iron would give me such a great crease on something like this, but it turns out that it does just the trick. I’m a convert.



To make 1″ double fold tape, start with 1-7/8″ strips cut on the bias. Join with diagonal seam and press open.


diagonal seam


Feed the tape through a bias tape maker (#25 for this particular size) WRONG side UP and press folds in place as she comes out.


first fold_carolyn friedlander


To make it double fold, bring one side up so that folded edges are about 1/8″ apart. Press in place.


double fold bias_carolyn friedlander


Ta-dah. Jazz something up with your own custom binding. I’m always a fan of that.

And I’m apparently a real sucker for this ledger print in that bias-trim-scenario, see here and here.


architextures double fold bias tape_carolyn friedlander



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