Archive | weekend projects

Colorful Quilts for my Niece

This summer I made a couple of colorful quilts for my niece. It was a treat for both of us.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

To start, I picked up a couple of adorable mini charm packs from Bunny’s at QuiltCon back in February. (That feels like a million years ago!) Together the packs make up a full rainbow of color, and I knew at the time they’d be perfect for her–and me. I love all of the cute Japanese prints and the range of color feels so happy too.

colorful fabric squares

Quilt Tops

To me, one mini quilt wasn’t enough, and so I made matching quilts–a big one for her and the mini for her dolls. I made the mini first from the 2 mini charm packs from Bunny’s with 2 1/2″ squares added in from my stash (my 2 1/2″ square stash!). It’s a simple, checkerboard layout with the stash pieces going between the Japanese prints. The lighter colors set them off nicely.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

For the big quilt, I wanted a similar-but-larger match, and so I sized up by using 5″ squares. Unfortunately I didn’t have a perfect rainbow pre-cut pack to work with, but I created my own by diving into my stash. I sought out colorful prints with clever motifs that I hoped she’d enjoy discovering and perusing over time. There’s nothing better than an i-spy quilt, and I definitely had a great time revisiting all of these lovely fabrics.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Like in the mini version, I alternated in with some of my own lighter prints–mostly repurposed from my scrap piles.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Sewing

There’s nothing better than sewing through a stack of color, plus it was fun seeing all of the great prints as I sewed. I pressed all of the seams open, with a seam wheel first, and then with the iron. I think this makes things much easier.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Quilting!

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Hand quilting has been my personal vacation/spa treatment/zen in recent months. I’ve really been loving it. For these quilts I wanted to hand quilt them to make them super soft, but also to use a colorful array of thick threads to stand out.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

I changed my thread colors often to mimic the color changes across the quilt. The effect is really nice.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

I didn’t mark these quilts, and so the lines are more freeform. I stitched from corner to corner, with some definite wobble here and there, but I like the personal touch.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Label

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been trying to be better with adding labels to my quilts. It was pretty easy to do here, because I had an extra square from the big quilt. I re-purposed it for the label, and then made a matching mini for the other quilt.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

My niece loves her quilts, which of course makes me very happy.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Pattern: None–just 5″ squares for the big quilt, 2 1/2″ squares for the little quilt.

Fabrics: Mini quilt is made from 2 mini charm packs from Bunnys (I don’t see a listing, but you can probably ask via email) plus my own fabric. Larger quilt is made from my stash with fabrics by Melody Miller, Alexia Abegg, Rifle, Aneela Hoey, UPPERCASE, Denyse Schmidt, Jeni Baker, Charley Harper, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Lizzy House, Ed Emberley, Leah Duncan, Robert Kaufman, and several others.

Hand Quilting: Here’s a link to my favorite tools.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

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Project Ideas for a Long Weekend

With it being labor day here in the US, I thought I’d share some project ideas for a long weekend. Although I’m not sure what a long weekend actually means in the times of COVID. Aren’t the weeks and ends blurring together? Oh well. I’m going with it!

Appliqué Projects

Sewing is relaxing, and there’s nothing more relaxing to me than an appliqué project be it big or small. In fact, having a variety of appliqué projects at the ready is always my goal. To start the list, here’s something I cut out recently. It is two new blocks for my Scrappy Everglade Quilt (from my Everglade pattern). My rule has been to go one block at a time, but I got carried away and prepped two. I can’t help it. My fabric approach is to use some of my fabrics (Collection CF here) + Liberty of London.

scrappy everglade quilt blocks . carolyn friedlander

If your weekend energy is best suited for a relaxing project that you can settle in with and not fuss over too much–this is it. After picking your appliqué and background fabrics, you’re good to go.

For an appliqué project with more in terms of composing colors and shapes, Clay is a good option. Sometimes I want to feel like I’m painting with fabric, and this one is like that. I love simmering over the composition of a project for a few days, which is easy to do here.

clay mini quilt . carolyn friedlander

You could go small or big with this one, it all depends on what kind of a dive you’re ready to do.

clay throw quilt . carolyn friedlander

Pieced Projects

When you’re more in the mood to sit down at the machine, here are a couple of projects to consider.

First up is a mini quilt. They are creatively satisfying and not a huge commitment. Still a favorite is this Envelopes quilt from several years ago (here’s the blog post). The envelope liners are all fussy cut, which made for a satisfying deep dive into my stash. (Heads up on that, if you’re like me, you’ll make a huge mess in the process, but it’s really worth it!)

Fussy Cut Envelopes quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

For a larger project at the sewing machine, one that I’ve been thinking about lately is my Spools pattern. Since my friend Lee (of May Chappell) started this BIG Spools quilt, I’ve been wanting to make a bigger version myself. There is definitely a pile of 5″ squares in my studio reserved for this, which includes a charm pack of Rashida Coleman Hale’s Speckled prints. I know that I always say this, but there’s nothing better than sewing through a big stack of colors.

spools quilt . carolyn friedlander

Gift Sewing and No-Sew Projects

For anyone not in the mood for making a quilt, there are many other options. Lately I’m especially excited about projects that spruce up my surroundings or can be good to give to a friend. Here are a couple of projects that fall in these categories.

Cloth napkins are very easy, and they are something I use daily. If you’re looking to refresh something you use in your daily life or you want to put something together for a friend to spruce up their daily life, here’s an idea.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

Another favorite for me in the sewing-for-home department is custom dishtowels. You can get creative with embroidery and other embellishments, or you could just use a special fabric. Either option would be well utilized in a project like this.

euclid dishtowels . carolyn friedlander

Other projects on my mind by some of my favorite designers are a new bag (maybe this one by Noodlehead), some pouches (these or these by Aneela Hoey), and maybe even this handy wallet (by Megan Callahan) for the MQG.

How’s that? Does this give you some project ideas for a long weekend? Or is it overwhelming (since at least I just reminded myself of many things that I want to make)? Let me know, and I’d love to know some of your favorites too!

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Scrap Squares.

Scraps! I’m not sure where you fall on the scrap spectrum, but for me they can get out of control. In an effort to cut down on my scrap pile, here’s a new thing I’ve been trying this year–and I think it is helping. These scrap squares are just the colorful break and productive way to deal with scraps that I needed.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

Scraps

I’m a scrap saver, mostly because I find scraps to be handy. Whether I’m paper piecing, appliquéing, thinking about new color schemes, it is less daunting to work from a pile of scraps than it is to work from something more precious and pristine like yardage. But then it is hard to part with scraps, and the piles become unruly.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

The Plan

The idea is simple, but by giving myself clear direction and purpose it is much easier to act. Any random pieces of fabric–usually leftovers from a project–are cut into 2 1/2″ squares. Then I sew them back together into 16-piece scrap squares (4 squares x 4 squares). Of course, you could do more/less squares, choose a different size, whatever. This is enough of a plan for now for me. I am going for a bit of a checkerboard in terms of the value with repeated fabric choices in a block or split up depending on what is available in the fabric pile.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

This strategy has been especially helpful after cutting out a garment or other project that leaves you with random sizes and shapes of fabric. It’s satisfying to cut those things down into tidy stacks of squares. Plus, I like seeing remnants of those garments in my patchwork.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

Storage

After I cut the scraps into squares, I file them away in this handy little box. Having a place for things and everything in its place is key. Then when I have a few extra minutes, need to clear my head, want to explore a color combination and/or just want to sew I can hit the box. It’s a great creative reprieve when you need it.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

Sometimes I get an idea for fabrics that I want to see together, and this is a satisfying way to put an idea into action without getting too carried away. There are some fun finds here that I could explore more in other projects or just enjoy that they found their way in to this one.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

I’m sort of keeping the blocks similar in terms of color, but who knows. Maybe that’ll change if the mood strikes. Every once in awhile I’ll pull out the blocks and think about different arrangements.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

This is also a great place for mini charms that I’ve picked up at shows from other designers. I love seeing their prints next to mine and the variety they add to the project.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

There we go. I can’t say that the scrap piles have fully disappeared, but I can say that a lot of it has been diverted to a more orderly place with a colorful outcome in mind.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

Pattern: None. It’s 2 1/2″ squares sewn together in groups of 16.

Fabric: Scraps from many of mine, plus others’ like Elizabeth Hartman, Violet Craft, Anna Graham and Liberty Of London.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

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