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Eads Quilt Along #3: Other Project Sizes and Ideas.

Eads Quilt Along #3: Other Project Sizes and Ideas.

Project sizes seems pretty obvious, but hang with me for just a minute while I explain why I think this is a worthwhile talking point for the week. When I was thinking about my own Eads project for this quilt along, I immediately started thinking about end goals for the quilt. Do you do that?

Obviously, a quilt to cozy up with for myself would be awesome. I know that I’ve already made one, but in reality it’s not one that will be in my hands very often. Many of my quilts are traveling with me while I teach or traveling on their own to shops, which means I’m rarely able to truly claim them as my own. That is not a complaint, it’s just a reality. Option #1 would be to hang on to this guy, which is a good option.

But I also thought of another option, which would be to shoot for making roughly the same number of blocks, and instead of making 1 quilt with them, make a few smaller projects. Out of 120 blocks, you could make like 3 baby quilts and a wall hanging. There are some babies that I want to make quilts for…and there’s a wall hanging that I’d like to make for a friend…so in theory I could kill a few birds with just one stone.

There’s also the possibility that you’re really getting into the process of pulling and picking fabrics. Yeah, I’m in this boat too. For that reason, I appreciated Carissa (@treadletothemetal) making note of it. (This is such a fun pull!)

@treadletothemedal

In this case, you could definitely consider multiple outlets for all the beautiful blocks that you’ll make. Or, you can also just make a MASSIVE quilt. That’d be cool too.

Last, there’s the idea that the creative direction that your blocks are taking are leading you down a variety of different paths. While I’m all about finding ways to connect those paths, I’m also not opposed to letting them be their own thing. By rethinking final project size and intention, you can give yourself the freedom to continue exploring without feeling like you’re wasting energy or sending yourself toward a dead-end. Just remember that there are a variety of end points for you to pursue. I think that the better goal is to stay creatively engaged in your project. The details can be worked out later.

Here’s where I’m at this week.

There’s something satisfyingly linear about this project. It’s almost like a tag team of fabric, where starting with one initiates a path to explore.

Eads QAL 3 . Carolyn Friedlander

I’m finding the lavender path to be an area of interest.

Eads QAL 3 . Carolyn Friedlander

To be redundant on a point from last week, wardrobe choices worked their way into this batch of blocks as well.

Kalle Shirt Dress in Arroyo fabric

There’s more Arroyo (from Erin Dollar) that I want to add, but first I need to save some for a dress that I also want to make. It got cut out first, which ensures enough for both projects.

What goes well with warm lavender? Well, mustard and peach, of course!

Eads QAL 3 . Carolyn Friedlander

The mustard is from my recent friedlander collection, and the peach is the shade originally in my architextures collection. Fabric is so much fun. I hope you’re thinking so too.

Eads QAL 3 . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ Use the paper! Write notes to yourself about what goes where if you need a reminder.

+ Have you found yourself at a dead-end? While I have been working relatively linearly so far, I’m all for aborting ship if an idea starts to feel stale. Shake things up if you’re feeling that it’s time!

+ Pick the fabric for your next block before calling it a day. This will make it much easier to get in the groove when you have time to sew again.

How’s your week going?

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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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Eads Quilt Along #2: Fabric Thoughts and Strategy.

Eads Quilt Along #2: Fabric Thoughts and Strategy.

First, I just have to say that this is really fun. So much of the time, I’m working on something in advance, and I can’t talk about it. But with this quilt along, I’m able to be a little more in step with you and share in the process.

Plus, it’s been incredibly fun watching you start your own projects and hearing your thoughts about fabric and moving forward. Some of you have more specific plans and some of you are taking things as they come. There is a lot on both sides resonating with me–which is inspiring–and I hope you’re enjoying that connection as well. You guys are awesome, and your work is shaping up in such wonderful ways!

Eads quilt blocks to start . Carolyn Friedlander

First up is a project flashback to my original Eads. This is the first block shot that I could find, so it’s more than 10 blocks, but I think it’s a good mood setter for this week. I’d like to point out the hot mess that is my sewing room. There are piles and piles of fabric on the floor, all of which are the options that I pondered for this version. While mess, stress and deadlines all loomed in the making of the original, it was still incredibly fun to make and figure out.

With my new project, things are different. There’s not really a deadline (other than this QAL…which might be one reason why I wanted to do it…ha!), and in terms of fabric, it’s a little bit of a blank slate there too.

Has anyone had issues getting started?

I did. In fact, while I find the beginning of any project to be exciting, the blankness of it can also feel overwhelming, especially once you start digging in and plotting out the specifics.

To start, the newest collection from UPPERCASE had me intrigued since I was lucky enough to come home with a bundle of it after Quilt Market. Top of mind is always a great place to start.

UPPERCASE volume 2 fabrics

I broke apart the bundle and started to play around with the colors and how they work together. Then I hit my own stash and started grabbing other things that were calling my name.

In the photo below, you can see how I first had the UPPERCASE bundle organized at the top, then below I started to mix pieces from that collection with the fabrics that I was pulling. At this point, I was also starting to figure out the relationships between the pieces.

Eads QAL fabric pull . Carolyn Friedlander

Some of the green pieces were really speaking to me. In fact, these larger-scale florals were hitting on an idea of scale play that I wanted to explore after making my first Eads.

Eads QAL fabric pull . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s not a ton of deliberateness that needs to happen at this stage. It’s mostly a step for seeing how different fabrics might work together.

Eads QAL fabric pull . Carolyn Friedlander

Eads QAL fabric pull . Carolyn Friedlander

If you saw my instagram post from the weekend, you know that what actually started to shape up looks nothing like this pile. So, here’s the plot twist.

At this point, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. In fact, that’s kind of what was starting to happen to me. While I easily could have started off with some of the greens, there was starting to be too many possibilities, and I was over thinking it waaay too much.

So, what did I do? Well, this is where I like to embrace coincidence and intuition. There was actually another pile calling my name, and it was the recent leftovers from making 2 shirts.

kalle dress shirts . Carolyn Friedlander

This is a lesson in how it’s ok to let the fabrics pick you. I’d made these 2 Kalle shirts–the top in a print from Architextures and the bottom in a Liberty of London print. The scraps from both were sitting around looking so cute and enticing together that I figured they’d make a cool block. Off I went.

Eads QAL 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

Sometimes it’s easier to start with something that’s already been started, or with something that isn’t so clean and pristine, because there’s much less pressure associated with it.

Eads QAL week 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

That’s what I did. And heads up, working from scraps is great, but it is definitely speedier working from the strips as outlined in the directions. I’m not complaining, but instead giving a heads up to any of you going this route. On the plus side, it does clean up the scrap pile!

After starting with these guys, I was able to get my creative juices flowing so that I could start thinking about the next fabrics to pull into the mix.

Eads QAL 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

Next up was some Arroyo, a new collection by Erin Dollar printed on Robert Kaufman’s Essex. (I love this collection!) I’ll note that I had just made a shower curtain out of this print…are you sensing a theme?

Eads QAL 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

And then I got brave enough to bust into some very treasured pieces that I picked up from Amitié while I was in Australia this past fall, along with a couple of pieces from carkai.

Eads QAL 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

So here’s where I’ll end this post with 10 blocks. I’m excited to be exploring some scale stuff–an area of initial intrigue–and I’m using some treasured fabrics in many of my favorite colors.

Eads QAL week 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

What’s also awesome about this, is that I’m now seeing a way to connect back to the greens and other fabrics in my initial pull. Playing the intuition card is usually a good one. Even though I decided to change course, I figured that I’d be able to work my way back. I just needed a creative warm up to overcome the overwhelm.

Eads QAL week 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

Here are my tips for the week:

+ Overcome the overwhelm by just getting started! Grab the first 2 fabrics within eyesight, and I’ll bet they’ll help you over the hump. Also, trust your instincts.

+ When printing out your templates, select the “collate” option in the printer dialog so that A and B blocks alternate. This way you’re working evenly through your stack.

+ I noticed some folks wondering about fabric storage and organization for this project online this week. Create a box/tray/other designated vessel to house your blocks and fabrics for this project. (This route is a little more tidy than my floor method…see first pic.) Here’s a pic of a box that I’ve designated for my fabrics for this project. As for the blocks, they’re stored away nicely on my design wall.

Eads QAL fabrics

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