Eads QAL #12: Finished Top.

Eads QAL #12: Finished Top.

The top is done! What an adventure.

But let’s back up a bit. Since I’ve been documenting this entire process, I thought it’d be fun to do a video of the laying-out process. Big disclaimer to come.

My blocks were gathered and generally sorted into piles by color–very generally. They’re more stacked by groupings on the design wall. Had I not been in such a hurry to lay it out (–out of sheer eagerness), I could have done a better job grouping them. Not really a big deal.

So yeah…you ready for the video? (BTW, do you spot the Blake cameo?)

A few things to note. First, don’t make a video of yourself. Although, I kind of don’t mean that. There’s something fun about watching it take shape. The reason why I wouldn’t recommend filming the process–or why I’m casting a little caution–is that it makes you all too aware of every move that you’re making, which then makes it way too easy to start over thinking things. I’m not usually into bringing unnecessary stress in to the creative environment. Heads up on that.

Over thinking layout (and almost any other choices when getting your creativity on) can be an easy place to lose perspective, which is exactly what I did. I fussed around with this layout way past the point of any changes making a difference. And, knowing that it was all being filmed, I felt pressure to make choices relatively quickly. (That’s not super great for the creative flow.)

But still, I’ll admit, it is cool to watch a project take shape.

Aside from the unnecessary pressure of knowing that I was being watched, I was far less decisive with this layout than usual.

For one, I think it does make a difference whether or not you’re able to build something and see it in its entirety as you go–whether that’s by using a design wall or the floor. Seeing something in its entirety as you build it means you’re well aware of the overall picture before having to nail it all down, leaving less of a chance for big changes at the end. I totally admit, having the kind of space to do that isn’t always feasible, but nonetheless this was a realization for me. It made me think of other back-burner projects that just get taken out when I have the time and how I can use that segmentation to my advantage or how to reduce it if it’s not working for the project.

Most of the time I’m chugging through projects, because there’s a close deadline, and they can feel like one continuous thought–more or less. This one was such a great series of creative breaks that helped break up the flow of other projects that I’ve been tackling. As I look at the final layout, I think it captures that.

While reorganizing some stuff in the studio, I noticed these swatches–a note to self made awhile back. In making my very first blocks, I discovered this combo that I love between this Arroyo fabric and one of the new crosshatch colors. It was a fun discovery that I had to note for later.

What’s cool is that this is actually represented in the quilt. I made sure of that once seeing my little reminder. If you look down towards the bottom in the next picture, you’ll see how I paired blocks that used those fabrics. There are so many other cases of this in this quilt, that I know it will be a fun one to cuddle up with on the couch. While in use, this quilt has so much to discover and to remember about the process of making it.

Eads QAL 12 . Carolyn Friedlander

Now to decide on quilting and backing.

First, the backing. Conveniently some of my new extra-wide fabrics just arrived. What do you think of the colors?

As for the quilting, to be honest, I’ve been thinking about handing this one off. There are so many great quilters out there, and I keep saying that I’d love to collaborate. But as usual, an idea started to simmer while I was sewing the blocks together. Who knows how it’ll end. I’ll keep you posted.


+ Don’t over think your layout. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae, and in many cases tweaking a few blocks here and there won’t make a big difference. I know this, and yet I totally fell into this trap this time. Oh well!

+ As for filming yourself, I know that my own review is a mixed one, but it was a worthwhile experience. Sometimes it is good to check in on yourself and to see how you operate. I learned something, and maybe you will too. Or, at least you’ll get a good laugh at watching me scramble around on the floor. Ha!

+ When teaching, I always get asked about when to take the paper off. I’ve saved this tip for this stage of the game, because now it’s relevant. I always prefer to keep the paper on as long as possible. It keeps the blocks clean and flat (big heart emoji!). But, it can get bulky and weighty, especially in projects like this were you have many blocks to sew together. My first pointer is to always remove the paper in the seam allowance after sewing 2 blocks together–this will make it easier to press and will eliminate those wee bits of paper at future seam intersections. Second pointer, I kept the paper on the blocks when sewing them into rows. Then, I took all of the paper off before sewing the rows together. This is kind of a new thing for me to do, but I tried it while making my recent Russell. It helps with the bulk, but still gives you the guidance and structure in the beginning. If you have other thoughts–I’m curious to know!

Eads QAL 12 . Carolyn Friedlander

This Eads QAL has been a really interesting experience, and I’ve learned a lot–I hope you have too! It’s been fun sharing these bits and pieces with you as I’ve gone along, and I’ve loved seeing your progress and thoughts as well.

Because of how much I appreciate your following along, and because I think we should celebrate making it to the end–let’s do a giveaway! Leave a comment sharing something that you’ve learned/enjoyed/thought about/etc during this QAL. I’ll draw 3 winners Tuesday, Sept 5 at 9am EST, and they’ll win some fabric and pattern goodies that I’ll gather and send out. Sound good?

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40 Responses to Eads QAL #12: Finished Top.

  1. Mindy September 1, 2017 at 10:17 am #

    I love your finished quilt top! All the fabric combos are fantastic! I learned a lot by following along with the QAL and making my own. I only used Essex Linen for my quilt top which I really enjoyed but working with linen was definitely different than working with quilting cotton and I found that a shorter stitch length was really helpful. I have also only done really small projects with paper piecing and have never joined blocks together that were paper pieced. Knowing when to pull the paper off was also trial and error. Thanks so much for hosting the QAL and prompting me to make such an amazing quilt.

  2. Anne September 1, 2017 at 11:39 am #

    Sounds very good! Thank you for the chance!
    I think the top looks wonderful. I think I enjoyed watching your process the most. I am not super good at scrappy. It’s not that I usually have full quilts planned out, but I do mostly use a particular color scheme and rarely deviate from that while working on the quilt. From working with one of your kits, I’ve learned to use different types of fabrics, different colors and different shapes. I’ve enjoyed following this quilt-a-long because it learned me new things about position of colors and how and where to include those decisions within the process. I am planning to make this quilt, and was very tempted to use the kit because I loved your original color scheme, but watching this qal may have learned me just enough to attempt to collect a bunch of fabrics myself and dive in with the pattern :). Thanks!

  3. Jenn McMillan September 1, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

    Although my quilt has yet to be finished, I have really been making an effort to not overthink my colour choices (I have a rough “palette” I’m trying to stick to) when picking fabrics to go together in the blocks. This is one of my struggles with improv quilting; just going with the flow and letting it take shape on its own. I’ve really enjoyed seeing your process and am looking forward to finishing my Eads quilt! Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Allison C September 1, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    Love your finished top! I discovered that I love some unexpected color combos that I would have likely never thought to use. I’m try to learn to think outside the box in regards to color, but it’s fairly hard to break this gray and blue loving gal.

  5. Rachel at Stitched in Color September 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    I’ve really enjoyed watching your process. It’s hard to put a finger on what I’ve learned, but I know it’s planted seeds. Perhaps I’m seeing that you allow yourself the freedom at times to pursue colors only as long as they feel good and then go onto the next things. That reminds me of how Sherri Lynn Wood encourages improv. The concept of following a “doodle”, whether in construction or color, really appeals to me.

  6. Penny Gold September 1, 2017 at 1:00 pm #

    I’ve much enjoyed watching the wacky color combinations!

  7. Nichole September 1, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    My mom and I did this QAL together–and it was a lot of fun to learn about my mom’s design process and thoughts on color! (They are VERY different than mine.) I learned how to paper-piece, and she practiced being a bit more flexible about color “rules” and the like. We’re definitely thinking about collaborating more (instead of mom helping me with my projects, or just the two of us working together but on our own things). Thanks so much for hosting this QAL–it was a perfect spontaneous summer project for both of us.

  8. Jessica September 1, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

    I’m so happy to see the finished quilt top. Dare I say it — I may love this one even more than the original. Eeek! All those prints are just too fun. I’ve loved seeing your fabric inspirations over the course of the sew-along. You’ve really emboldened me to try to use some larger-scale prints that I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. It’s really interesting to see them used in smaller bits, and they create a lot of movement and visual interest. Although I wasn’t able to participate in the sew-along, I’m planning to dive into a version of Eads soon that will be structured more like Totem, with a central panel of blocks flanked by negative space. I’m excited to get started!

  9. patty September 1, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

    I really enjoyed watching all these blocks come together. Unique color combinations were my surprises. I remove my paper at the same point you described. It works well.

  10. Sandy Belt September 1, 2017 at 3:15 pm #

    The way you chose fabric placement..loved watching

  11. Bonnie September 1, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    I’ve enjoyed watching the process and now feeling more empowered to take on the messiness of pulling together different types of really different and cool fabrics. I am often a little too scared to pull together fabrics that are really different because I am certain it will look a mess, and that I can’t do it right. But, watching these blocks come together helped me see I just need to go with fabrics that I love and that they will come together in the end. And, the tip to not overthink things too much is always helpful. I get caught in “analysis paralysis” when it comes to designing and laying out my quilts.

  12. Laura September 1, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

    I’ve learned that color groupings can be subtle, not so stark, and still be cohesive.

  13. Vonda Christians September 1, 2017 at 7:31 pm #

    I was just going to do a pillow but the shapes lend to a larger spread making interesting combos. A very clever pattern.

  14. Linda Fleming September 1, 2017 at 8:19 pm #

    Love your finished top. The color mix is sensational. Thank you for all your tips.

  15. C September 1, 2017 at 9:08 pm #

    I’ve enjoyed seeig how patterns can read like solids when used in color groupings.

  16. NIcole September 1, 2017 at 9:18 pm #

    Your quilt top looks fabulous! Thank you so much for this quilt along. When my machine went down I didn’t think I would make it to the end but I did. I definitely learn to push myself colour wise and realized combinations I thought I wouldn’t like, I really liked and would use again. I did over think it and needed to walk away but really happy with my end result.

  17. R de Castro September 1, 2017 at 9:26 pm #

    Love the finished result! I am always amazed at the color and pattern combinations. It’s definitely inspiring!

  18. Patty September 1, 2017 at 10:14 pm #

    Don’t over think the colors or the layout….words I really need to hear.

  19. Erin Dias September 1, 2017 at 11:08 pm #

    I love your quilts! Unexpected colour combinations are my favourite, you inspire me so much!

  20. Lauren-Kate September 2, 2017 at 12:47 am #

    I’ve really been thinking about your idea of using blocks as a ‘self’ border. And watching these quilts come together has made me really want to add to my stash of daring colors, especially solids.

  21. Mary on Lake Pulaski September 2, 2017 at 8:13 am #

    I learned to be freer with my color combination than I have been in the past. I also am happy to hear that you say one or two blocks in the wrong place in the layout is not going to make that big of difference!

  22. Joy September 2, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    Love this! I also have overthought placement of pieces and it’s better to do it quickly and be happy with it for sure! I’m working on a knit dress. First time seeing knit fabric. Thanks!

  23. Vanessa White September 2, 2017 at 9:19 am #

    My biggest takeaway from this whole project was the theme of ‘pushing boundaries’. I’ve seen a common thread (haha pun intended) amongst the rest of my fellow sewists above- but for me and my practice, you’ve pushed the boundaries in every sense. Bringing attention to the imaginary ‘rules’ that come along with quilting, piecing, fabric choices (both pattern and medium), as well as simply the process of assembly has really opened my eyes and will certainly change my practice. I am super happy I stumbled across this blog in pursuit of taking my blinders off. Mission accomplished with you to thank!

  24. Carmen September 2, 2017 at 10:12 am #

    Watching your layout video KILLED me! I do the exact same thing — I recently finished my Nani Iro Totem quilt (IG @misterandmouse if you care to check it out) and I remember spending THREE HOURS layout out those Totem blocks! (How long did it your video actually take?) I think that’s what I enjoy about your (paper piecing) patterns — they offer so much room for play and exploration, but they also push you to ask questions and make decisions when it comes time to put the whole thing together. It’s been a lot of fun following along with the Eads QAL!

  25. Shirley Pascas September 2, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

    I’ve enjoyed the process. I like throwing in a few oddball blocks to the mix and have been happy with the results. Thanks for inspiring us to play!

  26. Kristyn September 2, 2017 at 3:45 pm #

    Your finished quilt is just gorgeous!!! I’m really enjoying the process of just making with this quilt. I’ve just been pulling fabrics as I’ve made blocks and envisioning what combinations of color, print, and texture work well with one another. I’m not sticking to a certain color combination, but just working with the prints and seeing what works best with them, either as an expected combination or an unexpected one.

  27. Amanda September 2, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

    As I just discovered this QAL, I’ve read through your process and journey in one fell swoop! Such an inspiration though as I always have pairs of fabrics that I love, and this is a beautiful way to make a large scrappy quilt full of my favorite pairs. I just rediscovered paper piecing and am ordering your pattern immediately to get started myself!

  28. Julie Lundquist September 2, 2017 at 6:14 pm #

    I have enjoyed the surprise and adventure of colors coming together in ways I would not have imagined. Kinda liberating!

  29. Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts September 2, 2017 at 8:55 pm #

    I don’t deserve an entry in the draw as I didn’t sew a single seam 🙁 despite my intentions. I have really enjoyed your posts and seeing everyone’s blocks pop up on line. I love watching your colour combos emerge, that has been the most fun part for me. The “when to remove papers” tip was the learning part for me. Not being well versed in FPP, those hints are always welcomed. I am looking forward to seeing how you quilt your top – I’m sure I’ll learn more then, too.

  30. Kim Kelley September 3, 2017 at 7:56 am #

    Have loved your fabrics for a while now, can’t wait to try this pattern!

  31. Kara September 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    The finished top is beautiful! I was someone that started buying lots of novelty prints in fabric, and slowly came to realize that smaller scale designs, textures like your cross-hatching fabric, and solids are much more “useful” in most of the patterns I like. Thanks to you, I’m also *slowly* coming around on orange, which I never used to like very much as a color. (Sorry, orange!)

    As far as learning something new, your tip on when to remove the papers in paper piecing is helpful! I recently did a 10″ paper-pieced block that consisted of three parts that needed to be sewn together, and in retrospect, leaving the paper in until they were all joined and simply removing the paper from the seam allowance would have made for a much cleaner finish.

  32. Stephanie Hill September 4, 2017 at 2:43 am #

    Thank for for all the inspiration. I have completed my quilt and tired to take your advice to experiment with colour combinations. I am pleased with ‘some’ of my combinations and am happy with the overall effect. Your weekly suggestions really helped me think more about the process rather than just ploughing through with my head down. The QAL advice has given me ideas for a future quilt – think I will wait for your new collection to add into it. Please keep the advice and inspiration coming :*)

  33. Carissa September 4, 2017 at 9:44 am #

    I finally watched the video! So exciting and so beautiful to see it coming together and coming to life! I am almost to that stage with mine; just waiting for the right time to take over the big rug/floor surface in my kids’ playroom to do it! 😉 I have been woefully behind on reading your blog posts but have been thinking so much lately about how much fun this QAL has been! Thank you so much for doing it and for inspiring everyone with their own Eads. I love how versatile this pattern is and how fun and easy it makes it to play with fabrics and colors and textures. The ultimate quilting experience. 🙂 I could go on… But I’ll wrap it up. Can you do a QAL for all your quilt patterns in future!?!? Hee. It’s been really great and your new quilt will be amazing–I hope you get to cuddle under it a lot this winter! Oh! Love the new widebacks too! Super pretty. Can’t wait for Gleaned to come out. xoC

  34. Carissa September 4, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    P.S. I may be mis-remembering this but I think you had told us at the start to save all of our scraps because you’d have a suggestion for what to do with them! Would it be totally irksome to ask what your suggestion is? 😉 Or what you do with all your scraps? I have so many now and every time I look at the stack, I get excited about doing something wacky and wonderful with all of them!

    • kaitlin ward November 9, 2017 at 4:27 am #

      Yes! I have the same question! Did we miss it along the way or is the tip still to come?

  35. erin September 4, 2017 at 11:12 am #

    That video is so fun! I hear you on the over-thinking. I do that often and has been a stumbling block with choosing fabrics with this project. There are so many good choices! I just need to jump in and not look back. I hope to get back to my eads now that school is in session and I have time to use as I choose.

  36. Kate September 4, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

    The tips on sewing together a paper pieced top are so useful — I just learned that you are supposed to keep the papers in as long as possible but wasn’t sure how to do so practically!

  37. Amorette Drexler September 4, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

    I really appreciate your pointers on not getting stuck or stifled in your creative process. I often over think things in my life and I try hard not to do that when I am creating. I also think making a video of yourself is challenging. I just started student teaching high school science and I made a few videos to try the process and see how I might make it into an assignment, and just hearing my own voice made me question everything: my cadence, my speed, my volume.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and a bit of your process. I have yet to try paper piecing but I am collecting insight for my eventual attempt!

  38. Christine September 6, 2017 at 8:19 pm #

    Oh this has been the best QAL, thanks so much! Your top is the bees knees!

  39. Christine September 6, 2017 at 8:27 pm #

    I always seem to miss deadlines but I wanted you to know that even though we have been going through a tough time with my husband fighting cancer, I can honestly say this QAL has been just what I needed to think about other things for a while. I haven’t laid my blocks out yet but I’m looking forward to stepping outside of my comfort zone. Thanks so much!

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