Tag Archives | applique

Hunt Quilt Along: A Closer Look At Fabric.

Hunt Quilt Along: A Closer Look At Fabric.

This week I want to take a closer look at fabric. I have some tips to share, and I also want to let you in on what I’m thinking about for my own project.

Obviously fabric is a big component of any quilt project. You not only have the color and print to figure out, but you also get to consider the type of fabric itself, whether it’s cotton, linen or anything else.

In general, I consider quilting cotton to be the most beginner-friendly fabric to work with. It’s very stable, and it’s not too thick and not too thin for quilting. (It’s called quilting cotton for a reason.)

gleaned coordinating solids . carolyn friedlander

Quilting cotton is also great, because it comes in many different colors, prints and solid choices. You can’t go wrong, and it’s definitely a fabric that I would highly recommend to anyone, and especially to anyone new to the game.

Instead Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

gleaned fabric collection . Carolyn Friedlander

Of course there are plenty of other types of fabrics as well. Some other popular quilting choices are made from linen and linen blends (like Robert Kaufman Essex, a stable linen/cotton blend that is a little meatier than regular quilting cotton and full of texture), and there are plenty of yarn dyed wovens (like Harriot Yarn Dyes, shot cottons, etc).

Polk Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Harriot Yarn Dye . Carolyn Friedlander

Something to consider when selecting fabrics outside of quilting cotton are the different properties of the fabric itself. You want to consider the stability of it–is it slippery or drapey, OR stiff and sturdy? Also, is it thick or thin? Does it have a tendancy to fray? Most anything can work, but depending on its qualities you might decide to make some adjustments.

Some adjustments might be to –

+ Cut your background to be larger so you can get a clean trim before sewing blocks together if your fabric tends to fray or if you know you tend to handle your blocks a bit more. I cut my background squares about an inch larger on my Hunt Harriot Quilt. It was a new fabric, and I wasn’t sure how it would behave. Giving myself extra ensured I could get a super-clean trim before sewing the blocks together. (Tip: In this case, I like marking the edges of where I’ll trim my actual block. I prefer to thread baste, but you can mark it anyway you prefer.)

Here’s a look at some thread basting in action. I’ve marked my seam allowance at the bottom. (In general, I prefer marking the seam allowance on these blocks this way. It’s totally a personal preference and not mandatory.)

hunt tester-3-carolyn friedlander-web

+ Adjust your basting stitch a smidge if your fabric is really thick or really thin. (Tip: With a thin fabric you may baste with slightly less of a seam allowance, and with thicker fabric you might baste with a smidge more of a seam allowance.)

+ Prewash your fabrics if you’re worried with them at all. It never hurts! Plus, I feel like a prewash can reduce some of the fraying.

+ Use your thicker fabrics as a background and thinner fabrics as your appliqué. A thicker fabric on the back gives you more stability. (Although I’ll admit that you can make exceptions if you’re really feeling a combination that goes against these rules. Just make sure your lighter background fabric maintains its shape as the heavier fabric is being manipulated on top. You don’t want this to distort your background.)

Now let’s talk a little bit about some design direction for your project. The beautiful thing about appliqué is how you can quickly get a sense of what your project will look like. Simply cut out the shape and lay it on your background! If you don’t like it, try something else.

Hunt Appliqué planning . carolyn friedlander

That’s exactly what I did when I was planning my Hunt Harriot Quilt. I started cutting out the shapes and laying them on the ground–although you could also start laying them on different background fabric options at this point too. This allowed me to figure out how I wanted the colors, fussy-cut scallops and other motifs to come together. Or you can work on a block-to-block basis. It was really fun to see the idea shape up!

Hunt Quilt Along Fabric Pull . Carolyn Friedlander

I am planning to make something during this quilt along. I selfishly chose this format, because I knew it would give me a great opportunity to make another version. I’d love to have a quilt for my bed, and after a lot of thinking about colors and fabrics to use, I think that I’ve decided to head in a green and white direction. There are SO many ways to take this project, and it is so easy to feel indecisive about it, but what’s helped decide things for me is thinking about 1) what type/size I want to end up with, and 2) where I want to put it. I think a green/white-ish version for my bedroom would be just the right thing.

I’ll use a mix of whites and creams for the backgrounds.

Hunt Quilt Along Fabric Pull . Carolyn Friedlander

And I’m thinking a mix of greens in some dark-ish shades like this could be nice. Although I’m not sure how scrappy/not scrappy I want each block to be. Looks like I’ll be doing some auditioning!

Hunt Quilt Along Fabric Pull . Carolyn Friedlander

That’s where I’m at, but I’d love to know where you’re at too. Feel free to comment below.

Resources:

+ Here’s a link to some of my favorite Thread Tips and Tricks.

+ I’ve set up a Hunt Quilt Along Board on Pinterest for inspiration. Head over here to check it out.

Hunt Quilt Along . Carolyn Friedlander

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Circles Quilt In Harriot Fabric.

One of the first things I made for the release was this Circles Quilt in Harriot fabric.

Circles Quilt In Harriot . Carolyn Friedlander

I couldn’t wait to cut up those scallops! They turn into such interesting shapes as both the appliqué and the background. (The green ones above kind of start to look like hair and little faces.)

Circles Quilt In Harriot . Carolyn Friedlander

Circles was the very first appliqué pattern in the Slow Sewing Studio. I liked this one being the first because of it being a great starting point for someone new to the technique. The efficiency of shape and process (each cut set of shapes becomes both the circle and the background) make it really approachable. Plus, the versatility of the block makes it fun to explore in all types of colors and fabrics. If you’re looking to try appliqué, it’s a perfect starting point, and if you’re familiar with the technique, it’s still fun too. Plus, the blocks are pretty big. When you have one finished–it’s definitely something to work with!

Circles Quilt In Harriot . Carolyn Friedlander

This quilt is all big-stitch hand quilted with colorful threads. I love bringing that extra texture and color into the project. Plus, the vertical lines on some of the prints are helpful quilting guides.

Circles Quilt In Harriot . Carolyn Friedlander

I hadn’t made a Circles quilt in awhile, and I’m so glad that I found an excuse to make this one.

Circles Quilt In Harriot . Carolyn Friedlander

pattern: Circles

fabric(s): Harriot, Essex, Essex Yarn Dyed, Kona Cotton

Circles Quilt In Harriot . Carolyn Friedlander

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Thread Tips and Tricks.

Collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss . Carolyn Friedlander

With the launch of my recent collaboration with Sew Fine Thread Gloss, I thought it might be handy to throw some thread tips into a blog post. There are some super easy things that can make a huge difference.

  1. Work the thread in the proper direction, which is the direction that it is spun. Doing so will result in fewer knots. This might sound tricky and overly technical, BUT it’s super easy in practice and can just be a matter of creating a new habit. Here’s what you need to do; if you’re right-handed, knot the end of thread that you cut, and if you’re left-handed, knot the first end off the spool (or NOT the end that you cut). Keep in mind that this trick works with factory-wound spools and not any bobbins that you have wound yourself (because they’ve been re-wound in the opposite direction).
  2. How’s that thread length? If you’re having problems with knots, and you’ve already adjusted your knotting routine (see #1), then you might consider cutting a shorter length of thread. A shorter length might also be needed if your threads are starting to shred or thin out in the middle while you work. There’s always a balance between getting the maximum length of thread so that you’re not stopping and starting unnecessarily, BUT not too long that it’s wearing out the thread or getting knotty from all of the wear and excess length. Handwork is easily adaptable thanks to our ability to adjust the many variables in the process. Length is an easy adjustment to tinker with until you find what works best for you, the project and the materials. In general, I shoot for a thread length of 18″-24″.
  3. Work that thread conditioner! Yep, it makes a difference. I used to go back and forth on the subject–mostly because it was easy to get lazy over an extra step, but after so much handwork, I’m firmly on the side of using thread conditioner. While it is an extra step, doing it pays off in ease of use which in the end makes me feel like I’ve saved time and loads of frustration. My thread conditioner preference is the beeswax-based Sew Fine Thread Gloss, and I have some special collaborative scents available in the shop that you can find here.
  4. Tools and materials matter, especially when it comes to handwork. Always use the best tools and materials that you can. The reason I decided to stock some of my favorite scissors, thread and thread conditioner is because I believe in them, and I know how much they’ve helped me.

aurifil 80wt appliqué thread set . carolyn friedlander

Oh, and I just created a couple of quick thread knotting videos if you’re interested. First up is a Garment Knot, which I like using after conditioning my thread and before starting my appliqué.

And if you’re up for another good knot, here’s how you make a Quilter’s Knot.

Do you have any favorite thread tips? Feel free to share!

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