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Best of 2019 + a giveaway

It’s time for my annual post with my Best of 2019 + a giveaway. 2019, what a year! Where did it (and the last decade) go?

2018 quilt . Carolyn Friedlanderfrank lloyd wright SFeverglade quilt class at Craft NapaHunt QuiltCon 2019liberty and harriot everglade blocks . carolyn friedlandertiny treasures trayFriedlander Lawn on Shrillinstead fabric . carolyn friedlanderArlo Quilt Pattern . Carolyn FriedlanderSunrise Quilt . Carolyn FriedlanderArchitextures Sunrise Quilt . Carolyn FriedlanderSunrise Pillow Shams . Carolyn FriedlanderHunt Quilt Along . Carolyn Friedlanderfrank lloyd wright florida southern

Every time I do this, I’m like “that happened this year?” and “oh yeah! I’d forgotten about that!” The year goes by in a blink and yet the start of 2019 feels like forever ago at the same time. It’s weird like that. If you haven’t taken a moment to reflect back on your own year, do yourself a favor and do it. I love how a look back–big or small–inevitably helps me move forward. It can bring excitement, inspiration and clarity. Plus, it’s pretty fun to take a look back at the recaps from years prior. (See them for 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014.)

2019 had plenty of challenges for me as well as plenty of good experiences too. Professionally, I’m delighted to have enjoyed several teaching adventures in Napa, Nashville, NYC, and Sisters, as well as trips to Kansas City and Houston for Quilt Markets.

On the fabric front, I had more releases than usual with Instead, Collection CF and Jetty. I’ve loved seeing Instead and Collection CF show up in your projects, and I’m eager to highlight more of Jetty and see what you start making(!) when it starts hitting stores in a couple of months.

The new patterns I produced this year are all projects that I can’t stop making; Arlo, Hearts, and Rye. I also have new versions of Sunrise, Bartow, and Eads–all personal favorites that I’m happy to have been able to explore in new ways. My on-going Hunt quilt for the Hunt QAL has been a relaxing project for me and also a fun way to quilt along in real time with many of you. I finally finished this knit that had been sitting in limbo for far too long. That feels good! I really wanted to finish out 2019 by finally quilting my last-finish quilt of 2018. That didn’t happen, but I’m hoping to get it tackled this month. (Fingers crossed!) Of course there were many more makes and misses, but I’ll stop there. 2020 is a new year, and I’m excited to see what it will bring.

Thank you for following along, supporting my work and for sharing your thoughts and makings with me. As a special thank you, and because I love hearing from you–I’d like to do a giveaway for 4 special bundles that I’ll put together with new fabrics, patterns and stuff from 2019. To enter leave a comment below letting me know of a special highlight, success or challenge for you in 2019. Giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!

Winners will be randomly selected on Friday, January 10, 2020 at 5PM EST.

Happy New Year!


Arlo A quilt in Collection CF.

Here’s my Arlo A quilt in Collection CF.

Arlo A Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

To follow along with the pattern, it’s the Wall size and uses just the A templates. As for fabric, I used just 2 fabrics in blue from Collection CF. It’s always so hard to pick only 2, but the results can be great.

Arlo A Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

One thing that keeps me coming back to this project is how many different ways you can go with it. Not only can you change the templates that you use, but you can change their orientation and how many fabrics so that it looks like a totally different project.

Arlo A Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Knowing that I was only going to use 2 fabrics and 1 set of the templates, I started by having a major cutting session. Then I sewed the blocks together (by machine).

Arlo A Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I find a stack of sewn blocks to be satisfying, and the huge dork in me delighted over the fact that these fit so nicely (in terms of shape and color!) in this treasure tray that I made last year in Harriot. (I actually stored the cut pieces in the tray before sewing them together as well, which I found to be handy.)

Arlo A Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

This project is quilted with some straight-ish lines in the lighter sections that echo some of the different directions in the design. I like that it’s a simple approach that is varied enough to make it not so boring to do, and that it gives the project an overall texture that is pleasing and not super uniform.

Arlo A Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I used the darker binding to tie in the accented sections and to frame it out a bit.

Arlo A Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

There we go. I love what this version does with the geometry of the design, and it’s definitely had me thinking about other variations still to try…

Arlo A Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

pattern: Arlo quilt pattern, with 1/4″ acrylic template set

fabric: Collection CF

Arlo A Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

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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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