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cf Mini QAL #7: Making Friends, Mixing Genres.

cf Mini QAL #7: Making Friends, Mixing Genres.

The fussy-cut/directional challenge from last week made me want to play with directional fabrics and a lot of stripes.

Directional Davie . cf mini QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

Originally, I’d planned a toned-down palette with plenty of paleness but also a punch of acid lime. In the end, I went even softer than that and didn’t use any acid lime. The punchier bits are from deeper browns and greys.

Directional Davie . cf mini QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

The directional theme I was going for was to have vertical stripes in most of the sets.

Directional Davie . cf mini QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

When you’re going fussy, you draw the line on how fussy you want to me. For me, I wasn’t necessarily drawn to complete perfection in all ways, but like in the block above, I wanted the roof stripes to be perfectly vertical and relative to each other. It was a complete surprise and accident when they almost line up at the seam on the left. Yay for accidents!

Directional Davie . cf mini QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

I like this group of four and went ahead and sewed them together. I’m still tossing around the idea of sewing all of my minis into one bigger quilt, but there’s something about these guys that I might end up leaving them on their own. They’re just so cute together.

Directional Davie . cf mini QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

This next challenge is another one that I hope you’ll have a lot of fun with. It’s all about making friends and mixing genres. What does that mean?

There are many different genres and styles of fabric out there. We have solids, basics, batiks, various reproductions, modern, contemporary, etc, as well as loads of designer prints that have their own look as well. Sticking to one category or designer can make things easy as they can easily work together without too much thinking. But sometimes it’s fun to mix it up, and that’s what the challenge this week is all about!

Like all of the previous challenges, this too can mean a lot of things, but to get you started I’ll show you in an example of my own, and walk you through a mixed-genre fabric pull.

Like any fabric pull, it’s good to start with something that speaks to you. Anna Graham’s latest collection, Forage, for Robert Kaufman is such a fun one and where I wanted to start.

 

I grabbed one of the floral prints from the collection and added a couple of pieces from my scrap bin–a bright tangerine (from Botanics) and a grey (from Architextures). While these colors do coordinate nicely with colors already in the print, they also pack a little more punch and take it in a slightly new direction. This is a good start and an easy way to stretch what’s already there.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn FriedlanderTo do something different, you don’t necessarily need to find the most different thing for the sake of being different. Instead you can think of colors that aren’t already used and can bring a new spirit to it.

 

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn FriedlanderAcid lime! It didn’t make it in last week, but it might be great in this next group. I’ve also added a pink gingham that plays well too.

Since I like where that’s going, the next step is to explore building it out a bit more. I’ve added more yellows, another grey and the tangerine from earlier.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

What’s important–to me at least–is laying them out and grouping them in ways as I pull. This makes it so easy to see how everything is shaping up and how it might work together.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

If you feel like you’ve gone too far–or want to zoom in on something nice you’re seeing, you can always pull back. I could decide to take the tangerine bits out and focus more on the yellows and wasabis.

Or, you can clear it away and start again with another idea–for the sake of another push.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

I just LOVE these guys together. The print mix is really enticing and there’s something good about the coloring too.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

As before, you can start figuring out how to build the idea out more–not forgetting about things you may have already used.

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

And a little more…

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

And already I have a lot of options! I may have too many, which means I definitely need to start sewing before I feel too overwhelmed and can’t make a decision. This is such an important step–get sewing!

cf Mini Quilt Along #7 . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ What makes good friends? Connect your own dots between genres through similar colors, values or whatever make sense to you.

+ Scrap-pile sewing can be an excellent way to source some surprise combinations. Many of my favorite pairings have been the result of accidental findings. For a challenge like this, I love hitting my scrap bin for ideas.

+ Take pictures along the way. You can often work in good ideas from early in the pull later in your project–or into another project. It’s good to have these ideas on hand.

+ Have fun with the pull, but don’t let it stop you from sewing! Give yourself a time limit and get going.

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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cf Mini QAL #4: Many Colors.

cf Mini QAL #4: Many Colors.

Before we get on with the new challenge, here’s an update on where I finished things from last week.

cf Mini Quilt Along #4 . Carolyn Friedlander

A good portion of these blocks were leftovers from an abandoned sample when developing the pattern (Lusk). I stumbled upon them recently and realized the Quilt Along would be the perfect excuse to finish them up. Don’t you love getting back to something that was previously lost in limbo? So satisfying.

cf Mini Quilt Along #4 . Carolyn Friedlander

I had a sketch with an idea of where to go, but I ended up sewing together what I had and adding in a few new ones. I liked the serendipity of it, and I definitely enjoy the surprises in what’s possible to accent with this design. How’d the challenge work out for you?

Maybe you’re starting to notice that there’s a bit of a progression with these challenges. We’ve gone from 1 color to 2 colors to using an accent. I know that picking out fabrics and planning projects can be scary, and so I’ve wanted this Quilt Along to allow you to focus on one thing at a time in order to grow some confidence with each of the projects.

This week the challenge is Many Colors, which–like the previous challenges–can be taken in many ways. Mainly, I want you to try breaking a little further outside of your box and grab a few things that you may not have thought to put together. In a challenge like this, all the things we’ve been practicing so far can come in to play. Where can you use like colors to create harmony? How can the value of your choices define (or soften!) your shapes? What are areas/shapes/colors that you’d like to highlight or accent? These are all great things to think about when working on this week’s challenge.

Lusk A in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

As an example to get you started, I have a previously-unshared project to unearth. This was the first version of Lusk (version A) that I ever made. It uses a mixture of gleaned, the newest architextures coordinates and Kona cotton solids–in many different colors.

Lusk A in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Like many of my projects, I started with a pairing that I was most excited about. After sewing those blocks up, I moved on to another set that I liked and continued the process of grabbing fabrics, sewing them into blocks and throwing them up on the design wall. I love this way of working, and it definitely gets more fun, exciting and comfortable with practice.

Lusk A in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Lusk A in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

What do you think? Are you ready to take on many colors? I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

#cfminiQAL #letsmakemanyminis

Lusk A in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ Variety is the spice of life! When using lots of things, pay close attention to contrast within each block and overall. I think that it’s fine for some areas to be fuzzy and/or more pronounced. Just make sure to balance it to your own liking.

+ Go with your gut and start grabbing fabrics that are speaking to you. As you grab, lay them out in a way that you can see all of them as you go. Start moving them around and thinking about pairs, groupings and/or general locations of colors that are appealing to you. The trick is that you don’t need to have the whole thing planned out at the onset. You just need a starting point and some options. You can reflect on your choices and how it’s shaping up as you go.

+ Don’t force yourself to use colors you don’t like. I never see a point in that–go with what you’re in to! I think that color growth can naturally stem from comfort and practice.

Lusk A in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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WainwrightAL #6: Finish.

WainwrightAL #6: Finish.

Somehow we’ve made our way to the end–or at least to the end for now.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

I often have mixed feelings at the end of a project. There’s always a part of me that is excited to reach a milestone and to see it finished. And then there can also be the side of me that’s kind of sad to be done with something that has been enjoyable to work on. With my first Wainwright, I definitely felt this mix. I was excited when I had all of my blocks appliquéd and sewn together. I love seeing it for the first time after the basting stitches are gone and after a good press. It always looks so clean!

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

With Wainwright, there was also a little sad part of me, because I had enjoyed working on it so much. Each row brought new colors and different combinations of shapes and fabrics. I loved having an excuse to work on these fun little blocks. Luckily, this is the perfect excuse for more projects, and in this case I was excited to start the quilting.

Originally, I thought I would start off with some big-stitch hand quilting across the entire thing. Then I’d machine stitch on top to add even more texture. I tend to like the softness and color of big stitch, and then the texture and intensity of the machine quilting. But, after finishing the hand quilting, I loved the feel of it as it was.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Plus, the color effect is pretty nice–although not easy to see in the photographs. I big stitched along all of the diagonals using different colors of thread that generally related to the colors in the blocks. I liked having a loose transition of color across the quilt with the fabrics, and doing the same with the quilting threads adds another layer to that transition.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I tried out a new batting with this quilt. Quilters Dream has 4 different loft options in cotton, and this uses their heaviest (“supreme”). I’ve tried it on a few projects since this one, and I’ll admit that it’s maybe not my favorite, but in the case of this quilt, there is something nice about it after being hand quilted. It’s weighty but still soft.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Now, let’s go back to my project for this QAL. Here’s where I’m at.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn FriedlanderWhen I initially thought about my QAL project, I knew that I wanted to try something a little bit different. I wanted to push myself a little in terms of the palette. I don’t typically work with a super dark, tone-on-tone palette, and I was curious to see how something like that could work out.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

In doing this, it’s been a great exploration in texture, which I’m always a fan of. Handwork is the perfect way to feel out different types of fabrics, and that’s very much the case here. I have linen, sateen, quilting cotton and poplin. While it may not photograph spectacularly, in person you can see how the light plays differently on each of the fabrics. I can’t wait to get them all appliquéd, because I think the quilting will be really fun and can highlight the differences even more.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

While my initial fabric pull included blacks and a range of greys, I’m now thinking I’ll separate the darkest from the lightest into separate final projects. For awhile I thought I’d make a pair of pillow shams, but now I’m thinking that I’ll do a pillow sham with the darkest stuff, and then a wall hanging–or something larger with the lighter stuff.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

While cutting out the latest few blocks, I found myself wanting to make more and more pairings of the lighter guys.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

And so, I think that’s what I’ll do!

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

For me this QAL was a great excuse to start another handwork project (like I ever need an excuse for that, ha!), to work with a new palette that I was curious about, to give myself a little something to relax with at the end of the day, AND to work along with you while doing it. If you followed along with the Eads QAL, you will have noticed that my goals were a bit different. For Eads, I had a goal to have a quilt top finished by the end of 12 weeks–and I’m SO glad that I did. That was a wonderful goal for that project, but in this case, I didn’t feel the same goal was necessary.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

Having said that, I do like having goals and re-assessing progress where necessary. And so, I think that now that I have a better idea of what I want this project to shape up to be, and since we’re at a great point of assessment, I’m marking my calendar for a month from now to check back in with you on where I’m at with this guy. Goals are good, and I don’t want this guy to get lost.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ Appliqué is actually really strong. I’ve appliquéd plenty of tote bags and other items that get used and abused, and I am happy to report that my appliqués have remained in place! Of course, if you’re new to the technique and feeling unsure about the strength, you can always take it into consideration when planning your quilting. Feel free to quilt over any areas that cause concern, and you’ll be good to go!

+ Maybe you took on more of a project than you wanted? This isn’t a bad thing, in fact I think it’s great to be excited about a project. There’s nothing wrong with making changes down the road if you decide that a smaller project is better. I personally love making smaller things like pillow shams and tote bags because you really use them. In my case, I think I’m going the opposite way–having initially thought pillow shams, and now thinking that maybe a little something larger could be good. Either way, do what feels best for you!

+ I talked about how I wanted to use this project to push myself a bit. Sometimes I really like a challenge, but it’s always a balance. When I teach, I sometimes see people feeling like they have to push themselves, because they feel like it needs to be hard in order to learn. It totally doesn’t! I’m definitely a fan of doing whatever works for you and whatever feels right. If you’re feeling good in your comfort zone, go for it, or if you’re feeling good about giving yourself a nudge, go for that too!

I really appreciate you following along whether in spirit or in actuality! Seeing projects popping up in my feed makes me so excited and eager to sew.

carolyn friedlander project bag

As a thank you, I want to do a giveaway. I recently made up some project bags–with a Wainwright theme–that I sold at QuiltCon. I secretly saved a few, including 1 to giveaway at the end of this QAL. The rest will go up for sale in my shop on Tuesday at 10am EST.

To enter the giveaway, share with me your thoughts on this QAL or a thought on a recent project that you’ve been excited about by leaving a comment here before Monday, March 26 at 10am EST.

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