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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.


+ 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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cf Mini Quilt Along.

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

Are you ready for another quilt along? I’m very excited to announce our next (online) sewing adventure–the cf Mini Quilt Along–which will be an 8-week endeavor starting July 19. I’ve been really excited about this, because I think it’ll be a great opportunity to explore creativity in many bits of mini’s, and I’d love for you to join in.

Polk Lust Quilts . Carolyn FriedlanderEach week, I’ll have a creative challenge planned. Feel free to use these thoughts to inspire your mini composition for that week. I think it’ll be fun.

In terms of patterns, I’ll be working from all three of my newest patterns (Lusk, Davie and Babson). Each of them have mini options built into the format–making it easy, but the themes each week can be explored through any or all of them if you choose.

I love making minis, because they often jumpstart my creative juices. By giving goals and thoughts each week, I’m hoping to inspire some sewing excitement for all of us.

You in?

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Meet Babson.

Last up of the newbies is Babson, a very graphic and fun-to-sew project.

Babson Quilt Pattern . Carolyn Friedlander

This quilt is kind of like Eads in that it’s super mix and matchable, works with a bunch of different fabrics, can be made without a ton of planning and has a huge amount of possible outcomes. It’s about fabrics, shapes and colors playing together in all kinds of ways.

Babson Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Unlike Eads (which works with fat quarters), Babson starts with 5″ squares. I find that when you have an easy increment to start with, it’s much easier to grab a pile of stuff you’re interested in (or just a few things) and get to sewing. What’s better than that?

Babson Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

On the pattern-design side, there’s also a big part of me that loves the challenge of figuring out possibilities for 5″-square packs. They can be so enticing, and I have many stacked around in the studio. This project can work well with them.

Babson Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

In this first version, maybe you’ll notice how my blocks are broken down into quadrants, each having its own coloring. One quadrant uses one 5″-square pack, plus 4 fat quarters. (Or you can also just use fat quarters for the whole thing.) I liked this formula because it makes it a much easier undertaking. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by a heap of blocks and fabric, you can work on it in sections, as well as flavor each section a little bit differently.

Babson Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I used the same 5″-square pack of Polk for each quadrant, but in each group I added 4 different coordinates, so they each look a little bit different. Here’s what I added.

Babson Quilt Swatches . Carolyn Friedlander

Bottom left – Kona Roasted Pecan, Essex Yarn (Dyed Berry), Architextures (Sorbet, Orangeade)

Babson Quilt Swatches . Carolyn Friedlander

Top left – Architextures (Desert Green), Kona Parchment, Essex Classic Wovens (Natural), Essex Yarn Dyed (Chambray)

Babson Quilt Swatches . Carolyn Friedlander

Top right – Kona Paris Blue, Architextures (Acid Lime), Essex Yarn Dyed (Pickle), Essex Classic Wovens (Chambray)

Babson Quilt Swatches . Carolyn Friedlander

Bottom right – Kona Sea Glass, Essex Classic Wovens (Natural), Architextures (White), Essex Homespun (Chambray)

Babson Quilt Swatches . Carolyn Friedlander

In the end, I like the cohesion of the whole thing, and then I also like noticing the differences of the sections once you start looking closer. It was entertaining to sew, because each section presented new colors and possibilities.

Babson Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

The next version started with this Melon Kona charm pack. I’m not normally a pink person, but the mix of oranges and peaches pack a nice punch, and I was totally enamored.

Melon Babson swatches . Carolyn Friedlander

Instead of making the larger throw size as before, I wanted to make a wall hanging, which is basically just a 1/4 of what’s required for the throw. After much debate, my additions to the Melon charm pack for this version were 2 pieces from Polk (AFR-17841-380, AFR-17841-14), plus Kona Orangeade and Kona Lingerie.

Melon Babson swatches . Carolyn Friedlander

These additions add brightness, texture and little bit of print.

Melon Babson swatches . Carolyn Friedlander

The blocks in this design are super versatile, and I tried to push them in a different direction than in the first version. Here I gathered all of the same-direction shapes at the top, and the other-direction shapes at the bottom. As much as possible, I used the orangey-brights to create the L’s, but then shifted it a bit as you get to the bottom.

Babson Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Now that I’ve made two, I still have ideas for a few more. Plus, I have some other charm packs lying around that I think will be fun.

Babson Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

That’s Babson! I can’t wait to see what you make. You can ask about it at your local quilt store, or you can also find the digital version available here.

Babson Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

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