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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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cf Mini QAL #3: Using An Accent.

cf Mini QAL #3: Using An Accent.

How did last week go for you? Did you like the two-tone challenge? I really did. In fact, I kind of like the idea of my project from the week being a jumping off point for a larger quilt.

cf Mini Quilt Along #2 . Carolyn Friedlander

While I was sewing, I realized how fun it would be to treat this mini as one block for a larger project. Can you imagine making more of these in different fabric combinations and then sewing them all together? I really like the idea.

On to the next challenge. Are you ready? This week is all about accents!

Using an accent can be an impactful way to make a statement or to see something in a new way. It can surprise your senses and break expectations. I’ll start with some examples, because it’s a tool that can be utilized in many different ways big and small.

In my original Babson quilt there are many areas of accent, which is a big reason why this pattern can be so much fun to sew.

Babson Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Depending on how you pair your fabrics within each block, you can highlight–or accent–the variety of shapes in different ways. In mine, I sometimes worked with fabric pairings that were similar in order to create more subtle shape interaction, but I also worked with the opposite–implementing wildly different pairings in order to highlight the shapes at play not only within a block but also in a series of neighboring blocks. You can look at this example as a way of playing with accent without a ton of planning.

+ As a tip, if you’re working this way using a design wall (or the floor, etc) will be a great tool for seeing how your accents are shaping up.

Eads would be another example to check out that uses a similar approach.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

That way of working can be liberating–or overwhelming–depending on how you like to work. There’s no need to stress if that isn’t your thing. Using an accent can also work in ways that are more deliberate. The Emphasis project from my book is a great example of that.

emphasis quilt and sewn stationery_carolyn friedlander

This project uses the exact same block design and the exact same fabrics across 3 samples that are made to look different based on how they are worked. In order to do this, I carefully mapped out each version so that different areas of the design were brought to life and highlighted in each variation. I loved exploring the various possibilities of what to accent.

Savor Each Stitch . Carolyn Friedlander

Savor Each Stitch . Carolyn Friedlander

Savor Each Stitch . Carolyn Friedlander

But maybe your first thoughts of using an accent weren’t expressed in either of these examples? I think this third set of examples is maybe the more common ways to think about an accent.

First up is a crowdsourced example from @thirteenquilts.

@thirteenquilts

Brandy is making Babson for the Quilt Along, and those pops of red are very effective accent. Maybe while you’re working you want to spice it up with an accent fabric/color of your choice.

Another example is from when I was developing the Lusk pattern. One of my unfinished samples was based on an idea of using an accent to highlight new shapes in the B version. Similarly here, I have a bright color to pop and a sketch to explore the idea.

cf Mini Quilt Along #3 . Carolyn Friedlander

What do you think? Ready to start using an accent?

Tips:

+ An accent can come from a fabric choice, your fabric placement and/or the quilting itself. Feel free to think about how to incorporate an accent at any/all levels.

+ Sketch it out! Use the coloring pages included in the pattern to figure out what you want to highlight.

+ Sometimes an accent can spice up your project as well as your attitude. Bored of a current combo? Spice it up and stay entertained!

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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cf Mini QAL #2: Two-Tone.

cf Mini QAL #2: Two-Tone.

Before we move on to the next challenge, how about a look at where I ended up with the Monochromatic challenge?

cf Mini Quilt Along #1 . Carolyn Friedlander

It all started with the similar pairing of blues, and I expanded out from there not going too much darker or too much lighter. I like how the depth of color and unity of blues makes it feel homey and like a broken-in pair of jeans.

cf Mini Quilt Along #1 . Carolyn Friedlander

cf Mini Quilt Along #1 . Carolyn Friedlander

With last week having a focus on a singular color, it’s fitting that in week #2 we’ll be focusing on two colors. I love a good two-color quilt! There’s something sophisticated and striking about the simplicity. Let’s see some examples.

Polk Lust Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

The B version of Lusk (on the cover) is made up in just two fabrics–the charcoal print in Polk and Black Essex. This quilt could kind of fit into a monochromatic category, OR we could also think of it as a two-tone gem as well. Because of the simplicity in fabric, it has great definition of the overall design.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s also this version of Wainwright that I made using a green print from Gleaned and a pale pink-ish version of my Architextures crosshatch. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Using a print softens the shapes just a little bit while adding some great texture.

Lusk C in Polk Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Here’s another C version of Lusk that I made for Quilt Market. It is super simple and uses the Navy and Brown/Natural prints in Polk. I really like the simplicity of an uncomplicated palette sometimes.

Lusk C in Polk Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Remember this guy? It’s a Pickle Hawaiian quilt from this Denyse Schmidt book that I finished awhile back (you can read the blog post about it here). It’s still a personal favorite, and it too only uses two fabrics. The hardest thing is picking out just two fabrics!

Pickle Hawaiian Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

This week, I’m challenging you to pick a couple of fabrics or a couple of colors and make a mini. You can be literal about it, like in the previous examples, OR you could be a little more general about it like I was when I made this mini Envelopes Quilt (from my Envelopes pattern) in orange/red and blue.

envelopes for elisabeth . carolyn friedlander

There is a lot you can do!

As for me, I’ll be starting with some inspiration from you, which is fitting because of how much I’ve been drooling over all that I’ve been seeing you make this last week. You took the challenge in many directions, and I find that to be really inspiring. Are you feeling compelled by some of the examples out there too?

When thinking of this challenge, I knew exactly where I wanted to go with it. @sentient.stitches posted this version a few weeks ago, and I feel in love.

@sentient.stitches

Those two fabrics are really pleasing together, and they’re also two of my favorites that I don’t feel like I’ve gotten a chance to use enough of. I’ll take that as mostly my start, but I’ll adjust it to keep it interesting.

cf mini QAL #2 . Carolyn Friedlander

With anything two-tone, sketching can be a great place to start. I’ll be working from Version C of my Lusk pattern. After picking a couple of fabrics (one from Carkai and one from Gleaned), I can now think about their placement. With the help of some quick sketching I already have two different possible directions spelled out.

cf mini QAL #2 . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s my start, and I’ll show the finish next week.

I can’t wait to see what you make–have fun!

Tips:

+ This week’s challenge is easy to over think. Go with your gut and don’t think twice about it. There are plenty of other fabric possibilities in the weeks to come.

+ You know the step when you have to fold the paper in paper piecing? After working on so many minis, I’ve gotten to where I go ahead and pre-fold all of the future lines when I’m doing my first fold. This way it’s ready to fold back when I get to it. It’s a handy step, because you can batch fold all at once which seems to make things move a bit faster. I know that some folks like perforating the lines with their machine or some kind of wheel beforehand, but just a basic pre-fold works well enough for me.

+ The New York Times featured a great article on knitting recently that I shared in my newsletter along with some takeaway tips. I want to share these tips here with you, because I think they are important to remember, especially for anyone trying out new techniques or pushing themselves with color. The author related these ideas to knitting, but they are perfectly applicable to just about anything else too.

__Start with an appropriate project–nothing that will take too long to finish or be too unforgiving with mistakes. (Mini quilts are perfect for this!)
__Give yourself a deadline so your project doesn’t drag on. (Also, mini quilts…!)
__Cut yourself some slack, and don’t expect perfection when you’re just getting started. It’s OK for some stuff to be bad before it is good.

#cfminiQAL

#letsmakemanyminis

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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