Tag Archives | color

cf Mini QAL #6: Fussy and/or Directional Placement.

cf Mini QAL #6: Fussy and/or Directional Placement.

Did you have fun creating a gradation?

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I created a few more blocks to add to my Davie pile from last week, and I like how a gradation adds a bit of harmony and composure to the group.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

As for the colors, I expanded on some that I started last week and went with my gut on what to put together next. I made sure to lay out each block as I worked to see how it was shaping up.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

On to the next challenge, are you ready?

This week, we’re going to explore getting fussy and/or directional with your placement.

Local Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

What’s fussy and what’s directional placement? I think of fussy as any way you get picky with your fabric placement. Maybe it’s putting a cute cat into a certain position on your block, or maybe it’s making sure that something lines up just the way you want it. Directionality comes into play with directional prints–think stripes, checks and any motifs that are best read in one way or have an up/down/side to them. In this case, you may decide that you want the direction of the fabric to be reflected in a specific way in the final project.

Getting a little (or a lot) fussy is all a matter of preference and skill to some degree–so don’t stress! If you’re new to it, a good trick is to know the good places to start and how to grow your skills from there. Also keep in mind that like most anything, it gets better with practice and as you start recognizing opportunities.

Fussy Cut Envelopes_detail_Carolyn Friedlander

When paper piecing, the first piece on the template is always the easiest place to get intentional, and my Envelopes project (especially the version above) is a great example to start with. The inside liner is the first piece, and you can see how I’ve added special motifs to each one. Because this is the first piece, you’re able to place your fabric however you want.

austin house for nichole

Another relatively easy place to consider fabric placement is in your border. In my Austin House (above) you can see that I cut my border fabric strips lengthwise for the vertical piece and widthwise for the horizontal piece so the dots on the fabric are running in the quilt as they do on the fabric. Matched up or not, keeping a directional fabric directional in your borders is relatively easy and always a fun place to start.

((Tip: If you’re working on Lusk version C, the side panels would be a great place to play with this idea! Simply cut them together and they’ll match up wonderfully.))

To take directionality up another notch, take a look at this other version of Austin and how I kept the gingham background fabric going up/down. This may look totally normal, but without paying attention to the directional placement of the fabric the gingham would be going a many different directions.

Austin House 3_detail_carolyn friedlander

I like this example because it shows how directional placement can unite areas seamlessly. Of course this kind of means that the hard work you put into it isn’t noticeable. But to me, it’s not only entertaining to get things like this to work out when you’re sewing, but it’s also a fun detail to have working for you in the end.

Here’s another example in the same vein.

Outhouse Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Of course you could probably take it a bit further and match up the top background a bit better, and if we’re getting super picky, my bottom stripes are a hair off, but you get the point. This single block from my Outhouse pattern gives you all kinds of opportunity to play with your fabric.

((Tip: An easy first attempt for this block could be to get something fussy in the door. That’s the first section on that part of the block, and a wonderful place to slip in a little critter or something else fun.))

You ready? I can’t wait to see what you come up with!


+ I find that using a light box is helpful when paper piecing in general and especially when getting fussy with your fabrics. I like using the Daylight Wafer 1 with a clear cutting mat on top.

+ Being fussy and/or attentive to directional fabrics can be approached in a range from hard-core to more subtle. Pick your pleasure, and don’t get too stressed about it. I always find it entertaining to see if I can get things to match up or positioned in a specific way. When it works, yay! When it doesn’t work, no biggie. You took a risk, and I’ll bet you were able to learn something that you can apply to your next attempt.

+ Further reading: The Fussy Cut Sampler by Nichole Ramirez and Elisabeth Woo (Hardy). This book doesn’t get into paper piecing and fussy cutting specifically, but it is certainly an excellent resource for fussy cutting tips in general and inspiration.

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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cf Mini QAL #5: Gradation.

cf Mini QAL #5: Gradation.

How was last week?

Here’s what I made.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

This week, my focus was on Davie. With last week’s challenge being about all colors, I tried not to over think my fabric and color choices, which is easy to do when anything is an option. Instead I went with my gut as I started looking through fabric. I pulled several different things, and laid them out loosely focusing on groupings of 4 since the Davie blocks require that many fabrics for each of the block sections.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Even though my goal was to make 4 blocks, I didn’t pick all 4 groupings at the beginning–although you totally could. Instead, I made the first block with the first 4 fabrics that I liked, which was the bright yellow house with a brown roof in the middle. My subsequent block selections grew from there based on how I was seeing each block shape up.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Also, I’ve been wanting to play a bit with mixing up the background sections in this block, and so I inserted a little accent of something here and there in pretty much all of the blocks. I think it’s kind of fun!

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

This was a really fun week, and I’m actually looking to build from it in moving forward with the next challenge.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Our next challenge focuses on Gradation. Gradations can be lots of fun to put together and incredibly impactful. Here are some examples to consider.

Savor Each Stitch_Aerial Grove_Carolyn Friedlander

The Aerial Grove project from my book is a good one for employing a gradation. I love projects with little bits of a lot of different things, and this one captures that idea and uses gradation to organize those colors for maximum impact. Above is the version in the book, and below is a version using only Kona solids.

Aerial Grove quilt_1_Carolyn Friedlander

I’ve made so many versions of this project mostly because I love picking out the colors and figuring out how to arrange them.

Ebb is similar in that it also is a great way to show many different colors and how they can transition in fun ways.

ebb quilt pattern . carolyn friedlander

This recent version of Sessoms also creates a gradation from all of the fabrics in Gleaned.

Sessoms Throw Quilt Pattern . Carolyn Friedlander

And here’s a new one that you haven’t seen yet. How about this Lusk mini that I also made in Gleaned?

Gleaned Lusk . Carolyn Friedlander

I had a mini-charm pack of Gleaned that I decided to turn it into a mini. I paired the fabrics in the collection with Olive Essex Yarn Dyed. To make the gradation, I simply worked the blocks in order from the mini-charm pack. That’s a tip–if you have trouble arranging your fabrics, try working from a precut, because they’re usually arranged in a pleasing gradation of some sort.

Gleaned Lusk . Carolyn Friedlander

Creating a gradation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to create a rainbow from red to purple. You can also think of a gradation as a way to tell a story, from light to dark, from blue to yellow–from anything you want! Here’s one more example that I crowdsourced from @bastingbeauty. It’s just too pretty not to share. I love the creativity of not only the design but of also the fabric use and way it transitions! It also gives you a bit of a transparency effect too.


This week, have fun figuring out a gradation–in whatever way you’d like!

Gleaned Lusk . Carolyn Friedlander


+ Not good with creating a gradation? Buy a precut and use it in order. OR, stalk a precut that you find attractive and take notes on which colors are being used and which order they are being used in. You can do it.

+ Gradations do not have to be a full spectrum and in rainbow order. If the standard isn’t speaking to you, come up with your own color story and define your own limits.

+ On a technical note, I’m sure you’ve noticed that these little seams can be get a little bulky. This is why I usually try pressing them flat in order to even out the bulk as much as possible. While first working on Davie, I realized that using a seam roller to open out the seam first, made it much easier to iron open and achieve a good press. I’m glad to see some of you noticing this handy trick too!

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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Cutting Up My Kona Card.

I have been planning on cutting up my Kona card for a while now. It has been a few years since cutting up an older Kona card, and my lack of a system for that one (they were all thrown into a box) plus the addition of many new colors has made working with it an ongoing mess.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

Earlier this year, I did a rough poll to see how others are organizing their color cards, and the answers were really helpful! I recapped some of those different styles and approaches in this newsletter if you’d like to see.

The systems I saw ranged wildly in terms of additional materials required, time investment to set up and resulting usability. I love being organized, and I love how being organized can help you work more efficiently, but it’s also important to weigh the options.

For me, I prefer a direction that requires the least amount of upfront time and extra materials to set up, with the most appropriate level of usability in the end. Not only am I often picking swatches to coordinate with collections and to use for projects, but I also like seeing all of the colors as a whole. Because of that, I like the idea of having a way to see all of the colors together, as well as to work with them individually. With two color cards, and I knew that I could keep one intact and I could cut the other one up. With just 1 card, it might be better to go in a different direction, maybe one like @modernhandcraft installed, which is impressive, but that would also require a lot of time and equipment to set up, as well as the physical space to put it. I’m not mad at a system that I can fold up and put away.

Instead, I was drawn toward @houseonhillroad’s approach which uses a special box to store the swatches. I think her box is one for storing embroidery floss that you could find at a craft store, but I also heard of others using tackle boxes and other things similar.

To be honest, all of this was fantasy thinking, because projects like these aren’t usually my favorite. They can be easy for me to dream about but not anything I’m quick to act on. There are too many other things I’d rather be doing and making! However, the stars aligned and I happened to find the perfect slotted container at the Dollar Store, when I was there rooting around for something else. I picked it up hoping it would be about the right size, and it turns out that it totally was! Yay! Plus, it was only $1. You can’t beat that.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

There were many good tips that I learned from others. For one, I numbered the back of each of my swatches as well as their position on the uncut card. This way, I can easily find what I’m looking for AND put it back when I’m done with it.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

It really helps to cut the swatches to the same size. This was made easier by the fact that the newest Kona color card has standard sizes for the colors. Because of the layouts on some of the older cards, the swatches were different sizes. Having them all the same size makes everything easier to work with, and it makes them stack up so nicely.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

This new system is already paying off in terms of time, mess and general convenience. Even though it took me a few hours to cut up and number the card and swatches, I’ve easily made that up in how easy it is to work with. I would totally make myself do this again with the release of a newer color card. Now having done it, I know how much easier it has made everything. It might not have been at the top of my list before, but it will be higher on the list moving forward.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

I should note that I tried punching holes into a couple of the swatches. Also while at the Dollar Store, I nabbed some book rings, and I thought it could be nice to put the colors for certain projects into their own ring while I was working with them. I quickly discovered that you’d need either a stronger hole punch, a drill and/or more physical strength than I was willing and able to put into it, so I abandoned that direction after a couple of failed attempts. If I feel inspired, I can bust out my drill and add some holes in the future. For now, all is great.

Cutting Up My Kona Card . Carolyn Friedlander

You can find a Kona color card on the google or at shops like ilovefabric and plenty of others. Just make sure to get the latest card with all 340 colors, and you’ll be set.

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