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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 #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.

@bastingbeauty

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

Gleaned Lusk . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ 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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Eads QAL #12: Finished Top.

Eads QAL #12: Finished Top.

The top is done! What an adventure.

But let’s back up a bit. Since I’ve been documenting this entire process, I thought it’d be fun to do a video of the laying-out process. Big disclaimer to come.

My blocks were gathered and generally sorted into piles by color–very generally. They’re more stacked by groupings on the design wall. Had I not been in such a hurry to lay it out (–out of sheer eagerness), I could have done a better job grouping them. Not really a big deal.

So yeah…you ready for the video? (BTW, do you spot the Blake cameo?)

A few things to note. First, don’t make a video of yourself. Although, I kind of don’t mean that. There’s something fun about watching it take shape. The reason why I wouldn’t recommend filming the process–or why I’m casting a little caution–is that it makes you all too aware of every move that you’re making, which then makes it way too easy to start over thinking things. I’m not usually into bringing unnecessary stress in to the creative environment. Heads up on that.

Over thinking layout (and almost any other choices when getting your creativity on) can be an easy place to lose perspective, which is exactly what I did. I fussed around with this layout way past the point of any changes making a difference. And, knowing that it was all being filmed, I felt pressure to make choices relatively quickly. (That’s not super great for the creative flow.)

But still, I’ll admit, it is cool to watch a project take shape.

Aside from the unnecessary pressure of knowing that I was being watched, I was far less decisive with this layout than usual.

For one, I think it does make a difference whether or not you’re able to build something and see it in its entirety as you go–whether that’s by using a design wall or the floor. Seeing something in its entirety as you build it means you’re well aware of the overall picture before having to nail it all down, leaving less of a chance for big changes at the end. I totally admit, having the kind of space to do that isn’t always feasible, but nonetheless this was a realization for me. It made me think of other back-burner projects that just get taken out when I have the time and how I can use that segmentation to my advantage or how to reduce it if it’s not working for the project.

Most of the time I’m chugging through projects, because there’s a close deadline, and they can feel like one continuous thought–more or less. This one was such a great series of creative breaks that helped break up the flow of other projects that I’ve been tackling. As I look at the final layout, I think it captures that.

While reorganizing some stuff in the studio, I noticed these swatches–a note to self made awhile back. In making my very first blocks, I discovered this combo that I love between this Arroyo fabric and one of the new crosshatch colors. It was a fun discovery that I had to note for later.

What’s cool is that this is actually represented in the quilt. I made sure of that once seeing my little reminder. If you look down towards the bottom in the next picture, you’ll see how I paired blocks that used those fabrics. There are so many other cases of this in this quilt, that I know it will be a fun one to cuddle up with on the couch. While in use, this quilt has so much to discover and to remember about the process of making it.

Eads QAL 12 . Carolyn Friedlander

Now to decide on quilting and backing.

First, the backing. Conveniently some of my new extra-wide fabrics just arrived. What do you think of the colors?

As for the quilting, to be honest, I’ve been thinking about handing this one off. There are so many great quilters out there, and I keep saying that I’d love to collaborate. But as usual, an idea started to simmer while I was sewing the blocks together. Who knows how it’ll end. I’ll keep you posted.

Tips:

+ Don’t over think your layout. It’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae, and in many cases tweaking a few blocks here and there won’t make a big difference. I know this, and yet I totally fell into this trap this time. Oh well!

+ As for filming yourself, I know that my own review is a mixed one, but it was a worthwhile experience. Sometimes it is good to check in on yourself and to see how you operate. I learned something, and maybe you will too. Or, at least you’ll get a good laugh at watching me scramble around on the floor. Ha!

+ When teaching, I always get asked about when to take the paper off. I’ve saved this tip for this stage of the game, because now it’s relevant. I always prefer to keep the paper on as long as possible. It keeps the blocks clean and flat (big heart emoji!). But, it can get bulky and weighty, especially in projects like this were you have many blocks to sew together. My first pointer is to always remove the paper in the seam allowance after sewing 2 blocks together–this will make it easier to press and will eliminate those wee bits of paper at future seam intersections. Second pointer, I kept the paper on the blocks when sewing them into rows. Then, I took all of the paper off before sewing the rows together. This is kind of a new thing for me to do, but I tried it while making my recent Russell. It helps with the bulk, but still gives you the guidance and structure in the beginning. If you have other thoughts–I’m curious to know!

Eads QAL 12 . Carolyn Friedlander

This Eads QAL has been a really interesting experience, and I’ve learned a lot–I hope you have too! It’s been fun sharing these bits and pieces with you as I’ve gone along, and I’ve loved seeing your progress and thoughts as well.

Because of how much I appreciate your following along, and because I think we should celebrate making it to the end–let’s do a giveaway! Leave a comment sharing something that you’ve learned/enjoyed/thought about/etc during this QAL. I’ll draw 3 winners Tuesday, Sept 5 at 9am EST, and they’ll win some fabric and pattern goodies that I’ll gather and send out. Sound good?

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