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cf Hearts quilt pattern.

My new cf Hearts pattern is finally here!

cf hearts . carolyn friedlander

I love simple shapes, and the heart is lovely one to take on.

cf hearts . carolyn friedlander

While thinking about projects to make to show off my new (old) fabrics, I kept coming back to the idea of using this simple shape. There are many things I love about this fabric collection, but one of the biggest things is how it feels like I’m sewing with old friends. There’s a comfort and excitement with each piece, and I loved the idea of capturing the pieces with an endearing symbol.

cf hearts . carolyn friedlander

On the creative side, I liked how this project can showcase many colors and fabrics. You can play with color and texture in many ways. (I already have more hearts projects planned!)

On the technical side, the appliqué shapes are really fun to sew. You have gentle outside curves, a single point and an outside corner that make it anything but boring to work on. This shape is beginner-friendly, but the creative possibilities can make it exciting no matter who wants to make it.

cf hearts . carolyn friedlander

The downloadable PDF version is now available here, and the printed version will be hitting shops in a few weeks. (If your local shop is interested in purchasing copies, just let me know, and I’ll get them connected to those details.)

collection CF . carolyn friedlander

There are 3 project sizes included in the pattern, it’s charm-pack friendly (which is what this version is made from) and I have been dreaming up so many ways to work out this project. I think that 1 heart would make a great label on the back of a quilt, or I’ve been thinking about how fun it would be to make a signature quilt made from Hearts…or I’ve even thought about putting some hearts onto a tote bag…OH, and bigger projects with more hearts? I’ve been thinking about that too.

cf hearts . carolyn friedlander

Pattern: Hearts by me

Fabric(s): Collection CF (coming in November 2019) for appliqué, border and binding, Kona Seafoam for the background

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Sunrise Pillow Shams

I made some Sunrise Pillow shams for some friends.

Sunrise Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Something keeps me coming back to the mini blocks of this project. There are 2 different mini sizes included with the pattern, and I love making both of them. In this project, I used the smallest of them (or block C in the pattern).

Sunrise Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

One nice thing about mini blocks is that they are extremely scrap friendly. I like putting scraps to use–it feels efficient and also productive, like you’re cleaning too by getting rid of a pile. Plus it’s always magical when surprising fabric combinations find their way to each other, which I feel happens more often when you’re working from a pile of scraps.

Sunrise Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

These shams were a gift for some friends that were getting married. I liked the symbolism of new beginnings with the block, and I liked incorporating many of my fabrics as well as little bits of Liberty fabrics since one of the recipients loves Liberty too. As for the color palette, I wanted something neutral but also with some life. When I make a gift for someone, I try to hone in on colors that the recipient loves, as well make something that is somewhat versatile. A neutral palette can be great for that.

Sunrise Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

After piecing the blocks, I sewed them together and added a border to create the right size for the shams that I was going for. I believe these are on 18″ pillow forms.

Sunrise Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Then I did some straight-line quilting, added some piping, and finished them with an envelope-style back for slipping the shams on and off.

Sunrise Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Usually when I’m working on something scrappy, I’ll wait until all of my blocks are pieced before deciding on a border. Here a print from Polk was just what I wanted to finish them off, and a print from Friedlander worked well on the back.

Sunrise Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

There we have it–a set of shams for some friends!

Sunrise Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Fabric(s): Mostly mine from many collections and some Liberty of London too

Pattern: Sunrise Quilt (I used the bonus Mini block C.)

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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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Eads Quilt Along #10: Gleaned Eads and Anticipatory Sewing.

Eads Quilt Along #10: Gleaned Eads and Anticipatory Sewing.

Yay, Gleaned is out in the world, which means I can start publicly using it in my projects. Whether it’s a collection that you’re awaiting shipping or a secret sewing project that you have up your sleeves, being able to share something that you’ve been working on is exciting.

Eads QAL 10 . Carolyn Friedlander

I’ve been looking forward to mixing some of my newest fabric, gleaned, into this project. Being able to mix gleaned along with everything else–my old/new stuff and other stuff from my stash–meant it was hard to keep block production up with the fabric combinations that I wanted to explore.

Eads QAL 10 . Carolyn Friedlander

I’ve got a couple more than 1 week’s worth of blocks here. First, I got on a roll and had a hard time stopping.

Eads QAL 10 . Carolyn Friedlander

Second, I’m going to be catching up a little bit since I didn’t show blocks the first couple of weeks in this QAL. My personal goal is to have a sewn-together top to show you by the post for week 12. If you’re with me on that, hoorah–if not, this is a go-at-your-own-pace kind of deal, and I’m happy to cheer you on no matter what your own timing is. No pressure.

Eads QAL 10 . Carolyn Friedlander

Greens, pinks, blues, oranges, mustards…there are a lot of colors going on, and I’m really excited about all of it.

Eads QAL 10 . Carolyn Friedlander

Eads QAL 10 . Carolyn Friedlander

Like I mentioned, my eagerness for mixing in the new stuff has meant an overflow of fabric combination ideas and a hearty stack of pairs ready to be made into blocks. Here’s a peek at where it’s heading.

Eads QAL 10 . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s a big run of greens coming up–including some original architextures that I’ve been holding on to since the beginning. I cannot wait for that.

Eads QAL 10 . Carolyn Friedlander

The new blocks are now up on the wall. It’s kind of amazing how fast this side of the design wall is filling up. It’s also amazing how much the new additions perk up my sewing space. And, I continue to lose sight of the top of my sewing table. But that’s normal.

Eads QAL 10 . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ I’ve mentioned that Eads is a perfect project for creative cardio, and I’ve loved seeing that in action in your own work. This week that’s especially the case for me as the addition of new fabric allows me to engage in new color and fabric combinations. If you’re feeling a bit stuck, take another dive into your stash or another look at the fabric store to see if some new elements might encourage some more enthusiastic mixing.

+ This week I was personally hit with a the feeling of “I can’t believe I did this!” It seems totally stupid to say that, because I make things all the time, and clearly I set out to do this, but it’s feeling really good to have a project nearing completion that very easily may not have. Does that resonate with you? It should, you guys have been rocking your projects and should pat yourselves on the back. While it’s often too easy to focus on the things that we haven’t done, it’s all the more important to celebrate the things that we have done.

Lastly, we have just got a couple of weeks left, and I’m wondering how you guys have felt about this QAL? I hope that it’s been creatively encouraging and engaging for you. I’d like to remind you that you’re always welcome to shoot me an email (info[at]carolynfriedlander[dot]com) or to leave a comment if you have any feedback that might be helpful as I shape the last couple of weeks, think about future plans and/or consider possible QALs in the future.

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Eads Quilt Along #9: Goals and Deadlines.

Eads Quilt Along #9: Goals and Deadlines.

To be honest, goals and deadlines–whether self-inflicted or external–are the only reason that I get anything done. I was thinking about this last night while also completely distracted by and dreaming about new projects. In thinking about new things that I wanted to make, it was hard not to think about all of the previous dream projects that have been started but have yet to be finished. It’s not that I don’t want them to be finished, it’s just too easy for them to get pushed aside when other things need to get done. It kind of made me sad, but then it also made me think about this Eads project which very easily could have been one of those languishing in a pile somewhere. Yay for the fact that it’s not!

The truth is that definite goals and hard deadlines make dreams become real. Maybe other strategies work well for you, but this is what works for me. Had I not taken on this QAL, the idea of a 2nd Eads would probably still be just that–an idea. Or maybe, I’d have gotten a few blocks made at some point and they’d be sitting around and very likely destined to live out their lives in a pile of unfinished things in my studio. Ask me how I know this…

So yeah, goals. I’m in to them.

And to be clear, there are TONS of things that I’ve started and not finished. If you have a pile of unfinished projects haunting you–don’t worry. You’re not alone. In fact, I was cleaning out a shelf recently and discovered a finished quilt top sitting with backing fabric that I had no idea existed. Not a clue. What makes it worse is that it is an appliqué project, meaning it and I spent some time together, and yet despite that, I still had no idea that it was there. Oops!

While I can attest to having plenty of unfinished projects sitting around, I realized while working on my Eads blocks this week that I need to be thinking about which project to grant a deadline to next…

Anyone with me?

To the blocks!

Eads QAL 9 . Carolyn Friedlander

This week is a good continuation from the previous weeks in that I was drawn to a mixture of textures and prints from my own collections as well as a few prized items from my stash. Have you been finding magical pieces in your stash that fit in perfectly? This week felt like that.

Eads QAL 9 . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s a merry mix of linens and cottons and even a lawn from my most recent collection. This week’s fabrics include: Lucky Strikes by Kim Kight, green reproduction print (unknown) from my stash, Lotta print (from previous weeks) and some doe, friedlander, friedlander lawn and euclid from me.

Eads QAL 9 . Carolyn Friedlander

In the end, it feels like I’m connecting colors and ideas from previous weeks, which I’m really excited about. There’s the natural-vibe in there, plus some peachy orange to connect to the warmer shades that I’ve used, and then there are bits of green harkening back to the green theme that’s plagued me from the beginning.

Eads QAL 9 . Carolyn Friedlander

Eads QAL 9 . Carolyn Friedlander

Eads QAL 9 . Carolyn Friedlander

Also, the bonus of movable design walls is that they are 2-sided. Instead of taking everything down from the previous week, I realized that I could just flip my board around. Clean slate accomplished! I cannot wait to fully lay this guy out.

Eads QAL 9 . Carolyn Friedlander

By the way, you may notice that I have a new addition to my sewing space. I’m trying out a Wafer 1 lightbox from the Daylight company, and I have to say that I’m already a fan. I’ve only had it about a week, so I’ll save my official assessment for later, but for now I am massively impressed with its sleekness–it’s so thin that it doesn’t get in the way on my extension table. And it’s been pretty handy to use while paper piecing. It’s kind of falling into that category of I-didn’t-know-I-needed-it-but-now-that-I-have-it-I-may-not-be-able-to-live-without-it…

That is a thing.

Eads QAL 9 . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ Goals are good! If you’re like me, there needs to be something holding your feet to the fire. Whether it’s work-related or personal, enforcing an endpoint to your project means you’re more likely to finish. And, the finish itself will feel so good that you’ll feel encouraged and therefore more likely to finish many more.

+ External deadlines can come from anywhere. Is there a baby quilt that you want to make for a new baby in your life? Maybe some friends are getting married, and you want to shower them with something special. Whatever the reason, situations like these are perfect excuses to give yourself a deadline and to stick to it.

+ On an unrelated technical note, paper piecing makes working with different types of fabric much more manageable. You’ve probably noticed my willingness to mix all types of fabric from heavier linens to quilting cottons to cotton lawns. The paper foundation helps stabilize the fabrics and therefore equalize their differences. Go, paper piecing!

 

Eads QAL 9 . Carolyn Friedlander

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Eads Quilt Along #8: Layout Play and Borders.

Eads Quilt Along #8: Layout Play and Borders.

Even when you’re working with just 1 block, there is so much you can do when it comes to layout. Last week, we mixed things up by just moving the blocks around. Doing that not only changes the scenery, but it is also a great way to start playing with your layout and thinking about how your pieces can work together in different ways.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

When it comes to borders, I love them. They can be an area of rest, or they can be an area to showcase some quilting or a special fabric–they can do a lot! In my first Eads, I knew that I wanted the block design to go edge-to-edge, which meant no official border. Despite that, I couldn’t help but think about how I could bring the idea of one in even though I wasn’t actually going to have one. If you take a look at my Eads, you’ll notice a chunk of red/orangey blocks–those were the result of my longing for a border. I was (still am) enticed by the idea of less-contrasting blocks that can be grouped together to become a border.

In the end, I didn’t group my red/orangey blocks into a tight row. I liked the idea of them being less formal and more integrated into the quilt which is why I grouped them the way that I did.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Having said that, with the next version, the idea of a more formal border created by the blocks is something I still think about. I’m not sure if it’ll happen in the end, I’m basically just going with the flow on this one, but it’s an idea that I wanted to throw out to you in case you’re someone who sometimes longs for borders like I do.

Here are the blocks for the week.

Eads QAL 8 . Carolyn Friedlander

I jumped into that green piece from carkai and finished up the black piece from doe–both pieces from my initial fabric pull. There’s also a print from friedlander and then more UPPERCASE and back to some Lotta.

Eads QAL 8 . Carolyn Friedlander

Some euclid was added in to continue on the linen/natural/texture-y trend that I seem to be into.

Eads QAL 8 . Carolyn Friedlander

Do you look forward to finishing new blocks just to see how they fit into the whole? I really do. I find it to be a satisfying end to a sewing session to find places for the new blocks.

Eads QAL 8 . Carolyn Friedlander

Shuffling things around last week sort of opened the box on moving things around, so it was hard not to get into too much of that this week.

Eads QAL 8 . Carolyn Friedlander

I also kept thinking about how crazy my sewing area is looking…

Eads QAL 8 . Carolyn Friedlander

I really wanted to continue moving things around, but there are other things to be done, and I think I’ll leave most of the major layout-ing until the end when I have all of my blocks complete.

Eads QAL 8 . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ Blocks don’t have to just be blocks. They can act as borders, delineators or blenders depending on their placement in the overall layout as well as on the fabrics that you choose for them.

+ Are you having fun or getting a little stressed out? Visually, things were getting a little too cluttered for me, not only because I have so many blocks, but also because they are really outgrowing the area, so I simply stacked some of them, and I may stack more. I just needed a little more breathing space on the design wall.

+ As a continuation from the note above, don’t pin all of your blocks on the wall at once. Instead, focus on smaller groupings that you can change out regularly. Not only will this keep things looking fresh, but the changing scenery will make you think of your project in new ways.

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Eads Quilt Along #7: It’s time for a shuffle.

Eads Quilt Along #7: It’s time for a shuffle.

While it’s been fun looking at this guy, I’ve been feeling the urge for a shuffle. Mixing things up can be a great thing, and after 6 weeks, I figured a change of scenery could do me some good. (For anyone counting the blocks, I am missing some, which I only realized after taking the pictures. They’ll get added back in a future sewing session.)

Eads QAL 7 . Carolyn Friedlander

But to start–and to back up a bit–I pulled some fabrics for the week. To be clear, I’m not totally consistent on how I do this. Sometimes I’ll grab fabrics as I make blocks, and other times I’ll grab fabrics and map out the pairs ahead of time for an entire stack of blocks. This week I went for the latter approach.

My starting point was a lighter piece of Homespun (to continue with the Homespun enthusiasm from last week) to which I added some Leah Duncan and some fabric from my Doe and Friedlander collections.

Eads QAL 7 . Carolyn Friedlander

It’s soft, but with some spunk.

Eads QAL 7 . Carolyn Friedlander

I like them. And the clean slate-ness of this felt kind of liberating. (Especially after an intense few weeks of deadline sewing…)

Eads QAL 7 . Carolyn Friedlander

This batch of blocks is soft, warm, kinda wild and textured. I’m in to it.

Eads QAL 7 . Carolyn Friedlander

After making these 10, I started to play with everything else.

Eads QAL 7 . Carolyn Friedlander

It was easier to play with these guys on the floor, so I moved the foam core to another side of the room–a benefit of movable design walls.

Eads QAL 7 . Carolyn Friedlander

The great thing about this was that I started to see the blocks and their relationships in new ways.

Eads QAL 7 . Carolyn Friedlander

One happy accident was the greens and golds. I never would have thought to put these guys together, but it’s now one of my favorite things.

Eads QAL 7 . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ Take everything down from the design wall and mix it up. See what happens when you give yourself a new perspective.

+ Take a picture before you take everything down so that you can go back to where you started if you decide that you really want to. OR, the photo will serve as a good reminder of the evolution of your project. Looking back reminds you of how far you’ve come!

+ Pay attention to accidental neighbors. This is where I always find fun stuff.

Eads QAL 7 . Carolyn Friedlander

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Eads Quilt Along #4: Color Moods.

Eads Quilt Along #4: Color Moods.

Do you get in color moods? I feel like I do all the time, and this week was a reminder of that for me. While sewing away, I thought about how different any project would shape up depending on the color mood that you’re in depending on the time you sit down to sew.

Eads QAL 4 . Carolyn Friedlander

Before sewing up these 10 blocks, I was really set on sewing with the greens that originally drew me in. That’s what I started with, and as I sewed, I became enticed also by teals, blues and some other goodies.

Eads QAL 4 . Carolyn Friedlander

This week was really fun, as I caved to some momentary color cravings.

Eads QAL 4 . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:
+ Notice how your surroundings, general mood and/or momentary experiences can affect your palette. Paying attention can pay off.
+ If there’s a color or fabric that you’re really excited about—use it! Seeing and sewing with something you’re excited to use will not only make the project fun, but I’ll bet it’ll give you ideas and excitement for moving forward.

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Fabric napkins for the win.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

Fabric napkins for the win. Are you a cloth-napkin user? I am and have been since college. In fact, I’ve been using the same cloth napkins since college, which means my cloth napkins are quite old. So old, that every time I find myself folding and putting them away I’m thinking–I should really make some new napkins… It’s always been one of those “some day” tasks, but finally, I’ve made myself some new fabric napkins, and it basically took no time at all.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

This is hardly even a weekend project. For me it was a I-need-a-break/distraction-to-feel-productive-for-maybe-an-hour kind of project. And boy are they.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

Even though the colors look curated, they are the result of pulling fabric in order off my shelf, which I guess is curated…and in color order, but still. It was an easy effort. I grabbed and cut fabrics until I felt done grabbing and cutting, which apparently was 9 pieces.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

To back up a bit, the idea came after seeing these from Purl. For anyone wanting to follow a tutorial, you can totally follow that one, it’s good. On mine, I simplified the steps a bit and changed the overall size.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

I first made a snip at 19″ with scissors and then ripped the full width of fabric, which means that my fabric was 19″ x width-of-fabric (44″ish in this case). Ripping the fabric ensures you’re following the grain of the fabric, which does make a difference when you’re planning for frayed edges. (Plus, ripping fabric is a surprisingly fun task.)

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

I then threw those 19″ strips (ripped on 1 side) into the washing machine and dryer before ripping them into 18″ squares, by making a snip at 18″ and ripping each side, basing all subsequent sides on the first ripped side.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

After getting all of the squares made, I frayed the edges, but unlike the tutorial, I didn’t do an overall stitch around the sides. I figure the fraying will be fine. After you fray some edges, you start to see how unlikely more of it will be from becoming more un-frayed. Or, if it does become crazy in the future, I can always add some stitching. No prob.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

Of course, some stitching could be a lovely decorative element if using a contrasting thread or interesting stitch. It all depends on the look you’re going for! In my case, it was a no-muss, no-fuss situation. I like the looseness.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

I know that some people have some concerns with fabric napkins. First, to address the wrinkle issue, these napkins haven’t been ironed at all. I took them straight from the dryer, ripped to size and then just hand smoothed them before this photo shoot. Not bad, huh?

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

And this was just the first wash, they’ll get softer and softer with each wash. If you’re into ironing or have some guests to impress, you could certainly give them a good press before setting them out. Otherwise, I find them to be totally acceptable straight from the dryer.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

Another question about fabric napkins has to do with stains. This is a good question since you will be using them around food. There are a few ways you could look at it. First, if you’re really concerned about stains, you could just pick out really dark and/or busy fabrics that could easily camo some stains. Second, I haven’t noticed too many stains that really stick in my experience with cloth napkins, and I’ve been a cloth napkin user for almost 15 years. Third, if you do happen to get a pesky and unrelenting stain, just make a new one! This is a low-commitment project that only gets better and more exciting with new fabric.

Friedlander Fabric Napkins . Carolyn Friedlander

Fabrics included are from my collections, friedlander, architextures and doe.

Yay for fabric napkins!

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Creative Bug BOM Trudy.

It’s time to meet the newest and final member of my 2016 contribution to the Creative Bug BOM, Trudy.

BOM Trudy . Carolyn Friedlander

She’s fairly simple, but also adventurous and adaptable based on your fabric choices and how you decide to use them.

BOM Trudy . Carolyn Friedlander

If you’re in the mood to fussy cut or explore pairings of your favorite fabrics–small and/or large-scale, this is a great way to use the design. I used the same fabric for both circles in the navy and gold versions above, but then I employed 3 fabrics in the pale pink and khaki block.

I liked the idea of using a larger, focal fabric in the center and then a different print to frame it. After completing this pink one, I felt the urge to make a bunch more in similar shades and a mix of prints. I thought (and still think!) it would make a lovely wall hanging or baby quilt.

BOM Trudy . Carolyn Friedlander

The gentle outer and inner curves make this block is a perfect place to start if you’re new to needle-turn appliqué, and the various ways to explore fabric make it enticing to anyone familiar or unfamiliar with the technique.

Here’s a link to BOM Trudy on Creative Bug.

Happy sewing!

BOM Trudy . Carolyn Friedlander

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