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Eads Quilt Along #2: Fabric Thoughts and Strategy.

Eads Quilt Along #2: Fabric Thoughts and Strategy.

First, I just have to say that this is really fun. So much of the time, I’m working on something in advance, and I can’t talk about it. But with this quilt along, I’m able to be a little more in step with you and share in the process.

Plus, it’s been incredibly fun watching you start your own projects and hearing your thoughts about fabric and moving forward. Some of you have more specific plans and some of you are taking things as they come. There is a lot on both sides resonating with me–which is inspiring–and I hope you’re enjoying that connection as well. You guys are awesome, and your work is shaping up in such wonderful ways!

Eads quilt blocks to start . Carolyn Friedlander

First up is a project flashback to my original Eads. This is the first block shot that I could find, so it’s more than 10 blocks, but I think it’s a good mood setter for this week. I’d like to point out the hot mess that is my sewing room. There are piles and piles of fabric on the floor, all of which are the options that I pondered for this version. While mess, stress and deadlines all loomed in the making of the original, it was still incredibly fun to make and figure out.

With my new project, things are different. There’s not really a deadline (other than this QAL…which might be one reason why I wanted to do it…ha!), and in terms of fabric, it’s a little bit of a blank slate there too.

Has anyone had issues getting started?

I did. In fact, while I find the beginning of any project to be exciting, the blankness of it can also feel overwhelming, especially once you start digging in and plotting out the specifics.

To start, the newest collection from UPPERCASE had me intrigued since I was lucky enough to come home with a bundle of it after Quilt Market. Top of mind is always a great place to start.

UPPERCASE volume 2 fabrics

I broke apart the bundle and started to play around with the colors and how they work together. Then I hit my own stash and started grabbing other things that were calling my name.

In the photo below, you can see how I first had the UPPERCASE bundle organized at the top, then below I started to mix pieces from that collection with the fabrics that I was pulling. At this point, I was also starting to figure out the relationships between the pieces.

Eads QAL fabric pull . Carolyn Friedlander

Some of the green pieces were really speaking to me. In fact, these larger-scale florals were hitting on an idea of scale play that I wanted to explore after making my first Eads.

Eads QAL fabric pull . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s not a ton of deliberateness that needs to happen at this stage. It’s mostly a step for seeing how different fabrics might work together.

Eads QAL fabric pull . Carolyn Friedlander

Eads QAL fabric pull . Carolyn Friedlander

If you saw my instagram post from the weekend, you know that what actually started to shape up looks nothing like this pile. So, here’s the plot twist.

At this point, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. In fact, that’s kind of what was starting to happen to me. While I easily could have started off with some of the greens, there was starting to be too many possibilities, and I was over thinking it waaay too much.

So, what did I do? Well, this is where I like to embrace coincidence and intuition. There was actually another pile calling my name, and it was the recent leftovers from making 2 shirts.

kalle dress shirts . Carolyn Friedlander

This is a lesson in how it’s ok to let the fabrics pick you. I’d made these 2 Kalle shirts–the top in a print from Architextures and the bottom in a Liberty of London print. The scraps from both were sitting around looking so cute and enticing together that I figured they’d make a cool block. Off I went.

Eads QAL 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

Sometimes it’s easier to start with something that’s already been started, or with something that isn’t so clean and pristine, because there’s much less pressure associated with it.

Eads QAL week 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

That’s what I did. And heads up, working from scraps is great, but it is definitely speedier working from the strips as outlined in the directions. I’m not complaining, but instead giving a heads up to any of you going this route. On the plus side, it does clean up the scrap pile!

After starting with these guys, I was able to get my creative juices flowing so that I could start thinking about the next fabrics to pull into the mix.

Eads QAL 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

Next up was some Arroyo, a new collection by Erin Dollar printed on Robert Kaufman’s Essex. (I love this collection!) I’ll note that I had just made a shower curtain out of this print…are you sensing a theme?

Eads QAL 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

And then I got brave enough to bust into some very treasured pieces that I picked up from Amitié while I was in Australia this past fall, along with a couple of pieces from carkai.

Eads QAL 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

So here’s where I’ll end this post with 10 blocks. I’m excited to be exploring some scale stuff–an area of initial intrigue–and I’m using some treasured fabrics in many of my favorite colors.

Eads QAL week 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

What’s also awesome about this, is that I’m now seeing a way to connect back to the greens and other fabrics in my initial pull. Playing the intuition card is usually a good one. Even though I decided to change course, I figured that I’d be able to work my way back. I just needed a creative warm up to overcome the overwhelm.

Eads QAL week 2 . Carolyn Friedlander

Here are my tips for the week:

+ Overcome the overwhelm by just getting started! Grab the first 2 fabrics within eyesight, and I’ll bet they’ll help you over the hump. Also, trust your instincts.

+ When printing out your templates, select the “collate” option in the printer dialog so that A and B blocks alternate. This way you’re working evenly through your stack.

+ I noticed some folks wondering about fabric storage and organization for this project online this week. Create a box/tray/other designated vessel to house your blocks and fabrics for this project. (This route is a little more tidy than my floor method…see first pic.) Here’s a pic of a box that I’ve designated for my fabrics for this project. As for the blocks, they’re stored away nicely on my design wall.

Eads QAL fabrics

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Eads Quilt Along #1: Getting Started.

Eads Quilt Along #1: Getting Started.

You ready?

Let’s start with your sewing setup…or actually, let’s start by taking a look at mine.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

Here’s my current sewing set-up. I’ve got my sewing machine set up on a big desk. It’s huge, which is awesome, because I can also fit my serger and coverstitch machine on it without any problems. Since we’re talking about paper piecing today, I’ll save the specifics on my serger/coverstitch setup for later, but the above pic gives you a nice overview. You’ll also notice that I have a small folding table to the left of my machine. This is awesome and so handy. It gives you cutting and pressing space while sewing, as well as quilt-resting space for when you’re quilting. (FYI it’s also where I throw my smaller, non-straight-stitch machine when I need to sew buttonholes.)

As for (paper piecing) tools, here we go.

Paper Piecing Supplies . Carolyn Friedlander

From left to right and up:

+ Flatter. Yep, I use this, especially since I designed the labels for the newest scent. (See next pic for closer look)

+ Mini iron by Clover. This is a new addition as of the most recent Quilt Market. I’m obsessed with this iron and mad at myself that I didn’t get one sooner. I bought it to use during the show, but it’s quickly become my go-to while working.

+ Small ironing board. This last Quilt Market seemed to up my supply ante as this and the mini iron were purchased to use at the show, and I cannot imagine sewing without either of them! This mini ironing board came from Ikea. It’s $5 and I covered it in some Blake. Small and portable. It can’t be beat.

+ Cutting mat. You’ll need one. This 18″x24″ fits perfectly on my folding table and lives there 99% of the time. Rotating cutting mats are handy, but for the Eads block, I’ll not be using one. Usually if I’m using a rotating mat, I’ll use it on top of this one anyway.

+ My Maine bookmark. A friend gave me this, and I love using it to fold back the paper. Anything else will work…an index card, the pattern itself, etc.

+ Xacto knife. I have many of these and use them to slice up my paper templates. You could use scissors too, but I like the speed and efficiency of an Xacto.

+ Paper scissors. Either these or an Xacto will be needed to slice up your templates.

+ Rotary cutter. Pick your fave. This one by Kai is lightweight and lovely. (Full disclosure, I have many rotary cutters in many sizes. This is my preference for paper piecing.)

+ Clover Roll & Press. I’ve not always been a fan of seam rollers until meeting this one. I love it. It’s lightweight and very effective. It also feels good in my hand.

+ Small scissors. No matter the project, you’ll always need a pair of small scissors for thread clipping and stuff like that. This one lives by my machine.

+ Pins and pincushion. Yep. Standard stuff. (FYI Cute Dumpling Pincushion pattern by Alchemy Tea.)

+ Thread. I use Aurifil 50wt cotton when I’m piecing. As for color, match to your lightest fabric.

+ Ruler. This neon, Omnigrid 4″x14″ ruler is one of my favorites. This particular size is perfect for the Eads project. With any ruler make sure the markings are clear and legible to you. Just to note, add-a-quarter rulers are well liked for paper piecing. Feel free to look into them if you’re interested. They are great, but my personal preference is a regular ruler, as it’s a multi-trick pony.

+ Fabric. You’ll need that! See back of pattern for amounts.

+ Paper templates (not pictured, but needed). There are MANY different papers for paper piecing out there. If you’re up for trying them out to see what works best for you–go for it. My preference is recycled office paper. It’s very available, it’s a little more responsible and I prefer its weight/thickness.

Paper Piecing Supplies . Carolyn Friedlander

Handy enough, this Clover mini iron comes with a mini spray bottle. The sprayer is surprisingly effective! I fill mine up with flatter and keep it nearby.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

To take a closer look at my sewing set-up, I’d like to point out a couple of other things. First, an extension table–no matter the project–will make your (sewing) life much easier. Since my table doesn’t have a cut-out for my machine, the extension table expands the flat area of my sewing surface.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

Let’s take a look at the floor for a sec, and not just because it’s freshly vacuumed, although that is a miracle to be captured! I’ve got 2 waste baskets to the right (both from Ikea). One is for fabric scraps and the other is for paper scraps. Since I do a lot of paper piecing, I like having a separate bin just for paper so that I can recycle it later.

Also of note down here is my new(ish) pedal for operating the thread cutter–hands free! I love my machine, but unlike some other straight stitch machines, the thread cutter function is only operable by the button on the front. After talking to some machine folks, we discovered a 3rd party foot pedal that works with this machine. It couldn’t be easier, you just plug it in (you must have the outlet on your machine–look for a hole with a scissor icon next to it) and start cutting. It’s life changing. I know that sounds dramatic, especially if your machine doesn’t have a thread cutter at all, but it is. One of my most prized functions is the automatic thread cutter, and the ability to operate it hands-free–yes! For information on this pedal, contact the folks at Pink Castle Fabrics. They helped me out, and they can help you out too.

I imagine that someone will ask me about a knee lift, I know that those are handy too, but the screw on mine broke, so until I get my act together and locate a replacement, it’s not part of my routine.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

I’m a pin hoarder and like having different pins for different fabrics, projects, etc. It makes life easier to store different types in different pincushions. The above are from my Crew pattern.

I also love having these nesting boxes (pattern by Aneela Hoey) by my machine. They hold bigger scissors, my seam gauge, washi tape, wonder clips, marking tools, etc. There are so many handy things that you’ll want access to while you are sewing, and these nesting boxes are a pretty and functional way to house them.

Carolyn Friedlander Sewing Machine Set Up

To back up a bit, you’ll also notice a piece of foam core against the wall behind my machine. I have many of these panels floating around, and while originally purchased for something else, now I use them as design walls. This one is freshly blank, because I’m ready to fill it up with some Eads QAL action. Yeah!

Blake knit design wall . Carolyn Friedlander

Just to give you an idea, here’s one from when I was working on blake release projects. I love having multiples, because I am always working on multiple things happening at once–like I’m sure you are too. You can either purchase foam core panels like these, OR a cheaper option would be to hit up your local hardware store and grab some rigid insulation panels. They come in 4’x8′ sheets, and you can easily cut them down with an Xacto and/or cover them in batting.

Let’s talk about project planning.

Eads quilt project planning . Carolyn Friedlander

Here’s the extent of my project planning for the first Eads that I made. After getting the design nailed down, I took colored pencils and markers to a layout and started exploring options. You can see that I didn’t spell everything out, I’d say that these explorations were more about getting a sense of the feel in terms of color and tone. After doing that, I made a block, just to see how that went. It was after this point that I pulled the rest of my fabrics.

Eads quilt fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

And yes, this is actually how I often to work and definitely how I worked things out for this project. While cutting out my strips (as outlined in the instructions), I laid them on the floor. You can start to build relationships between the different colors and prints this way, and it’ll also give you a good and visual sense of how your pickings are shaping up.

Of course, you may have a different way of working, so never feel bad about working in a direction that feels most comfortable to you!

OK, so I’ll stop here for now. But I’ll leave you with some tips:

+ Assess your sewing space. It’s good to be comfortable and have access to the things you need for a project.

+ Use the coloring sheet that is included with the pattern to start mapping out ideas and directions for your project.

+ Have FUN pulling fabrics. Assessing what you like and don’t like as you go helps better shape the project to your tastes and interests.

+ Ready to paper piece? Learn how from one of my videos on Creative Bug.

And one more thing. Let’s do a giveaway! I’ve got 4 fat quarters of my fabrics from a few different collections. Just leave a comment on this post sharing something special/helpful/non-helpful about your sewing space or favorite supply. I know you guys will have some worthwhile tips. I’ll pick a winner randomly on Monday, June 19 10am EST. Giveaway now closed–thanks to everyone for participating!

Carolyn Friedlander Fat Quarters

If you need a copy of the pattern, you can check quilt shops for the paper version or here for a digital version.

Share what’s happening on Instagram using #eadsQAL . I’m eager to see your progress!

Eads quilt along . Carolyn Friedlander

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Eads Quilt Pattern and Quilt Along.

My Eads quilt pattern is one of my newbies. I showed it at Quilt Market in St Louis, and I’m excited to share it with you here now. It’s a lot of fun, but I’m also biased, because I don’t make things that aren’t fun.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I’d been wanting to do a big, graphic, paper-pieced project for a while now, and this spring presented a great opportunity. Eads is a project where lots of fabric and color can play together in new and interesting ways–my favorite type of project.

Eads quilt fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

After nailing down the design, I pulled fabric from many places–friedlander, friedlander lawn, euclid, kona cotton, essex linen… I wanted a big mix of prints, solids and textures to play with and to use to highlight the design in a variety of ways.

(By the way, Robert Kaufman put together a little kit, which you could ask your local shop about. Otherwise, all of the fabrics are also listed here.)

Eads quilt fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

The design works with fat quarters, which makes the fabric gathering pretty easy. After that, the instructions work from strips which then makes it easy to start mapping out your blocks.

Eads quilt fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

I love this way of working–first gathering a bunch of inspiring pieces, breaking them down into smaller chunks, and then having the ability to react along the way as you work through the project. I find this to be a massively engaging, creative process and big reason why projects like this are so much fun. Grab your fabric, start making some blocks, throw them up on the design wall, assess, make more blocks and continue to grow your composition.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

In the end, my project doesn’t follow a perfect color gradation–although that could be a lovely path to take! But instead, I liked finding new and different relationships between the colors and shapes as I worked. By just shuffling around some fabric, I discovered new color friendships and new ways to expose or conceal the motif itself. So much fun.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I’m often asked about overcoming creative blocks, and this project is a perfect example of how I keep myself creatively charged. My wheels were turning so much while making this guy, that I couldn’t help but think about other ways to explore the project, things to do with fabric and other things to make in general. I find that creative satisfaction in one place can overflow into many others.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I had such a good time making this project, that I couldn’t help but think about other versions to make while I was making it–always a good sign in my book. Because of that, I thought it’d be fun to do a little quilt along this summer. You interested in joining me?

Eads quilt along . Carolyn Friedlander

The plan is to keep it mostly informal, but I do have a structure in mind that I’ll at least be holding myself to. To make this size, which is a good-sized throw, there are 120 blocks, which at 12 weeks (3 months) is 10 blocks a week. I think that 10 blocks will be a perfect amount of creative cardio to schedule in each week. There are also 48 fabrics in this version, which breaks down to 4 fabrics/week if you want to set goals for that too. Personally, I’m not sure I’ll partake in that way…but it’s a helpful number to consider.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

The quilt along will start next week, June 15. Expect weekly blog posts, including the first next week to kick things off. You can also follow along on my Instagram for weekly visuals, as well as in my newsletter (see “subscribe to the newsletter” at the top right corner on this site) for recaps and updates.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

And for you, please join in! I’ll be checking in on anyone else’s makings by scouring the #eadsQAL hashtag on instagram. Since there are so many ways for this project to pan out, it’ll be fun to see where your projects take you. My bet is that we’ll all start to inspire each other, and it’ll be quite merry.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Plus, I’ve got some prizes planned. To be eligible to win, you’ll need to be posting to the hashtag on IG. Sound good?

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

To start, you’ll need a copy of the pattern. Hard copies are starting to appear in shops (like Hawthorne, Fabric Bubb, Etsy Studio, Jones & Vandermeer, I Love Fabric, etc), and the PDF version is available here too. Then start thinking about fabric…fat quarters are perfect.

Eads Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Oh, and make sure to keep your scraps! I’ve got plans for those, but it’s a surprise to be uncovered towards the end, so stay tuned.

Eads quilt fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Looking forward to sewing with you!

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