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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 #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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