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WainwrightAL #1: The Pattern and The Plan.

WainwrightAL #1: The Pattern and The Plan.

To kick things off, I thought it would be appropriate to talk a bit more about the pattern, and then my plan for moving forward with my own project as well as in general. Plans are good, being excited about them might be better.

First, the pattern. Wainwright was inspired by and named after the Wainwright building in St Louis. If you’ve seen it or other Louis Sullivan buildings, you know that the ornamentation is incredible. There are so many beautiful motifs, and it was easy to become very inspired.

Wainwright Building . St Louis, Missouri

As a quilt, I love appliqué patterns that offer a lot of design possibilities, are fun to sew (because you’ll be getting right in there with it), and can be easy to travel with. With this one, I went for all of that by taking one basic motif and breaking it up in a way that could be mixed and matched among the blocks and with few or many fabrics.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Appliqué projects are always great for finding new color and fabric combinations, because once you cut out the shapes and layer them on a background, you can actually see what it’s basically going to look like. How cool is that? If you aren’t liking it, you can easily make a change by swapping out the background or by changing the appliqué (the top layer, or the shape). This is probably why I always have SO many appliqué projects cut out–because it’s way too tempting to cut them out to see what an idea will look like.

With this first version, I was most excited about using my new Gleaned collection and its coordinates. I used pieces from all of it.

gleaned fabric collection . Carolyn Friedlander

gleaned fabric architextures coordinates . Carolyn Friedlander

Appliqué projects can be great for fussy cutting motifs and making use of special stuff–like the special selvage treatment in some of my newest prints from Gleaned. You can see snippets of this stuff in many of my blocks.

gleaned fabric collection . Carolyn Friedlander

If you’re planning to take advantage of this, just make sure to position any special motifs where you want them in the squares that you’ll be cutting out. Both the background and appliqué pieces are cut from regular squares, so you can use the shape and size of the square to get your fabric positioned how you want it. Just keep in mind your 1/4″ seam allowances for sewing the blocks together and the 1/8″ seam allowances for appliqué (which yes, is plenty of seam allowance).

Back to the project.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

There are two block sizes to this project–small and big. This first version uses only small blocks.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

The small blocks are nice for a few reasons. First, you will need more of them, which means you can incorporate more fabric combinations and pairings. Second, smaller-sized blocks are pretty easy to handle and relatively speedier than larger ones.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

The pattern also includes a larger-block option, which is what I incorporated into the second version that I made.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

In this version, you can see how the sizes compare, because I used them together. I sized the blocks specifically to work this way, but of course, you can use them however you’d like! Just how my first version uses all small blocks, you can totally make a version with all big blocks. Or, you can mix them up. The possibilities are yours.

Big blocks are great because fewer of them make a larger project. They can also be a better format if you’re working with a larger print, and expanded shapes mean everything is extruded and therefore slightly easier technically if you’re just getting into the technique. If you’re curious, try one of each, and see what you think.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

You’ll also notice that in this version I took a totally different route with the fabric. Instead of using tons of different fabrics, I used only two–this from Gleaned and this coordinate. The cool thing about this approach is that it really emphasizes the variety of shapes and sizes in the design.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

The main thing that you can keep in mind with regard to either option is that the pieces cut from 1 appliqué square can be used for 2 blocks. Split them up and mix them about as you wish!

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Now that you’ve seen my two versions, I hope that you’re excited to start mapping out your own! As for me, I’m planning to use small blocks in my next version–I love this size. To be totally upfront, I’m not entirely sure what final size (or even project type) that I am going for. I might make a pair of pillow shams…or I might do a wall hanging…I don’t know. I’m leaving that decision for later since I know I can adjust things as I go. I do have some fabrics pulled, but I think I’ll save that for next week.

Finally, I don’t want anyone stressing over this project. Handwork is usually my way to relax, and so I want this WainwrightAL to foster that same mood for you. Personally, I really liked the idea of using this QAL as a way to have an enjoyable something to work on in the background of my own life, and I hope that you find it fitting nicely into your life as well. Let’s use this time together to have fun, to enjoy each other and to enjoy playing with our fabric.

If you still need a copy of the pattern, you can find one here or checking with your local shop or favorite online retailer.

Wainwright quilt in Gleaned Fabrics . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ The project layout pages can totally be used as coloring pages. Either make copies as needed, OR use tracing paper over the top of them (since the layouts are already shaded) to explore your color/fabric ideas!

+ If you’re stalling out over fabric/color ideas, I always just go with my gut. Pulling fabric for a new project is massively exciting, but it can easily get out of control and lead to project paralysis. Instead of getting overwhelmed, take a step back and think about what’s most exciting to you. Start there, you can always make changes and adapt as you move along.

+ If you’re new to appliqué, not to worry! It’s fun and shouldn’t be intimidating. Everything gets easier with practice, especially this. This project is also perfect for anyone just getting started. I won’t be going over the exact technique since it’s outlined in the pattern, but I do have some classes on Creative Bug that fully walk you through the process. Here’s a link to my classes on Creative Bug.

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Gleaned Pillow Shams using Rin and Alturas patterns.

I love making pillow shams. They are less of a commitment than a full quilt, and yet they can make just as much of an impact. Here’s a look at some Gleaned pillow shams using my Rin and Alturas patterns.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Towards the tail end of losing power after Hurricane Irma in September, I had a hankering for some Rin appliqué. You’d think that I would have been hand appliquéing it up without power, but the truth is that so many other things were on my mind (mainly my lack of a roof) that I really didn’t have the mindspace or time for it. Sadly. This is why it was nice when I started thinking about appliqué again towards the end of that first week.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

I made a pair of these guys, because I really like how a pair can show off how the variety of shapes can play together. And, a pair is also good for expanding on your fabric combos.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s something about exploring a fabric theme across two shams that’s really fun. You have more room and opportunity than just doing one sham, but not too many opportunities like when picking out an entire quilt where it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the picking process.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

With this set, I had this lime-y, pale purple-y, olive group in mind with a fun mix of textures between the prints and the fabrics themselves. All of the printed fabrics are my new stuff coming out, and then there’s a bit of Essex linen in there too. The main print from gleaned that I wanted to use has a special edge design, which is always fun to play with in appliqué. There’s some of that happening here.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

There’s also more happening on the back with the backing panels.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Finding fun finding places to use these special edges is always enticing to me, but of course, you can definitely use the fabric normally as well.

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Cording on a pillow sham is a great place to kick it up a notch. In this case, I like how it also ties the two shams together by using the same fabric.

Gleaned Cording . Carolyn Friedlander

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

My Alturas pattern was another motif that had been on my mind.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Again, I liked the idea of making a pillow sham, because it would be a great size to play with and the end results could be used to spruce up anything.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

I used the same print as with the Rin shams for the appliqué but in another colorway.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

With the Alturas design especially, I like using fabrics that change and offer new ways for seeing the appliqué motif itself. Even though all of the shapes are the same, the way the fabric can be used makes them look a little bit different.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Oh, and BTW, with the size and shape of Alturas, I’ve long searched for the right size scissor. It’s a small-ish shape that is cut multiple layers at once, so sometimes a big scissor can feel a bit too big. As soon as Kai released smaller sizes in their 7000 series, I knew one of them would be perfect for cutting this shape. This is the reason that I decided to offer this size and this one in my shop. Either are great, and I’m constantly on the fence about which size I like better.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

For the backing panels, I went with a gray theme using two prints from Gleaned.

Alturas Pillow Sham in Gleaned Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

There we go. So many new pillow shams!

Gleaned Pillow Shams . Carolyn Friedlander

Patterns : Rin, Alturas

Fabrics : Gleaned, Essex Yarn Dye in Olive (Robert Kaufman)

Some Tips:

+ I’m recently a big fan of the Ikea FJADRAR cushion insert.

+ Use a stiletto when sewing cording–it’ll save your fingers from danger! (Ask me how I know…)

Gleaned Rin Pillow Shams . 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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