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Hunt Quilt Along: A Closer Look At Fabric.

Hunt Quilt Along: A Closer Look At Fabric.

This week I want to take a closer look at fabric. I have some tips to share, and I also want to let you in on what I’m thinking about for my own project.

Obviously fabric is a big component of any quilt project. You not only have the color and print to figure out, but you also get to consider the type of fabric itself, whether it’s cotton, linen or anything else.

In general, I consider quilting cotton to be the most beginner-friendly fabric to work with. It’s very stable, and it’s not too thick and not too thin for quilting. (It’s called quilting cotton for a reason.)

gleaned coordinating solids . carolyn friedlander

Quilting cotton is also great, because it comes in many different colors, prints and solid choices. You can’t go wrong, and it’s definitely a fabric that I would highly recommend to anyone, and especially to anyone new to the game.

Instead Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

gleaned fabric collection . Carolyn Friedlander

Of course there are plenty of other types of fabrics as well. Some other popular quilting choices are made from linen and linen blends (like Robert Kaufman Essex, a stable linen/cotton blend that is a little meatier than regular quilting cotton and full of texture), and there are plenty of yarn dyed wovens (like Harriot Yarn Dyes, shot cottons, etc).

Polk Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Harriot Yarn Dye . Carolyn Friedlander

Something to consider when selecting fabrics outside of quilting cotton are the different properties of the fabric itself. You want to consider the stability of it–is it slippery or drapey, OR stiff and sturdy? Also, is it thick or thin? Does it have a tendancy to fray? Most anything can work, but depending on its qualities you might decide to make some adjustments.

Some adjustments might be to –

+ Cut your background to be larger so you can get a clean trim before sewing blocks together if your fabric tends to fray or if you know you tend to handle your blocks a bit more. I cut my background squares about an inch larger on my Hunt Harriot Quilt. It was a new fabric, and I wasn’t sure how it would behave. Giving myself extra ensured I could get a super-clean trim before sewing the blocks together. (Tip: In this case, I like marking the edges of where I’ll trim my actual block. I prefer to thread baste, but you can mark it anyway you prefer.)

Here’s a look at some thread basting in action. I’ve marked my seam allowance at the bottom. (In general, I prefer marking the seam allowance on these blocks this way. It’s totally a personal preference and not mandatory.)

hunt tester-3-carolyn friedlander-web

+ Adjust your basting stitch a smidge if your fabric is really thick or really thin. (Tip: With a thin fabric you may baste with slightly less of a seam allowance, and with thicker fabric you might baste with a smidge more of a seam allowance.)

+ Prewash your fabrics if you’re worried with them at all. It never hurts! Plus, I feel like a prewash can reduce some of the fraying.

+ Use your thicker fabrics as a background and thinner fabrics as your appliqué. A thicker fabric on the back gives you more stability. (Although I’ll admit that you can make exceptions if you’re really feeling a combination that goes against these rules. Just make sure your lighter background fabric maintains its shape as the heavier fabric is being manipulated on top. You don’t want this to distort your background.)

Now let’s talk a little bit about some design direction for your project. The beautiful thing about appliqué is how you can quickly get a sense of what your project will look like. Simply cut out the shape and lay it on your background! If you don’t like it, try something else.

Hunt Appliqué planning . carolyn friedlander

That’s exactly what I did when I was planning my Hunt Harriot Quilt. I started cutting out the shapes and laying them on the ground–although you could also start laying them on different background fabric options at this point too. This allowed me to figure out how I wanted the colors, fussy-cut scallops and other motifs to come together. Or you can work on a block-to-block basis. It was really fun to see the idea shape up!

Hunt Quilt Along Fabric Pull . Carolyn Friedlander

I am planning to make something during this quilt along. I selfishly chose this format, because I knew it would give me a great opportunity to make another version. I’d love to have a quilt for my bed, and after a lot of thinking about colors and fabrics to use, I think that I’ve decided to head in a green and white direction. There are SO many ways to take this project, and it is so easy to feel indecisive about it, but what’s helped decide things for me is thinking about 1) what type/size I want to end up with, and 2) where I want to put it. I think a green/white-ish version for my bedroom would be just the right thing.

I’ll use a mix of whites and creams for the backgrounds.

Hunt Quilt Along Fabric Pull . Carolyn Friedlander

And I’m thinking a mix of greens in some dark-ish shades like this could be nice. Although I’m not sure how scrappy/not scrappy I want each block to be. Looks like I’ll be doing some auditioning!

Hunt Quilt Along Fabric Pull . Carolyn Friedlander

That’s where I’m at, but I’d love to know where you’re at too. Feel free to comment below.

Resources:

+ Here’s a link to some of my favorite Thread Tips and Tricks.

+ I’ve set up a Hunt Quilt Along Board on Pinterest for inspiration. Head over here to check it out.

Hunt Quilt Along . Carolyn Friedlander

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A Batch Of Thread Catchers.

I did manage to crank out a batch of thread catchers for some of my local sewing buds. I’ve been wanting to do this for some time, and our holiday get together gave me the perfect excuse to do it.

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

Even with a lot going on, I was very glad to steal away a few hours to make a little something for each of them. And, most of the fabrics were leftovers from other recent projects that were sitting in piles needing to get sorted, so it was kind of like tidying the studio a bit too!

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

I used this tutorial to make a regular and a mini for each person. I’ve updated the tutorial to include both sizes. (Scroll down to the bottom of the tutorial for the adjustments to make the mini.) Personally, I like having both size options, because sometimes you need more and sometimes you need less. They each satisfy two different needs.

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

I probably could have made myself a couple more while I was at it, because I didn’t seem to have one handy a few times this week when I could have used one. Does anyone else end up with makeshift thread piles or is it just me?

Next time…

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

These guys are pretty speedy, and I really liked pairing up the different fabric combinations. In the end I let everyone pick their own. It was fun to see who picked what–many lined up as I thought they might and others surprised me a bit.

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

Lots of thread catchers!

thread catchers . carolyn friedlander

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cf Mini QAL: Conclusion. (+ giveaway)

cf Mini QAL: Conclusion. (+ giveaway)

cf mini QAL 8 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

We’ve made it! It’s been a full (and fun) 8 weeks of mini quilt making. How do you feel now that we’re to the end?

As for me, I’m pretty stoked about making quilts, and I hope that’s the case for you too. Like I said in the beginning, making minis is always a great way to explore ideas and churn up some creativity. I hope the challenges each week helped you feel more confident and encouraged to try something new and/or see things in a slightly new way.

cf mini QAL 7 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

The challenge this week proved that point to be true for me. I went Wild with my mix of prints, colors and types of fabrics, and in the end I was having a hard time making myself stop.

It all started with a charm pack that I liked.

cf mini QAL 7 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

To which I added other things that I liked.

cf mini QAL 7 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

cf mini QAL 7 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

And then I got to sewing.

cf mini QAL 7 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

This first batch of Babson blocks is wild both in terms of color and print, and I just loved it. It made me excited to keep going.

cf mini QAL 7 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

Something I love about these blocks is how I was able to incorporate fabrics that I’ve accumulated both recently and not super recently in my travels. Do you get a sense of satisfaction when you’re finally able to work in something you’ve been holding on to? I definitely do.

cf mini QAL 7 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

I especially love the edge of grey that resulted in some of the last blocks I sewed (below, right), and I’d love to explore this idea more.

cf mini QAL 8 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

My favorite thing about a project is when it encourages you to keep going. This one does that for me, and so I’m really tempted to keep making blocks and sew up something larger–maybe a throw.

cf mini QAL 8 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

Doing a little bit of math, there are 224 blocks in the throw size of my Babson pattern. I have 56 this week, plus the 25 from last week that I think would be fun to add to this group. This leaves 143 to go, which breaks down to about 12/week for 12 weeks.

cf mini QAL 8 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

I don’t know if I’ll totally hold myself to this number, but it is helpful to calculate how it could shake out. I’m never good about finishing things if I don’t give myself a deadline.

cf mini QAL 8 . Babson . Carolyn Friedlander

Fabrics from this week’s wild fest included London Calling 8, Nani Iro, Arroyo by Erin Dollar, Woodland Clearing by Liesl Gibson, UPPERCASE by Janine Vangool, Suzuko Koseki, as well as Friedlander, Friedlander Lawn, Architextures, Gleaned and Polk from me.

Thanks for following along! As promised last week, I’d like to do a celebratory giveaway this week. Up for grabs is a charm pack of Polk, plus a stack of more 5″ squares of fabrics that were used in the original Babson and a pair of my favorite Kai snips. And if you don’t already have a copy of the Babson pattern, I’ll throw that in too!

Polk and Kai Giveaway . Carolyn Friedlander

To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me something about your cf Mini QAL experience. I’ll randomly select a winner Tuesday September 18 at 11am EDT.

Polk and Kai Giveaway . Carolyn Friedlander

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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