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cf Mini QAL #1: Monochromatic.

cf Mini QAL #1: Monochromatic.

cf Mini Quilt Along #1 . Carolyn Friedlander

Welcome to the Quilt Along and to Week #1! I’m so glad that you’re tuning in.

I’ve deliberately set this project up so that you can customize it to your own situation, interests and/or goals. My main goal is to encourage you along with creative ideas and challenges that you can use in your compositions each week.

Compositions are the perfect way to think about your work each week. Mini quilts are just little compositions of ideas, and for that reason they’re perfect for exploring your own creativity. Taking on something small is much more manageable and less stressful, freeing you up to have fun and to take risks. That’s a big reason why I love them so much. They don’t take too much time, effort or supplies, but the results can be freeing and inspiring.

cf Mini Quilt Along #1 . Carolyn Friedlander

Each week we’ll have a theme, and the theme this week is a great place to start–monochromatic or using just one color. The colors and patterns in fabric are maybe the biggest reasons we’re sucked into sewing–at least for me, but I also know that picking out what to use and how to use it can be overwhelming. By focusing on just one, we’re removing a little bit of that overwhelm.

cf Mini Quilt Along #1 . Carolyn Friedlander

Using just one color is definitely not boring! There are many options to consider. How dark or light is it? What are the different shades? How about the texture?

cf Mini Quilt Along #1 . Carolyn Friedlander

While pulling fabrics for my own project, I started to notice a growing pile of blue. Without even trying, I had a heap of blue that I knew was the way I wanted to go for this first week. In the picture above, you’ll notice that while gathering fabrics, I’m starting to organize them by color and value. It’s definitely a habit, but it’s also a helpful way for me to assess what I have going on. And coincidentally (/usually this happens), I’m discovering relationships between the fabrics that I want to explore. Like this one.

cf Mini Quilt Along #1 . Carolyn Friedlander

These fabrics (from Euclid and Friedlander Lawn) ended up together, and I became obsessed. They are close in that they are both darkish, but there’s an interesting difference not only in texture but also in shade that I really like. So I sewed up a few blocks to get started.

cf Mini Quilt Along #1 . Carolyn Friedlander

This week I’m working it out using Version A of my Lusk pattern. But with this week and all weeks to follow feel free to work from any of my recent patterns (Lusk, Davie and Babson). Each of them has a mini or wall-sized option that will be perfect for getting you started.

cf Mini Quilt Along #1 . Carolyn Friedlander

My coloring page and templates are printed out, and my design wall is up with my blocks being added as I make them. I always love seeing where something is going and reacting to it as I go. Depending on your own style and way of working you may want more or less specifics spelled out from the onset.

Whatever your way of working might be, grab a color–any color–and get playing with it. I can’t wait to see what you do! Share your projects on Instagram using #cfminiQAL so I can see what you’re up to.

cf Mini Quilt Along #1 . Carolyn Friedlander

Bonus sidenote: Make sure to subscribe to my newsletter, as I’ll not only be recapping the cf Mini QAL there weekly, but I’ll also sometimes include bonus visuals and sources of inspiration. Sign up using the subscription box in the top right corner of the site.

Tips:

+ Pick a favorite color OR a color that you have a lot of (often the same thing…) and go for it! No need to get hung up on this first decision.

+ Pay attention to value contrast (how light/dark it is next to its neighbors) and the shade. Even within one color, you have TONS to play with.

+ Use the design wall (or your floor)! Try not to worry too much about the different variables at play. Dive in to your first few blocks with a few of the fabrics in your stack, and then throw them up on the design wall. What do you think? Pick your next pair based on what you learned/love/don’t love/are excited about after seeing what you just made.

+ And just because you’re working on something small each week, don’t underestimate where this can take you in 8 weeks. Not to skip to the end–but rather to give you something to think about from the onset–you might decide to turn your projects each week into finished mini quilts that can be a beautiful gallery all together on a wall, OR you could also think of sewing the challenges each week together at the end into a sampler showcasing all of the different ideas that we’re about to explore together. I say this not to say you need to do one or the other, but instead to offer up an idea at the onset that I have been considering myself. There’s no need to decide right now, but if a bug in your ear is helpful, there it is.

+ New to paper piecing? You can check out my paper piecing projects on Creative Bug. There I’ll walk you right through the process.

 

#cfminiQAL

#letsmakemanyminis

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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WainwrightAL #6: Finish.

WainwrightAL #6: Finish.

Somehow we’ve made our way to the end–or at least to the end for now.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

I often have mixed feelings at the end of a project. There’s always a part of me that is excited to reach a milestone and to see it finished. And then there can also be the side of me that’s kind of sad to be done with something that has been enjoyable to work on. With my first Wainwright, I definitely felt this mix. I was excited when I had all of my blocks appliquéd and sewn together. I love seeing it for the first time after the basting stitches are gone and after a good press. It always looks so clean!

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

With Wainwright, there was also a little sad part of me, because I had enjoyed working on it so much. Each row brought new colors and different combinations of shapes and fabrics. I loved having an excuse to work on these fun little blocks. Luckily, this is the perfect excuse for more projects, and in this case I was excited to start the quilting.

Originally, I thought I would start off with some big-stitch hand quilting across the entire thing. Then I’d machine stitch on top to add even more texture. I tend to like the softness and color of big stitch, and then the texture and intensity of the machine quilting. But, after finishing the hand quilting, I loved the feel of it as it was.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Plus, the color effect is pretty nice–although not easy to see in the photographs. I big stitched along all of the diagonals using different colors of thread that generally related to the colors in the blocks. I liked having a loose transition of color across the quilt with the fabrics, and doing the same with the quilting threads adds another layer to that transition.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I tried out a new batting with this quilt. Quilters Dream has 4 different loft options in cotton, and this uses their heaviest (“supreme”). I’ve tried it on a few projects since this one, and I’ll admit that it’s maybe not my favorite, but in the case of this quilt, there is something nice about it after being hand quilted. It’s weighty but still soft.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Now, let’s go back to my project for this QAL. Here’s where I’m at.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn FriedlanderWhen I initially thought about my QAL project, I knew that I wanted to try something a little bit different. I wanted to push myself a little in terms of the palette. I don’t typically work with a super dark, tone-on-tone palette, and I was curious to see how something like that could work out.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

In doing this, it’s been a great exploration in texture, which I’m always a fan of. Handwork is the perfect way to feel out different types of fabrics, and that’s very much the case here. I have linen, sateen, quilting cotton and poplin. While it may not photograph spectacularly, in person you can see how the light plays differently on each of the fabrics. I can’t wait to get them all appliquéd, because I think the quilting will be really fun and can highlight the differences even more.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

While my initial fabric pull included blacks and a range of greys, I’m now thinking I’ll separate the darkest from the lightest into separate final projects. For awhile I thought I’d make a pair of pillow shams, but now I’m thinking that I’ll do a pillow sham with the darkest stuff, and then a wall hanging–or something larger with the lighter stuff.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

While cutting out the latest few blocks, I found myself wanting to make more and more pairings of the lighter guys.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

And so, I think that’s what I’ll do!

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

For me this QAL was a great excuse to start another handwork project (like I ever need an excuse for that, ha!), to work with a new palette that I was curious about, to give myself a little something to relax with at the end of the day, AND to work along with you while doing it. If you followed along with the Eads QAL, you will have noticed that my goals were a bit different. For Eads, I had a goal to have a quilt top finished by the end of 12 weeks–and I’m SO glad that I did. That was a wonderful goal for that project, but in this case, I didn’t feel the same goal was necessary.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

Having said that, I do like having goals and re-assessing progress where necessary. And so, I think that now that I have a better idea of what I want this project to shape up to be, and since we’re at a great point of assessment, I’m marking my calendar for a month from now to check back in with you on where I’m at with this guy. Goals are good, and I don’t want this guy to get lost.

Wainwright QAL . Carolyn Friedlander

Tips:

+ Appliqué is actually really strong. I’ve appliquéd plenty of tote bags and other items that get used and abused, and I am happy to report that my appliqués have remained in place! Of course, if you’re new to the technique and feeling unsure about the strength, you can always take it into consideration when planning your quilting. Feel free to quilt over any areas that cause concern, and you’ll be good to go!

+ Maybe you took on more of a project than you wanted? This isn’t a bad thing, in fact I think it’s great to be excited about a project. There’s nothing wrong with making changes down the road if you decide that a smaller project is better. I personally love making smaller things like pillow shams and tote bags because you really use them. In my case, I think I’m going the opposite way–having initially thought pillow shams, and now thinking that maybe a little something larger could be good. Either way, do what feels best for you!

+ I talked about how I wanted to use this project to push myself a bit. Sometimes I really like a challenge, but it’s always a balance. When I teach, I sometimes see people feeling like they have to push themselves, because they feel like it needs to be hard in order to learn. It totally doesn’t! I’m definitely a fan of doing whatever works for you and whatever feels right. If you’re feeling good in your comfort zone, go for it, or if you’re feeling good about giving yourself a nudge, go for that too!

I really appreciate you following along whether in spirit or in actuality! Seeing projects popping up in my feed makes me so excited and eager to sew.

carolyn friedlander project bag

As a thank you, I want to do a giveaway. I recently made up some project bags–with a Wainwright theme–that I sold at QuiltCon. I secretly saved a few, including 1 to giveaway at the end of this QAL. The rest will go up for sale in my shop on Tuesday at 10am EST.

To enter the giveaway, share with me your thoughts on this QAL or a thought on a recent project that you’ve been excited about by leaving a comment here before Monday, March 26 at 10am EST.

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WainwrightAL #5: Your Projects.

WainwrightAL #5: Your Projects.

Sometimes it’s good to take a step back from your own project and change the scenery! This is why I thought it’d be fun to see what others are working on. You guys are rocking this!

@andrea_nham

@andrea_nham with a really nice blue, green, grey and yellow thing happening. Bonus points for having a matching pouch!

@ayragon

@ayragon has loads of big blocks underway. There’s something nice about being able to see more of the prints at play in the larger format.

@bkimmerly

Speaking of prints…@bekimmerly is making good use of some fun prints. I like how she’s positioned the trees so nicely inside the shapes. Way to work the prints!

@blueskycrafter

@blueskycrafter just made it to a layout stage, and I know she must be satisfied to see everything all together. Even though it’s not my project, I’m feeling super satisfied for her–it’s looking great!

@brakmack1997

@brakmack1997 is really working the 2-color combo. I love how visually enticing it is to use just 2 fabrics. It’s such a fun play with the shapes.

@court9702

@court9702 is using lots of dots and stripes. It’s wonderful! I love how something like this can be completely timeless.

@nies_co_creations

Using all solids results in a totally different look. @nies_co_creations is using just the right mix of blues, it’s lovely to look at.

As for me, I’ll give you a good flashback to my first version.

Carolyn Friedlander . Wainwright Quilt

I stared at this thing SO much. Not only while cutting out each block, but also after each appliquéd row, I’d stand back and assess how it was looking. I might move one block here, another one there…maybe I’d swap out an appliqué or background each time… I love this way of working. You can see some of my extra pieces toward the bottom. I kept plenty of options open.

Tips:

+ Taking a step back can be great. It allows you some space to think of other things, which often brings a freshness back to your project.

+ Swap out your needle! It’s pretty amazing how you start to wear them down. Now that you’ve been sewing along, I’m sure you’re starting to pick up on the subtleties of everything you’re working with. Freshen that needle, and you’ll be amazed how much it will freshen your stitches.

+ You all gave me some watching recs, and here’s one that I’ve recently enjoyed. If you like houses in amazing locations, I just watched The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes on Netflix. Each episode is grouped by location–mountain, coast, etc, and they span locations all over the world. I like how beautiful the homes and locations are, as well as how they talk about building challenges, design advantages, and other stuff. Plus, one of the hosts is an architect and he does some pretty fun sketches on site to highlight aspects of the projects. It’s definitely a beautiful watch!

If you’re just now joining in and looking for a copy of the pattern, here’s a link to the digital version in my shop.

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