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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


+ 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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Wainwright Quilt Along Announcement.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Hi, hi! Are you in the mood for some handwork? I am, or maybe it’s safe to say that I pretty much am always in the mood. It’s relaxing…and fun…and portable.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

While I love handwork, I know that many of you love handwork too. I also know that many of you are curious about handwork, and so I’ve been thinking that a Wainwright Quilt Along could help get us all going. After doing the Eads QAL last year, I knew that I wanted to plan more QAL adventures for this year. I’m happy to announce that the Wainwright Quilt Along will be up first!

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

My new pattern Wainwright was a lot of fun to put together. It’s about playing with color, shape and all kinds of possibilities. Each of the appliqué shapes can be shared and mixed between blocks. Plus, there are two different block sizes, which means you can pick one or the other (big or small) OR you can mix and match them both, because I deliberately sized them to work together. I always think that the more possibilities in a project, the better. No worries if any of that sounds daunting! We’ll cover it in the coming weeks, for sure.

Wainwright Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Next week (February 15) will be the start of the Wainwright Quilt Along, and I have 6 weeks planned, with a wrap up on March 22. My plan isn’t necessarily to have a finished top by the end of 6 weeks–although that could totally be your goal!–but instead, I’m thinking of using 6 weeks to get some blocks rolling, talk about handwork, and just generally participate with you in some hand sewing. Whether you’re in the midst of winter (my fellow Northern Hemisphere folks!) and trapped indoors, or if summer is upon you (hi, Southern Hemisphere-ies!) and you’re looking for projects to travel around with, handwork is always handy, and I hope that this will be a delight to add into your schedule.

Wainwright Quilt Pattern . Carolyn Friedlander

You can grab a copy of the pattern here, or at stores (that’s just a link to a google search, but you could also ask your local shop!).

You in?

Wainwright Quilt Along . Carolyn Friedlander

Let’s go!

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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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