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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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My Instead Collection.

Finally, I can share with you something that I’ve been thinking about and working on for more than the past year.

Instead Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

I’m so happy to share with you my Instead collection.

Instead started as an alternative way of thinking for me.

Instead Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

A fabric collection has many places where it can start. It can start with the design or a sense of shapes and patterns. It can also start with an overall concept of ideas to explore, OR in the case of Instead it all started with a sense of color that took hold and inspired me to take action.

Sometime before the Wainwright QAL last year, I became really interested in dark and moody color palettes. Light and bright is great, but I realized that I’d never really done a project where my range reached to the deep and dark ends of the spectrum. An obsession with the idea continued to grow after realizing my own need for the fabric to take me there.

Instead Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Enter the dark seeds of this collection. I wanted to explore the depths of a rich, dark color palette, and I wanted to find a new mood.

Instead Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

Instead is a 15 piece collection on quilting cotton. It has been such a treat for me to be able to create designs for several different substrates (linen, yarn dyed, knit jersey, etc), but with Instead I’ve been excited to get back to the quilting cotton. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about patchwork! (That said, now that the release and a few quilts are behind me, I’ve been dreaming up a few garments and other things to make with this collection…)

Instead Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

The collection is designed to work well with other things–especially all of my previous collections (I’m eager to start mixing it in!), but it’s also designed to work well on its own – like in the case of the new version of my Sunrise pattern.

Instead Sunrise Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

This has been one of my favorite patterns over time–it’s great for beginners, and it can take on so many different looks depending on the fabric. Like the collection, this version gives an alternative voice to the project.

The collection can also be mixed in different ways and with others, like in my new Arlo quilt. (I have been so excited about this project–more on Arlo soon!)

Arlo Instead Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Arlo was made from the entire Instead collection, plus a special set of coordinating solids that I put together.

Instead Fabric and Solid Coordinates . Carolyn Friedlander

I always love putting together a set of coordinates, because it lets you think about how the collection can start speaking to other things. In this case, I liked the idea of adding loads of texture with a variety of linens. I don’t usually look to coordinates to repeat something that already exists, but instead I’m looking for ways to complement and expand the opportunities of all of it.

Instead Fabric and Solid Coordinates . Carolyn Friedlander

So there we have it–my newest collection, Instead. I hope it can inspire you just as much as it has inspired me.

Instead Fabric . Carolyn Friedlander

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Mercer Tunic in Harriot.

Now that the weather is warming back up, I am very excited to make use of my new Mercer Tunic in Harriot. It is sooooo comfortable.

Mercer Tunic in Harriot . Carolyn Friedlander

The Mercer Tunic by Whitney Deal and I go back several years and many versions. It’s such a great top that I wear often!

Mercer Tunic in Harriot . Carolyn Friedlander

This yellow yarn-dyed woven was crying out to me to be a Mercer from the very beginning. This fabric is really soft and has a nice drape. (PS, if you aren’t a newsletter subscriber, here’s a link to last week’s mailing that includes a bit more about the different fabric weights in Harriot.)

Mercer Tunic in Harriot . Carolyn Friedlander

I make this pattern mostly as-is, but I’ve shortened the length just a bit. In previous versions, I’ve explored different lengths but this one seems to be my favorite.

Mercer Tunic in Harriot . Carolyn Friedlander

I always like picking a different fabric to use on the yoke lining as well as any bias tape facing for the neck and armholes. (Here’s how I generally do it.)  Using this method for the hem is also great, not only for the visual contrast, but also in any case where you’re ever tight on length. I wasn’t tight in the case of this top, but at other times when I might be pushing the boundaries of what I have, this hemming method is my go-to. Instead of multiple turns under, you only need the width of your seam allowance to attach the binding, before it all gets turned under.

Mercer Tunic in Harriot . Carolyn Friedlander

There we go, a new top!

Pattern: Mercer Tunic by Whitney Deal (and Moji Pants by Seamwork)

Fabric: Harriot (and Euclid for the pants)

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