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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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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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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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