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cf Mini QAL #6: Fussy and/or Directional Placement.

cf Mini QAL #6: Fussy and/or Directional Placement.

Did you have fun creating a gradation?

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

I created a few more blocks to add to my Davie pile from last week, and I like how a gradation adds a bit of harmony and composure to the group.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

As for the colors, I expanded on some that I started last week and went with my gut on what to put together next. I made sure to lay out each block as I worked to see how it was shaping up.

Davie Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

On to the next challenge, are you ready?

This week, we’re going to explore getting fussy and/or directional with your placement.

Local Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

What’s fussy and what’s directional placement? I think of fussy as any way you get picky with your fabric placement. Maybe it’s putting a cute cat into a certain position on your block, or maybe it’s making sure that something lines up just the way you want it. Directionality comes into play with directional prints–think stripes, checks and any motifs that are best read in one way or have an up/down/side to them. In this case, you may decide that you want the direction of the fabric to be reflected in a specific way in the final project.

Getting a little (or a lot) fussy is all a matter of preference and skill to some degree–so don’t stress! If you’re new to it, a good trick is to know the good places to start and how to grow your skills from there. Also keep in mind that like most anything, it gets better with practice and as you start recognizing opportunities.

Fussy Cut Envelopes_detail_Carolyn Friedlander

When paper piecing, the first piece on the template is always the easiest place to get intentional, and my Envelopes project (especially the version above) is a great example to start with. The inside liner is the first piece, and you can see how I’ve added special motifs to each one. Because this is the first piece, you’re able to place your fabric however you want.

austin house for nichole

Another relatively easy place to consider fabric placement is in your border. In my Austin House (above) you can see that I cut my border fabric strips lengthwise for the vertical piece and widthwise for the horizontal piece so the dots on the fabric are running in the quilt as they do on the fabric. Matched up or not, keeping a directional fabric directional in your borders is relatively easy and always a fun place to start.

((Tip: If you’re working on Lusk version C, the side panels would be a great place to play with this idea! Simply cut them together and they’ll match up wonderfully.))

To take directionality up another notch, take a look at this other version of Austin and how I kept the gingham background fabric going up/down. This may look totally normal, but without paying attention to the directional placement of the fabric the gingham would be going a many different directions.

Austin House 3_detail_carolyn friedlander

I like this example because it shows how directional placement can unite areas seamlessly. Of course this kind of means that the hard work you put into it isn’t noticeable. But to me, it’s not only entertaining to get things like this to work out when you’re sewing, but it’s also a fun detail to have working for you in the end.

Here’s another example in the same vein.

Outhouse Quilt . Carolyn Friedlander

Of course you could probably take it a bit further and match up the top background a bit better, and if we’re getting super picky, my bottom stripes are a hair off, but you get the point. This single block from my Outhouse pattern gives you all kinds of opportunity to play with your fabric.

((Tip: An easy first attempt for this block could be to get something fussy in the door. That’s the first section on that part of the block, and a wonderful place to slip in a little critter or something else fun.))

You ready? I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Tips:

+ I find that using a light box is helpful when paper piecing in general and especially when getting fussy with your fabrics. I like using the Daylight Wafer 1 with a clear cutting mat on top.

+ Being fussy and/or attentive to directional fabrics can be approached in a range from hard-core to more subtle. Pick your pleasure, and don’t get too stressed about it. I always find it entertaining to see if I can get things to match up or positioned in a specific way. When it works, yay! When it doesn’t work, no biggie. You took a risk, and I’ll bet you were able to learn something that you can apply to your next attempt.

+ Further reading: The Fussy Cut Sampler by Nichole Ramirez and Elisabeth Woo (Hardy). This book doesn’t get into paper piecing and fussy cutting specifically, but it is certainly an excellent resource for fussy cutting tips in general and inspiration.

cf mini quilt along . carolyn friedlander

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Satellite 5 Quilt by Lynn Harris.

The Satellite 5 quilt by Lynn Harris is truly a stunner.

satellite 5 quilt by Lynn Harris_

Especially considering how few fabrics went into the making of it.

I challenged Lynn to create a quilt using only the large-scale print from carkai and without even using different colorways to differentiate a motif. (Note: Lynn used two additional colorways in the border and background, but still from the same print! Great, right?!)

As soon as I started to see progress photos, I could barely hold in my excitement. The reason I asked Lynn to work with me on this project was because of the beautifully intricate and interesting fussy-cut EPP she’d been doing on her own. (See here, here, here, here, here…so many good ones!) I was completely fascinated by it and knew Lynn’s vision would be perfect for one way I imagined seeing my newest fabric collection.

making satellite 5 quilt_Lynn Harris

There’s so much you can do with a larger scale print, and I think of this type of project as a way to use it in a small way–one which takes and hones in on a single element of a larger design, extrudes it and pieces it back together in a way that creates something entirely new.

making satellite 5 quilt_Lynn Harris

I love looking at these so much, and I hope to find time to make some of them myself. It looks like a ton of fun and like the type of project that can open your mind up to seeing fabric in a different way.

satellite 5 quilt by Lynn Harris

It was also a treat that Lynn trusted me to quilt it. Quilting for someone else is always something I’ve taken very seriously. It represents a lot of trust, especially on a project like this where Lynn clearly put so much of her thought and time into it. I wanted to make sure my quilting honored and respected that while highlighting what makes the piecing so special.

satellite 5 quilt by Lynn Harris

As for the quilting, I did a mixture of things. First, I started with some basic, big-stitch hand quilting in a complementary color as well as with a little bit of an accent color.

satellite 5 quilt by Lynn Harris

Then I came in with free motion to highlight and further emphasize the beautiful, fussy-cut piecing Lynn created.

satellite 5 quilt by Lynn Harris

Because Lynn is so wonderful, this project is written up as a free pattern available on the Robert Kaufman website (here)–so you can have at it too! I’m pretty excited to see how others interpret this project as well.

Big thank you to Lynn for all of her work on this project. You can find out more about her and her work here and here (Instagram).

satellite 5 quilt by Lynn Harris

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