Tag Archives | scrappy

Colorful Quilts for my Niece

This summer I made a couple of colorful quilts for my niece. It was a treat for both of us.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

To start, I picked up a couple of adorable mini charm packs from Bunny’s at QuiltCon back in February. (That feels like a million years ago!) Together the packs make up a full rainbow of color, and I knew at the time they’d be perfect for her–and me. I love all of the cute Japanese prints and the range of color feels so happy too.

colorful fabric squares

Quilt Tops

To me, one mini quilt wasn’t enough, and so I made matching quilts–a big one for her and the mini for her dolls. I made the mini first from the 2 mini charm packs from Bunny’s with 2 1/2″ squares added in from my stash (my 2 1/2″ square stash!). It’s a simple, checkerboard layout with the stash pieces going between the Japanese prints. The lighter colors set them off nicely.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

For the big quilt, I wanted a similar-but-larger match, and so I sized up by using 5″ squares. Unfortunately I didn’t have a perfect rainbow pre-cut pack to work with, but I created my own by diving into my stash. I sought out colorful prints with clever motifs that I hoped she’d enjoy discovering and perusing over time. There’s nothing better than an i-spy quilt, and I definitely had a great time revisiting all of these lovely fabrics.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Like in the mini version, I alternated in with some of my own lighter prints–mostly repurposed from my scrap piles.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Sewing

There’s nothing better than sewing through a stack of color, plus it was fun seeing all of the great prints as I sewed. I pressed all of the seams open, with a seam wheel first, and then with the iron. I think this makes things much easier.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Quilting!

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Hand quilting has been my personal vacation/spa treatment/zen in recent months. I’ve really been loving it. For these quilts I wanted to hand quilt them to make them super soft, but also to use a colorful array of thick threads to stand out.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

I changed my thread colors often to mimic the color changes across the quilt. The effect is really nice.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander
Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

I didn’t mark these quilts, and so the lines are more freeform. I stitched from corner to corner, with some definite wobble here and there, but I like the personal touch.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Label

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been trying to be better with adding labels to my quilts. It was pretty easy to do here, because I had an extra square from the big quilt. I re-purposed it for the label, and then made a matching mini for the other quilt.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

My niece loves her quilts, which of course makes me very happy.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

Pattern: None–just 5″ squares for the big quilt, 2 1/2″ squares for the little quilt.

Fabrics: Mini quilt is made from 2 mini charm packs from Bunnys (I don’t see a listing, but you can probably ask via email) plus my own fabric. Larger quilt is made from my stash with fabrics by Melody Miller, Alexia Abegg, Rifle, Aneela Hoey, UPPERCASE, Denyse Schmidt, Jeni Baker, Charley Harper, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Lizzy House, Ed Emberley, Leah Duncan, Robert Kaufman, and several others.

Hand Quilting: Here’s a link to my favorite tools.

Colorful Quilts for my niece . carolyn friedlander

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Scrap Squares.

Scraps! I’m not sure where you fall on the scrap spectrum, but for me they can get out of control. In an effort to cut down on my scrap pile, here’s a new thing I’ve been trying this year–and I think it is helping. These scrap squares are just the colorful break and productive way to deal with scraps that I needed.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

Scraps

I’m a scrap saver, mostly because I find scraps to be handy. Whether I’m paper piecing, appliquéing, thinking about new color schemes, it is less daunting to work from a pile of scraps than it is to work from something more precious and pristine like yardage. But then it is hard to part with scraps, and the piles become unruly.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

The Plan

The idea is simple, but by giving myself clear direction and purpose it is much easier to act. Any random pieces of fabric–usually leftovers from a project–are cut into 2 1/2″ squares. Then I sew them back together into 16-piece scrap squares (4 squares x 4 squares). Of course, you could do more/less squares, choose a different size, whatever. This is enough of a plan for now for me. I am going for a bit of a checkerboard in terms of the value with repeated fabric choices in a block or split up depending on what is available in the fabric pile.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

This strategy has been especially helpful after cutting out a garment or other project that leaves you with random sizes and shapes of fabric. It’s satisfying to cut those things down into tidy stacks of squares. Plus, I like seeing remnants of those garments in my patchwork.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

Storage

After I cut the scraps into squares, I file them away in this handy little box. Having a place for things and everything in its place is key. Then when I have a few extra minutes, need to clear my head, want to explore a color combination and/or just want to sew I can hit the box. It’s a great creative reprieve when you need it.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

Sometimes I get an idea for fabrics that I want to see together, and this is a satisfying way to put an idea into action without getting too carried away. There are some fun finds here that I could explore more in other projects or just enjoy that they found their way in to this one.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

I’m sort of keeping the blocks similar in terms of color, but who knows. Maybe that’ll change if the mood strikes. Every once in awhile I’ll pull out the blocks and think about different arrangements.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

This is also a great place for mini charms that I’ve picked up at shows from other designers. I love seeing their prints next to mine and the variety they add to the project.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

There we go. I can’t say that the scrap piles have fully disappeared, but I can say that a lot of it has been diverted to a more orderly place with a colorful outcome in mind.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

Pattern: None. It’s 2 1/2″ squares sewn together in groups of 16.

Fabric: Scraps from many of mine, plus others’ like Elizabeth Hartman, Violet Craft, Anna Graham and Liberty Of London.

scrap squares . carolyn friedlander

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04/14/20 Scrappy Everglade Update

Ready for a little color? I haven’t worked on my scrappy Everglade blocks in forever, and I have missed it.

After finishing the appliqué for Hunt, this has always been the project I wanted to come back to. It’s colorful, carefree and the blocks take just the right amount of time to keep it interesting.

It’s been several years since I started this project, and there’s never been a deadline or purpose other than to enjoy each block, color and fabric combination at the time. Appliqué is addictive. There is an instant gratification of seeing your block once you cut it out. It’s such a low commitment to some serious visual pleasure. With this project, I didn’t want to get too carried away with any one step, and so I decided I’d work 1 block at a time and let the reward for finishing 1 block be picking out the next one.

This is my newest pick. The piece from Collection CF was sitting on my cutting table just wanting to be made in to a block. I took it to my Liberty pile and liked this pairing the best–although there were many many good options.

It’s funny seeing them all together, because I have not had an overall color plan other than not to use too much white. Being a block-by-block selection process, it’s been more a diary of the fabrics that are speaking to me at the time, which is interesting to see all other. Sometimes it’s a new acquisition or sometimes it’s something from another project or on the cutting table that I am inspired to try. There are no real rules.

I’m not surprised to see so many warm colors, but I am a little surprised by how many purple-y pinks I have in there. There’s also no green somehow, which needs to be addressed! There are several good bright yellows, pickle and wasabi. I love that and want to see even more.

I now have 26 blocks finished–yay! And I’m ready to pick out the next one.

pattern: Everglade, I’m making the small blocks

fabric(s): I think all of my collections are represented, plus Liberty of London

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