Carolyn Friedlander Weekend at Fancy Tiger Crafts

Carolyn Friedlander Weekend at Fancy Tiger Crafts | Grainline Studio

I know most of you are just here for the garment sewing tips, but I really think my knitting and quilting combine with garment sewing to make me better at all three. I also think that learning something new, even if it’s not directly related to garment sewing, is a great way to keep your mind fresh and ready to adapt for new challenges, whatever they may be. I’m also a huge fan of Carolyn Friedlander – both her fabric line, patterns, and all the garments she makes – and always love an excuse to see Jaime and Amber (though Amber was out of town this time) so when Jaime told me last year that Fancy Tiger was going to be having a Carolyn Friedlander retreat I told her to save two spots!

Carolyn Friedlander Weekend at Fancy Tiger Crafts | Grainline Studio

My mom and I flew into Denver on Thursday afternoon with about 80 Carolyn Friedlander fat quarters in tow and checked into our Air B&B to figure out what to do with our free day on Friday before the meet & greet and go through the fabrics we brought. By coincidence my mom and I each had 2 collections of fat quarters and no repeats so we decided to pool the fabrics together for our quilts – it ended up being both overwhelming and amazing.

Carolyn Friedlander Weekend at Fancy Tiger Crafts | Grainline Studio

On Friday we decided to check out some mountains and headed out on a route Amber recommended. We headed to a town called Evergreen for brunch at the Wildflower Cafe, then continued up to Mt. Evans. We got out at the Mount Goliath Natural Area to walk around and check out the grove of Rocky Mountain bristlecone pines. Apparently it’s the northernmost grove of bristlecone pines in the US and they were definitely cool. After that we headed up to Summit Lake Park to walk around after a stop to see a few mountain goats. It was pretty cold at Summit Lake Park and at 12,836 feet above sea level, a bit low on oxygen for two Chicagoans. The road to the actual summit was closed which was fine since it was getting late anyway and we had to be back at FT for the first weekend event.

Carolyn Friedlander Weekend at Fancy Tiger Crafts | Grainline Studio

On Saturday we had a class in paper piecing – something that my mom has done before but I never had so a totally new experience for me. It’s always weird being a beginner in something related to fabric but it took over half the day for me to place the first strip of fabric down face up. Every fiber of my being says that placing a piece of fabric face up to sew is wrong so it was pretty hard to fight that.

Carolyn was an awesome teacher who was super chilled out and didn’t mind reminding me over and over, face up! It felt a lot like this scene from The Royal Tenenbaums honestly which cracked me up internally.

Carolyn Friedlander Weekend at Fancy Tiger Crafts | Grainline Studio

Eventually by the end of the day my brain was fried but I’d made 6 blocks which I think is a pretty good start! My blocks are on the left above and my mom’s are on the right. I think the thing that took the longest was choosing color combinations honestly. We were working off Carolyn’s Eads pattern which is awesomely geometric. I love a good triangle quilt and this is a really cool alternative to regular triangles.

Carolyn Friedlander Weekend at Fancy Tiger Crafts | Grainline Studio

I really enjoyed the class and learning something new, and fighting my natural fabric placement instincts was good for me I think. I guess I have another quilt started now – 6 blocks down, 42 to go!

That night we went out for dinner with Carolyn & Jaime and then headed back to where we were staying, got ready for day two, and crashed hard!

Carolyn Friedlander Weekend at Fancy Tiger Crafts | Grainline Studio

Day two we were back at Fancy Tiger to learn hand appliqué! My mom and I took a class maybe 15 years ago on needle turned appliqué so we had a bit of an intro prior to this which was nice for me. I’d also started Carolyn’s Collection Quilt and had read her book Savor Each Stitch which were both helpful in knowing a tiny bit about her appliqué style. That said nothing compares to seeing her appliqué in real life. It was so nice to see how she stitches, where she clips, how she holds the fabric, etc. Especially coming from garment sewing where everything is much larger scale!

Carolyn Friedlander Weekend at Fancy Tiger Crafts | Grainline Studio

We worked on her Wainwright pattern in this class and she came with a bunch of squares pre-cut so I used those for my two blocks. I figured that way I could focus on my technique rather than spending time trying to come up with a color scheme for a quilt I’m not quite ready to buy fabric for. I do still have that Collection Quilt going on…probably should finish that first.

Carolyn Friedlander Weekend at Fancy Tiger Crafts | Grainline Studio

I picked up SOOOOO many amazing tips and tricks and techniques from which supplies to use, length of thread to use, basting tips, and especially how to do different types of curves, corners and other tricky shapes. I’m super happy with how my two appliqué blocks turned out and since getting back on Monday I’ve almost finished the 3rd block on my collection quilt! It’s amazing the difference that learning from someone makes. I think that was a real revelation for me since I’m usually the one teaching and not taking a class. But now I get it!

Traveling to a class was also awesome because you have nothing else going on, you don’t have to go home and make dinner or walk the dog or clean the house, you can just relax after class and get ready for the next day. 100% would do again!

So if you’ve gotten to the end of this post, I’m assuming you’re either a quilter or are interested in quilting at some point. If so, have you tried paper piecing or hand appliqué before? Who are my other quilt lovers out there?!

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15 replies on “Carolyn Friedlander Weekend at Fancy Tiger Crafts

  • Sarah

    Love paper piecing and hand appliqué! Beautiful color combinations. I’ve used my handwork skills from quilting many times when constructing garments. Complimentary skills for sure.

    Reply
  • Emily

    I’ve tried paper piecing before. I got the idea of it and have made a few small projects, but I don’t think I’ll ever do a lot of it – I don’t like dealing with all that paper, and I hate ripping off the backs! That said, it is nice to get those perfect points…
    Thanks for sharing details about your class!

    Reply
    • Jen

      I definitely want to finish this quilt and then after that we’ll see how / if it fits into my regular making routine. I haven’t had to pull the paper off yet but it does seem tedious!!

      Reply
  • Nancy

    I love Carolyn’s work too and plan to start some appliqué this winter. I also live in Chicago and it bothers me there is no place here to take classes like this. You would think in a city this size we would.

    Reply
    • Jen

      I know, it really stinks. I feel like a lot of guilds bring her in but I’m not a member of any and I don’t know anything about the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild, if it’s something they would do or not. I do wish we had a space for awesome teachers to come in and teach us!

      Reply
      • Heather Kinion

        Just FYI (as president of the Chicago MQG) we have been trying for over a year to get a date on Carolyn’s calendar to bring her in to teach. The only responses we have gotten were about her not taking bookings at this time, but we keep sending emails in the hopes that one day we get a hit!

        I also teach at Lillstreet Art Center and I know that they have hired more quilting instructors, so there are more options than ever before to take quilting classes there, although those classes are by local quilt experts/artists and not national teachers. And I know that Sarah Nishiura usually covers paper piecing in her Quilting Projects classes both at Lillstreet and at Hyde Park Art Center where she teaches at least one class like that each year (Hyde Park in the fall and Lillstreet in the Winter/Spring).

        Reply
        • Jen

          This is all great info! I did know about Carolyn not taking bookings at the moment, she said the same thing to us in class. It’s exhausting to travel so much and then have to design and produce products! I briefly taught at Lillstreet years ago but I think quilting wasn’t as big there then as it seems to be now. I’ll definitely point people in that direction and check out the Hyde Park Art Center!

          Reply
  • Megan

    The EPP bug recently bit me big-time, and I haven’t sat at my machine for ages. I love that I can hand-sew any where (particularly the couch with “Queer Eye” on!). But I just bought the SOI Cora top/dress, so I think I might get some of that machine sew-jo back.

    Reply
    • Jen

      That’s me with my knitting and now appliqué! I’m about halfway through the second season but I keep switching between Queer Eye and Grand Designs to make each show last longer, haha! Fall is a great time to get back to the machine because, lets face it, sitting inside at a machine during the summer when you could be outside with a portable project is just not as appealing

      Reply
  • Heather Kinion

    I love the results of foundation paper piecing BUT I don’t really like the process very much. I like fiddling with challenging piecing in my patchwork. I also always have to think really hard and check a few times to make sure I set up for the first seam correctly! After years of it and after teaching it a few times too!

    I am intrigued by Caroline’s applique technique and I got to see many of her quilts up close at Quiltcon this year in Pasadena where they had a special exhibit of her work. Someday I will have the right project to fully jump in on needle turn applique.

    Reply
    • Jen

      Yeah I’m not totally sure I’m into the process of paper piecing or not but I’m going to finish this quilt before I decide. Challenging patchwork piecing sounds very intense, I’m not much of a quilter so I’m interested in what this means! As for appliqué I’ve taken a needle turned class and hers now, and find myself using a combo of the two techniques which is really helpful. I cannot believe how fast she appliqués though, good lord!! Hoping to go to Quiltcon in Nashville while also visiting a friend so maybe I can learn more about quilting styles looking at everyone’s quilts!

      Reply
  • Kaitlin Ward

    I’m big into quilting and garment making — I find when I lose the mojo for one, the other takes the lead, which is good for keeping things fresh and inspired. I have an ongoing Friedlander FPP quilt going — her Sessoms — I like paper piecing projects because they can sit in a draw forever and not get warped, and because they’re scrappy, I don’t have to worry too much about color themes. Whenever I finish a quilt top or a cotton-based garment, I take the leftover fabric scraps and make a few Sessoms squares — were I to do a full FPP quilt at once, I think I’d find it tedious, but doing it piecemeal keeps it fun and interesting.

    I’ve tried EPP — it’s too slow for me… I need fast gratification.. I think I’d feel that way about applique too, so I haven’t tried it. My ‘slow’ craft is knitting.

    Reply

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