Sew Inspired by Carolyn Friendlander
As a fan of Carolyn Friedlander's fabrics and patterns, art director Elizabeth Stumbo enjoyed chatting with the designer about all things quilting. You can read more of the interview and see Carolyn's pictures in the February 2019 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.
Elizabeth Stumbo: If you weren't a designer, what would you want to do?
Carolyn Friendlander: I can't imagine my life without design in it, so if I weren't designing in this particular way, I'd hope that I'd be using design in another way.
ES: What is your favorite brick and mortar shop you like to visit?
CF: This is a tough question! There are so many great shops out there, and I'd hate to play favorites! The coolest thing about shops in this industry is how personalized they can be to their communities, founders, and so much more. My favorite shops are the ones that do that well.
ES: Describe your fabric stash.
CF: How can you not have a stash? There's just too much good stuff out there! I have plenty of my own fabric, but I also try to keep some stuff on hand that inspires me as well. There are plenty of designers that I admire, and I love picking up and supporting their work. When I work on projects that aren't work related, I like being able to work with something I have on hand, which too easily justifies having a stash.
ES: What are you currently working on?
CF: I'm always working on new stuff! That's the coolest (and maybe most challenging) part of my job. There's always an idea that I want to explore, and so I'm always figuring out how to make it a reality.
ES: What tips or tricks do you have if you find yourself in a creative rut?
CF: Just get going! Start sewing on a mini quilt, bust out something you haven't looked at in awhile, or get outside and go for a walk. I find that taking some kind of action can help get your wheels turning. For me, I always get so many ideas while I'm sewing, which is why I think that making a mini quilt can help get you motivated. It's something small that won't feel like a lot of pressure, but it almost always can open up the possibilities for so much more.
ES: What is your favorite pattern or fabric line that you have designed and why?
CF: Designing fabric is such a dream in so many ways. I love doing it. I'd have to say that my first line, Architextures, is maybe the most satisfying just because it was the first. I thought for so long about what I wanted it to be, and seeing it realized and used has been a remarkable journey.
ES: What part of the quilting or design process do you most enjoy?
CF: I love designing patterns and fabrics that can be used in many different ways and then seeing the idea come to life. It's definitely the process that gets me most excited, both in seeing my own ideas through, as well as in seeing how others use my patterns and fabric.
ES: Hidden hobby or talent?
CF: This is probably obvious, but I get pretty obsessed with learning to make things, which isn't just limited to sewing and quilting. I'll get on kicks where I'm interested in figuring different stuff out. The most recent thing has been fermentation. I started brewing my own kombucha about two years ago, and I've since expanded to fermenting other things as well.
ES: What is the best quilting tip/advice you have shared with someone else?
CF: I don't like for people to stress out too much over their projects or the techniques. It's just fabric and we're supposed to be having fun with it. If you aren't thrilled about a certain project, don't do it! If you aren't happy with a certain technique, don't worry about it! There are plenty of other projects and techniques that we can do and be happy with. Another important thing to remember is that everything gets better with practice. It's a good reminder when just getting started.
ES: What do you love about being a quilter/the quilting community?
CF: Quilting is so creatively satisfying! I love how much control we have to make whatever we want and however we want. The best thing about the quilting community is seeing such a diverse representation of that.
ES: If you could create your "dream sewing space" what would it look like or what would you include?
CF: My dream sewing space would definitely include room on the floor and/or walls to display projects as I'm working on them. I always find it helpful to be able to see where something is going. The space that I use now is a dream in many ways. I feel lucky to have spaces for the work that I do. It's great.
For more information about Carolyn Fredlander visit CarolynFriedlander.com or @carolynfriedlander on Instagram.