WainwrightAL #1: The Pattern and The Plan.
To kick things off, I thought it would be appropriate to talk a bit more about the pattern, and then my plan for moving forward with my own project as well as in general. Plans are good, being excited about them might be better.
First, the pattern. Wainwright was inspired by and named after the Wainwright building in St Louis. If you’ve seen it or other Louis Sullivan buildings, you know that the ornamentation is incredible. There are so many beautiful motifs, and it was easy to become very inspired.
As a quilt, I love appliqué patterns that offer a lot of design possibilities, are fun to sew (because you’ll be getting right in there with it), and can be easy to travel with. With this one, I went for all of that by taking one basic motif and breaking it up in a way that could be mixed and matched among the blocks and with few or many fabrics.
Appliqué projects are always great for finding new color and fabric combinations, because once you cut out the shapes and layer them on a background, you can actually see what it’s basically going to look like. How cool is that? If you aren’t liking it, you can easily make a change by swapping out the background or by changing the appliqué (the top layer, or the shape). This is probably why I always have SO many appliqué projects cut out–because it’s way too tempting to cut them out to see what an idea will look like.
With this first version, I was most excited about using my new Gleaned collection and its coordinates. I used pieces from all of it.
Appliqué projects can be great for fussy cutting motifs and making use of special stuff–like the special selvage treatment in some of my newest prints from Gleaned. You can see snippets of this stuff in many of my blocks.
If you’re planning to take advantage of this, just make sure to position any special motifs where you want them in the squares that you’ll be cutting out. Both the background and appliqué pieces are cut from regular squares, so you can use the shape and size of the square to get your fabric positioned how you want it. Just keep in mind your 1/4″ seam allowances for sewing the blocks together and the 1/8″ seam allowances for appliqué (which yes, is plenty of seam allowance).
Back to the project.
There are two block sizes to this project–small and big. This first version uses only small blocks.
The small blocks are nice for a few reasons. First, you will need more of them, which means you can incorporate more fabric combinations and pairings. Second, smaller-sized blocks are pretty easy to handle and relatively speedier than larger ones.
The pattern also includes a larger-block option, which is what I incorporated into the second version that I made.
In this version, you can see how the sizes compare, because I used them together. I sized the blocks specifically to work this way, but of course, you can use them however you’d like! Just how my first version uses all small blocks, you can totally make a version with all big blocks. Or, you can mix them up. The possibilities are yours.
Big blocks are great because fewer of them make a larger project. They can also be a better format if you’re working with a larger print, and expanded shapes mean everything is extruded and therefore slightly easier technically if you’re just getting into the technique. If you’re curious, try one of each, and see what you think.
You’ll also notice that in this version I took a totally different route with the fabric. Instead of using tons of different fabrics, I used only two–this from Gleaned and this coordinate. The cool thing about this approach is that it really emphasizes the variety of shapes and sizes in the design.
The main thing that you can keep in mind with regard to either option is that the pieces cut from 1 appliqué square can be used for 2 blocks. Split them up and mix them about as you wish!
Now that you’ve seen my two versions, I hope that you’re excited to start mapping out your own! As for me, I’m planning to use small blocks in my next version–I love this size. To be totally upfront, I’m not entirely sure what final size (or even project type) that I am going for. I might make a pair of pillow shams…or I might do a wall hanging…I don’t know. I’m leaving that decision for later since I know I can adjust things as I go. I do have some fabrics pulled, but I think I’ll save that for next week.
Finally, I don’t want anyone stressing over this project. Handwork is usually my way to relax, and so I want this WainwrightAL to foster that same mood for you. Personally, I really liked the idea of using this QAL as a way to have an enjoyable something to work on in the background of my own life, and I hope that you find it fitting nicely into your life as well. Let’s use this time together to have fun, to enjoy each other and to enjoy playing with our fabric.
If you still need a copy of the pattern, you can find one here or checking with your local shop or favorite online retailer.
+ The project layout pages can totally be used as coloring pages. Either make copies as needed, OR use tracing paper over the top of them (since the layouts are already shaded) to explore your color/fabric ideas!
+ If you’re stalling out over fabric/color ideas, I always just go with my gut. Pulling fabric for a new project is massively exciting, but it can easily get out of control and lead to project paralysis. Instead of getting overwhelmed, take a step back and think about what’s most exciting to you. Start there, you can always make changes and adapt as you move along.
+ If you’re new to appliqué, not to worry! It’s fun and shouldn’t be intimidating. Everything gets easier with practice, especially this. This project is also perfect for anyone just getting started. I won’t be going over the exact technique since it’s outlined in the pattern, but I do have some classes on Creative Bug that fully walk you through the process. Here’s a link to my classes on Creative Bug.