carkai improv stripes


If you follow me on IG, you’ve likely noticed my obsession with Carolyn Friedlander‘s newest line, Carkai (I usually try to keep from posting the same fabrics over and over, but I haven’t been able to help it this time!). I bought a fat quarter bundle from a friend who snagged one early, and immediately put it to use in my diamond panes quilt. But I wasn’t quite done playing with this line, so when I received a layer cake from a generous sponsor (thank you, Brooke!), I decided to jump right in and make another quilt out of the layer cake and the remnants from the FQ bundle.


I’ve had stripes on my mind for quite a while. I attempted to make something with stripes a while back with one of the C+S lines, but it didn’t work out as I had imagined (those stripes were too straight!). Ever since I’ve been waiting for the right line in order to attempt it again.


I think the prints and colors of Carkai are just perfect for these improv stripes. I love pairing the various prints – especially since many of them aren’t colors I’d typically pair together, but somehow every pairing seems to work. This time around I cut my fabrics without a ruler to give more of that wonky, wavy look, and I tried not to overthink the print/color pairings.


I love making blocks in this manner, though it does take longer than a straightforward pattern. I don’t have tons of time for sewing these days though, so making blocks one at a time worked here. I didn’t worry about block size – just used what I had and figured I’d fill in where needed after the fact.


I finally filled the design wall with messy-looking striped blocks (I wait to trim them until I’m ready to piece together the quilt top, so before sewing them together things look pretty iffy!), and then had the opportunity to spend a lot of time this weekend putting this puzzle together. There’s usually a lot of staring at the blocks on the design wall – determining the best way to sew them together – along with a lot of additional sewing to make up all the extra filler blocks. I get such joy at seeing it come together and it gave me the motivation to get the top finished up (even though I kept eyeing the couch!)


I love this one more than I thought I would now that the top’s finished, and can’t wait to see it as a completed quilt!

Oh! Of course I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Carkai is now showing up in shops! I highly recommend adding some to your stash!

Here are a few shops that have it in stock now -

Intrepid Thread
Fat Quarter Shop
Westwood Acres Fabrics
Lady Belle Fabrics
Pink Castle Fabrics

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15 Responses to carkai improv stripes

  1. 1
    Penny G says:

    Love how the puzzle came together. It is beautiful.

  2. 2
    Judy Tucker says:

    Great quilt! Your improv stripes work so well with Carolyn Freidlander’s colors/fabrics. Your photos are so cool, too!

  3. 3

    This is wonderful! Did you construct the blocks a certain way when you were making them?

  4. 4
    Catherine H says:

    It’s similar to purchasing fabric, only to realize you already have it in your stash.

  5. 5
    Teje says:

    Hi! This looks fantastic! I love to work the way, starting to make blocks and then arranging them on the design wall and filling the spare spaces. I received lots of strips so your quilt inspires me very much! Merry Christmas! x Teje

  6. 6
    kris says:

    Love it and love that you took a chance and went with it and the prints worked so well together to make a cool finish.

  7. 7
    Robby says:

    Brilliant photo op for a fun quilt. Interesting to read a bit about your design process, too.

  8. 8
    Karen @runsewfun says:

    I’m inspired by so many of your quilts, but I think this one is my favorite. The colors & prints in this collection are fantastic and the way you’ve put them all together…perfect!!! I am committing to make something with no rulers in 2016! Thanks for sharing.

  9. 9
    Mary Ann says:

    Lovely quilt, quirky yet so sophisticated!

  10. 10
    Lea says:

    Another beauty you’ve done! I love this quilt! Great photos too. Well done and fabulous fabrics.

  11. 11
    Alycia says:

    Beautiful quilt – but I LOVE the setting where you took the photos!! Stunning contrasts!

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Kate says:

    You are a quilting genius! I love this top and can’t wait to see how you finish it.
    Best of luck with the new baby, such an exciting time. Hope you still find the time to sew, more important than ever (for mental good health) when time to yourself is so scarce after a baby.

  14. 14
    Leah says:

    awesome quilt! and i love the striped cones you chose for the shooting location!

  15. Pingback: FITF: mismatched stripes | Film in the Fridge

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