Monday, October 4, 2010

What's On My Design Wall::Design Decisions

I can't show what's up on my design wall today because it's a project I'm preparing for a demo at my next guild meeting.  I was debating with myself about showing it, but I don't want to spoil the surprise for the guild members who read my blog.  Hi, Sew 'n' Tell peeps!

I'm posting ABOUT it, though, because I took the design process challenge a while back and this project shows how I go about making a new quilt.  Most people I know begin with a whole quilt in mind, maybe a quilt pattern they saw in a magazine or a store.  They shop for their fabric.  They cut.  And cut.  Then they begin sewing things together, and, before you know it they have a nice completed quilt. 

Not me.  I begin with a block design.  It may be something interesting that just caught my eye.  Or challenging.  I like challenging, as long as it doesn't involve applique, that is.  Or paper piecing.  I may DREAM about a whole quilt with this new block design, but I concentrate on one block at a time.  Next, I draft the block.  If I can find the drafted block somewhere, so much the better; I like to see how the parts fit together and to get a feel for how I'm going to sew it.  I have a big tablet of oversized graph paper that I use to draw the block or sometimes I use my ancient (and now defunct) EQ5. 

Once the block is drafted, I take a look at how the colors are going to work together.  Where are the lights?  Which pieces need to be dark?  If I switch things around, how will that affect the impact of the design?

Then, I choose some fabrics and I make a block.  At this point, I tell myself that this is just an experiment, but it's really play.  I love playing with bits of fabric and trying out different color combinations.  If the block "works" for me, I hang it up somewhere and look at it for a while, sometimes for a few days.  Do I like it?  What could I do differently?  What might make it better? 

If it looks like it's going to work, I usually shop my stash to see what fabrics I have that will work with the block.  Sometimes I can make do with what I have, but most of the time I find that I have to supplement with a little bit more of a particular color.

Is it any wonder that it takes me a long time to get a quilt finished?

But, the thing is, I LIKE working this way, even though it seems incredibly time consuming.  My joy is in the making, rather than in the finished product.  (Although, I have to admit, the finished quilt is always a big thrill for me.  Maybe because it's such a long journey from idea to fulfillment.)

Later on in the month, I'll post about the demo quilt for guild.

This has been a long post, I know.  I do have one quilty picture.  I've gotten a start on another seven sisters block.

You can see what others have on their design walls this week by checking out Judy L's. Patchwork Times blog.  (And with them, you can probably actually SEE what they're working on.)


Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

I LIKED your long post, Diana. It is always interesting to learn how another quilter proceeds.

wv -- pawagge: the marks the dog's feet leave on the door, the floor, the whatever

Vivian said...

The joy in this process is NOT knowing where it's going at the start. It can be great to have a pattern or design all laid out for you (especially when you are on a deadline!) but it CAN be more fun to see what develops as you question, change directions and explore. And (IMHO) that's what makes quilting as legitimate an art as any other!