Friday, July 26, 2019

Dedicated to Design - 2019 FAL Q3 Goals

I've linked up from instagram my 2019 FAL Q3 Goals but I do like to have a reference here on the blog for posterity so this post is two fold.   I realized that the four tops that I chose to (hopefully) finish are All About Design in their own way. There can be many levels of "design" and I think it's important to value them all.

The theme for the month of July #sbbsewfor15 with hostess Isabelle @southbaybella is Quilt Design so I thought I'd take this time to write a post about the topic near and dear to my creative heart.  I'll also link to previous #qdad2reality projects mentioned so you can learn more if you like.

Shown in the mosaic below:
1. Glamp Stitchalot  2015 Medallion - six instructors shared their own original block design and encouraged attendees to combine them into a unique layout.
2. Merge v3, my third color variation of the pattern that I wrote for MQG QOM
3. Nosey Kitten - from Jen Carlton-Bailey's Secondary Design workshop that I took at QuiltCon
4. Pantone Living Coral, an original design influenced by the wedge workshop with Kathy Doughty.

Because I enjoy hearing about the design and construction process from other makers, I've made a point of sharing my own on the blog.  I also find it helpful to read old posts with a new perspective on things.

Whatever method you use to track or document your creative journey (for me it's my blog, instagram posts and random disorganized sketchbooks)  think about revisiting earlier ideas because if you're anything like me, there's a goldmine of unexplored concepts waiting to be made - and remade.

Digital Mock Up Color Variations 
First up is MERGE - mostly because I haven't written a post about it yet and it's sew sew special!  This is an original design that was chosen by the Modern Quilt Guild as a Quilt of the Month.  The pattern is available for free to members.  It is graphic with oversized parts and gentle curves.  Pushing my "Improv Abstraction" into yet another direction was really rewarding.

This was the first collaboration with my sister who custom quilted it beautifully.   There were two other tops that I made during the pattern testing phase as a way to check my math, instructions and also to play with color placement. Isn't it fun how different the three are?

I straight line stitched and finished the one above FAL Q1 and have included the one below as a Q3 goal.  You can see the slight change in colors used when comparing the digital mock up but I stayed in the same general palette so they read pretty true. 

The vector design program that I use is called InkScape.  It is free and on my apple mini.  I discovered it through the Facebook group Quilt Design A Day (QDAD) and although I've learned just enough of the basics to get by - for the most part it does what I need.  I also do some of the editing in photoshop for publishing.  The mono option when viewing the image on my iPhone is an easy way to check value on a prospective fabric pull.

A post about Merge would not be complete without a picture of my sis and I posing with it at QuiltCon in Nashville and a shout out to Curated Quilts where it was featured in the Gallery of "Curves" issue 7.

Next up is the QuiltCon Swap mini that I made using a pencil/pen and graph paper to design with the intention of letting the final composition evolve during the make.  The sketches are simply a jumping off point, a general concept for a place to start.  Then it's Design As You Go. 

One of the really entertaining things that can happen with this approach is the unintended "object" that sometimes appears - in this case it was a thumb and I didn't see it until after I'd nailed the small inset circle-ish had been sewn in beautifully.  (technique tutorial here)

Laughing at myself, I had to capture a picture before cutting it out and moving on. Here's the finished mini at the swap exchange - my partner Jera gave it the thumbs up!

QuiltCon Mini Swap Exchanged
Another example of translating the "spirit of" a design rather than literally is this inkscape mock up for Marci in May 2015 of Tiny Little Houses for her BeeSewcial neighborhood prompt.  Rather than freeform improv she specifically requested that we sketch an idea, a step that she includes in her process. 
Inkscape mock up

one of several blocks
I found that I spent as much time on the digital design as I did sewing it but that including this step in my process was a stretch - which is a big part of the bee.  Once I let go and embraced the idea that I did not need to replicate it I was fine.

There are other times when the personal challenge for myself is to bring the digital version to life in fabric.  Here are several examples with links to the original posts where I describe in more detail the design process:

RESONATE: An Art Gallery Heartland Fabric Blog Hop

Original Coloring and Revised 

GET A GRIP: Shown here with the spark image and palette, digital mock up and finished quilt. 

BEND, DON'T BREAK:  QDAD Special Exhibit - This was a big deal for me :)

Parts On the Design Wall


Original QDAD

Some of the QDADers at QuiltCon Special Exhibit

SURF CRUSADE: Gloaming Fabric Blog Hop

Digital mock up

Finished Quilt
FREE-RANGE: Fabric Challenge

I hope that you'll give designing a try at whatever level you feel comfortable with - and then push a little further.  Happy Stitching, Karen


  1. Beautiful projects! Should be a fun quarter for you!

  2. So many beautiful creative ideas! When I design something, I tend to keep it simple. I do need to expand a bit more


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