Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Design Work; First Draft

My big idea was to quilt interlocking circles and melons in the border, filling the secondary shapes with stars. (since the name of the quilt is Drunkard's Moon, what better way to quilt it than with stars, right?)

Step One is to stitch in the ditch the seamline connecting the border to the body of the quilt. Since that little line of piping is so bright that it will stick out like a sore thumb if it's wavy, it's imperative that I straighten it out and nail it down before I do any other quilting.

Next, I'll lay out the 'bones' of the design. Using various sizes of circles, I'm chalking in the shapes. There's no math involved; I'm just plunking down circles to find what fits, then chalking around the shape with a little lipstick shaped Chacoliner tool. Next, I'm filling in between the circles with melons, chalking them as I go.

Since I don't have a template that's the correct size for this circle, I've had to make a little compass out of my chalk pencil. This was easily accomplished by sticking a pin in the center of the circle and tying a piece of thread between the pin and the pencil. Using this makeshift compass, I can now draw out a circle that perfectly fits the block. Easy peasy pie.

This isn't working. Because the size of the circles vary depending on their placement, the secondary shapes they form when they're combined with the interlocking melons are not consistent. This is a big fly in the ointment which did not show up on paper. Curses! Time for a new plan.

Moving to the other end of the border, I changed the circles to ovals to get a deeper curve to see if that made things better, and started filling in some of the secondary shapes with stars. This idea looked great on paper, but on the quilt? Not so much. Just goes to show you that the best design work is done directly on the fabric as you just can't get all of the details of the quilt down on paper no matter how hard you try. Time to dump this plan and start a new one.

The chalked design lines have been removed and I am back to the drawing board. I really like the way these circles flow out of the corners, completing the circular block. To me, this is a pleasing base for my design work and I'm going to elaborate on it and see where it goes.

After deciding that I needed to walk away from the quilt for the night before it becomes a source of frustration (when working out the details of a design, I try never to get to the point where I become frustrated and begin to hate the quilt), I went to my computer and started drawing with my graphics tablet to see if I could get anywhere. Why didn't I do this first?!? By drawing, I was able to find a good idea that flows nicely and now I have something to sleep on. Yay.


  1. Love to see you working with the Avante', it's the machine I have and you give me hope. Love to see how you plan out your designs...brilliant!

  2. I feel like I am in your brain - I love it. Is the graphic tablet part of your machine or something else? Off to read more!!