Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quilt Class 101 - Week 2 Design

Week 2 - Design

Thanks for joining me again! Im excited to share with you my next passion... Design. I just love Designing new Quilts.
I have found, there are different types of Quilters… Which one are you??
a) The Quilter who follows patterns.
b) The Quilter who gets fabric, starts cutting and creates a quilt as they go along.
c) The Quilter who designs before they sew.

I LOVE Quilter a), because its YOU lovely Quilters who buy my patterns and help me keep Quilting…
What type of Quilter am I??  I have been each of these quilters at different times. For today's class, I want to help give you some tools so you can get the courage to become a little more of quilter c..... The Designer.
I, like all of you, LOVE fabric. They are all so amazing and i wonder how could a fall in love with each new range that is released. I'm not sure what it is about fabric that i'm drawn to. Whatever it is.. i just cant get enough..
One thing i found a few years ago, when i went to my first quilt show was, there were so many amazing fabrics... but yet i COULDN'T really find a quilt design that i felt suited any of them. I found alot of them were 'old school' in their design just with new modern fabrics. To me it was like, they had taken NO consideration of the fabric, when designing the quilt. None of the quilt patterns let the fabrics shine. I have tried to keep this in mind as i design my quilt patterns. I think it is such an important part when your designing a quilt or buying a quilt pattern, that your pattern and fabric match and that they work together.

Where to find inspiration???
I tend to look for designs in everything around me. I'm like a scrapbooker taking photos, for the next scrap book page. I look at the world through quilt design eyes. Crazy i know!! I see designs in architecture,
Walls and wall papers,
 Patterns on Advertising Packages, Furniture, Decorative screens/pieces,

 Landscapes, Clothing and of course i get most inspiration from the fabric.

There are also many places on the Internet that you can find inspiration. Just type in Google search Pictures of Fabric, pictures of wall paper.. or pictures of anything and everything, and you will have millions of images to look at. That's where I sourced the above images.
I also have, favourite blogs I read (down the right side of my blog). They are full of inspiration and ideas...(I have two great Quilters featured for you over this next week.  Jennifer from That Girl that Quilt, and Amy from Amy's Creative side. They will share with you how they design they're quilts...)
I find inspiration from Flickr. I have found some of my favourite Flickr groups you can flick through pages and pages of quilts.. HERE, HERE and HERE. As you flick through hundreds of quilts... start to take note about the type of quilts you are drawn to. In Flickr, you are able to save your favourite quilts into your own folder... so you can easily flick through them again at a later time. If you add favourites, you will be able to see in your folder at a  glace, the types of quilts you  have chosen and you will be able to narrow down the types of quilts you like. The next step is to...

Decide what you like??
Do you like Quilts that use alot of solids?
 Do you like your Quilts busy? Do you like both?
 Do you like your fabrics to be side by side or broken up with sashings, solids or smaller patterns?
 Do you like squares, strips, wonky, applique, diamonds, curves,
Do you like traditional or modern blocks?

Quilting books are also a great source of inspiration...I have a few quilting books that I often flick through, and each time I read them, I notice something different.
Quilting Books are great for block designs and details.
 You will find different books have different styles and contain lots more info. They are full beautiful pictures and techniques,  piecing, different colour combinations or block shapes, machine quilting,  hand quilting ideas.
Take note for the way different people border the centre of their quilt or how they used sashing. Books are a great source of inspiration and tons of info to get you sewing... Some of my favourite books, I bought HERE.

Next Important step... Incorporating your fabric.
 Sometimes you may find designs and recall them again when you choose your fabric.. Other times you have the fabric and go hunting for a design to suit... Either way, It is important to keep the fabric in mind and use it as a main source of Inspiration. Once I have the fabric, I decide on.....
 What parts of the fabric i like best?
 How can i best show this off?
What is going to suit your fabric you have chosen?
 Is the design of the fabric small?? So a small design that includes smaller pieces would be better?
 Or do my pieces need to be large to show full images in the fabric??

There are so many things to consider. Have you ever finished a quilt and your not happy with the way it turned out?? You loved the fabric stacked nicely on your bench, but once its been cut and sewn back together... it just doesn't quite work?? It has happened to me!! You need to carefully think, what design is going to best suit the fabric.
Squares, Rectangles, Diamonds, (after doing this quilt I swore I would never do large diamonds again), Half Square triangles, Strips, Wonky blocks, Curves,. Do you want to use a template?? Or cut pieces to size? Unfortunately/Fortunately, the possibilities are endless!! So you just need to start drawing. After a little while you will find a design that you feel will suit.
Birds Of Paradise, Jim shore, Hungry Caterpillar, Random sketch, Star Jewels.
How To Draw your own Design?
I use this..
A 5mm Graph book.
 I find its just the perfect size and proportion for designing my quilts. I use the scale of
Each 5mm square = 2 Inch Quilt square
So, if I draw a rectangle… 2 x 5mm squares across and 3 x 5mm squares down… My rectangle measures 4” x 6”. Does that make sense??
I find if I can get it to all work out in my graph book… I can sew it into a quilt.

For my Quilt for this class (What should I call it?? Teaching Quilt??? Or Quilt Class Quilt???) I'm going to use some fabrics from Anna Maria Horners Solids range.
I am going to pair it with Kona Cotton Snow, and I'm going to teach you the very simple block and quick technique of, Half Square Triangles. There are so many many different designs you can do with such a simple block. So feel free to follow along with my design… or if you want… Get thinking and planning your own design!
Here is my scribbled design for the Quilt Class Quilt...
I have also scribbled a few block variations around it. This is how I do all my designs. First, I scribble pictures on any sort of scrap paper...Once i like the design. I draw it out in my Graph book. This is some of my drawings for Tanner's Quilt. I wanted it to be different. Not traditional, a little crazy.. not uniform..So after drawing this....
It was made into this,
It did change slightly from the original drawings...
 Once the design is drawn into my graph book I work out dimensions, block sizes, sashing, borders. I figure out how big the quilt will be. If you draw it to scale, you can figure out how big your fabric pieces need to be cut. You just need to remember to add 1/2" for length and 1/2" width to allow for your seam allowance (next class) I sometimes even use the graph book to draw a cutting diagram just to make sure I don’t waste any precious fabric. If i have a Fat quarter and I draw a rectangle measuring 18" x 20". I work out how to cut each piece of fabric so i don't waste any. These books are fantastic…and I think it cost me $1 from the grocery store or Kmart, so you cant complain with that!

I use this sketch from the book to sew my quilt together. Like Tanner's Quilt, I may change parts here and there, depending on how its all coming together. But that's the other fun part.. Seeing your sketches and drawings turn into Quilts!!

I then take this one step further and make my designs into my Quilt Patterns. I take this design in the graph book and together, my hubby and I, draw the quilt up to scale on his Architectural  CAD drawing program. I then, pull the diagrams apart to make a Quilt Assembly Diagram, to show you how to construct the quilt. I'm actually talking more about designing and drawing my Quilt Patterns on Sew Mama Sew’s blog this weekend. SO keep watch! You can learn how i made this Sherbet Pips Quilt.

I hope I have inspired you to start designing your own quilts. We have a great new shop jumping on board with our Quilt Class 101.... Skye Reve Fabrics. She has a gorgeous shop.. Pop over and check it out. Once you have your fabric, or even before....Get drawing... you will be surprised what you can come up with.
 If you can draw it in a graph book.. you can make it into a quilt!!!



  1. Great explanation, I tend to work backwards! I'm starting to write patterns properly (I bought the Q7 program) Planning to get my teeth into it after the school holidays. Xx

  2. Sometimes I go for the EQ6 software.
    Other times I just get a vague idea and start cutting and placing fabric up on a design wall.
    I rarely follow a proper pattern. (Sorry).
    I do get design inspiration from all sorts of places but often from quilt books, flickr, blogs, etc.
    Andi xx

  3. You are very professional!.Thank you to share with us your knowledge,have a nice day.

  4. Thanks for all the tips on design. It is very helpful! Off to get some fabric! thanks.

  5. I love graph paper!!!!!!!
    I love playing squares/paddocks
    I also love designing quilts on it but I use each square to represent one inch so there isn't any more sums, what you see is what you get :)
    Awesome job on the tutorial explaining creativity can be difficult but so far this course is great, you should charge (just not me, hehehe)

  6. Wow! I love this post. So far I've mostly used patterns, but I'm in the midst of my first improv quilt right now. It's scary, but fun. I've got the plans more in my head. Maybe it's time to break out some graph paper. :-)

  7. I follow patters, and adapted one of them. One time I created my quilt as I made it, because I fussy cut out the design and it just worked. I would love to get into designing like you described. Fun. I do have question. What is the book in the picture with all the quilt blocks? Looks like a great resource! Thanks!

  8. I just found out about this class! I am so excited to join. I am a new quilted. Finished one, over half way done with next one, and several to start on. Thanks for having such a great learning experience!

  9. I love it! I use my graph paper pad all the time! Excellent job explaining things to us! I've also found that I can spend hours designing quilts using plain old Microsoft Excel. I just adjust the column width and row height to .2. Then I can add colors as I go and it is super easy to move things around. The only downside is that I can't design anything with diagonal lines in it. Maybe I need to invest in some new software?

  10. Great lesson. I use graph paper as well. I need to sketch out something so I know how much fabric and the finished size. Thanks for the lesson!

  11. Maybe I missed it, but that first collection of fabrics, the reds, who is that by?

  12. I have a graph paper notebook that I like to doodle in to work out ideas for quilts for fabric that I get that wasn't already destined for something I was working on or in a kit. I have the EQ software, but can never seem to get it to do what I am. Luckily, the graph paper and pencil do just fine! :)

  13. I really really really want to make a quilt but it seems so scary!

    Thanks for the offer to hold my hand and walk me through this... I think I just may be able to do this!

  14. Thanks for the great lesson! I'm sitting here trying to figure out how you made your son's dirt bike quilt. I need help understanding how to set something on point and sew another part of it straight. Maybe you'll make it a pattern and then I'll be able to figure it out. Thanks!

  15. Another very interesting conversation! I also find that I can be all 3 types of quilters and often have several types of projects going at once that I can play with either creatively or to see results quickly. Really enjoying this series!

  16. I have always loved quilts but the math/pattern measurment side of them has kept me from making one. But I decided I don't have to do it that way. So I'm making my 1st and used a combo of b & c (without the numbers) loving the process. Great class, looking forward to next week. Thank you :)

  17. love your blog. Plan to follow.

  18. Another great class. I work from patterns, draw my own designs, and work from my own "what if I . . ." design method. I have linked to one of my "what if I . . ." posts.

  19. I love to design. I try to keep my graph paper by my bed. I even bought a tiny box of colored pencils if I want to add some color ideas.

    **Just have to remember to include the 1/4" allowances :o)

  20. I'm a graph book and scribble girl too! Things have a habit of changing, but if the sizes and numbers add up on the page, then I know the finished quilt blocks will piece together properly.
    I love books and have *ahem* several shelves full. Using a scanner and printer are helpful for paper piecing and fitting blocks together too.

  21. Thanks for mentioning the graph paper! I'd love to design my own quilt :)

  22. Always wanted to make a quilt. Now I think I can do it! Thanks for the class!

  23. You must be a genius. My head is spinning! It all makes sense, just a LOT to absorb!

  24. Your post is much appreciated. I have a few ideas for quilts and I have been writing tutorial's, but I am not sure about the amount of detail required for a quilt pattern or even how to go about putting one together!

  25. Thank you for sharing your process with me!

  26. I love graph paper. I actually found a moleskine that is all graph paper....that's where I put all my final ideas for future reference.

  27. I love designing with graph paper! Much easier and quicker (FOR ME) than computer programs. Make copies of design and then use those colored pencils for different color options! Thanks for yourgreat lessons!

  28. My design process is to sketch ideas out on bits of paper when waiting places. Then, if gels in my mind, I would sketch on graph paper and use colored pencils (erasable). It's more doodle than scientific organization. Thanks for the lessons.

  29. This is a great online class. I've learned so much from the two posts in this series. Thanks for sharing!

  30. just found your "class" i hope to learn more to become a more rounded quilter. thanks yvonne -

  31. Just found your blog - I teach a beginner's quilting class also. Great to see how other's teach it. I use an EQ7 for designing. Will definitely follow to see how the other topics are handled.

  32. Many thanks for this fab class! I absolutely LOVE all the great ideas and tips in chronological quilting order! How about referring to the project quilt as the 101 Quilt?

  33. When you first started this class, I thought there was *no way* I could design a quilt on my own. Last week I totally proved myself wrong (with many thanks to you and this post)! I've made several quilts based on other designs and just finished a top based on my own design! Now I just need to whip up the back and then try another new thing for me: hand quilting! yay!

  34. Hi, your tutorials are super. Thank you for them.


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