Monday 9 November 2015

Design Wall Monday -a design process

Last week, some books I ordered from the Book Depository arrived and we spend a good bit of time pouring over them at our Thursday night sewing group. A quilt in one of the books, Quilt Lovely by Jen Kingwell, really caught my eye. 
This scrappy quilt is made up of blocks that are 31/2" x 9 1/8" so  really thin and long, and there are lots of them.  I really like the look of this quilt and part of the charm is the amount of blocks but I knew I probably wouldn't make over 150 of the same thing all in one go and it would take me a while to get through it.  Like maybe, years!  But I really like the design and trying to figure out what it was that was drawing me into this one I decided to draft it in EQ7. 
My first thought was to make the blocks bigger and easier to rotary cut & machine piece (Jen Kingwells design uses templates and gives the option of hand piecing or machine piecing Y seams).
I quite like this coloured in with Moda Bella solids and it's only 40 blocks!
I thought I'd try a half drop repeat and was delighted with myself figuring out how to do this in EQ7 - starting to get to know this program better! (For some really good tutorials Cheryl@Meadow Mist Designs is doing a series of EQ7 tutorials.) Must be the Christmas feeling as this one reminds me of icicle decorations for the Christmas tree and its only 18 blocks.
Taking the decoration theme further some baubles, longer and thinner or grouped in an oval using a few more blocks still with a half drop layout.

Trying to move away from a Christmas theme I ended up with a heart using 12 blocks
Then I had a go at making my own long skinny block and got this:
I thought the shape of this one was very like a flickering flame so I re-coloured it to this design using reds and oranges:
This one reminds me a little of the blog colours at Freshly Pieced, same block shape just different colouring.
To make this block is a bit tricky involving templates, so I played around some more and got this, almost back to where I started!
This is one of the reasons I don't use pen and graph paper too much for a finished quilt design. I really enjoy playing with a shape and seeing where it leads to and to do that, it is so much easier on the computer to try variations than sketching and re-sketching on paper. I also pretty much design only in solids and afterwards, when I settle on a design, I think about maybe making it in prints. But most importantly, I have learned when I stumble across something I really like, to pause, take a few minutes and draw it out by hand to get the design into my head, and then take it to the computer to play! What's your design process? Anything like this?

Any of these catch your eye to play with? 


  1. Danger of doing it on pc is time just fly away. But fun. Don't make itvtoo complicated. I would make diamond shapes from adjoining four blocks and make background main feature.

  2. I love the orange one. It reminds me of a phoenix. I spend way too much time on EQ too. It has saved me so much time and paper. I've been using it to plan out a design to paint on my bathroom tiles this week

  3. I like the black and orange one best

  4. Oh this is so fun seeing all the different designs and layouts. I have started hand piecing this quilt - I know it is going to take me years but I am enjoying it so far!

  5. I have that book but haven't settled on which pattern I would most like to make :) I like seeing your design progression!

  6. Ruth, you came up with some really cool quilts! When I use EQ I do a lot of the same type of playing around. but I've never figured out the half drop block. I love how you played with Jen's awesome quilt and made it your own. That quilt pattern has been on my bucket list for awhile, but i like your bigger, all Bella version even more.

  7. I love what you have done here. Only recently found out about EQ7 ....... maybe one to add to the Christmas List!! Does it take a long time to het the hang off or is it pretty intuitive?

  8. that was fascinating. I don't do EQ anything so I'm in awe. LeeAnna

  9. Congrats on your awesome EQ7 skills! I'm using EQ7 sporadically, and it's hard to master in bits and pieces here and there.

    I'm loving example #3 -- that deep navy background is hard to overlook! : )

  10. I like how your designs started to morph into subtle Christmas ornaments.
    Is the book as lovely as its title suggests? It is on my wishlist too.


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