Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Finding Time

Spring break spoiled me! I had tons of time to really get down and dirty with my sewing machine and bring some of the quilty ideas from my head into fruition. Wait, I must not lie. Things didn't come to full fruition, but I did create some more WIP's (Work In Progress.) Foremost is this wild ride of stripey goodness. Since my last update, I have made some progress.

I created four squares for the center of this quilt, each a nine patch of mitered stripes and a half border of those triangle things that I have seen on the traditional bear paw block. I have been designing this as I go, and without a proper design wall I have laid ideas out on the floor and snapped poorly framed pictures from above in an effort to help me decide. 

My original idea calls for sashing between these blocks which will provide more separation and allow each of the four blocks a presence of their own. 

I knew that I would like these original four blocks to be the center of something larger. I found an image in little book that I received from my secret Santa my first year of teaching about Amish Quilts which gave me the idea of a diamond within a square and continuing with the those bear paw or saw tooth points. The drawing tucked under the half square triangles above was the next incarnation of the design. I used the purple highlighter to indicate which parts I had completed.

The design continues to take shape with a mix of mitered stripes and my low volume background fabrics fashioned into a shape for which I have no name... These two pictures were taken while I was perched atop an 8 foot ladder so I could get the whole layout in the shot. Grr, the lack of design wall is killing me! I like the layout above and the movement the shapes have. Ok, so here is a little tip, that perhaps you already know, but a really great way to see color value, or the differences between the lights and darks of an image is to squint your eyes. Give it a try, when you squint and look at the photo above you may see a pinwheel shape in the red fabrics. Below you may be apt to focus on the vertical column of red that runs through the center of the quilt. 

What tips to help you through the design of a project? I'd love to hear your ideas and really any advice you might have about a design wall! I really need to stop this insanity and save myself from toppling from the ladder. 

I'm linking up with the lovely Lorna McMahon at Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Be Social. It's a great way to meet some new friends, see what your old friends are up to and soak up tons of great inspiration! 


  1. I like the pin wheel setting you used the best and agree that sashing between the blocks looks best! Love where you're going with this! Yes, a design was is a great addition to your arsenal. And it can be a really inexpensive addition. I bought a flannel backed table cloth from the dollar store and just thumb tacked it to the wall. The fabrics stick to the flannel like a magnet!

  2. Love your design! I am visiting from lets bee social

  3. Love your sense of design and colors. The pinwheel design is beautiful!

    My design walls (4) are simply extra wide felt I stapled to the wall. If I have a big wall, a design wall goes up. There are a number of tutorials out there for some better looking methods. Thanks for the eye candy!

  4. Great layouts! I enjoyed seeing the various design possibilities you've considered.

    Since I didn't want to make a bunch of holes in my walls, my first "design wall" was a flannel sheet hung in front of a large china cabinet. I used stacks of books to hold the top edge of the sheet on top of the cabinet. The flannel gripped small pieces easily, but as the pieces were joined (and became heavier) I would use a couple of pins to hold them in place. It was easy to put up and take down, and took no room to store. WIPs would be folded in the sheet if company came, and if the bits were pinned first, could be unfolded without disturbing their order.

    I hope you come up with a solution - toppling off the top of an eight foot ladder doesn't sound like a good option at ALL.

  5. I really like the movement from the mitered stripes. I'm also partial to the colors you chose, so that helps! I personally prefer the last layout, but I like symmetry - something I struggle with in many quilting styles such as improv or even samplers.

    My design "wall" is actually a flannel backed tablecloth. It has grommets in the corners. I hung up a couple of the removable command strip brand hangers on the wall above a closet. When I need the design wall, I hang it up, when I need the closet I take it down. It works, especially considering I don't have a better place to put a more permanent one.

  6. I love how this is turning out. Such a great design. The only perhaps unusual design tip I have is that taking a picture of a quilt and doodling on it in Paint is a good way to create a quilting design plan.

  7. The last lay out is my favourite. I have a very small room for sewing and all my wall space is taken up. I bought some cheap...cheap polyester batting and put grommets at the top. I then put a few nails, in the wall, above my closet. The design wall hangs off the nails. When it's not in use I simply take it off and fold it. When it's in use, because it's only hanging from the top, like a curtain, it's easy to get in and out of the closet. My closet has a double bi-fold door so I made the design wall in two pieces. I can hang only one side, or both. It's worked really well for me and the total cost was under 10.00.

  8. Love the bottom layout! And can't wait to see where it goes from here!
    As for the design wall, i'm firmly in the flannel backed dollar store tablecloth group. I picked up two lovely cupcake printed ones a year ago and stapled them up on our living room wall. I told the Mr. that it was temporary... they're still there, ahem.
    Another trick for seeing the light/dark contrast is to change your photo into black and white. I always take a quick shot with my cell phone and flip it to black and white before going further!

  9. This is absolutely gorgeous. I love the first picture but then I also really think the second to last one is spectacular. It's so interesting!!

    I buy a piece of warm and natural batting- it comes in 45" wide or else you can get it 90" wide by the yard at Joanne's or hobby lobby. If I'm in a big space I nail as big a piece to the wall as I need for a project. If I only have a small space I'll throw up whatever will fit. Sometimes it's up there for months. But I only put 4-8 nails total which are easy to remove and then I can use the batting for the quilt when I'm done!!


Thank you for stopping among the groves. Please feel free to share any thoughts, comments or tangent ideas. I would love to hear your point of view and make every effort to respond via e-mail to you.