First of all, I felt a bit under-qualified to be considered an expert designer! Being a designer requires a combination of skills: use of color, quilt design, mathematics, writing skills and visual presentation. Like other crafts, the ability to design takes many hours of study and practice. In one way or another, I practice those skills every day with the aspiration of being an “expert”. 🙂
Secondly, quilt math is not my specialty! When I learned to sew, my first sewing projects were made from patterns where the math was done for me. As I began to explore non-pattern sewing, I quickly realized quilt math was yet another skill I would need to master. Fortunately, I have a good calculator and the desire to learn more.
Inspiration is everywhere! I gravitate towards geometric and simple designs. Once you open your mind to see design and color, you can find inspiration anywhere. These pictures inspire me:
[threecol_one][/threecol_one] [threecol_one][/threecol_one] [threecol_one_last][/threecol_one_last] Storing my Inspiration:
I like to believe I will remember all of my inspirations but my “elephant” memory has started to fail me. One of my biggest struggles has been storing my inspiration in one place. I would cut out pictures from magazines and they would get lost. Or I would take a million pictures and then have to search for the right one. (Or worse, I would forget about the picture altogether!) After years of struggling with storage, I have come up with two things that work best for me.
1) Evernote. (This is not an affliate link. I just really like them!) For any electronic material I want to store, I use Evernote. You can create notebooks for different subjects and store pictures, text messages and more. Pinterest works for pictures and links but not for other types of media. When I was collecting information for my improv quilt challenge, I kept everything in one folder and was able to reference it when writing my blog.
2) A graph lined sketch book. Admittedly, I am still looking for the *perfect* size but I have learned that it needs to be graph lined. It is perfect for designing quilt blocks. I also tape in any physical inspiration I have found like magazine clippings, color chips, etc.
Sketches and Quilt Design:
After being inspired by something, I then sketch out the idea. My sketches start out as blobs of color and then get refined to be more specific.
Here is a sketch I made for my rainbow crosses quilt:
As I worked through the sketch, I realized there were limitations and the final design looks different.
For me, the hardest part is taking the sketch, using quilt math and coming up with the materials needed to make the piece. This is also where Alyce’s book is the most helpful. She talks about the many ways you can make half square triangles and flying geese. After she explains how you can make them, she shows you the math needed to make the design and when each method would be the most appropriate. There is even a quiz at the end![twocol_one][/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last][/twocol_one_last]
After reading through her book, I found an old sketch in my book. Using my new found skills, I am excited to tackle the quilt math to make this block!
If you struggle with quilt math related to overall design or blocks like half square triangles, quarter square triangles or flying geese, this book is really helpful. For more information about the book, check out these other stops on Alyce’s blog hop:
Week 1: Inspiration
Week 2: Sketches
Week 3: Making
Week 4: Finishes
Thank you for reading more about my process!