Thursday, October 28, 2010

Designing Details - Day 2

Okay, so even though it is late, it is still "tomorrow", so onto the second installment of Designing Details.  Basically, these are just  a few little tidbits that I have discovered along my way of learning to design patterns.  Nothing big, and they are probably not for everyone, but here it is, my 2 cents :)

Tidbit #1 - You don't have to have EQ 7, or even 6 for that matter, to design. (Since this post I have gotten EQ 7 and love it, but still find, for certian patterns, I prefer good old excel.  Probably because I am used to it :)  I wish I had them, but I don't, so what do I design my quilts in you ask???  Excel would be the answer.  I know, crazy huh.  I think it was all of those classes I was required to take that made me learn the spreadsheet program inside out.  So naturally,  I found a way to use it in my "now" daily life.  I wouldn't suggest this unless you are familiar with the program.  I love it though.  Graph Paper gets the same effect just not some of the pluses I will mention next.

It tends to work best when you shrink down the rows and columns, make them square, and then consider them each to be 1" then you can get a good idea of proportions.  Triangles tend to be a bit of a pain as you have to get creative with the "auto shapes" but it works.  The thing I like best about Excel (verses graph paper) is that once I have the design input, I can play with the colors and patterns and be able to compare my options.  Just use a lot of Copy and Paste :)

  For Example . . . .Here is the same exact Disappearing 9 Patch pattern, but each has it's own set color scheme, I don't mean just different colors, but pattern of colors.

Excel also makes it easy to play with sizes of shapes and then you can compare as well, picking your favorite. Here is that Table Topper design I mentioned in yesterday's email.  Anyone care to guess which design I went with :)

So that is where my designing takes place once I have a good idea of a pattern in my mind. (For now at least, I really do hope to upgrade some day in the future :)   

Tidbit #2  - Inspiration can hit at any time, so be prepared!  I find that there are many nights that I lie in bed just thinking about ideas.  One will hit me and then I just sit there and think about it over and over so that I don't forget it by morning.  I eventually end up getting out of bed to go write it down.  So I finally got a little wise.  I went and bought a $1.00 notebook and put it on my nightstand, now I don't have to get out of bed.  I also got a second notebook and put it in my purse, it is great for when I am sitting at soccer practice and am daydreaming of designs.  Just something simple, it is a great place to throw down a little inspiration!

Tidbit #3 - If you can't figure it out in your head, just try it!  Sometimes I can make my head spin with the math trying to figure out if things are going to match up. (Especially when triangles are involved.)  So now, I just give it a go.  I have a bit of clearance fabric that is perfect for this. (I am talking the 75 cent a yard stuff that they can't get rid of at Wal-Mart)   Simply, cut out the sizes that you are wondering about sew them together and see if it works.  If it doesn't work, adjust and try again. Honestly, sometimes this is much faster than killing your brain over the math :)

Okay, so that is all the tidbits I can come up with right now.  I thought I had more but it is getting late and my brain is tired.  If I come up with more I will be sure to add them in the future.  Happy Designing to you all and may it bring you Happy Quilting!

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  1. Thanks for all the tips! They are awesome!

    I have a layer cake that I hated so I use those pieces to play with when trying to figure out if something will work.

  2. The "Try it and see if it works" advice is some of the best, I think. When I'm working out designs, I use graph paper & pencil for the most part. But sometimes, I just can't tell on paper whether it will look right in fabric or not. So I just test it out, and then decide :-)

    I hadn't ever thought of using Excel for this! Good idea :-)

    ~ Meagan

  3. Great tips, thanks! I love the idea of using cheapy fabri to try something. And like you, I knew excel inside and out in my past life- I could definitely do this now!

  4. I especially loved Tidbit #3! Thanks (from a novice quilter)


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Have a Happy Quilting Day :)