Kites — Another Notan Design

Spoonflower, my favorite place for printing custom fabrics, has a fabric design contest each week.  Sometimes I enter it since it’s a fun way to try out new designs and practice my design skills.  This week’s contest is to create a small repeating design with the theme of Kites.  I knew I’d love to experiment with some more Notan-style designs for this contest.

I started with four simple kite drawings that I did in Illustrator.  I wanted the shapes to be fairly simple with each main kite shape touching two edges of its square.

Here’s the first repeat, in blue and black.  It was obvious that the tails of the kites needed more work. Continue reading

Super Quick Plaid Patterns in Photoshop or Illustrator

In this earlier post I showed how to create a tartan plaid pattern in Photoshop.  That method simulates the weave characteristic of a real tartan plaid, with the distinct diagonal twill pattern, like the one shown here.

As an alternative, here’s a really quick way to create a seamless plaid in Photoshop Elements.  Continue reading

My Take on Notan

The October challenge for the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge group is Notan.  Here’s the challenge description:  Notan is a Japanese concept that utilizes black and white to demonstrate the contrast of positive and negative space. Often done as pen-and-ink
drawings, Notan can easily be adapted to fabric with stunning results. This
technique can help us evaluate our own skills with balancing the
positive/negative space in our quilts.

Notan is traditionally done in ink on paper, but is now often done as a cut paper collage using the “expansion of the square” technique.   This star cutout is a simple example — a star shape is cut from the black square and then flipped outward and placed on the negative white space, creating a positive/negative mirror image.

Continue reading

Creating a Quilt, Part 3 — Constructing the Quilt

In two earlier posts I talked about my process for creating a quilt design starting from a photo.  In this post, I’ll go through the process of actually making the quilt based on the final design (shown here). 

With the strong circular element in the design, I knew it would be important for the grass shapes to line up exactly across the circle.  Normally I prefer to make my quilts by piecing rather than some form of applique.  I’ll often use Ruth McDowell’s piecing technique on a complex quilt.  However, for this design, I thought that piecing would take forever and I wanted to complete the quilt fairly quickly since it was part of a class (“Inspired to Design” with Elizabeth Barton at Quilt University). Continue reading