Creating Moonstruck — Initial Design

My quilt Moonstruck recently returned home after a long trip with the Rust-Tex Collection, including its debut at the Spring International Quilt Festival in Chicago (2010) and a visit to England for the Festival of Quilts (photo from the show below, Moonstruck is the blue and green one).

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Fun Daisies Fabric Collection

I entered another of Spoonflower’s weekly fabric contests.  This one called for a one-yard image that included four distinct coordinating fabric designs, including at least one stripe pattern and one dot pattern. I’m not sure why I enter these contests…but it’s fun working on the designs and I’m learning a lot about Photoshop and Illustrator and repeat pattern design in the process.

I thought I’d try to use the ten colors in the Pantone Spring 2012 fashion color trends as my palette, since it’s trendy and these are not colors I’d normally pick (especially Sweet Lilac).  A floral theme seemed to fit well with the spring colors, so I started gathering some of my photos of daisy-like flowers.  Continue reading

Fabric Design — Gockoo’s Apple Crisp

One of Spoonflower’s recent weekly fabric design contests was to design a fabric using a recipe as part of the design.  I’m not much of a cook (my husband does most of the cooking, though I’ve mastered the NY Times No-Knead Bread), so I don’t have any go-to recipes.

As I thought about this contest, I remembered my grandmother’s hand-written cookbook from the 1930’s.  Gockoo (as we called her) wrote her recipes in a journal and added ones she found in newspapers or magazines, or ones she got from friends.  I found her recipe for apple crisp pudding and thought it would make a nice nostalgic print, especially since there were only a handful of ingredients in the recipe. Continue reading

Chiaroscuro Water Lily

The December challenge for the Fast Friday Fabric Challenge group was to experiment in contrast and color and use strong value contrast in a dramatic way.  In art, chiaroscuro refers to the use of light and dark, usually to add depth and volume to a painting.  Rembrandt often used the technique, such as in his Self Portrait as the Apostle St. Paul.

For my quilt I wanted to start with a photograph, and I found this one of a water lily that I took last summer at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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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.

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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

Creating a Quilt, Part 2 — Finalizing the Design

In my previous post, I walked through the initial design process I used to create the quilt Prairie Grasses I started with this photo, drew sketches to simplify the design and started on looking at value studies.

My first two value studies, shown below, were of the original sketch.  I liked each of these, but I thought it would be more interesting to combine them in some way.

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Creating a Quilt, Part 1 — From Photo to Sketch

I recently completed the class “Inspired to Design” with Elizabeth Barton through Quilt University.  The class is about the process of creating art quilts, starting with an idea, working up sketches, using value studies, creating color schemes and finally constructing the quilt.

I really enjoyed the class and I completed a quilt based on one of the designs I worked on.  In this post and the next two I’ll walk through my steps in creating this quilt. Continue reading