In this post I’ll try and describe the beginning of my design process. Usually this happens more or less without me being aware of it, but this time I stopped myself every so often in order to reflect on what I’ve been thinking and to break it down into steps.
I hope you’ll find this useful – even if it’s just so you become aware of how you are doing things 😉 Perhaps it also gives you some ideas of how you can tackle your Block of the Month, as different as it may be.
On this page:
♣ Having or getting an idea
♣ A closer look at what I’ve got
♣ Thoughts while tracing the pattern
♣ Checking for purpose, workability & fun – up to this point
Having or getting an idea
When I was compiling the letters for the printable, ideas of how I could translate them into or onto fabric were popping up for every single one of them, and several were quite intriguing.
I know I can spend hours on turning ideas over and over – comparing designs, playing with pieces of fabric to see which combinations I like, sketching, thinking about the process – without getting anywhere. But lately (maybe because of this blog) it has become more important to do things more efficiently, even when I love doing it.
With “efficiently” I don’t mean necessarily faster, it’s more about valueing how I spend my time and freeing up time so I can slow down and savour the process more.
My greatest efficiency sucker is second-guessing my Muse or intuition, or rather: the decisions my Muse has already made. I didn’t trust her for a long time because often the results were quite different from what she’d told me initially. Maybe that’s because she’s a Master of the Process and knows best what to start with?
Anyway, here are the first steps. I’ll indicate the decisions with >>.
- When I first thought about making a letter quilt for the BOM this month, I thought I’d >>paper-piece the single letters as a mini-block each.
- From the printable I >>chose 3 of the “fatter” fonts which would accommodate the piecing: pages 7, 11 and 13. I printed them and put them against a wall, then I gave myself a couple of non-thinking minutes, just looking at them without making any judgements or decisions.
- Then I started visualising them as >>pillows – that must have been a decision my Muse made for me because I was very open regarding the type of project. She’s right – I’d love to have a pillow that invites me to Take My Time, and it’s also been a while that I made something for >>myself.
- As soon as I realised that, I knew I wanted to make it with the Jazz LET font – it seems to >>express best what I want from my pillow: indulging and pampering myself 🙂
A closer look at what I’ve got
- What are the main characteristics of this font? Fat bits and skinny bits >>the fat bits could be a different colour fabric, the skinny bits some sort of embroidery.
- Do I want to keep the corners as corners or should they be more rounded? I like the contrast >>corners. This narrows down the embroidery options a lot. Good. >>Go with it.
- The fat bits which at first sight look straight are in fact slightly indented. Is keeping them that way worth the extra effort when sewing? No, the difference would hardly be visible in fabric at this scale >>straight lines.
- The slightly varying width of the skinny bits however seem important to me for creating that special look >>keep them, therefore >>choose sewing/quilting/embroidery techniques that allow for great precision while keeping things simple, and/or >>exaggerate these shallow curves to emphasise them more.
I could go on analysing, but its a lot more practical to >>move on to the next step: tracing the pattern to see how I can “cut up” the design for paper piecing. The same issues will come up, but I can take notes right on the pattern and it’s a lot easier to decide when I can look at the alternatives.
Thoughts while tracing the pattern
While tracing the fat bits, several details came to my attention which I had missed before – in form of questions:
- What about the round shapes? For a moment I wish I could use paint because I want to >>keep these generous curves.
- Option #1: sew them curvy, but I’ll be dealing with some pretty narrow bits of fabric (O, between O and U, R) – am I really that desperate for a challenge or am I satisfied with an easier way?
- Option #2: applique – >>nothing wrong with easy…
- Use strips of 2 fabrics to make up the fat bits? – Don’t know >>decide later.
- Let the embroidery run all around the fat bits as well? >>Yes. No, I can’t. Yes, I’d like to, but how? >>Trapunto. Running Stitches. Stitching in the ditch. (my Muse talking)
- A second later she also reminds me that Trapunto was one of the options, right at the beginning, which was a strong contender for the paper piecing idea. It would have been with a different font and I was a bit sad that I’d miss out on it for the moment – haven’t done it for years, and I love it!
- I remind her that Trapunto is not possible because I want the letters in a different fabric.
- She reminds me of “fake” Trapunto = padded applique.
- Lightbulb moment – I could kiss my Muse 🙂
- This also solves question #2 >>the fatty bits will consist of just one fabric each as the seam in the middle would interfere with the Trapunto, at least at this small scale.
I realise that actually all the bigger puzzle pieces have fallen into place and go and do something else for a while.
Checking for purpose, workability & fun – up to this point
- Purpose: Pillow. Are the techniques involved adequate for a pillow that will – hopefully – be used a lot (friction, weight of my head) and washed? >>Yes.
- Techniques: Do I know how to do it? Basically, yes – not necessarily in this combination, but I’ll figure something out when I get there. >>Make a small sampler.
- MPJF = My Personal Joy Factor: Love it ❤ – can’t wait to get started!
As you see, just by taking the decision process step by step, I ended up with something quite different from what I thought in the beginning – and it’s something that is not only feasible but also exactly what I want in this case.
Different decisions would have taken me a different route to a different destination, but as I’m very happy with what is, what does it matter what else might have been? 😉
Trust your Muse & enjoy the process – that’s what it’s for!
If you have a blog, write about your Block of the Month and link to your post in the comments.