Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ruth's Quilt - Design Process

The other day when I showed you the quilt that I made for Ruth and Jon I promised to talk about the process I went through designing the quilt. With the quilts that I've made, I've rarely used a pattern, or when I have I've usually tweaked it for my requirements.

With this quilt I had some vague ideas of what I wanted to include but needed to decide how the whole thing would fit together. I knew I wanted it to be a 'medallion' style quilt (with successive borders as you go out from the centre), and I wanted to include dresdens, as I thought they would fit well with the style of fabrics I'd chosen. Other than that I wasn't sure.

I started by grabbing some paper, a pencil and some coloured pencils and started sketching out ideas. The first idea that I came up with that I was vaguely happy with is shown below. It heavily features the dresden plates, including some going around the outside of one of the inner borders.

I wasn't completely happy with the composition of this design though (it didn't feel quite right on the required rectangle for the quilt to go on a bed), and somebody on Twitter (Lizzy I think) suggested putting one of the borders on point:

Sketching up this idea it came together quite quickly. Adding a diamond shaped border around a larger central dresden along with some other rectangular borders. I liked the original large striped border for the outer border as I really liked that (with the intent that these stripes will be the parts that hang down the sides of the bed) so planned on keeping it, so just redesigned inside of that border.

However I kept coming up with ideas for what could go in those triangles around the diamond border. So I sketched out my various ideas on little cut out pieces of paper the size of that triangle, and in the end decided that of all the options I preferred the smaller dresdens as full circles centred (as much as is possible in the shape) in the triangle.


But for some reason (that I don't understand now) I was still torn between the two overall designs. After I mentioned this to Darren and he helped me out hugely by mocking up the designs on to little beds. I sent him through pictures of my sketches and very quickly thereafter I received these images back:


The instant that I saw those images I knew that I preferred the one with the inner diamond border, hands down, no competition. However, I wasn't sure if I liked the smaller dresdens anymore, but knew that as they would be appliqu├ęd on I could decide that later on in the construction process.


Now I had my overall design I needed to work out the actual dimensions, and therefore the sizes of the pieces to cut out, and then an order of construction. As I liked the overall proportions from my sketch, I measured up the sketch, then multiplied up the dimensions based on how big I wanted the quilt to be; the width of everything except the outer border should be about the same as the width of the bed, the total height minus one of the outer borders should be the length of the bed (so the top border covers the pillows rather than goes over the edge of the bed like the other three).

Working inwards and dividing/multiplying I worked out how big each of the borders should be, and then individually worked out how big the separate pieces should be. Going into detail of how I did that is a bit complex on here, but once I had the vague measurements I started on the construction. I started with the large white diamond and also the large central dresden. Then I constructed each border as I got to it.

I didn't remember to take a photo of the quilt in it's new home, but above is a (slightly crappy) pic of the quilt top on my bed to show the scale on a bed. However, it looks better on the real bed as UK beds are slightly different sizes to Australian ones, and my bed is lower than where it actually lives.

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