Tuesday, September 27, 2016

QuiltCon 2017 Charity Challenge - Part 3: Design

For the challenge, Michele and I have been collaborating to move it forward. It’s been rather fun fitting things in with our summer activities. Now comes time to take stock of our progress and our plan how to move forward with the help of other guild members.

The theme is Scale. We took the original design suggestions from Josée and Cinzia and decided to create a big flower from pieced blocks of different dimensions using improvised curve piecing.

Josée did a sketch and after some discussions among the four of us, we ended up with the outline sketch with the block numbers as indicated. This sketch defines the basic grid for the quilt top. The finished dimension of the top will be 72” x 92”.

Next, I elaborated the design by rendering this idea into a scaled mockup on paper on top of the defined grid in pastel, taking into consideration the colour palette we must conform to for the project. At this point, I made small a design change by replacing the top row of rectangular blocks by 2 rows of complete and partial 16” blocks. We now work with complete or partial square blocks of dimensions are 8”, 12” and 16”. There are 42 blocks in total.

Superimposed on the pastel mockup, we drew in curve lines that became the guides for the improvised curve piecing used to construct each of the blocks.

To take the proof of concept one step further, I decided to make an actual scaled mock up using my stash of scraps into a wall hanging 27” x 35”. I picked through my stash for scraps in a palette similar to that of the project and pieced away.

The technique I used is a version of foundation piecing using the ‘stitch and flip’ method. In this case, I use paper as the foundation. First, I prepared a complete set of paper blocks from the drawing, adding seam allowance around each block. The paper blocks are numbered, adding curve guide lines and colour/value information. I then construct each block by pulling fabric spontaneously from the selected collection of fabric pieces and stitching the pieces directly onto the paper. (A discussion giving details of this technique will be described separately.)

I think this technique lends itself well for this project for several reasons:

  • The project is divided into self-contained work units with the essential information encoded on the paper block. 
  • Each block is made with the freedom to improvise and adapt. 
  • The paper stays on as the block is made, facilitating the handling of the blocks and the final assembly of the blocks into the whole top. 
It is by design that curve lines do not have to match across blocks and curve guidelines need not be followed exactly. As show in my finished wall hanging sized mock up, the way the blocks come together gives a rather organic charm to it.

Once the fabric selection for our project was finalized, Michele and I worked to prepare for the actual project. Learning from the experience of the mock up and working with the full scale of the final quilt top, we made simplification and fabric assignment to come up with our final design drawing. We are getting ready for the October Sew-in. We want to invite as many of you as possible to share this fun and worthwhile learning experience. Believe me, it’s easier than it looks and a great way to built confidence working with curves.

Next, I will write about what you will be working with and more details on the ‘spontaneous paper piecing’ technique that I mentioned earlier. Please stay tuned.

- Lily

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