Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Positive Aspects of a Slow Design Process

Blocks Are Together

Design Process seems to be my theme this week. I like hearing how other people make design decisions, and it actually helps me to share my process with you. Your feedback is another component to it, and I enjoy listening. The one thing that keeps resonating back and forth is design can't be rushed. I'm glad to know you put things up and take them down, too, waiting for inspiration. 

I think the negative feelings expressed about Works In Progress (WIP's) are far over-rated. I have many, and will bet you do, too! But waiting for an idea to surface is showing patience--not procrastination. It's not rushing forward to get it done just to say you did it. 

Before: Blocks Placed As They 
Were Created

Without too much thought, these blocks were placed as they were created. My only criteria was good contrast between them. A few were moved around, but only one was actually sewn into a whole block. Depending on the many block possibilities this process can produce, I waited. Also, the design I finally decided upon uses both right and left blocks. Though the placement above looked okay, I took some pictures with my phone and used a tonal filter.

You can see above that there is an incomplete cross forming in the center from the darker tones. But the far left block, second from the top, is too light. It may be very subtle, but switching it with another block made a difference.

Here you can see the quilt with that block switched out with one from the top right corner. Again, it's a subtle change, but look how much better it develops the cross. 

Sometimes we see something we just like because it feels good to us, but we don't know why. That's the designer's job--to add a secret touch without making it obvious to the viewer. I think it's the best part of good design, and why waiting is worth it.

I'm not sure as of yet to add more to this as it will be a usable quilt. It's 64" square, and not quite convenient for a twin stopping there, but a part of me says it's 'enough'. We shall wait and see a little longer.

Come on, Doxie girls.
It's time to go sew.


Angie in SoCal said...

One can see so much with those tonal photos. It's amazing what moving one block can do. I really like this setting.

Linda Swanekamp said...

It is good to see someone else wrestle with process. Thanks.

Marly said...

Thank you Julie; this is a really useful lesson in assessing colour value. In the first layout the dark zig-zags in adjacent blocks came together and then separated, except in the case of the one you swapped round. The problem there wasn't the contrast light/dark but weak/strong. By pairing it differently strong meets strong and weak meets weak; much better. I've never thought of achieving contrast by considering strong and weak prints, rather than dark/medium and light. A good lesson, to be remembered.

Julie said...

Marly, you've probably broken this down more precisely than I have. Keen observation. I will add that to great things I've learned from both reading and receiving comments. I think it's easier to train our eyes than our brains, but knowing the reason is the best way to transfer it the next time. Thank you so much for pointing this out.


Julie said...

Linda, like you I really enjoy the design process. It's not always a clear path, and often there are many solid solutions. It's finding the one you yourself are happy with though. Admittedly, there have been times when 'together' was all I was looking for, when others linger on and on. It's so interesting.

Julie said...

What is difficult, though, is when you've sewn it together, and the photo shows a visible error. Oh, what to do, what to do!?

KaHolly said...

I've certainly learned a lot from this post. Thanks for taking the time to share the process you went through. I think it's big enough!

Kate said...

Photography is one of those great tools that often gets forgotten. Black and white can be so helpful. Since I use EQ to design most of my quilts, that's where I tend to get bogged down. It can take me years to come up with a final design I like well enough to actually start cutting fabrics.