I’ve been trying to be more imaginative with curve designs lately, but it be difficult. I think my designs often follow my own sewing abilities (in other words, ‘could I make this?’), and I’m not very experienced when it comes to sewing curves. But sometimes basic designs can be just as effective as more complicated ones. This design, I could definitely make:
I love incorporating the same shape in multiple ways in a single design. In this case, all the Xs (the whites in the foreground and the reds in the background) are the same size; it’s the colouring that sets them apart.
There are plenty of possibilities with this pattern. Just removing some of the foreground circles opens it up a bit:
Those background Xs, in red, can become a sort of supporting trellis for the circles if they’re connected:
But the trellis can be broken up a bit by removing some of the connecting parts:
And different colours can give the design an entirely different feel. How about a Nordic cross-stitch vibe:
Or maybe a candy shop colourway?
The quilt design could be made into a pattern using (slightly amended) drunkard’s path units and strips or rectangles. A template would probably be easiest for the curves.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I find Electric Quilt 8 to be incredibly frustrating to use sometimes, but I’m also the first one to admit that it’s much easier than hand-sketching for creating curvy designs (for me, at least). Earlier this year, soon after I bought EQ8, I created my first curvy design.
This isn’t the colourway I started with – it’s about the 50-kajillionth one I tried. But I was so stuck on this design, just really drawn to it, that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I kept trying new combinations of three colours, enlisted the help of some quilty friends, and finally settled on this muted palette. It reminds me of waves, or clouds, or wisps of smoke or fog.
I can’t remember if I created this design because I knew that Jenny Haynes – AKA Papper, Sax, Sten – sells double drunkard’s path templates, or if I only saw her templates afterwards… but I knew the only way to get it out of my head would be to actually make it. So I ordered the 7″ template, ordered the fabric (Kona Cotton Solids in Sky, Baby Blue and Fog), waited impatiently for everything to arrive, and then took it all to my annual sewing retreat in late September.
In a little under 2 days, I cut all the pieces, arranged them by block, sewed the double curves (for the first time ever), and put together the entire quilt top. Is there a word for that feeling of relief you get when you complete a project and you can finally free up the brain space it’s been occupying for months?! There totally should be.
As soon as I finished the quilt top, I folded it up and put it away. I knew it needed expert quilting… and I’m no expert when it comes to quilting. I’d like to develop my skills beyond straight-line quilting, but limited space, a shallow-throated domestic machine and my own impatience mean it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
Coincidentally, my quilty friend Steph Skardal was steadfastly practising straight lines on her new Juki longarm machine. I cheekily suggested that she might like to practise curves on my quilt top… and she agreed. A few days later (quick enough that Steph couldn’t change her mind!), the quilt top was winging its way from Australia to the USA. And soon after that, Steph had a plan and made a start on the quilting. You might have seen some of her progress shots on Instagram (here and here).
I couldn’t be happier with Steph’s choice of backing fabric and quilting design – they complement the quilt design but don’t overpower it. Once she’d finished and washed it, the quilt got that lovely crinkly texture. Look how good it looks!
The fabric colours aren’t as similar as I would’ve liked (I think the darkest colour stands out a smidge too much from the other two colours), but for my first curvy design and piecing, I’m pretty happy with this quilt. And I love Steph’s quilting and binding. I’ve long admired her work, so I was really excited to collaborate with her and benefit from her expertise. I hope we can do it again!
Because Steph finished the quilting in super-quick time (I’m convinced there are 36 hours in a day where she lives), we decided to submit it to QuiltCon. I cheekily called the quilt ‘Blue Wave’ in a nod to current events at the time. Unfortunately, Blue Wave is a #quiltconreject, but we might submit it elsewhere. It seems a shame to post it back to Australia before it’s seen a little more of the world.
In the meantime, I’m toying with the idea of writing up a pattern for Blue Wave. I’d love to see how it looks in other colour combinations and fabrics! And given how quickly it came together, I’d be tempted to try another version myself.
Sunday sketch #122 followed a single line from one edge of the design to the other. I’ve created quite a few new designs using the same concept. The only difference is that instead of making the line a black stripe, I’m using it like a border separating two colours. Just like the original inspiration by Jo Delahaus, this week’s design combines straight lines and curves.
I love two-colour designs, but I can never decide on the best two colours!
This design could be translated into a quilt pattern quite easily using rectangles, squares and a few drunkard’s path blocks.