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Feb 15, 2017

Pattern Development: Behind the Scenes

Feb 15, 2017
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FREE for Subscribers-3
Thank you for all the positive feedback on the release of my latest pattern FORMATION (It's free for subscribers).  It seems the bold graphic element of the quilt is catching your interest.  I hope you'll share your progress if you make one!

I thought it may be interesting to share a little behind the scenes look at how I design my patterns.  There are many hours that go into pattern design.  Most of those hours are spent on tasks that may be hidden from public view when a new pattern is released.  I thought I'd share a little about my process today.  These are the stages I work through to create a new pattern.

MAJOR STAGES OF PATTERN DEVELOPMENT:  Concept, Sketch, Determine Fabric Quantities, Fabric Selection, Piecing Technique Selection (so many ways to build blocks), Write Pattern, Draw Illustrations, Sew Sample, Photography, Technical Edit, Pattern Testing, Pattern Formatting for PDF and/or Print, Professional Printing.

After development, there are also several stages involving Pattern Release, Marketing, Distribution and Promotion.  But oh my, I've almost given myself a headache already.  Did you realize there was so much involved?

Today I'm going to show you a little about the SKETCH phase.

I use the software EQ7 from Electric Quilt (for mac) to design pretty much every quilt I make.  Not every quilt ends up looking exactly like the sketch I work up in EQ, but it's always my starting point. I usually prefer to begin working on a concept with a blank quilt in a grid.  The grid starts out all white - and according to my concept idea, I fill in overall shapes.

In this photo, you can see I started with the idea that I wanted 4 large size Flying Geese to make up the major component of the quilt.  I knew I wanted part of the Geese to be made up of large HSTs.  The point on the Geese started out as quarter of an Hourglass unit.  There is a solid green block in the center to form the base of the Geese unit.
Formation Sampler Pattern Concept in EQ7
Those large squares in the center of the Geese are IDEAL for placing sampler blocks.  You know I am always thinking of odd ways to lay out samplers, and open spaces like those beg me to sampler them up.

In EQ7, there are a couple of different "workbooks" if you will.  One workbook is for the lay out of the entire quilt.  Another "workbook" is for block designs.  This helps me keep all my sampler blocks organized when I am playing with dropping them into a quilt design.  The Block Workbook allows you to play with blocks - drawing and adding in piecing designs.  In this photo, you can see I played around with variations of star blocks, trying to find which 4 stars looked best inside the large Flying Geese.
After choosing the 4 stars I liked best, I am able to drop them into the quilt design.

To move the sketch closer to what the final quilt will look like, I try to choose colors similar to what I am thinking for fabric selections.  In the photo on the right, I was able to import the fabric jpg image for the Robert Kaufman Essex Linen Yarn Dye I was planning to use.

Also, when looking from the left photo to the right, I was able to consolidate all those individual blocks of negative space beside the Geese into long panels of fabric.  That's how we will assemble the quilt after all.
EQ Formation Sampler Concept
See the red circles in the photo on the right?  I wanted to eliminate those gaps.  I wanted the Flying Geese to touch each other.  I changed these directions when writing out the pattern.  Instead of working those Geese points as quarter hourglass units, they became smaller Flying Geese themselves.

I absolutely love playing around with design.  Making the sketches match the images in my mind and figuring out all the corresponding math that goes with it.  Love the math, you say?  Actually, yes!  It's like a giant puzzle to me and I love figuring out how to put it all together.

At this point, I would jump into writing out all the instructions.... and follow on down the line in my STAGES OF PATTERN DEVELOPMENT listed above.

Remember next time you see "Poof!" a new quilt in my feed....  it actually takes hours of work behind the scenes.  It is a labor of love, but I truly enjoy getting to design for a living.
You can always sign up for my quarterly newsletter to get your own copy of FORMATION.  It's FREE when you subscribe to the newsletter. Pin It

Feb 6, 2017

FREE Formation Sampler Pattern

Feb 6, 2017
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A new pattern release for today!  How exciting.  Know what's even more exciting?  This pattern is FREE for subscribers to my newsletter just for being a part of this little online sewing community.  Not signed up yet?  No problem.  You can subscribe further down in the post or in the sidebar on the right.

I hope this brings a little added fun to your day.  I know super sizing some Flying Geese makes my Monday.  I've been teasing this new sampler on Instagram for a week or so....

FORMATION: Make Your Sampler Fly
It's no secret I love samplers of all shapes and sizes.  Finding unique settings is....well... an obsession of mine.  That's probably not a secret either. ;)

Sometimes, I want to make a quick and easy quilt. Ok.. we all know quick and easy are relative.. but compared to my year-long Block of the Month programs, this quilt is Speedy Gonzales.

Let me introduce you to Formation.

Formation: A beginner 4 block sampler based on the iconic Star Block.  The center of each star teaches a different piecing basic. The quilt then takes flight by framing the stars in beautiful huge Flying Geese.

Finished Block is 13 1/2" x 27"  | Finished Quilt is 52" x 60".
Easy peasy!

CHOOSING FABRIC MADE SIMPLE.  Don't fret over fabric for this quilt.  I wanted to keep things super basic.  Very clean.  Very simple.  Very graphic.

You will need just 6 fabrics for this quilt.  4 color prints or solids (tone-on-tone or tone-and-white work best) for the Geese.  White.  And a background fabric.  I chose Robert Kaufman's Essex Yarn Dye in Taupe as my background.  That's it.  A formula for success.

You are free to add scraps to the stars like I did in the dark aqua star.
Formation fabric pull
Did I mention Formation is FREE for those who subscribe to my newsletter?  Don't worry - the newsletter only comes out when I have actual news.  Which is usually quarterly.  I won't bombard you!

Sign up for the newsletter (see below or the sidebar) and get your Formation Sampler Pattern delivered to your inbox.  I hope you enjoy!

The Pattern is also available in the shop here.

FORMATION will be delivered in a separate email a few minutes after you confirm your subscription.  Check your spam folder if your pattern does not arrive.  Be sure to save your Pattern some place safe after you download.
Formation Cover JPG

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I'm planning to make another Formation - as my ideas for this pattern are not finished.  Imagine that. :)  I'd love to make just the piecing part without the negative space and use it as a table runner.  OR I'd also like to make several rows of the big ol' Flying Geese to make a large quilt.  Not sure what I'll tackle first.  But, oh, the possibilities....
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Feb 1, 2017

Chocolatier Block of the Month Club #2

Feb 1, 2017
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Chocolatier Block of the Month 2 Blocks
We're back with Month 2 of the Chocolatier Block of the Month Club.  How appropriate that this month's flavor in my "skittles" version of the BOM is Pink.  Love is in the air after all!
Today, the Month #2 Block Pattern for Chocolatier is now available.  Check your emails and mailboxes!

We are making 2 blocks this month.  We're keeping it relatively simple to get into the groove with this BOM.  We have a jazzed up version of the Friendship Star, called Eccentric Star.  And block #2 is a fun stitch-n-flip, called Arrowhead.  That lighter pinky color had me thinking of those candies that are colored like pepto.... I couldn't find them for their photo shoot though.  These pink and red candies did the job and were delicious too.

Block #1 Eccentric Star
Chocolatier Block of the Month #2 Eccentric Star

Block #2 Arrowhead
Chocolatier Block of the Month #2 Arrowhead

Fabric is Cotton Supreme Solids by RJR Fabrics for my version of the BOM.  Find my color selections listed here.

SHARE with US!  I'd love to see what you make!
There are several ways to share your participation in the BOM.  I hope you'll join in the fun of quilting along online with us.
#chocolatiersampler on Instagram
Gen X Quilters' Pattern Shop Facebook Group

**A yearly subscription to Chocolatier BOM is available here. LAST DAY FOR THE SALE PRICE**
When you purchase a subscription, an Introduction Guide AND all the current block patterns to date will be emailed immediately upon payment.

Feel free to join in the fun with us anytime throughout the year.  For all the details on Chocolatier, go here. Pin It
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