Although variations are possible it is probably easiest to start with a wedge 1/6th or 1/8th of a circle. Draw some shapes on it and use a mirror to see if you like the repeated design...or decide on shapes you think you would like to fit into the wedge. They do not have to be even, but these lines will be seams and you must be able to sew them together.
|Basic outline of one 30º wedge|
The next step is to draw lines that create triangles within one of the shapes. There are several ways to do this, but I started with the pentagon and used the "Pinwheel Spiral" as below.
Step 1 (fig 1): After you have drawn the outline of the pentagon use a ruler and pencil or the pen tool in Illustrator to draw a straight line from point A to a point on line BC about 3/4"-1" from point B. The chosen distance for that point does not have to be exact but 1" (give or take) is a good place to start for an entry level spiromaniac. You can measure the distance or guess.
TIP: The lines you draw within the pentagon shape create triangles. If you are using the computer I recommend that you draw the complete triangle with the pen tool on a separate layer so that it can be filled with color later. If you are drawing with pencil this is not necessary as you can color in the lines with your choice of coloring implements.
Step 2 (fig 2 & 3): Next you draw another line from point B to a point on line CD about 3/4"-1" from point C.
Step 3 (fig 3): Now go back to where the second line crosses the first line (red circle on Figure 2) and erase or adjust the line so it no longer crosses over the second line.
Step 4 (fig 4): Continue in this manner until your drawing looks like Figure 4.
Step 5 (fig 5): Second round. Continue as you did for the first round, but place the first point at the intersection of the large end of a first-round triangle (red circles) and the second point 3/4"-1" from the intersection of the first and second first-round triangles. Erase the overlap as you did in step 3.
Continue in this manner, completing 2 or 3 more rounds as you work toward the center.
Look at that: it is basically a Twisted Log Cabin! If your pentagon's sides are equal and every triangle's broad end is the same measurement, then the center will also be a pentagon. My centers are always wonky because my pentagons are not always equilateral and I don't measure my points precisely, but I rather like the quirkiness they give to a design that is otherwise so ordered. The triangles do not have to be perfect, but the points must be in the right place and the large ends must lie on the line of the previous round.
Give this a try. It is fun, and while you are at it, work the triangle piece at the lower part of the wedge and fill it in the same way.
TIP: You are designing your own quilt. There is nothing wrong with adapting an idea from someone else, but once you get the technique down, modify it to make it your own.
Stay tuned for my next post, which will continue with the process. These quilts are beautiful, but they require spending design time, pattern prep time, and sewing time, so I will give you a few days to work out the basics as described here.