Sunday, July 31, 2016

An Old Shoe

I really appreciate all the understanding, empathy and compassion that were expressed in response to my dark week post.  I especially liked the idea of framing Dixie, but then realized that the dog and half the background are already quilted - very poorly.  I just can't keep it, but I will redo it.  In the meantime, since I like the results so much (sans quilting), I will keep the bad one as a guide for a much nicer new one in the future with a different fusible material.  It was fun to do until it came to the quilting, which was truly a nightmare.  My real doggie gave me a sweet, loving lick to let me know it was OK...or maybe she just wanted a taste of my hand lotion.

Meanwhile, "Onward ho!"  What do I mean by "An Old Shoe?"  My mother used that expression to describe a new acquaintance who was able to settle into our life like family we had known forever.  Comfortable.  That is how I feel about the new quilt that I started this week because I am familiar with and enjoy the technique.

My new project has paper pieced spiral elements in it.  So, you say, "What is a spiral quilt?"  A spiral quilt can be made from any and many geometric shape(s) and is sewn like a log cabin block, but is made with triangles instead of rectangles.  I will try to give you a general, but admittedly skimpy idea, but if you want to try it I recommend RaNae Merrill's "Simply Amazing Spiral Quilts."  Her directions are clear and precise, covering the drawing, designing, and sewing.  Her second book, "Magnificent Spiral Mandala Quilts" is also excellent.  I design my spirals on Adobe Illustrator, but they can be drawn on paper with pencil, ruler and eraser.  They are sewed with foundation/paper piecing.

Step 1.  Draw the outline of a shape.  In this case I started with a triangle.

Step 2.  Draw a ring of small triangles inside the outer border, one along each side.  You can measure or make your triangles any size that you like.  I make mine kind of free form as I find the measuring tedious.

Step 3.  Draw another ring of small triangles inside the first ring.  Continue making similar rings until you get to the center.  RaNae Merrill goes into different ways to draw these triangles.  The way I am showing is the easiest to sew.

Step 4.  Fill all those inner triangles with color.

5.  Print or draw your design on paper (I use Sulky Paper Solvey and print it from my computer).

But....that is only one triangle. Let's play with that single triangle:
Now here is what you can do when you combine several geometric shapes into a 60º wedge.  This example is symmetrical, but you can get some interesting designs when you introduce some asymmetry with your shapes:
60º wedge made with several different shapes.

Then rotate six copies of the wedge around its center point:

Six wedges can make a quilt.
See the wedge?

Now fill with color.  It is full of primary, secondary and tertiary design possibilities.  Talk about an adult coloring book!  There are so many ways to portray this and no one can figure out how you did it!  You can turn your imagination loose and it is not hard to sew one of these, but it takes time and attention to detail.

TIP:  Try a simple design or two this week.  It is fun.

Sew a Happy Seam this week.  I wish you some designing fun.


  1. Cool concept. Glad you mood has lightened. Yes. A fabric adult coloring book. Way better than paper!!
    xx, Carol

  2. Wow! I've seen some simple spiral shapes like you describe in the beginning, but never realized all the potential. It's especially fascinating for me how the purely straight line geometric shapes in your mandala give rise to "organic" curves resembling kind of palm leaves or fish fins and flowers! Thanks for food for thought.

  3. Thank you for sharing! What a great idea and I am so going to give it a try!

  4. Nice to see you using RaNae's technique - it's lovely! I was involved in her Mandala book, creating the quilt 'Flutter by the Garden' (p64). She does a really great job with instructions - highly recommend the books.
    Thanks for sharing this, and being my featured guest on Midweek Makers

  5. It's good to quilt in the way we're comfortable! Your quilt design is sure inspiring!

  6. Very cool design - thanks for sharing! Whoop whoop!!

  7. Beautiful design! I have done doodling like this in just a small block, it would be neat to do it in a quilt! I'll have to check out that book.