Sunday 7 October 2012

Equilateral quilt - the design process

I have blogged before about the equilateral quilt I am making for my youngest brother here, and I wanted to share a bit of the design process that got me to the final mix of fabrics and layout.

First, my brother asked me if I would make him a quilt.  I'm not sure if he was totally serious, but I will leap at any excuse to make a quilt so I said yes.

Then, I had already bought an equilateral triangle ruler after seeing this post from Megan at Jaffa Quilts (another Kiwi quilt blogger, yay!), and thinking that an equilateral triangle quilt might not be as tricky as I had first thought.  So, I was looking for a reason to make an equilateral triangle quilt, and decided that this was a good opportunity.

Then, we talked about colours.  The colours in my brother's bedroom are grey, white, and touches of red, so we thought that those would be a good place to start.  Since he is 18, and won't be living at home in that room forever, I thought those colours would also work well in other settings and shouldn't date too much over time or become inappropriate as he gets older.

Next, I sat down at the computer with my brother, and showed him some pictures to gauge his enthusiasm for (1) an equilateral triangle quilt and (2) a quilt made with all solids.

The following three quilts are from Carson Converse's etsy shop, Carson Too.  Sadly, he doesn't seem to have any quilts for sale at the moment, but these were a good start to show what I meant by an all solid equilateral triangle quilt.
I couldn't hand on heart swear that we looked at this quilt, but I found it when I was searching google images for pictures for this post, and I think it is a stunning example of an equilateral triangle quilt made with a mix of solids and prints.  Not really the look I was going for for this quilt though.

Finally, I thought I would show my brother the famous triangle quilt made by Audrie at Blue is Bleu.  I know the triangles are not equilateral, but seriously, this quilt is stunning.  I wish I had the talent to put unexpected colours together like that.  My brother's comment - "I don't hate that".  Translation - that is pretty damn cool.

So anyway, I went home thinking that I would make a quilt using all solids, with crisp whites and greys, with a splash of red.  Audrie's quilt, with its mix of colours, was in the back of my mind though. 

After thinking about it for a couple of weeks, I eventually went to my stash and started pulling out all my white and grey solids.  When I put them together, it was looking a bit dull.  So I put back some of the darker greys, and pulled out a range of creams, taupes, tans, and light greys, and then found all the brown prints in my stash, and then a started grabbing a couple each of aquas, reds, and mustardy yellows.  Much better.  This is what I ended up with - 24 fabrics, in a mix of prints and solids.

The fact that I was able to pull so many fabrics from stash might give you an insight into the state of my stash (gulp!).  I did much prefer being able to make my selection at home rather than at a quilt shop or online (don't get the impression that I don't love shopping for fabric though).

I thought about consulting my brother about my fabric selection, but I decided not to.  I knew that if he didn't like it, I would be very happy keeping the quilt myself.  He seems to be happy with it though, and I put him to work laying out all of the cut triangles into a pleasing layout.  Although there is an eight year age gap between us, out of all our siblings (I have one sister and two brothers) we are probably the most similar in personality, and that came through when we were doing the layout - he was as keen to ensure even distribution of colours and value as I was.

I am still rather daunted at the thought of putting this quilt together, but can't wait to see it finished.

Has anyone else done a project like this, where someone else was involved in design decisions?  I am enjoying working a bit collaboratively, but it would be fair to say that I am seeking input and keeping control over ultimate design decisions.

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