I spent yesterday sketching.
Polly and I both agree that the biggest challenge in designing (fabric, quilts, and rugs) is getting the ideas that are in our head - down on paper. We are not talented with drawing skills. Our sketches would fit right in displayed on your fridge with your kids and grandkids artwork. Because we are handicapped in this department, we have learned a few tricks.
First lesson: Remember 1st grade. Simple shapes work. Don't try for detail when simplicity works. My most treasured lesson is cutting snowflakes. Remember when we folded up paper to make these classroom decorations? The principle still works. Any shape you can cut once - will make a perfectly symmetrical shape if you cut it on folded paper.Here are my templates for a leaf and vase. Both used this trusted technique. I am working on a border for a future applique quilt. Symmetry is your friend when designing a border. Remember that you only have to draw half of something. Once drawn, a mirror image of this sketch and be added to make a complete sketch.
My second favorite trick - vellum tracing paper. I can't stress enough how much I love this stuff! It's kind of expensive and I had to buy a whole roll of it at the art supply store, but oh, was it worth it. I now have a lifetime supply of graph paper that 1) is see-through and allows me to trace images on it. (see symmetry-mirror image hint above). 2) Vellum is sturdy and holds up to many, many erasings. This is very important. Last night, when I was done sketching, my office chair wouldn't roll on the wood floor. This was because I was sitting in a pile of eraser leavings. Little puddles of spent eraser. It's no exaggeration that I go through more erasers than I do pencils. This is the corner of the border. Because of my see-through traceable graph paper, I know that the mirror image of this will neatly turn the corner of my quilt.
Oh, and blue painter's tape. It leaves no residue on paper or wood. Another good tool. I taped, retaped, and taped again my graph paper over and over each other to get the final product. It was a day well spent.
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