Monday, August 30, 2010


I don't have a design wall. When I need to lay blocks out or audition fabrics and such, I usually use the dining room table or the floor. Most often, I have a pretty good idea where things will go and how a quilt will transpire. The idea in my head comes first and I work to make it happen. Every once in awhile, especially when the work is more abstract or when the idea is vague, I will audition and move things around in the best possible way for viewing. The floor isn't the best way, but it's there. I always have the floor. Today, when placing almost identical blocks in a repeated pattern, I really missed having a design wall. The differences were so subtle, the ability to step back and get perspective was invaluable. Since I don't have a wall designated for this, I improvised. Some of you might remember some pictures in the June American Patchwork & Quilting that featured our studio/homes. This is a photo of my dining room and the quilt that hangs there.
It isn't ideal, as it isn't a neutral background, but in a pinch, the quilt itself works as a design wall. I spent an hour or so in front of this quilt moving and pinning blocks until they were arranged just so. The blocks pinned easily into it and I could move back several feet and get some perspective. It isn't a good option for the long term, but for today...... it was a good place for them until they were pieced into larger blocks.

On another note, I had a revelation this weekend. While piecing these blocks on my trusty Featherweight, I watched some dvd's. You might remember when I wrote about the movie Emma here. It has become a favorite since I dvr'ed it. I have watched it several times since I captured it digitally from a television broadcast. It ran over several nights on Masterpiece Classics and one of the tapings ran a little short. Because of that mishap, I bought it on dvd recently. This weekend, watching this dvd in High Definition I couldn't believe the difference. The colors were even more vivid and the detail in the picture was astounding. I stop piecing and stared at the costumes. I could see the individual motifs of the fabrics. The weave of the fabric! Oh, this is amazing. I am going to rent or buy all my old favorites in HD. I mean, it's imperative for someone who loves old fabric, isn't it? And to think I once thought that the best HD could offer me was the ability to lipread the conversations between base runners and first basemen.



Mary Lou Casada said...

Love that photo and that quilt!! But then, I don't think you have designed a single one that I don't want to reproduce! (I just mentioned 3 Brothers Farm in my last blog entry!) I love them all!

Pin a white or cream-colored flannel sheet on the quilt and you'll have an instant neutral design wall, completely portable and temporary:-), and the blocks will "stick" to the flannel without pins.
Mary Lou

momto2wasd said...

That is a wonderful movie, and I love the costumes in movies like that!! I keep wishing I could watch movies while I sew...I never get to watch movies.

The quilt on the wall is gorgeous!!

antique quilter said...

do you sell this as a pattern, beautiful quilt
yes I agree I am starting to buy old movies in HD now too , I had to smile I love seeing the fabrics too.
guess I had better buy Emma today!

Thelma said...

I agree with Mary Lou, my "design wall" is a piece of grey fleece, pinned over my very first quilt that hangs in my sewing room. Four pins across the top means no pins required for the blocks as I arrange them.

I'm envious you see your quilts in your head first, my ideas come as I arrange blocks on my wall, sometimes they come too late, after the quilt has been fully pieced!

Loved seeing that dining room picture one more time.

Diane said...

I, too, love the quilt in your dining room.
And I was thinking as I reading, to pin a piece of lightwt batting or flannel up there.
Have you seen the new boxed wall shelf that conceals a design wall-rollup blind style? I think it was adv. in one of the latest magazines... one of those things I look at and think 'now why didn't I think of that!!'

Minick and Simpson said...

Good Morning,

The Fiesta Quilt in my dining room is featured in the book "Modern Primitive Quilts" by me. Thanks for asking.


Anonymous said...

I usually lay my blocks out on the floor, then stand on a chair with a reducing glass to get perspective. I get a lot of exercise climbing up and down off the chair as I rearrange blocks! LOL! Hopefully, it offsets the M&M's I consume while sewing!
Stay cool this week!
~Joyce in MI

Jean said...

I along with you enjoy watching...
or listening while sewing to one of the Jane Austen movies. The BBC versions seem to hit the spot mostly.. Although, sometimes I've found other versions that are nice too.
Have you seen the BBC version of Persuasions? What can I say... the costumes are so nice! Sooo that means of course I have also got a version of Pride/Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility all good movies.... as my hubby says... Chick Flicks! Although, he enjoys watching them too... so they aren't too bad! He just won't watch them over and over like I will! LoL... Enjoy your portable design wall!

mascanlon said...

I pin a batting to the wall...if I'm careful the littlest tack nails hold it up and you can't see the holes 7 ft off the ground. But I saw the shelf with the "shade" underneath it at the Long Beach show...ask me why i didn't get it then and we'll both know. But the shelf is nice for kick knacks like over a door and you can actually hang a wall quilt below the shelf as there is enough clearence for the design wall.

Robin said...

I giggled at the comment about lip-reading - you're funny.

Pat Sloan said...

i love learning new stuff! i don't have HD but our GYM does!! Think they will let me pop in a movie?

Anonymous said...

WOWOW I do just love the quilt in your photo! what a stunning quilt for the exact right wall and area also.

I have along 1" x 4" board, painted the color on the wall, nailed almost to the ceiling with a flannel sheet stapled to the board for my design wall. YES, please do place a sheet over your wonderful quilt. Neutral sure, and it will protect the hanging quilt from boo-boos.

Fun to learn and read what others are doing too. Keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

Hi , Emma is a fav. and the others too. Your quilt on the wall turned out so lovely, perhaps your stitches were influenced by the state of your mind!! As I pieced my quilt last night, I watched " THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PIJAMAS" and I cried my heart out for all of them !!!Ill have to go back and check my stitches now..

Jeanne (RED) said...

I was reading your blog today--I had missed some days because of the holiday, better late than never! I simply LOVE your quilt! I am going right out to buy your book that quilt is in! My design wall is a huge piece of hard poster board material with polyester (yipes-polyester!) fleece stretched over it. Works well. Have a great day! Jeanne L. from Missouri

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