All week I've fiddled around with the new Duchess quilt design and come to realize that I really don't want to create a carbon copy of the original.
In truth: I want a totally new quilt design.
This is a hard truth to swallow. First off, the original design is quite nice and has many good qualities and it would be really great to have this design in a finished quilt that isn't falling apart. More on that story here.
But the truth is, the original design just isn't doing it for me. I spent a day fiddling around with the center and came up with this:
Still, this was just the first draft and I was still
trying to make certain elements (like her weird pomegranate hat) work in
the design. I even considered axing her vase, but ultimately decided it needed to stay in with a few modifications.
If you're wondering about the design process, it's actually very simple: I sit at my light box with paper, pencil, eraser, and various rulers and guides and draw and fiddle until I'm happy with 1/2 of the image.
Why only 1/2? Because she is perfectly symmetrical down the center,
all I have to do is fold over the paper in the middle, and the second
half can be traced from the first half. No, tracing is not against the rules, it's downright essential for achieving a perfectly symmetrical figure.
4 years ago, I worked on the large, full sized image on huge pieces of graph paper. These days I work very small on a standard sheet of paper (8.5" x 11") then scan the image into my computer and resize it to any size I want. This is far easier, and allows for endless possibilities when it comes to using this design.
When I say "fiddle" I really mean it. There's nothing too technical about doodling on paper, layering it with other bits of paper, drawing the nice parts, erasing the bad parts. The trick is to let the lines come and not get too judgmental.
It's really easy to get stuck on a line or section because it took a lot of time to put together. Sometimes you have to accept that an element doesn't work and needs the ax, and you have to be ruthless about it.
So after several days of playing, I've finally settled up on this:
This is the space they should fill up on the quilt. When it comes time to quilt this section, I will mark the boundary line, then quilt free form feathers into the space.
No, the two sides will not be perfectly symmetrical. The feathers could differ wildly on both sides, it will really depend on my mood when I quilt them. The space the feathers FILL will be symmetrical, but the feathers themselves will not be.
Now if this feather thing makes absolutely no sense, don't worry! After we work through our modern quilt project and stitch through a few new designs, we're going to return to the Heart and Feather Wholelcloth project and this time play with this idea of free form feathers.
Hopefully by that time I'll be at the same stage on the duchess and be able to show you many neat ideas for using feathers without marking, but still achieving somewhat symmetrical results.
Now with this pretty girl designed, it's time to start working on the borders and background of this fun quilt!
Let's go quilt (or fiddle with designs!)