[ Quilt Design ]

Design Progression

How do ideas come to life? Almost anything can inspire us, from a beautiful sunset to the lines in a parking lot.  Many time I start with a color, grab some fabric and let my imagination run wild.  Let me share the design progression of a simple pinwheel to a potential quilt.

Inspiration Strikes

There are quite a few things I should be doing instead of playing in my sewing room.  But, life has been pretty hectic this fall and it was time for a break.  I found this gorgeous layer cake, the Blue Moon line from Island Batik, and started choosing fabrics for a pinwheel block.

fabric layer cake

Generally, quilt designs need high levels of contrast to make the designs stand out.  I decided to use the pinwheels in a nine patch layout, so in addition to the contrasting fabrics for the pinwheel itself, I needed to think about the alternate squares.  Should they match one of the pinwheel fabrics or not?  Since I was constrained by the selection in the layer cake, I decided to use a third fabric.

contrasting fabric

single pinwheel

design progression full block

The pinwheel came together quickly, and I set the dark fabric against light backgrounds.  Immediately, I started imagining more blocks and potential quilts. Design progression is like a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, each decision leads you towards that unknown ending!

Design Progression from Block to Quilt

Next, I sat down with my favorite quilt design software, EQ7. I sketched the pinwheel block in several sizes and started planning a quilt. Snowflakes and crystals were on my mind.

I started with colors that were similar to the fabrics I used in the actual block, but the blue background seemed to overpower the quilt.  Switch to a white background, take away some of the smaller pinwheel sections and move others around. Does it work?

pinwheel design progression

Someday this might come to life as a full size quilt. For now it was an exercise to stretch my creativity and watch the design progression from fabric to quilt block to quilt layout.

quote for design perfection

About Author


Longarm Quilter, Pattern Designer, Teacher


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