It's a little embarrassing to show you my scribbles (don't know what else to call them). Promise you won't laugh! I wanted to show you how an applique quilt is designed. I'm finishing up quilts for Spring Market and I came across the original graph paper with my Rabbits Prefer Chocolate design. I smiled as I looked at it, because the original scribble (very child-like don't you think?) is not as the quilt ended up.
If the truth be told, not a single applique quilt that I have designed has ever ended up as it started. As I work along, the quilts take on a life of their own. Sometimes I get stuck and sometimes they just falls into place. I never know what to expect.
To design applique you must have patience, patience, patience. I am put to the test many times over and often think I will not be able to finish! You have to be willing to redraw, move blocks around and then redraw the designs again. I work on a design over a relatively short period of time and I live almost every minute with it. When something isn't working it's my husband who makes me quit and take a break. He tells me to stop, get some rest and start again in the morning. I hate it when he's right, but every designer needs someone to tell them when to STOP! It's key to success.
I start with an idea, a basic layout, some drawings and a fabric line I've selected that I think will work with my design. For example, I needed a lot of browns for the bunnies and I choose the Wuthering Heights line because of the many assorted browns. Then I pull in fabrics from other lines, because it adds contrast and that "spark" that is critical to a quilt. I also makes it much more fun for me!
My original graph paper layouts always look like children's drawings. I quickly sketch in the drawing that I think will work and then I move onto the next part of the quilt. If you look at the drawing on the left side of the photo you can see that I originally started with tulips and flowers all over...well off they came as I went along. As Martha would say, "it a good thing" (: More bunnies were added and Rabbits Prefer Chocolate was born! You promised you wouldn't laugh!