Actually, designing with the longarm quilting machine—my HandiQuilter Avante— is still some way off. At the moment it is new to me and I am experimenting with the designs that come with the machine. I am learning the mechanics, and the idiosyncrasies of the machine. I have the machine located on wooden floors. Despite careful leveling when setting up the table, I have found that the dry then wet weather still cause some concern with the smooth running of the quilter. I am learning to deal with its needle jumps. After I have the basics firmly established I will be able to experiment with different weights of wadding and different designs.
Bird of Paradise — King size
While staying with my Mother (in her nineties) a couple of years ago, we made several pineapple quilts. Mom wanted to learn the simple pineapple pattern developed by Karin Hellaby. The basic pattern is available here. We found that it was a great pattern that worked for an assembly line strategy where both of us could work on the quilt construction together. Mom did the sewing and cutting of the squares while I did the cutting of the squares, trimming, and marked the cutting lines. Once we got the technique right and the process, we started experimenting with different sized squares. Our early experimentation ended up as this king size quilt. I needed to border some of the squares (the gold fabric) so that they would all fit together. The edging of the quilt then became triangles around the border. Click on this link to see a YouTube video on ‘Sew Simple Pineapple’
A triangular section of the border. Quilted with the longarm quilting machine.
I started quilting of this large area when I first got the machine. The centre blocks are all quilted with different designs that came loaded with the ProStitcher computer software. (I have not been brave enough to do freehand long arm quilting.) Well, yes, I have had a couple of goes, but they weren’t very smooth. (I have very tense shoulders and need to learn to relax them.)
I found a website ‘my creative stitches’ that sells patterns for the long arm quilters. There is quite an array of these. Christy Dillon creates these patterns and digitizes them so that I can increase the selection of patterns which my machine will do (by itself!). Christy offers Free patterns so that quilters can check that they work on their machine before purchasing others. Just by trying this sample I have learned more about using the options available on the LongArm. Thanks Christy.
How does my daily email support my design thinking?
My email inbox this morning was filled with three sorts of emails. The first series was house sit opportunities – these were easily deleted as we have booked ourselves up until end of June. We will think about our next location after I have submitted the final PhD document, which I am planning will be before that!
Online support from Quilters
The second group was from quilting sites I have joined. This raised my awareness to the opportunities available for quilters to do online courses to learn their craft. In my past, I learned my sewing and quilting from my mother and from the generations before her. Then I had opportunities while at primary and secondary school, and then did some at university. As mentioned earlier these were my mental health maintenance courses. Since leaving university, books, and weekend workshops have supplemented my own experimentation. This morning, I marveled at how our craft has taken on, and accepted the use of the Internet for passing on the skills and knowledge previously inaccessible to people like myself who live in isolated and remote areas of the world.
My professional life has been ‘education’. Working in primary schools, vocational education institutions, and universities has been my income stream. In all these situations I have been interested in ‘distance education’. Once introduced to the computers and the ability to connect and communicate with these tools, back in 1986, I have since explored the opportunities to live remotely and still feel part of the urban world.
The final group of emails was from instructional design and academic groups that I belong to. There is a lot in common with patchwork and quilting and instructional design. The information shared this morning by John Laskaris, of TalentBlog regarding what needs to be considered when creating a learning experience for students is similar to the process one needs to engage with when designing a quilt. Most important is the purpose! Laskaris suggests the following considerations when involved in instructional design. Here’s how I might apply them to my textile design planning.
What is my objective?
In instructional design, the purpose might be sharing information, teaching a skill or promoting a change in behavior. Each requires a different approach. So it is with designing a quilt, wall hanging or any other piece of textile art. When designing a textile creation, I need to determine first why I want to make this object.
Who is going to use this or look at it? Is it for me or someone else?
When I am finished am I going to want to enter it into a Quilting show?
Is it to be another of my ‘mental health’ projects?
Will I add it to the pile of quilts for the Children’s Hospital?
What resources will be needed?
Am I doing this as an experiment with techniques, tools or materials?
Do I want to make something practical or a ‘work of art’ for looking at?
If the finished product a bed cover how big do I want to make it? Do I want it to just cover the top of the bed, or hand down the sides of the bed? Will it need a pillow allowance and have adjustments for the corners and hems?
Do I need to consider the detail, craftsmanship, and evaluation criteria set by others?
Will the finished item be for showing to others through exhibition, or for my own use and care?
Do you have the right tools available?
to express my joy in colour, a particular pattern, or experiment with non-traditional techniques?
What is the level of interactivity?
Is this to be a piece that can involve others?
Will the person I am making this for be involved and have choice?
Is the intended owner fastidious or casual?
Will my creation have to be laundered, or a work of art that is kept away from dust and dirt?
Where to next?
Thinking about each of these questions leads me to the idea of making decisions. How we go about making decisions and what stimulates the decisions. Well my decision today is to follow the decision process using the above criteria. I probably won’t be back for a few days as I have other pressing matters to attend to, but I have decided to blog the creation of a single quilt through the design and creation process.