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Posted by on Feb 28, 2014 in Featured, QDAD | 50 comments

Quilt Design A Day

Quilt Design A Day

A couple weeks ago, I was working on some quilt designs for a commission, and I realized that I was really enjoying it.

Self: “I should do more of this!”
Self: “Not a bad idea.”
Self: “Maybe I’ll do it EVERY DAY!”
Self: “That’s a bit excessive…”
Self: “…ly AWESOME!”


2-18 – color view – Inspired by the window frame and the half-colored wall.

Have I mentioned my impulsive nature yet? So bolstered by my little self-chat, I decided to make some rules. These are pulled out of nowhere and are just there to give some structure and help ease the empty page syndrome.


2-19 – artichoke tones – inspired by the spikiness of artichoke leaves

Every day I choose one of the two new design-seeds photos. I design a quilt somehow inspired by the photo and I use the palette for the colors. This forces me to use colors I wouldn’t necessarily choose and gives me a starting point for the design. I generally spend 15-30 minutes on the design, and consider it a sketch, so I don’t worry about perfection. The design-seed inspiration for a particular design is linked in the photo caption.


2-20 – flora brights – I liked the way the red poppies looked against the field of blues and greens.

I’ve been doing this for about a week and a half now, and some days I’m frustrated and hate what I make and other days I love my creations. Overall? So. Much. Fun. (Take that self.) 


2-21 – color rise – Left – inspired by the way things get flat and small near the horizon an the reflections. Right – inspired by the rocks and again the reflections.

Sometimes I’m inspired to do both palettes or more than one design. I try to keep the pressure off and do what I feel like.


2-22 – whisked tones – A few variations on the theme. Playing with the idea of things getting mixed together and of course the egg yolk.

Even better, a few people have started joining me. We have a Facebook group, or you can tag your designs on instagram with #qdad. Join in if you like, for as long as you like! Most people don’t participate every day, it’s a no pressure kinda thing.

ginko leaves

2-23 – leafed brights – left: inspired by the shape of the ginko leaves. right: inspired by the veins in the leaves.

I was considering turning some of my designs into patterns if there’s interest. Are there any that you’d like to see a pattern for?


2-24 – stacked tones – I really liked the stripes on the towel and the shape of the bowls reminded me of a paper boat.

I plan to post my week of designs here every Friday. I figure I’ll keep going until it’s not fun anymore.


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    • I use Illustrator because that’s what I know. Amy @ badskirt (http://badskirt.blogspot.com/) uses inkscape which is apparently a free vector drawing program. I haven’t tried it out, but she’s able to make beautiful designs with it!

    • I was going to ask the same thing! :-)

      • I guess I should have put that information in the blog post. That would have made sense! lol
        I use Illustrator to design because that’s what I have/know. :) Other people in our group are using inkscape (free) and EQ7. One person even uses Processing (which is a programming language) sometimes to design his quilts!

  1. What a fun challenge. I especially like the last two. Though I don’t know if I’d actually try the one with the boat. Piecing the boat looks like it could be fairly complicated.

    • Thank you! I’ve actually already created a paper-piecing pattern for the boat, and it’s not too bad. :) Of course that doesn’t take the background into account. If I made the quilt pattern, I’d need to do that. :)

  2. I’d like to see what you do with today’s photos….I’m hoping you work with the global hues one. I’ll ask the same question a moonlightsewing asked….what program are you using for the designs?

    • I’ve looked at both of today’s designs. I’m drawn to the shapes in global hues, but like the colors in the flower one better. When I have a chance to sit down and do today’s designs, I’ll probably end up doing rough sketches for both. :)

      As for the program, I use Illustrator. I’ve been using Illustrator for different things (including making my paper-piecing patterns) for a long time, so that’s the program I’m most comfortable with. Amy @ badskirt (http://badskirt.blogspot.com) uses inkscape which is a free vector program.

  3. yes, you SHOULD design for a living – all amazing and loved to see the inspirations! i liked Color View and the 2 Color Rises the best. Stacked Tones also, if i didn’t have to embroider & appliqué an origami guy on there (:

    • Aww, thanks Jody! :D It’s something I am really enjoying. Now I just need to learn how to write quilt patterns. :) As for Stacked Tones, I’ve already made the paper-piecing pattern for the little boat, although that doesn’t take into account fitting it into the background. I guess I’d need to address that if I made it into a quilt pattern. :D

  4. The boat design is my favorite!

    Your design-a-day is a great idea — love it!!

    • Thanks Kelly! :D I think the boat design is my favorite so far, too. Feel free to join in! I know you’re super busy, but if you get some spare moments, join us!

  5. I love this! I hope you keep listening to your “self”.

    • Thank you! :D Self & /self/ have been battling it out for years, and they generally win an equal number of battles. :) Self keeps me from doing things like quitting my job and moving to NZ, and /self/ keeps me from sticking with things that are boring and I hate. So it works out okay. :)

  6. I love your designs and I think this is a terrific idea. That link to design-seeds isn’t working for me, though.. :(

    • Thanks Pat! Design seeds seems to be down for some people this morning (including me). I think there’s some network issue out there, probably due to all the storms across the country. Hopefully it gets resolved soon!

  7. I want a pattern for the artichoke design.

    • Oh sure, pick one of the hardest ones! ;) I’ve been assured it’s totally a possible design, so I’ll see about converting it to a pattern. :)

    • Thanks Jennie! I’m interested to see how my designs change over time. :)

  8. Oh dear. I checked the group, looks great but I would get so overloaded by it so I decided not to join. I downloaded your PP boat though since I planned to make one for my little project :-) I’ll let you know how it ended up.

    • Oh excellent! Please do let me know how it goes! I actually want to make that toy boat quilt for my friend’s baby boy, so it might end up as a pattern yet. :)

  9. The boat, the boat! But also include solid colour names when you do the pattern please.

    • That’s the one I want to make, so it’s the most likely to end up as a pattern. :) The paper-piecing pattern for the boat on its own is already done, I just need to add the bits to make it sit into the background. I’ll be sure to include the solids, thanks for the idea!

  10. Whisked tones and stacked tones in that order. Fun project.

    • Both of those seem to be pretty high ranking. Thanks for weighing in!

  11. I agree with all the posts. You should be a designer for sure. I love all your designs, but, my fav is artichoke tones. The design and colors, WOW! When can get your patterns.

    • Thanks Sandy, that’s really sweet of you to say! :D The artichoke tones seems likely that it will end up getting made into a pattern, as soon as I figure out how one would actually make such a thing. ;)

  12. What a great challenge! I loved whisked tones. I look at deisgn seeds every now and then to get colour ideas :)

    • I use them for color inspiration all the time, such fun palettes! :D And thanks for voting on a favorite!

  13. Stacked Tones and the right Color Rise

    • Stacked Tones is my favorite, I think. I definitely want to pattern that one up, regardless of where it ends up in the ranking. :D

  14. I’m with Sarah, love the artichoke design! Thanks Anne! Great idea and love what you’re coming up with.

    • Thank you! :D It’s been such a fun exercise, I’m still really enjoying it!
      Thanks for voting on a favorite, the artichoke one is pretty high up there, I just need to figure out construction on that one. :)

  15. Am I the only one who heard your self in a Barney Stintson voice? Especially the last two lines? Wait for it…. What a great idea you have! I’ve been on a spree of quilt designs lately (but I just doodle them in my notebook old school pencil style). I think that whisper of spring is stirring up lots of creativity! I just today came across a paper pieced pattern for a paper boat today and fell in love, so I am all for the blue boat design : )

    • HAhahahaha that’s awesome. I wish the voices in my head sounded like Barney Stintson… They’d be much more entertaining to listen to. ;)
      I think you’re right, everyone’s being creative lately, and it’s awesome! I hope you share some of your doodles!

      I’ve already turned the paper boat into a paper-piecing pattern, I just need to work on how it fits into the background. :)

  16. I am 100% in LOVE with the snowball block quilt!!! I love that style block and this modern interpretation is right up my alley:) Also curious what you design with?

    • Thank you! :D I don’t normally work with that shape, I should try it again and see where it goes. :)
      I design using Illustrator. We have more people in the facebook group now and people use inkscape (which is free), illustrator and EQ7 mainly.

  17. What a wonderful idea!! I love designing also, I use EQ7, because that’s what I know. I would like to learn Illustrator, but don’t have the time to invest in it right now.

    • There are people in the group who are doing the challenge using EQ7, there’s no need to learn Illustrator. :) I have a mac, and EQ isn’t out for mac yet, so I just use Illustrator. :) You’re welcome to join our facebook group if you’d like! We’d love to see your designs. :)

  18. Very cool. Yes, I would like to see you make some patterns from these. I like “Color View” and “Artichoke Tones”!

    • Thanks Lisa! I’m hoping to get a little time this week to put together a pattern, but we’ll see how it falls out. :) Thanks for voting!

  19. I love Design Seeds! I’ve also been trying to think of ways to kick start or maintain my creativity, and this seems like a really good idea!

    • I’d love it if you joined in! :D If you use facebook, join our group! We chat and critique and it’s really fun. :)

  20. I am lovin’ the artichoke tones and the whisked tones! All your designs are awesome, but those are my two faves! Glad to see I am not the only one talking to myself….. And answering. ;)

    • Man, I assume everyone has full-on conversations with themselves, because I don’t want to think about the implications if that’s not true. LOL
      It seems like those two designs are rather well liked, I think I need to get really fast at designing patterns to have time to make all of these. ;)

  21. Color rise 2-the left is pretty cool, I like the abstraction of it. Fun idea for the Daily quilt designs as well. The boat would make a great baby boy quilt.

    • Thanks Jeifner! :D It’s been a fun exercise so far! Thanks for weighing in on the designs!

  22. I love artichoke tones, too! I wonder if it’s based on 60° triangles… all of it is inspiring, thank u!

    • Thank you! Yep, they’re all equilateral (60°) triangles. :) With a triangle ruler, that probably wouldn’t be that bad to construct!

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