Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Importance of a Design Wall

Hi there! Yesterday I was putting up my blocks on my design wall and I had an epiphany! I thought that a lot of newbie quilters would really benefit from learning about design walls and why they are so great! So I thought I would share with you my thoughts on having a design wall and why it really makes a difference when designing your quilt.

Like I mentioned in the previous post I am in the process of creating a new quilt and pattern to share with you guys.  I finished up sewing a few last minute squares last night and put everything up on my design wall.  Whoever invented the design wall was a genius!  I love my design wall, and have used it constantly since I've started quilting.  

Why is it important to put your design up on a wall?

1.  It helps you see the layout of your fabric/blocks in a different perspective.  When you layout your quilt on the floor you really don't get the same perspective.

2.  It is easier to arrange and rearrange blocks on a design wall rather than on the floor.

3. It also helps to see how fabrics and patterns look in relation to one another.  

I have also found it helpful to put up a block or design I'm working on and just leave it up there for a couple of days.  This helps me really decide if I like the design or layout or not and if the fabrics are working well with each other. 

Putting things up on the wall to see how it looks is not a new thing.  In fact, this was one of the first lessons I learned in my interior design class in college.  We always put our fabrics on the wall next to one another to see how they would work with each other.  This helps you see what colors and patterns work well with each other and what doesn't look so great. 

Another thing that I strongly suggest is take a picture each time you rearrange your blocks.   I can't tell you how much it helps to see the picture of the blocks on my computer screen.  It gives you another perspective as well.  You can put two of your photos next to each other on your computer screen and see which orientation you like best.  I would really recommend trying this if you haven't already. 

I want to show you three different photos of my quilt.  

This was after I put all my blocks up the first time. 

{In this picture, I did not like how I had the same fabrics really close to each other and also they are really similar in tones.   I felt like it looked to repetitive.  I don't want my focus of the quilt to be in one particular spot, and I felt like my eye was going directly to those pink and green fabrics.}

{This is after I fixed the green and pink blocks}
So I fixed the green and pink blocks, but then look! I now have two of the same orange blocks competing with one another. 

{Third try}
So far this is my favorite layout, but those yellows are too repetitive. Also, now that I am seeing it while I write this blog post the dark grays and light grays are separated....  So I will go back to the design wall and do some more rearranging, and take a few more pictures until I am completely happy with it. 

What would really help is if I had a few more different pieces of fabric to work with.  This quilt is made up entirely of my leftovers from another project.  So I really have to make it work with what I have. 

I'm certain that no matter how much rearranging there will be something that bothers me, but like I've said before I'm trying to let some of that perfectionism go!  It's hard, but I am really trying. :)

Do you have a design wall?
Do you have any tips or tricks you want to share?

PS: The majority of fabrics used in this quilt is from this line. I've had a few people ask me, so here  you go! :)

Talk to you soon,

Anything Goes by Stitch by Stitch* Design Wall Monday by Patchwork Times *Show and Tell Tuesday by Fresh Squeezed Fabrics
Tuesday by Free Motion by the River *Fabric Tuesday by A Quilt Story *Wow Me Wednesday at Polkadots on Parade 
Whimsy Wednesday at The NY Melrose Family *Wip Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Cottage *We Did It Wednesday! at Sew Much Ado
Needle and Thread Thursday by My Quilt Infatuation *Really Random Thursday by Live a Colorful Life
Thursday Threads by 627Handworks * I Quilt by Pretty Bobbins
Link Party Palooza at Today's Creative Blog *Show and Tell Saturday at Be Different Act Normal


Live a Colorful Life said...

Designs walls are the best. Taking pictures is really helpful as well, to remember a layout, see similar fabrics close together as you did. Usually what happens to me is that I fix one problem and it creates another problem, and on and on. This is going to be a really pretty quilt!

DanaK ~ WaterPenny said...

This is going to be great! I think it's pretty as is, but I love yellow.

When I hit a wall like that "Layout isn't perfect, but I don't want to cut more fabric" I just start thinking about what quilting design or binding color will best blend all the colors together and ease in any awkwardness. A strong binding color goes a long way to neutralizing off-balance, I think.

Kim @ TiesThatBindQuilting said...

I'm working on my first quilt top and did all of my layout on the floor (in a bedroom I could close the door to in order to keep my dog from running all over everything!). Having a design wall would have been so much easier!

Unknown said...

Go to the hardware store and buy a pep hole for doors. Look threw it at your quilt. If you don't have a design wall lay your quilt on the floor. Stand on a chair above the quilt look threw pep hole at your quilt.

Sue McPeak said...

Good for you...All great tips and reasons to have a Design Wall. As a former quilt shop owner, I had a HUGE Design Wall for classes and for my own use. Now in my home studio, I have a smaller one that gets lots of use. Check it out on this weeks post on Design Wall Monday. You will notice that I have bordered it with a quilt block wall paper border which helps with setting things square for photos.
I am visiting from Thursday Threads and would love to have you stop by and see my 1930's Fabrics and Quilts. Just click on the signature link below...hope to see you there.  Your comments are 'Sew' Welcomed!

Sue CollectInTexas Gal

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

I love the colors of your quilt! Thanks for the information on a design wall. I'm new to quilting and have heard the term before but never seen it laid out and explained. So thanks for that, and good luck finishing your lovely quilt! :)

Joanie's Trendy Quilts said...

Good post! I just put mine back up on the wall. It is flannel that I hemmed and used upholstery rolled cardboard to make the top straight and sturdy for tacking. I had taken it down to paint and went without it for several months. I was hoping to wrap the flannel on insulation board but it's too large for either of our cars. I missed it especially when putting up blocks that had various colors and needing the visual going through the process of moving blocks around, taking pictures and waiting the next day to see how it struck me the next day. Maybe someday I will get the insulation board. Sometimes it is nice to pin. When I sweep it blows the blocks off the flannel.

Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation said...

they can definitely be helpful. Unfortunately, I don't have the space for a permanent one myself, but I do have a spare queen sized bed, so a white sheet thrown over it is my substitute in a pinch and no floor crawling required! One day, I'll make a "real" one! :)

Thank you so much for linking up to Needle and Thread Thursday!

:) Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

Anonymous said...

I love putting potential layouts up on the design wall and letting the sit for a couple days. Mine is portable, and when up lives in my living room (small apartment). Like the first commenter, I move pieces around a lot. Because I can see it when I glance up from reading, I get a lot of "quick look" effects that either change my mind about the layout of suggest it is okay. I think what finally happens is that I get tired and ready to be finished and decide to go with what is current.

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

I love my design wall and find it really motivating to keep it full! Your layout examples are wonderful... it is so great to be able to move blocks around as you go and let a project "simmer" while you work on something else. I tend to be like you about laying out blocks and it used to take me days to settle on a layout.

Georgi said...

Great post! I was always laying out blocks on the floor - what a PITA because I couldn't just leave them there for a couple of days! :) I found a couple of waterproof mattress pads (clean of course!) and I thought AHA! I put them up on a wall and have used that ever since for my design wall.