Monday, May 17, 2010

The Genesis of an Idea

I love to find quilting ideas in unexpected places.  I don't usually make all of the quilts I see but it's a great exercise for the old brain cells to see how a quilt block might be made out of a "found' image.

This particular image I found around the Holidays when I was making a birthday gift for a friend of ours.  He loves Genesis and Phil Collins, (there's a story there but we don't need to go into it here....).  Anyway, the last two years I've given him a gift of a Genesis album cover that looks like the real thing but is changed up in a way that reflects his interests.  This year I had the lady in front holding a baseball bat, and the lady behind kicking a soccer ball, (he's a youth sports coach). 

Anyway, while going through some images in my computer I came across this Genesis cover.  If you look at it kind of squinty eyed, (or in my case, without my glasses), you can see the basic geometric images.  I decided to play aound with it and see what I could come up with.

Now, I have a Photoshop Elements which is a great program for many uses.  It's actually pretty easy to use and you can pick up an older version for under $40 bucks online.  What I love about it is that it gives me a quick and easy way to see if an image will work as a quilt block.

The first thing I did was manipulate the image on a larger page. I discovered that if you lay it out this way the pattern was kind of interesting.  So, I merged the layers and converted the image to black and white with lots of contrast.

When you do this you see the image a little more clearly in terms of what the quilt block might actually look like.  I like the way the black "squares" show up on each block, I'm picturing making those "squares" a contrasting color for a bold look.

By taking the image and roughly coloring in the shapes I can get a good idea of how this quilt would look in a color combo I'm considering.  In this case, yellow, with green and purple.


It looks pretty good doesn't it?  I can imagine this pattern done in solids like what i see here, or as a scrap quilt with lights and darks and bright flashes of color in the squares.  Of course I realize that the shape of the "rays" might be difficult to piece as all the seams would end up in the same spot so I would probably make the rays larger and have fewer of them in the final pattern.  I'll have to play with this pattern in my EQ software to see what I can come up with.

Now for those of you who don't have a computer, you can do the same thing by roughly tracing your image and creating a block on some graph paper.  Then you can make copies of the block and lay them out to see which way works best.  I've drawn up many a block on graph paper with colored pencils before we even had home computers.

I'd love to see if you can come up with some cool quilt designs in your day-to-day life.  It's a great exercise to try to train your eye to spot them.  As I waited with my son at the doctor's office I noticed a great pattern in the ceiling tiles, I wish I'd had my notebook with me to record it.  I need to make sure I have it with me all the time.  Oh well, I'll be there again on Wednesday for the hard cast so I can draw it out then!

Happy Stitching, and Designing!


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