Moving from cutting out coloured paper strips to digital designing. Working in Illustrator, I created sets of rectangles in 10 shades each of green and orange, then copied and resized them to match the strips I would be cutting from fabric. So they are all the same length but the widths in cm are 1, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2. Again, I used metric measurements to scale down the size while making it easy to keep the proportions the same when converting back into inches for the fabric cutting. NB these widths do not include seam allowances.
I'm not listing the steps here - to be honest, I didn't write it all down at the time and now can't remember what I did! The good news is there are many Illustrator tutorials out there, I can recommend Jason Hoppe who generously shares lots of tips and the Adobe You Tube channel.
With the strips all ready, it's playtime. I opened multiple artboards and added coloured rectangles on a separate layer for backgrounds. This is a lap quilt so I want the finished size to be around 60". Making use of a grid, I arranged strips of each colour to create a wave with the width of the strips and the gaps between them flowing from 2cm to 1cm. The strips are evenly staggered by moving down one colour each time. Then these waves were copied, pasted and rotated to try out different arrangements.
It is interesting to see how different the pattern looks when one set of the orange strips are flipped. Above, the colours run from light to dark twice, below they run from light to dark then dark to light.
I settled on the final design below, I like the hourglass shapes that appear when it is viewed this way up.
With the design complete, the next step is to calculate the amount of each fabric needed and work out the cutting plan, which I will describe in part 3.