Sunday, November 08, 2020

Updated Sock Knitting Pattern

 I have just updated my basic sock pattern to include double knitting as well as 4 ply yarn - you can download it from the Patterns and Tutorials tab above.  

*EDIT* Now revised with a different way of turning the heel using short rows (and no wraps) which I am finding neater.


Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Queens and Back


Queens and Back  by Jane O'Leary

I finally got around to photographing this one, I finished it a little while ago.  It is inspired by the patterns of changes used in church bellringing and the title refers to a particular sequence called Queens as it is rung on 8 bells.  Each column represents a bell and is a slightly different colour.  If you 'read' from top to bottom, the bells start by ringing in order 1-8, gradually swop places to reach the order 13572468 halfway down, then swop back to their original positions. 

I started this early in 2020 and put it aside for a while as it didn't seem finished.   By the time I picked it back up,  Covid19 had arrived, the churches were closed and the bells have been silent ever since - I added the circles to represent the sound they should have made.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Designing a Bargello Quilt - Part 3

With the design complete, it is back to paper and crayons to work out how much fabric to buy and how to cut it.  I probably could have done this digitally, but I find that physically drawing the pattern on graph paper helps me understand it, and I can scribble notes on it as I go.

NB - I'm not describing in detail how to construct a bargello quilt - if you haven't made one, there are tutorials and patterns available online, and I would suggest trying the technique first before designing your own.

The graph paper I have is four squares to an inch, which is a handy size for quilters, and as the pattern is symmetrical I only need to draw half.  I am going to create the quilt from 2 1/2" strips and would like the shorter edge to be 48" so I need 24 rows and I have numbered them on the left. 

The first column is the centre strip, so I have labelled it C to remind me I only need to make one and the last column is marked Bg for background - this will be a plain strip of the background fabric at each end.  The rest of the columns are numbered from 2 to 18.  Each column has also been marked with the width that the fabric must be cut - starting at 1 1/2" at the left and increasing in stages to 2 1/2".

I simplified the design slightly to use 8 shades of two colours A (shown as red) and B (shown as yellow) plus a dark background D, so now it is a case of adding up how much of each fabric to buy.

Let's start with A and proceed step by step,

 1)     Add up the widths of the colour A columns. 

         1.5 + 1.75 + 1.75 + 2 + 2 + 2.25 +2.25 + 2.5 + 2.5 = 18.5

2)     Note that each of these columns has 16 rows coloured in A but I am only using 8 fabrics so each             will appear twice in every column and I need to double the result from step 1

        18.5 * 2 = 37

3)    Remember the diagram is only half the design, so I need to double again

        37 * 2 = 74

4)     Finally, column C is the centre and only needed to be included once, so I can deduct it from the             total.

        74 - 1.5 = 72.5

Cutting across the width of fabric will give strips that are around 42" long, so this tells me I need two wof strips that are 2 1/2" wide for each shade. So I want to buy 5"  (this is where it gets a bit messy as fabric is sold in metric measurements in the UK, the nearest round number is 20cm).

Repeat steps 1 to 3 for colour B.

Calculating the background fabric is slightly different.  I want to cut the two Bg columns down the length of fabric so I know I need a piece of fabric that is 48.5" long, I am just checking that I can get all the other strips from this piece as well, and I would like to cut them across the width.  Assuming the fabric is 42" wide and I need 5" for the two Bg strips, I have a piece left that is 37" wide by 48 1/2" long.

5)     Every other column has 8 squares coloured in D,  and in most cases there are some at the top and           some at the bottom. The finished height of each row is 2" and if we add 1" to each column for                 seam allowances we have
        2 * 8 + 1 = 17.

6)     Remembering that the diagram is only half the design, I double this

        17 * 2 = 34   

        And I can see that this will easily fit across the width of the fabric.
 7)    Adding up the width of the columns from C to 18 gives 37" and this will easily fit down the                  length of the fabric.

So converting to metric, I will need to buy 1.25m of D to complete the quilt top (backing and binding to be decided later).

This is as far as I'm going with describing the design process, but I have one final tip to share for assembling the quilt.  I sewed together the strip sets for colours A and B (which consisted of 8 shades running from light to dark  x 2) and before going any further, wrote out a set of labels for the whole quilt on scraps of paper.  I used the headings from the diagram and added a prefix L or R for left/right side - the exception is column C as it marks the centre.  Odd numbers and C are for colour A, even numbers for B.  I found it easier to take each colour and cut all the strips of the same width at once eg all the 2" then all the 1 3/4" and so on, pinning on the labels as I went.

I repeated the process for the background fabric, however this time there are either one or two pieces per label.

The quilt then comes together easily in two stages.

1)  Attach the background pieces to the strips of A and B by matching the labels.  Refer to the diagram to see which of the pair of background strips goes at the top (lighter end of A or B) and which at the bottom (darker end) when they are different lengths.  Keep a label on each column.

2) Join the completed columns in number order - I joined them all into pairs, then the pairs into fours and so on.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Designing a Bargello Quilt - Part 2

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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Designing a Bargello Quilt - Part 1

I have just finished making the top for this quilt, so it seemed like a good time to share the design process.  This is my first bargello design, which means I can't claim any expertise, and this is not exactly a tutorial, more a description of how I approached it.  If it encourages someone to have a go themselves, then that's great. 

I have made one bargello quilt before using a pattern and read some articles about designing them, so just dived in boldly.  I really like the way colours can be used in this style and also that they look much harder to make than they really are.

First steps - good old cutting and sticking. Handily, Hobbycraft sell pads of paper with lots of shades of one colour.  I used orange and blue cut into 2cm strips and glued them horizontally to white card, grading them from light to dark. NB I usually use inches for patchwork but swopping to metric measurements is an easy way to make a design to scale.  So if I have 2cm paper strips, I know I will need fabric strips that are 2" + seam allowances.

Then I cut the strips vertically -  this time I varied the width, starting at 1cm and going up in increments of 1/4cm - and spent some time rearranging them and seeing what patterns emerged.  At this point it is useful to label the strips so you don't have to keep checking the size.

After a while, I realised I needed a lot more strips to see the whole design, and also to be able to compare different versions, so it was time to go digital and start to work in Illustrator.  I will tell you how in the next post.

Friday, June 29, 2018

New Books

via Instagram

I wouldn't be me if I didn't come home from a show without a couple of books, but I have only just realised how funny the combination of titles is. After two days at New Designers in the company of the wonderful team from Make it in Design and fellow students/alumni I can definitely say patterns are needed! 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

New Designers

via Instagram Photo credit @ievakeli

Fell in love with these pieces by @ievakeli at New Designers yesterday . Heading off now for another day of colour and beauty. I'm helping out on stand A6 with the lovely team from Make it in Design.