SM 7-10-07: I do believe the light-bulb has gone off. I have sent you 4, lost a few tonight. I am still doing something wrong but I will figure it out. I can’t seem to keep my fabric choices or my blocks saved in my sketchbook. I’m going to email Penny at EQ in the am. PS: I was only drawing until 11:30 (mytime)

RM: Sheila, apart from your technical difficulties with EQ, things are not as bad as you think! I’m going to make some comments below each picture you sent, to tell you what’s good and what could be done to improve.

Sheila 1

This layout was in the file I sent you, but it’s not a good choice for a spiral quilt because the sides of the patches are not the same length. I think I told you that in a “flow” setting, as long as the sides of the blocks are exactly the same, adjacent spirals will flow into each other with either a trunk, a fan or a point? Well, look at how many patches in this design have sides that are NOT exactly the same length. The spirals don’t connect elegantly from one patch to the next. Not your fault — the block’s. A good learning example!

Sheila 2

I actually really like where this one is going — very art-deco looking. In this one, it looks like you attempted to draw your own block, and have mixed up nesting, pinwheel and Baravelle techniques.

Also, since you’ve colored the spirals by alternating colors rather than keeping the spoke all the same color, the spokes don’t appear as readily and the spiral looks less spirally — this looks more like “shards”. Which is okay if that’s the look you are going for. It IS a look I want to demonstrate for the book, so if you like this look, experiment more with it.

Like the previous design, the next two are colored in “shards”. The large areas of solid color may be a bit dull unless you have a fabric that will give them interest. But, the underlying layout is better than the previous one, because all the patches have the same length as their adjacent patches.

Sheila 3

Sheila 4

All of your designs show the need for more practice at drawing and understanding the basic spirals. Go back to the instructions on Nesting spirals and work through them step by step until you can comfortably and confidently draw a nesting spiral. Then do the same with the Pinwheel spirals. This learning step is ESSENTIAL for making spiral technique work for you. Work only one technique at a time and stay in that technique — don’t mix up techniques. When you’re confident about these basics, the larger structure of the design will emerge by itself.

At the same time as you are practicing drawing your own spirals, try some more settings using the spiral blocks that I sent you as a way of seeing where you’re headed. Using these will show you how the spirals should flow from one to another and you will have a better idea of how your own blocks should function within the quilt design.

Part of your difficulty right now is that you’re trying to skip the basic steps. Get a grasp on the basics, and the rest will flow from that.

SM 7-15-07: Susan and I did a lot of blocks and coloring today and tonight. Tried some different blocks and coloring. The coloring may definitely change. I did change the new block two that I had already sent you. Named it new block two A quilt. You had said on the blog that it is a look that you want to demonstrate for the book. I did create that block. I personally really do like that one the best. Please let me know what you think.

Sheila 6 Sheila 7
Sheila 8 Sheila 9

Sheila new 2A

RM: Sheila, I really do like the last one best too. It does a nice job of demonstrating “shard” coloring and it doesn’t look like anyone else’s quilt!

When coloring this quilt, it will be VERY important to choose colors that show up the individual pieces. To see what I mean, go back and print out this design WITHOUT the lines outlining the blocks and patches. Suddenly, you’ll see clumps of color where before you saw adjacent patches the same color. That’s what you’ll see when you sew the quilt. Keep playing with contrast in your fabric choices until you can print out the design without the lines and still be able to see the pattern, because the contrasting colors makes it show up.

I had an idea when I looked at your quilts and Susan’s: Since you and Susan work so well together, what if you both worked from the same (or very similar) underlying layouts (in this case, half-square triangles)? You would do your irregular spirals with shard coloring while she would do a more evenly-drawn, spoke coloring? The results would nicely show how the two different approaches yield completely different results. It would be interesting to see what would result if you both use EXACTLY the same layout, but you colored in shards and Susan colored in spokes.

There’s one place in your block I would suggest a slight change. Look at the center two blocks in the bottom row. Now look at where the lightest color triangles at the top of the block meet the blocks above them. The blocks are creating a 4-pointed star. But do you see how the triangles in the bottom blocks are slightly wider than the triangles right above them, so that the star doesn’t quite meet up? You might want to consider narrowing this triangle in your block so that it lines up with the triangles in the blocks above. This same inconsistency appears in the corresponding place in the second row. It doesn’t appear in other areas of the quilt because these blocks don’t meet the same way anywhere else. But since these junctions are right in the center of the quilt they are kind of obvious, and you might want to consider making the adjustment I’ve suggested.

SM 7-17-07: Good Day RaNae! After spending numerous hours trying to edit my block, which I could not figure out, I decided to re-color what I had. I also played with many borders and like this one the best. Please let me know what you think. My colors will be the teals and purple.

sheila with border

RM: Sheila, your design is lovely and I really like it – the border really works nicely!

PLEASE, go back and print out the quilt WITHOUT the lines. You do this in the dialogue box where you print or export — there are a couple of little buttons that you can unclick that say “outline patches” and “outline blocks.” The quilt design looks lovely now, but without the lines, in every place where you have two adjacent pieces the same color, the pieces will merge together into one clump of color and you will lose half of the design. That is what you will see when you sew it. You need to color it so that each triangle has a different color than the adjacent triangle — even if it’s only a shade slightly lighter or darker. In the case of your quilt, this won’t be a really complicated thing to accomplish, since I don’t see anywhere in the block where you have more than two adjacent pieces the same color, so you’ll only need to add one or two shades.

As for the adjustment to the block, if you will send me the EQ6 file I will try to help you with it.

RM 7-18-07: Sheila, I adjusted the block and laid it out in your quilt layout.

Sheila-RaNae redo

I also experimented a bit with adding a third shade of teal, just to show you what I mean about breaking up the clumps of color. (The teal here was just something I grabbed quickly in the EQ palette. It is too dark and is not meant as a color suggestion — I like your teal MUCH better!)

I noticed when coloring the blocks that some of the blocks that LOOK the same actually are slightly different. So be careful when you sew that you actually get the right color in the right places!

I think you’re onto a terrific design — good work!

SM 7-18-07: RaNae thank-you thank-you for revising my block. I have picked the teal and purple colors to do this project in. I will not give up on the drawing program. For now I must focus on sewing this project and a wedding quilt that both need to be finished over the next month. I also checked the foundation paper and the block is all connected on one sheet where mine was not. I like this much better. So I can start sewing with your approval, or is there anything else I need to clarify with you. Please advise me.

PS: Hoping you had a nice relaxing evening last night with your dog. I picture you with a large white lab, am I right????

RM: Sheila, Morgan is a Golden Retriever / Chow mix, so you got color and size right. She’s 11-1/2 years old and has been with me since she was 4 months old.

Looking at the quilt again this afternoon, I’m going to make one more slight adjustment to your block: I just noticed that when I changed it last night the short side of the fat purple triangle ends up almost straight in line with the sides or top/bottom of the quilt. This slight difference in angle takes away some of the dynamic motion of your original design. So, I’d like to re-shape that triangle, and also possible make the skinny purple triangle just a bit larger as in your previous design. Tiny tweaks, but I think they’ll make a big difference in the energy of the design, and keep it more true to what you originally designed.

Check the printout size of your block — it sounds as if you are printing it 8″ square to fit all on one page. If you want it larger it will spread onto 2 or 4 pages that you’ll have to join.

Also, please forgive me for repeating myself, but BE CAREFUL — pay attention to what I said about the slight differences in the blocks. For example, in the two groups of 4 blocks in the center, the two on top have the center purple slash in a different place that the two on the bottom, since your block arrangement is not perfectly symmetrical. Similar things happen with apparently — but not really — symmetrical pairs in the side rows. Print and mark each block individually, label it for position in the final design, and sew only IDENTICAL blocks at the same time (if you plan on working in groups) so that you don’t end up with a block that has one piece out of place — then have to sew a whole new block (since it’s the center piece — ARGGHHHHH!).  As you assemble blocks, put them up on a wall and check subsequent blocks against them AS YOU WORK so that you’re sure you’ve got pieces in the right place.  It’s the subtleties that will slip you up if you’re not very attentive!  🙂

SM 9-29-07:  I am doing the HAPPY DANCE, Jade Crystals is finally done!

Sheila M Jade Crystals

I would like to take this time to thank you for allowing my MARVELOUS BEST FRIEND Susan Lock to participate in your quilting challenge. Susan saved me from throwing my wall hanging in the darkness of the big green garbage bag. She spent three days helping me complete this project. True friends are like angels they are always there to help you in need. This project was a huge challenge but I am very proud with the results of Susan’s and mine.  Also thank you for your encouraging words and letting us participate in your challenge. I did custom quilt both the wall hangings and that makes the 6 & 7th in a year, I have lots to learn still but I will get better with time. (I usually do e2e on my long arm for customers.)

RM:  Well, Sheila, you did a beautiful job, and you SHOULD be proud of yourself — think about all you learned in this challenge: not only did you learn to make a spiral quilt (which probably included learning foundation piecing as well), you also learned to make an original design and draft it, how to blog, how to resize and upload photos.  You improved your custom quilting skills as well.  Did you also learn EQ?  A huge ATAGIRL to you!


5 Responses to “Sheila Mote”

  1. smote Says:

    RaNae I am rather behind (life issues get in the way of fun) As per your email June 19th I would appreciate you sending an assignement that you require for your book. In waiting for that I will continue to do some of the drawings. I purchaces EQ6 and will follow your instructions for drawing. I spoke to Susan this am and we would like very much to each do a quilt with separate designs if your okay with you.

  2. s23lock Says:

    RaNae that goes ditto for me. All the kids activities are now done as is school. I was of the understanding you would be giving us “outright assignments” am I mistaken? And yes Sheila and I would like to make our own quilts. Susan

  3. joaninga Says:

    Very pretty Sheila. love your color selection. Teal and purple is so striking. lovely design

  4. joaninga Says:

    Sheila wrote: I also really like your project, especially your border did you get it from EQ or did you design it yoursefl?

    Sheila, I found the border in EQ6 in the border blocks. It’s called fan border. Thanks for your compliment on my quilt design. I’ve started to sew the blocks this week, have a few done and will put them up on my design wall this weekend to see what they look like
    Joan in GA

  5. quiltfee Says:

    I love the way you put that white in! Great Idea


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