Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Thanks for all your lovely comments about my "Gathered In" quilt and my happy news about the mag cover. I cut out the peices for my second version last night. I pretty much have 2 weeks to complete it, so I'd better get a move on....

Rossie's post on processes really got me thinking. We emailed back and forth and she was so kind to answer some question's I'd had on the topic. Anyway, I've taken the process pledge.

"I, ____Kate Conklin__, pledge to talk more about my processes, even when I can’t quite put them in the in words or be sure I’m being totally clear.   I’m going to put my thinking and my gut feelings out there."

Talking about processes is hard, so much goes on in decision making and creating, but I agree that its important and interesting and I'd like to see more of it out there so I'm going to try to contribute. Here's the process I went through for "Sierra's Forest" quilt.

These are my tools of pattern creation. I use my graph book a lot! I pretty much always start my patterns there. I'll do a number of sketches first. Sometimes I colour them in. EQ6 is great once I know what I want to do. It's a lot easier to play around with configurations of blocks/sashing etc. However, most of my designs aren't straight blocks, so sometimes its a bit hard to draw it up in the EQ6 program.  Corel Draw is great for drawing diagrams when I'm actually writing the pattern up.

I drew this diagram on the plane home from Port Douglas (Northern Queensland) last November where Todd and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Quilting was strictly forbidden on this trip away, but I had to sneak in this little sketch when the idea struck. One of the sources of inspiration came from Brenda Gael Smith - an amazing quilter and designer, who actually lives not far from me, but who I have yet to meet. I particularly fell in love with her quilt "Savannah" - the yellowy one on her gallery page. So I had the idea to use a stack and slash method to make long blocks of wonky vertical strips and sash them in white, as if it were a series of artwork on a wall.  When I think of designs, I also think about the easiest way of doing something - that would be easy for someone else to replicate. I love 'stack and slash'. It is really quick and easy and gives that wonky  individual look without cutting individual strips. I also think in terms of 5, 10 inch squares or fat quarters, so its easy to purchase the fabric. So, anyway I popped this idea into the back of my graph book for later.

A couple of months ago Saffron Craig was kind enough to give me a sneak peak of her new Forest Elementals fabric range, and I knew immediately I wanted to use the above design with her fabrics. At first I was going to cut up the elk forest panel and mix it up with the rest of the fabric, but as soon as the fabric arrived from Saffron I knew I just couldn't cut it up into thin strips (when designing I really have to have the fabric in my hands and play around with it on the bed before I can decide on a design). I drew many more diagrams that I haven't show here, but this is one of the later ones showing the middle panel being cut into large angular pieces and the coordinating fabric bordering the top and bottom.

I decided to go for long strips instead of short ones, and made them only slightly wonky. I pulled in the pink and yellow dandelions from Saffron's Field's range. Although my sister in law, Sierra was completely in love with it, I wasn't satified and pulled it apart (I used the strips for a pieced back). I decided the strips needed to be wonkier, it needed something to make it more interesting, and I wanted to use some solid fabrics in the strips as the middle panel had quite a bit of solid colour in it.

I decided to make the strips jagged across the top and bottom. Although I was planning on adding the gold solid as vertical strips, Saffron had the idea to use it horizontally instead, and I'm glad I went with that. It needs the gold to warm it and tie in with the panel, and I love the added interest it creates.

I like a mixture of hand and machine quilting. I've seen some beautiful wavy quilting (quite densely quilted), and hadn't tried it before so I gave it a go (but with much more room in between each line) and it was really fun. I felt it went well with the rolling hills and sky in the centre panel. Some of the lines are parallel and some aren't. Most of my quilts aren't very densely quilted.  I make sure that if I put my hand on any part of the quilt, it will run into some quilting, but I like to keep them feeling soft. The machine quilting is quick and ensures the quilt is held together securely, and I love the look of hand quilting. I also really enjoy snuggling up under the quilt and hand quilting in the evenings.

So, there's the basic process in a nutshell. There was a lot more umming and ahhing that went on behind the scenes. It can be scary trying something new, and I'm not the best at making decisions, but I had a truck load of encouragement from family and friends and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. You can see pictures of the finished quilt here.

The pattern is now available for instand download on my new pattern page.


  1. It is so cool to see how others create not just what they create!
    Personally I live for graph paper!
    I really think this quilt is beautiful :)

  2. OH Kate thanks for going into the detail on how you created this quilt! it is super.x x x

  3. Cool Logo! Can you please tell us how you created your logo? Please! Love a good story! X

  4. This is great, Kate. Luv to hear your process. Too often I run on auto-pilot. Things done well need good solid design time. It shows here in your finished quilt. Nice job!

  5. thanks for sharing, it is great to get even a small insight into the process. Also, love the new look of the blog!!

  6. That handquilting really makes it pop!

    This process pledge has me so excited. I am looking forward to more and more of these posts.

  7. This was a fascinating post! Thanks so much for sharing the process.

  8. thank you.
    Loved this item and am now following your blog. I too have taken THE PROCESS PLEDGE, and am passing on the word. I just haven't actually blooged anything quilty recently.
    But I will, and I'll do it properly from now on.


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