Saturday, August 2, 2008

Light Boxes and Quilting Designs

Today I have had a lot of time to myself without interruptions - John had to be gone for the day so was not popping in and out of the house all day like usual. Was nice not to have to make dinner too as I just warmed up a few leftovers and ate quickly so I could get back to work. Have spent the entire day drawing and figuring out what design I want to quilt in the borders of my mystery quilt. I have a photo of the quilt after I got the applique done on it in my July 3 post.

Thought I would tell you how I design and transfer my quilting designs. I have rigged up a light box using my Horn air lift sewing table. First I have to remove the sewing machine, then place a large piece of Plexiglas over the opening. I put a florescent light fixture on the air lift shelf (where my machine usually sits.) The light was an inexpensive one we had used one time at another house under a desk upper shelf to illuminate the desk. It turns on and off with a switch on the light. This first photo is what it looks like ready to use.

This next photo shows a hand drawn vine with leaves and berries that at one time I was going to applique throughout the pieced quilt but changed my mind and did leaves and berries in circles instead. This vine was too wide for my border as it was, so laid my border paper (just taped copy paper together) with my registration marks and traced different leaves and berries in different spots after I drew the center vine. I sometimes flipped the tracing paper design over to change the leaf to it's mirror image.

This is a view of the short side border all drawn. I draw in pencil then when I am satisfied I go over the design with a marker. I used this short side diagram to make the long side adding more leaves and berries where needed as each section was just a little longer than the sections on the short side.

Here are the two borders ready to use with the light box and transfer them to the borders of the quilt. I am going to have to make a little adjustment in the corners with one berry as it's stem is just a little long but think it will fit the quilt other wise.

All the while I was drawing these border designs I have been trying to come up with an idea for the rest of the quilt. Think I will outline the applique and add a tendril here and there but don't know what to do with the rest of the piecing in the center section and the other light border next to the center and the dark green small border. Maybe something will come to me while I am marking the borders - I hope!

I plan to use my makeshift light box on the marking of the fabric too. It really works pretty well. I used to use a large flat cardboard box that would hold my Plexiglas and put the light inside of the box. Works great if I have to take a light box to a workshop but at home don't use the box anymore as the sewing table is a better height.

At one time I didn't have the Plexiglas so took one of the storm windows out of our storm door - the kind that has the windows that can be raised and lowered to let in air. Anyway I would just take out one of the windows and clean it up each time I needed a light box. It worked great until I broke one taking it to a class I was teaching. It bumped something and broke it into millions of pieces. Think it was safety glass as there were no sharp pieces but what a mess! So glad it shattered on a hard surface floor so I could sweep up all the pieces. We had replaced the door it originally came out of so didn't have to worry about a door with out one window. I do have the other window from that same door in my closet in case I would want to use it again but think I should probably get rid of it and just use the Plexiglas.

Need to put on some perkier music as the music I have been listening to all afternoon is starting to make me sleepy - Luther Vandross, Josh Groban, Andrea Bocelli, and Nora Jones to name a few. Love listening to their CDs.


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