Mirrored Rippling

I have to admit it: Mirrored Rippling is giving me trouble! Not only am I having a hard time creating something that ripples, but it is shifting how I thought this assignment would go. Really, that is to be expected – how I imagine assignments to play out always changes in the process. This is just how a creative process works! Right?!


First, the action of Rippling just doesn’t give as obvious direction as Folding or Sliding. Making a fold and sliding two pieces along a line are clear things I can do to fabric. Ripple? There’s more interpretation here – which isn’t a bad thing, but it has led me to another realization: Folding and Sliding are things we already just DO to fabric when we manipulate it. In order to achieve Rippling, most of my ideas include a lot of Folding and Sliding.

The above images are, believe it or not, all attempts at Rippling. Yes, yes, I know, that striped one? I was imagining a line rippling back and forth across a center mirror, but the effect didn’t quite come across. No big deal, you have to make and make lots to discover what does work, and nothing is wrong when you are experimenting. Of these three, the lower one has potential to me in a repeated form.


I was trying really hard not to just Fold and Slide, but in the above experiment I went all out with Folding to get Rippling. Since my word pairing is Mirrored Rippling I opted to alternate the directions of my folds. Whoah! There was so much surprise here! I loved the discovery of those diamond shapes when the folds started crossing through each other. I did the simple white just to see what the basic crossing fold did.


My last experiment went back to a more standard piecing technique. The block is pretty straightforward – a rectangle made up of four triangles of alternating color. In this assembly, the “Mirrored” part of Mirrored Rippling is obviously across the first vertical seam. I can imagine many ways this block can layout using multiple mirrorings. (Yes, I am making that a word!)

I need to let these ideas stew for a few weeks before moving onto the next part of the assignment. QuiltCon 2016 is coming up in a few weeks and I’m going! I’m signed up to take a bunch of workshops and it turns out I have a lot of prep work to do before showing up. Maybe I’ll see some of you there!

And if you haven’t guessed it already, the next part of the assignment is about combining….

Repeated Folding


Repeated Folding has so far been both simple and difficult. I have a couple unmentioned rules for this round: first, while I am interested in working three-dimensionally sometime, for now I wanted to stay with a more traditional piecing technique with all seam edges remaining on the backside. Second, I don’t want the back of any material to show on the quilt front. These limitations on the action of folding have directed me towards “pleating” over other ways of folding. For pleating, I folded the fabric back on itself, sewed a 1/4″ seam, pressed, then repeated.

The top 4 images explore slight variations on pleating: linear, angled, even, decreasing, within either a single color fabric or in a combination of the two colors. The bottom right image shows tests in a triangular back-and-forth folding idea. The white one does flip the fabric at each fold (thus breaking my own rule of not showing the backside of any fabric on the front,) but the blue one does not.

I think there’s some interesting stuff here, but admittedly I was hoping to come up with some more ideas for folding. This is where the difficulty comes in! I’ll keep thinking. What I like is how it adds texture and line, and can be enacted on an already pieced block.

Funny enough, the upper right image with the angled seam between the blue and white looks just like a repeated version of one of my “angled sliding” tests. And my first idea for the next word pairing (mirrored rippling) is similar as well. Hmmm, I think this last word pairing is going to be quite tricky!

Beginning the assignment

I started! Per the assignment I put actions and modifiers into a hat (literally) and drew three of each. I have to admit, when I pulled out these words I felt “Oh no! Maybe I should have picked different words!” But, I reminded myself, the seeming simplicity or difficulty of the terms is not the point, but to use the words as idea generators.Wordsfromhat

Here are the pairings I chose: “repeated folding,” “angled sliding,” and “mirrored rippling.” And now to cutting and sewing…

I am first playing with “angled sliding.” This doesn’t need to be tricky, so I’m working in a straightforward manner. Angled sliding suggested to me an angled slice, smooth shift along the cut, then re-attachment.

Angled sliding 01

There has to be some sort of marker in the pattern to demonstrate the shift. In the first, a horizontal line serves that purpose, in the second, a vertical stripe. My next thought was to consider a piece that would act as the “slide” – an inserted piece along which the other pieces would shift.

Angled sliding 02

In these three experiments a simple seam in the main blue parts helps demonstrate that something has slid. The white part acts as the “slide.”

Some things to work with here! At this point I’m not making any decisions or judgements on what I’ve made – it’s all just building potential…

And now onto the next two word pairings.

Assignment 001 Getting started!

Here goes my first blog post! I am very excited to get started with making and exploring. I know I have a lot to figure out with this blogging thing as well as a desperate need to organize my sewing space. But I don’t want to wait.

I have been deliberating for a while over what the first quilt design assignment to myself should be (see my About page for more details.) I have lots of ideas for things that could inspire quilt designs. Should I make it really simple just to get started? Should I go all out with some of the more intense ideas? Should I…..?

I have decided to go an idea loosely based on what we would teach in architecture school in the first semesters. Part of the intention of the assignments would be to shift design thinking from “making a picture” to “developing a process of making.” I always like working with a process because it can lead to a vast set of design options by providing a means for making variations without changing the idea.

I have a goal to keep my assignments succinct. As any of my former students may recall, my handouts used to be multi-paged and dense with words as I tried to explain every detail of what I thought needed to be understood. Not necessary! In this case, the assignment will mostly be a set of directions.

And I will try not to fall too much into design school speak. Well, maybe just a little here and there (have I done so already?!) After all, I often did want to do my own assignments and many will be showing up here in adaptation. The format of this first one will likely repeat with different idea generators.

Here’s the first part of what will be a multipart assignment:


Assignment 001a

Choose 3 actions out of a hat.

Choose 3 descriptive modifiers out of hat.

Pair the actions and descriptive modifiers as desired.

Select 2 solid color fabrics.

Make blocks using the word pairings. Because the word pairings include actions, consider that they may suggest a process of making. This could allow the blocks to develop variants whereby dimensions of the pieces may differ, but the described action stays the same.

Make 3 options of each.

The size of the blocks should be in the area of 12” x 12”, however this is just a general guide.


Now: Go!