I usually start my quilt designs in a sketchbook by making little origami paper quilt tops. I move the little scraps of paper around–like a very small scale design wall–until I like the arrangement. The origami paper colors correspond really nicely to Kona cotton, too–so, when I have a design I like, I match the paper colors to my Kona color card (greatest quilting purchase to date!).
When I scale up my design, I make a rough plan on graph paper to get a sense of fabric quantities. Then I work organically to piece the top–cutting out rough shapes, piecing and trimming as I go. Because the final design is improvised, even if I repeat a general design, no two quilts will be identical.
I just completed a series of quilts inspired by Ellsworth Kelly paintings and I am excited to start a new series. I am debating between an improvised stacks design or a simple Amish bars style. Here are two paper sketches and the sketch for one of the quilts in my earlier series.
Which design appeals to you?