Anita 4-4-09: Do you think the quilt design with a main Mandala and parts of a couple of others would work? I just happened to have this come to mind this morning. Also, sending you a wedge design. I think I have the idea. What do you think? Of course, the colors are just for working with the wedge. Take care, Anita

anitas-overlapping-mandalas   anitas-wedge-closeup

RaNae:  Anita, the idea of a design incorporating overlapping mandalas is an interesting one, and I’m curious to see how you would develop it.  It has potential…

Anita 4-5-09:  Here is another picture with the  whole circle. What did you mean when you said the one wedge looked “too fragmented to create a cohesive and integrated design.”? Anita

anita-greencenterRaNae: Pass me a fork, so I can eat my words!  Spiros, when I saw only Anita’s single wedge, this was what I replied in my email to her.  Then she sent me the wedge in the completed mandala design, and, well, the rest is culinary history.  It just goes to show that it’s important to see the whole picture before I speak!  My apologies!  For some reason, what came to mind when I saw it was a Tibetan prayer wheel.  Maybe it’s the colors.  But I know virtually nothing about Tibetan prayer wheels, so I’d better stop before I’m dining on my own words again!

Anita, it’s a beautiful design.  🙂

Anita 4-15-09:  I had these pictures ready to send you last night before I read your post on Symmetry. I hope I’m not wrong in assuming that I am sort of on the right path.  [Click on the images for a larger view]

Anita Mandala 10 wedge mirror   Anita Mandala 10 wedge final radial

I have drawn a full size wedge and then drawn in the spiral blocks. I have used 4 sided nesting blocks. At the center I will use a piece of fabric that is fussy cut to fill in the narrow point. I am going to use the mirrored one [on the left]. I just did the radial one [on the right] to see what it would look like. I’m not sure if it would work.

RaNae:  Anita, these are really beautiful.  I know that you have made up your mind to do the mirrored one on the left, but since you asked if the radial one on the right would work, I just want to point out that if you were to color the wedges so that the flow forms pass over the side of the wedge, this design would have much more flow to it.   It’s something you would see if you were to make copies of the wedges in black and white sketch form first, then colored them as a whole mandala, rather than coloring the wedge first, then repeating it to create the mandala.

Anita: It seems to be pretty hard to take the shorthand drawing and then actually convert it to a drawn spiral block and to have it come out to look like you want.

RaNae:  The shorthand is just meant to be an approximation to help you see where the flow forms will go.  As you get used to the shorthand and the way the spokes bend, your shorthand will more and more accurately represent the way the spokes actually curve.

Anita:  I’ve noticed that most of your illustrations have triangles. Did you do this just to simplify your illustrations?

RaNae:  I’m not sure which illustrations you are referring to, but if you’ve looked at anything I’ve written recently, I think you’ll find there is a good mix of shapes.  And certainly there is a wide mix of shapes in the sketches that others in the group have been doing.  Have you been keeping up with the blog?

Anita:  I tried to mix 4 sided with triangles and I wasn’t having much luck in getting the blocks to flow. 

RaNae:  As long as the sides of the adjoining shapes are the same length, there shouldn’t be a problem with this.  I’d be really curious to see exactly what you were working with that was giving you difficulty.

Anita: I know my design is pretty basic but since my final design will have 3 or 4 mandalas I just need to get to the sewing stage to see how things are going to work out. This one will be a 10 wedge and be about 30″ in diameter. I will be waiting to hear what you have to say.

RaNae:  If this is what you consider “basic”, I’m really curious to see what you would consider more advanced.  It’s a beautiful design and I’m happy to see you making progress.  Looking forward to seeing the full design with all the mandalas included!

Anita 4-20-09:  What do you think? I am liking it. At least the colors aren’t boring. This is the first block of the 10 wedge all sewn with fabrics. The next block I will use the same colors (different fabrics) but put them in a different spot.

Anita W 10wedgelstblockfinished 005

RaNae: Anita, glad to see you’re making progress.  How big is this?  It looks like you’re using really large increments in the triangles of your spirals — the spokes are bending rather squarish, not curving gracefully.  Not knowing how large this is, I can’t completely tell how this plays out in the overall design, but it’s something to watch out for as you draft and sew the remaining spirals.  You want the spokes to curve gently, and for that you need a small enough increment to make the curve.

Also, comparing this with your sketch, it occurs to me that when you get to the pink parts of your design, they might be quite large, and you may find that you need some sort of detail within them to keep them interesting –something to think about before you cut and sew.

Anita 8-5-09:  What do you think? The wedges are finished but not sewn together. There is one spot that looks sort of like a giant arrowhead but I ran out of the dark green fabric. It’s just going to have to work. I remade the center block 3 times so I’m not changing any thing else on this sucker. I’m off to bed. Anita

Anita M DSC03496

RaNae:  Anita, it looks great!  (I’m wondering what happened to that wonderful striped fabric that was in the design you showed me.) I love the sparkly print!  Spiros, you know what’s the coolest thing about this quilt?  Most of the spirals are simple square Baravelles, otherwise known as that good ol’ traditional Snail’s Trail block!  Makes ya see them in a whole new light, right?

Anita is planning on combining this with portions of other mandalas in a multi-mandala design, so stay tuned….

Anita 8-14-09:  Here is my finished Mandela. I think it looks pretty good. I couldn’t see any mismatched seams that really stand out. If you do, please let me know. At this point I can still fix them. On now to finish the whole design!

Anita M finished

RaNae:  Anita, this looks great!  It’s hard to believe that all your spirals are traditional square Snail’s Trail blocks! 

Anita 8-17-09: I’m thinking of using the snail’s trail mandala I just finished in a quilt by itself. Here is a very rough design idea.

Anita M finished design mock-upThe border blocks would be the traditional snail’s trail blocks. The brown would be the focus fabric that is in the mandala. I could also not do the blocks and just use the focus fabric as a border. I do like the off center design. I might still be able to do another quilt with pieces of several mantillas like my original quilt idea. What do you think?

RaNae:  Anita, I really like this concept. Definitely use the Snail Trail blocks in the border — it ties everything together, and helps people see the connection between a traditional use of the block and the new, innovative way that you have used it.


7 Responses to “Designing A New Spin on the Snail’s Trail

  1. Anita Says:

    I am Anita Mester from Austin, Texas. I made a quilt for the Simply Amazing Spiral Book and I am looking forward to participating in the “birth” of RaNae’s new book. I have always been a traditional quilter but I am trying to expand my box to include fiber arts.

  2. Mester Anita Says:

    RaNae-I’m wondering how the Mandalas are going to be sewn. Do we construct each wedge with spiral blocks and then sew the wedges together? Could a spiral block take up space in 2 wedges? Thanks, Anita

    • RaNae Says:

      Anita, the answer to both questions is “Yes”. Yes, you construct each wedge with spiral blocks then sew the wedges together. And yes, a spiral block can take up space in 2 wedges. In the latter case, you’ll simply use a “Y” seam to join the wedges where the overlap occurs.

      Good question! R. 🙂

  3. Mester Anita Says:

    RaNae-since you are caught up, here is another question. What is the differance between a mandela and a kaliodoscope other than being round? Also, in our final quilt are we suppose to make the circular edges of the mandela prominent? I guess some people will make a round quilt but if we put our design into a square or rectangle shape do you want the circular design to show up as a circle. If we don’t, it looks to me like it would just be a kaliodoscope. Is this as clear as mud. Ha!!

    • RaNae Says:

      Check out the answer on today’s post dated 4-10-09. I just wrote this part of the book yesterday. I guess great minds think alike!

  4. Christine Aischa E. Says:

    Anita, I sent an email to RaNae with the same question regarding the difference between mandala and kaleidoscope!! Maybe I was not able to express it that clearly, but I also constantly wonder about the “definition of a mandala”. Thank you for raising this issue! RaNae, maybe this explains my email to you better?

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