RaNae: Here’s a sketch of Deb’s design that she worked up in California.  Deb, I remember a purple ribbon border, though, that we all loved.  Where did it go?

Deb S sketchDeb: It’s the same drawing I was working on in California. I guess it is a coloring issue.

RaNae: Okay, though I do miss the purple ribbon border — the two tones of purple that made the ribbon “weave” were really lovely.

Deb 5-5-09: This is the pattern and color scheme thought I could do. After calculating how much of each of the fabrics I need I was thinking of taking my basic colors with me fabric shopping to see what I find.

deb-mandalaRaNae:  Deb, glad to see you’re making progress.  The first thing that went through my mind when I saw this photos was “Where are the ribbons?”  Your sketch had that wonderful border — is it still here, but just disappeared in the changed coloring?  Or did you change the drawing? 

deb-wedge-bwIn the sketch above, there is a problem with the spirals on the outer corners — you have placed the center of the spiral right on the side of the shape.  From a construction point of view, this won’t work.  The center cannot touch a side.  However, looking at your drafted spiral here, I see that you have placed the center correctly.

deb-wedge-colorI notice that you have split many of your flow forms so that we see straight lines instead of curves.  Since you use two shades of the same color in many of these places, I can’t tell  if you really intend to split the flow form, or if you are just representing a gradation with a wide band of color.  One thing to watch out for is that you have a lot of green clumped together.  You might want to introduce a different color to separate these flow forms.  If you do stick with green, be sure to choose different enough values so that there is some separation between the forms.

As you shop for fabric, look not only for solids and tone-on-tones but also some energy and jewelry fabrics that you can use to create texture in your design — perhaps fussy cut from a jewelry fabric forthe centers, then pick it up in the occasional triangle, and/or include in the border. 

You’re making good progress — send photos of your fabrics!  Also, if you could scan or photograph your original sketch, it would be helpful to show that here too.

Deb 6-11-09:  I wasn’t too excited about my initial mandala so I continued to draw designs. 

Deb S revised_mandalaI am excited about the asymetrical technique. I hadn’t grasped it while we were in CA but your written directions were very clear. So this is my revised design. I hope you think it OK. Deb

Deb (later): I tried coloring the mandala. From my experiment, it seems like contrast is necessary in both color and value. Here are two, is the first one OK?

 Deb S colored_mandalla_001  Deb S colored_mandalla_002

RaNae:  Deb, you seem to have missed the last step of the Blind Man’s Bluff which is to look at each wedge separately with mirrors to see that wedge in symmetry to create a mandala. If you don’t know what I mean by using mirrors, take a look at Linda Cooper’s page, and then come back to me with questions.  There’s probably an interesting mandala in this “pie”, but you need to separate out the wedges. Also look at groups of wedges together in compound symmetry. 

Deb 6-12-09:  No I don’t have mirrors. Maybe I will go back to the first design, but I think the reason I was discouraged with it was that it looked so different from the original sketch when I drew it out. I thought the “ribbon effect” was lost.

RaNae 6-19-09: After mulling over Deb’s proposed assymetrical mandala, I finally came to the conclusion that it does use a circle and wedges, and why not have a completely asymmetrical mandala in the book?  So I called Deb and she said….

Deb: “Well, you did tell us to ask ‘What if?’ and to think outside the box…”

RaNae:  And so the student becomes the teacher . . . Can’t wait to see what comes of Deb’s questioning!

Deb 6-25-09:  I’m working on my original design.  I worked on coloring my mandala with colored pencils but was always dissatisfied with my results. I had some basic ideas for color combinations but the reality of making that fit with the design, and transposing that into available fabric selection resulted in several departures from my original plan. In the end I used a combination of processes.

Deb S colored pencil Deb S design with snipets Deb S rust-gold Deb S greens Deb S turquoise Deb S ribbon border Deb S purples Deb S blues Deb S misc fabrics for purple version

For all except the outside ribbon border, I used snippets of the actual fabric on my actual pattern to decide what to use. I ended up eliminating about 7 or more fabrics in a bluish-green range I purchased because there was not enough contrast with the other green and they looked too dead with the turquoise. The olive green fabric choices gave me a lot of trouble, but it is the best I can do with what I have to work with and I finally felt satisfied.

I will probably cut snippets and glue them to the pieces for the border. This will help me double check color and more importantly help me with placement when I sew as these triangles are very similar in size, but definitely not interchangeable and at best I have trouble not getting things reversed; with this it will be chaos!

RaNae: Deb, be sure to cut rectangular strips, not triangles — the “Strip Method” in SASQ.  Then at least you won’t run the risk of cutting a triangle in the opposite direction than it’s supposed to go!

Deb: I have included photos of my fabric. I hope you think it will look nice. I know I’m not sticking with a traditional color scheme by having the golds and rust in the center of the medallion. If it looks too weird I could either repeat the gold and rust in the ribbon border (which would look better in my house) or repeat the red-violets, pinks in the center.

RaNae: Deb, I think your fabrics are lovely — I particularly like the red-violet!  I can’t see anything here that I might object to.  Just remember that you need strong contrast to separate your flow forms.  You seem to have a handle on what you’re doing.  Just holler if you run into any snags.

Deb 7-1-09:  My friends and family have given this project a nickname OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). I have the first “ring” completed. Yesterday I finished cutting the fabric for the second “ring”. I measured all the pieces maximum length and width and add 1/2″ and cut rectangles. I labeled each of the 35 bags with the color number. I made a table with the piecing order, color number and size of each piece of fabric. I placed the bags in the order to be sewed and started. This is how I know I have enough fabric. I’m using the 8-1/2 X 11 foundation printing fabric sold at JoAnn’s which I was able to print at Office Depot. I number the piecing order and mark the front so I remember to sew on the back. So far so good!

RaNae: Whatever works for you — sounds like you’re really organized!  Thanks for the progress report.  🙂

Deb 8-3-09:  I finished this Saturday.  As I was stay-stiching the edge I had an accident and got the needle through my finger (all the way through, had to be pulled back out). I didn’t quite get the edge completed before the accident and I haven’t wanted to sew again yet. My finger is pretty clumsy for a while.  Quilting is scheduled for September.”

Deb S

RaNae: Deb, many of us (myself for one) have done the same thing and can relate to your pain and frustration — it must feel really SORE-M!   We wish that finger a speedy recovery!  The mandala is beautiful!




4 Responses to “Designing Bolero

  1. purplepassion Says:

    Oh I do love it . . . kinda cosmic swirl . . .
    definately different and waaay outside the box . . . or is it outside the wedge?

  2. Deb S Says:

    I was wondering if anyone would be able to help me. I don’t know how to color the asymetrical mandala. I only have EQ5 and I don’t know if those of you who used EQ used EQ6 or not, but I haven’t been able to follow how you were able to draw your design in EQ let alone audition fabrics. I tried using the computer paint program, I tried colored pencils and so far results are not very pleasing. I found a link to hand dyed fabrics by Janet A Smith with 8 gradations that I thought might be good (I wish I had found them for my first mandala). Any suggestions or help would be appreciated.

    • RaNae Says:

      Deb, first of all, you have to set up the entire mandala as a single block. Second step is to set in the first ring of each spiral, making sure that everything connects properly. Save this set-up block as a “master”. Third, make a copy of the master and start drawing the spirals in each shape. You won’t be able to do all the spirals in a single block, because there will be too many functions for EQ to save. Also, if you use the partition tool to divide lines when you draw the spiral, you MUST go back and remove the segments of line that you didn’t use and re-draw a single line in their place. (I don’t know if EQ5 has a “locate” tool in the line edit box, but if it does, this tool allows you to simply place a node where you want it, rather than partition the whole line. The drawback is that you can’t measure along the line, so you have to “eyeball” the placement of the node. The advantage is that you don’t have to go back and clean up a bunch of line segments.) This is because EQ considers each segment a separate line, so if you leave in the multiple segments, you severely limit the number of lines you can draw in a block. Fourth, when you hit the limit of how many lines you can draw in a block, start with the master again and continue drawing spirals in the other blocks. Fifth, print out and join the segments on paper to see the total effect.

      Unfortunately, this will still force you to have to work in separate segments of the block, but it will allow you to experiment with color a bit faster. Read Betsy Vinegrad’s instructions for designing a wedge in EQ — they might help as well.

  3. corinne Says:

    Hello, I’m French and I love this mandala. I saw through the book Ranae. Is it possible to buy the owner of this mandala? quilter or a friend could send me the explanations internet.
    Thank you for your help, corinne

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