Gigi 4-13-09: 



Gigi 4-17-09: 

gigi-mandala-8smaller-center-ovalHere’s another drawing. You may notice that one of the curved lines at about 10:00 o’clock in the middle ring is curving the wrong way. I will fix that. I haven’t colored it yet, but that’s my next step.

Gigi 4-20-09:  Here are two more drawings. They are not colored correctly — the blobs of color are there so I can find the shapes.

Gigi Mandala 9 OvalRaNae: Gigi, you’re making good progress – the “blobs” are actually the flow forms, and you’re coloring them correctly!

Gigi Mandala 92This one looks really good too!  I like the oval a log, and the purple border around the edge looks like a beautiful necklace.  You’re on your way!  Remember that when you have adjacent flow forms you need to color them differently so that we can see them (look at the light blue forms in the center).  Even just a change in value will separate them.  Think about using gradations as well, to create some 3-D effects. 

Gigi 5-24-09:  Here are 7 drawings I have made using the techniques from Dividing the Wedge. [click on images for larger view]

Gigi May 23 1 Gigi May 23 2 GIgi May 23 3 Gigi May 24 1 Gigi May 24 3 Gigi May 24 4 Gigi May 24 5

RaNae:  Gigi, now you’re on the right track!  By the way, what computer program are you drawing these in? 

Now the next thing is to play and experiment until you have a design and coloring that really makes your heart sing.  The one in this group that my eye keeps going to is the second one — with the purple, blue and green.  I love how graceful and open it is.  But you may like something completely different. 

I’ve had a few more thoughts about dividing the wedge that I’ll try to write up and send out this week — basically an additional techniques for incorporating Point-to-Point and/or Baravelle spirals — much more twirly spirals — into the wedges.  In a nutshell, whenever you end up with a wedge that has a large empty space in it, that is an opportunity to trim that space to a 6-, 7- or 8-sided shape, then drop a Baravelle or Point-to-Point into it.  If this brief little seed of the idea sparks any ideas in you, I’d love to see what might develop!

Play some more and send me your favorites!

Gigi:  Played a little with where the color should go (not what the colors should be, necessarily). 

GIgi May 24 4b Gigi May 24 4c

 Gigi 5-27-09:  Well, I played with the baravelle spiral idea. I’m sending you my results. One I wouldn’t try to sew, I don’t think, and the other just kinda fizzled out. Now I am going back to working on the “airy” one you mentioned in your message yesterday (upper right, I think).

Gigi May 26 4 octagon  GIgi May 27 1

RaNae: About the first one: I can see why, at first glance you might think this one would be challenging to sew — all those little Baravelle pieces….  But, in fact, Baravelles are probably the easiest and fastest spirals to sew at any size (I personally have done several as small as 3-1/4″ containing 77 pieces each with no trouble).  And, remember that the design will be much larger than  what you have drawn.  I see you going in an interesting direction with this, and would love to see you experiment with Baravelles more.

With regard to the negative space in your spirals, if you’re going to leave an entire shape in the background color, then don’t place a spiral in it — no point in piecing something that won’t show up anyway.  But, if you’re blacking out only one or some of the spokes in a spiral you need to piece the whole spoke.  [This prompted a new post about negative space dated 5-27-09 — please check it out.]

As for the second one: I think that really the only reason it “fizzled” is because you don’t have the rest of the shapes in the wedge drawn in.  Placing a Baravelle spiral in the center of the mandala is quite doable.  Perhaps an idea to try might be placing other Baravelle spirals in other parts of the design so there are other spirals that share its proportions.

Gigi: I am using CorelDraw. It takes a while to learn, but I’ve already done that. The three-point curve tool makes the shorthand easy.

Gigi 5-28-09: Here are two more .jpg files. The “no lines” version is the same as the other, but without the black outlines.

GIGI May_26_4_b_octagon  GIGI May_26_4_b_octagon_no_lines

I like the idea of a border, but think this one is too heavy. I tried to show going from light inside to dark outside to lighten it up a bit. Do you have other suggestions. I’m starting to get attached to this one, but will leave it for now and try a couple of other things — later today. We are covered with workers today. Our elevator is finally getting installed. Now if we could just get the stucco guys to finish, I might get my sanity back.

RaNae:  Sanity?  Why should you get it when none of the rest of us do? 😉  I am loving this design more and more.  It’s really helpful to see it without the lines — which is how it will look sewn up.  Changes it a lot — you can see where you might need to add or subtract detail.

Gigi 6-15-09:  Here are two photos of the drawing I’m working on. I’m bonding with it.

 GIGI Print2  GIGI Print 

I need to work on the colors in the center to get some definition (soon), and figure out what to do in the corners (eventually). There are a lot of seams in the center. I’d like suggestions for what to do about that.

RaNae:  Gigi, it’s great to see your progress and hear that you and your mandala are “bonding”!

One suggestion here would be if you’re going to change color from pink to orange in the spokes of the Baravelle spirals, it will be much more elegant and dramatic to do it with a gradation, rather than making an abrupt change. Look at SASQ page 76 about doing a gradation from one color to another.

As for the seams in the center — it’s not as big a problem as it looks in the drawing. Use Nesting spirals on the center spirals to reduce bulk at the actual center point. The rest of the seams actually don’t intersect. You’ll see as it comes together, there’s really not anything to worry about. There will be some bulk, but not more than can be dealt with in the usual ways. Are you familiar with “pinwheel pressing”? That’s my name for pressing all the seams in the same direction so they lie around the point, instead of crossing seams and piling up on themselves.

Gigi: Thanks. I look forward to seeing the markup. I am planning on using gradations! And, I won’t worry about the center for a while.

RaNae 6-17-09:  Gigi, here’s my markup.  Not anything big, just a couple of suggestions to refine what you already have going:

Gigi Print2 markup copyThe red lines show how, if you decide to blend the background from the border into the wedge, I would slice the corner of the Baravelle spiral block differently.  It might not be something you would use.

Speaking of connections, you did a great job of creating a sashing to connect your small Baravelle spiral (lower RH corner) to your main Baravelle spiral (center).  Good job!

I’ve also indicated some colors in the border.  If you gradate your colors in the trunk with the lightest ones in the center, then use a significantly darker color in the center of the spiral (enough to establish a contrast from the colors in the gradation), you will create the look of a 3-D twisting ribbon in your border.

Gigi 7-24-09:  I’m still here too and sewing away. I’m attaching two photos — one of my fabrics cut for the baravelles, and the other of the “parts” I have finished.

Gigi Fabrics  Gigi Parts

The construction is going very well. I cannot emphasize enough what a help it is to precut the pieces. It takes a few minutes to measure the sizes, but the cutting goes quickly. It’s a real help when doing a run from one color to another. I used an Excel spreadsheet because that’s how I work, but paper and pencil would work just as well.

RaNae:  Wow, that’s organized!  It’s amazing to see all those little parts, and realize that they’re all going to fit together in something that works — reminds me of seeing the parts of an engine all over the garage floor.  I’m always surprised when you put the engine back together and it actually starts!

Gigi 8-2-09:  I have started to sew the sections together! Sure feels good. The background looks a little plain now, but I plan to add interest with the quilting.

GIgi Starting to sew sections together Gigi Borders GIgi BordersOctagon

I’ve also started thinking about borders, and I’m leaning toward the octagon shape. I’d like your opinion. Gi2

RaNae:   Gigi, yes, definitely, the octagon border. And it will be really interesting to see what you do with the quilting…will you use colored thread so we can see that added interest in the background areas?  This is getting exciting!

Gigi 8-9-09:  Well, I have the center of my mandala pieced! That feels pretty good, but it’s not a time to rest on my laurels. I need to figure out how to add the borders.

Gigi Spiral Top without Borders  Gigi Borders 8-9-09

RaNae:  Gigi, this mandala is completely unique — great job!  The winding ribbon around the edge is perfect — it really looks winding!  I love how much “air” there is in this design. 

As for the borders, do you want suggestions for attaching the borders or have you figured it out?  Let me know — there are a couple of pretty simple solutions I can think of.

Gigi 9-10-09:  All finished!!!! What a relief. Now to clean up my studio.

Gigi Finished2

Gigi Finished1

RaNae: Gigi, it looks fantastic, and the quilting is lovely too!  Great work, dear!  Thank you!


18 Responses to “Designing Magnetic Moments

  1. Gigi in California Says:

    OK, I am sticking my toe in the water. I am way behind the power curve here — I have never made a spiral quilt, and I have never used WordPress. But I am determined not to give up. (It was a little scary, though, when I read in the schedule that I should have a design by the end of April!!)

    I have read all the information on the WordPress site. Today I drew the various kinds of spirals so I could understand them better. Then I started to make wedges and divide them up — just getting a feel for the process.

    I got to step 4, Placement of spirals, and couldn’t make the leap from step 3. I will send my very rough draft through step 3 to RaNae for uploading. Perhaps she can draw just one spiral placement to get me going.


  2. Holly W Says:

    Hi Gigi, your designs are wonderful. My DH uses Corel Draw. Maybe I should take a lesson or two from him. Good luck on your design.

  3. Gigi in California Says:

    Thank you, Holly, for the compliment and good wishes. If you get serious about CorelDraw let me know. I’ve been taking some very good online classes.


  4. Gigi in California Says:


    I like the first baravelle too, and am encouraged by your comments on the possibility of piecing them. I will continue to play with them, but think I should get serious about finalizing a design before too much longer. Do you have any suggestions?


    • RaNae Says:

      Gigi, you are doing the right thing right now — you just need to play with designs and experiment. As you do, you’ll get a feel for how the flow forms shape the design. And you’ll get a feel for what you like and what you don’t. The process of play – experiment – let the design speak to you is probably the most important part of the whole process. Take you time and enjoy it. It’s part of the whole concept of creating a mandala to take your time and listen to the design, letting it communicate and teach you.

  5. Fee Indonesia Says:

    Hi Gigi, you are where I am trying to go with your outer row. I fell in love with a design and am trying to make my wedges to suit it, still having a bit of difficulties. However, my visitors have left, all my other obligations are filled so will have more time – the way your mandala looks is really inspiring! I have CDraw, but never got any lessons. Are you willing to be a teacher – if you would let me know when you do classes and how much you charge.


  6. Gigi in California Says:


    I am willing to try to help. Write to me at, and we will see how it goes. This would only be help with the tool CorelDraw, not design help. That’s RaNae’s bailiwick.


  7. Gigi in California Says:


    I would love to know more about blending the background from the border into the wedge. Would I go from darker at the border to lighter in the center? And continue getting darket outside the wedge? Do you think a solid fabric would be best for the background?


    • RaNae Says:

      I think what you’re asking is how do you make the straight edge of the mandala disappear, so that it appears to have a scalloped edge against the background. This is easy. Just make the spokes coming from the outer edges of the wedges the same color as the background, and they will “disappear”. If you’re doing this, you want a strong contrast between the color of the edge of the mandala and the color of the background.
      A solid color would be the easiest thing to use for the background, but what is “best” will be determined by your other fabric choices and your overall design.

  8. Gigi in California Says:

    No, I don’t think that is what I am asking. You said “The red lines show how, if you decide to blend the background from the border into the wedge, I would slice the corner of the BAravelle spiral block differently.” I would love to know more about blending the background from the border into the wedge. Would I go from darker at the border to lighter in the center? And continue getting darket outside the wedge?

    I keep forgetting that the messages are not linked together on this BLOG. I’ll try to do better.


    • RaNae Says:

      Gigi, if you look at the spiral right above the red lines in that diagram, you will see that you have half of a fan coming down from the border. I was only trying to suggest that, if you wanted to slice the corner of the Baravelle spiral, you could continue the flow of that half-fan into the corner of the Baravelle. However, if your plan is to leave that as negative space, or to fussy-cut something into the corner of the Baravelle, then my suggestion is irrelevant.

  9. Gigi in California Says:

    OK, thank you. Now I understand. That will be negative space. I plan to have some fun machine quilting in those areas. I have company this week, but will get back to work on the quilt next week.


  10. valerie_y Says:

    This is wonderful and completely unique. Great design.

  11. Gigi in California Says:

    Thank you, Valerie. It sure feels good to have the parts together.


  12. Jody B Says:


    this is absolutely stunning! I love the open feel, very elegant.

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