Gill, 7-19-09:  As promised, here is one of my first designs. My aim will be to complete about three drawings during the week and hear your comments so that I may choose one to move forward with. With regard to the image I have attached, I am wondering if there will be parts that are too narrow to stitch easily.  I’ll await your comments on my first attempt.

Gill D original 1a with underlying structure

RaNae:  Gill, the first thing about this that catches my eye is the eight shapes in the middle without spirals in them that form a sort of Celtic cross.  You don’t have to put spirals here, so if you go ahead with this design, I’ll be interested to see what you have in mind for this.  You’ll likely want something that will stand as a strong focal point among all the spirals.

As a technical note, the shorthand is drawn correctly, though the spoke lines are a bit straighter than they’ll actually be when you draft the spirals.

This has great promise.  You’re moving in the right direction.

Gill 9-9-09:  Sorry, I’ve been quite for so long but August saw my daughter getting married (and all that that involves as the bride’s mother) as well as my hysterectomy. However, I am now recuperating well and can devote ALL my time to getting my mandala designed, coloured, stitched and sent off to you.

RaNae:  Gill, you’re not alone — I think about half a dozen people in the group have married off sons or daughters this summer!

Gill: Here are 3 more designs.

Gill D original 2a  Gill D original 2a markup JPG

Gill D original 3a  Gill D original 3a markup JPG 

Gill D original 4a  Gill D original 4a markup JPG

I have already sent you one design and my problem now is that I like all my designs. I actually have just one more idea that I would like to put down on paper and if it works out I will send it to you tomorrow. I guess my next action would be to add some colour to these designs to see how they colour up. I would appreciate your advice on the best way of doing this quickly.  From the designs I present do you have a preference (know knowing what else you have / are likely to receive) as to which design you would like me to take further?

RaNae:  Gill, before I move on to answer some of your other questions, I want to comment on the designs themselves and one particular technical aspect of what you have drawn.  These are all lovely in black and white (the 3 new ones are above and the first one is below), but as you begin to color them you are likely to run into a problem, which is this: all of your designs have 2-to-1s in them, and as you color your designs, these will create straight lines and barbed flow forms that will likely interrupt the curves and flow of the design.  I have circled the 2-to-1s in the various designs above and below so you can see what I’m talking about. 

Gill D original 1a with underlying structure  Gill D original 1a markup JPG  Gill D original 1a markup 2 JPG

The two designs that use mirrored symmetry (#1 just above, and #4, which is the third one in the top group) have the fewest 2-to-1s.  Of these two, #4 is the most easily adjusted to avoid problems — it was simply a matter of moving one line in the wedge.  The 2-to-1 in #1 could probably be fairly easily masked if you color three adjacent flow forms to hide it — the pink area in the drawing above.

Drawings #2 and #3 are more problematic.  These designs are made with rotational symmetry.  With the rotational symmetry, not only do you have internal 2-to-1s, but you also have created 2-to-1s along the connecting sides of the wedges.  In a document I distributed a couple of months ago I talked about rotational symmetry, and how in order for it to be successful you need to have matching side nodes.  That is, the points at which internal lines meet the sides of the wedge need to be at the same distance from the center on both sides of the wedge, so that they connect from wedge to wedge.  One of the advantages of using the Blind Man’s Bluff method of dividing a pie or a wedge is that it avoids 2-to-1s because every line crosses another line, rather than ending at a line (which creates a 2-to-1).

If you are working in mirrored symmetry, connecting side nodes happen automatically.  If you are working in rotationl symmetry, you have to first decide where the side nodes will be, then draw your internal lines from those sides nodes into the wedge.

So, where do you go from here?

If you want to work with mirrored symmetry, #4 is the strongest design from a technical point of view.  #1 would require careful coloring or an adjustment to eliminate the 2-to-1.

If you want to work with rotational symmetry, you need to start with a new wedge, divided and drawn per the instructions in the paragraph above.  The instructions for doing Blind Man’s Bluff are in the post dated 4/30/09.

Whichever way you choose to divide the wedge or what type of symmetry you use, I would strongly suggest that as a next step you do a wedge puzzle (see the post dated 8-3-09).  This will give you a clearer idea of of just how the spirals will look in the mandala and allow you to experiment with the direction of spin in each shape.  Then you can make copies and color it.

Gill: My plan would be to make a table centre for my new dining table from one of the designs (albeit that I appreciate it will not see the table for quite a while).  Clearly, what I haven’t worked out yet is the how big I will need to make the finished mandala and whether any of this is possible at the scale I require for a table runner.

RaNae:  Determining the size for your mandala is easy enough: measure the width of the table, subtract the width you want the borders of the table runner to be to get the diameter of the circle for the mandala.  Divide the diameter in half to get the radius, which is the length of side of the wedge.

A table 36″ wide, with 4″ borders would give you a 28″ diameter circle, which would give you a 14″ radius for the wedge.

One Response to “Designing Rhythm of the Sun

  1. Gill D Says:

    Hi everyone. By way of introduction, I live in Hampshire, England and an employed as Head of Finance at our local Hospice. I have been sewing all my life but my interest in quilting has increased in the past 5 years. I used patterns more in my early days of quilting, often to use up fabrics or for quilts and smaller items given as gifts. However, I am particularly interested in design of all types and nowadays, whether I am quilting or embroidering (hand and machine) you will not see me without a sketchbook and notebook to hand.

    I have studied various City and Guilds of London courses and am currently working on a City and Guilds Certificate in Patchwork and Quilting. This course encourages innovative design as well as considering and working traditional techniques. I am a member both of the Quilter’s Guild of the British Isles and of the Embroiderers Guild of which I am currently Regional Chairman for South East West England.

    Like everyone else, I’m really looking forward to this challenge and can’t wait to get started.


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