Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Making a Pattern for Your Landscape Quilt

Page protector with traced image of the photo. 
There are a couple different ways to turn a photo or drawing into a large-sized landscape quilt pattern.  Both methods I use begin with turning the sketch or photo into a simple line drawing.

Make a Line Drawing of Your Photo
The easiest way to do this is to print your photo as an 8x11.5 print, and slip the print into a page protector.  The page protector keeps the print from shifting around while your trace the image onto the plastic with a permanent marking pen.   Trace just the major elements in the photo (or drawing.)  Remember you are tracing SHAPES, not just lines.  Each shape will end up being a piece of fabric.

Simplify by leaving out fussy little details, or unwanted elements such as parked cars or overhead electrical wires.  What you are going for here are the major components of the design.

I know some people have had success using a photo editing program to turn photos into line drawings, but I've never found this very satisfactory.

Turn Your Line Drawing into a Full-Sized Quilt Pattern
Once the line drawing is complete it will be used to make the full-sized  pattern for your quilt.  A couple of tried and true methods for making the pattern are:
  1. Go to Kinkos
  2. Use an Overhead Projector

Taking Your Line Drawing to a Photocopy Store
By slipping a piece of plain white paper into to the page protector behind your line drawing, you have a black and white image that can be photocoped.   FedEx Office (formerly Kinkos) can make large photocopies for about 80 cents a square foot.  Most shops have either a 36-inch wide printer which can make prints of any length, or a 48-inch printer.  Determine how large you want your quilt to be.  It is possible to break a design into several pieces, print the pieces, then tape them together.  This is a cheap, and easy way to go.   Take your image to the photocopy store on a thumb drive as a Kinko as a PDF attachment.
Using an Overhead Projector to Enlarge a Quilt Pattern
Since I live a long way from a photocopy shop, and I usual am anxious to get started on a new idea, I under the laborious method of using an overhead projector that I bought from Amazon for $60.  It has saved me both time (traveling to the photocopy shop from the island where I live) and money.  Even at 80-cents a square foot, photocopying can get spendy.

The other thing I like about using the overhead, is I am not limited by size.  Just by pulling the projector back, I can enlarge the image to just about any size I'd like.  I put my page-protector line drawing on the overhead, and tape butcher paper (which comes in 36 inch by 1000 foot rolls.  I'd like to buy a roll of butcher paper, but I usually buy it at an office supply store in increments of a 100 feet or so.)  Once the butcher paper is in place, I just turn the overhead projector on, and begin the laborious, but somehow satisfying task of tracing the image onto the butcher paper.

As I'm tracing, I become very familiar with the image, and start thinking of how I will handle various elements in the quilt, what quilting I might do, and how to solve some of the trickier parts of the composition.

When having the design photocopied, get two copies made if you can afford it.  If I blow up my design on with an overhead projector, I never make two copies, but always wish I had a second one that could be put aside as the master, while the other working pattern gets altered along the way with a little WhiteOut and some pencil lines.

NEXT:  A word about copyright

Articles you may be interested in:
Landscape Quilting How-to, The Materials
Choosing a Photo or Image to Make into a Quilt
Quilting and Copyright Laws

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for these suggestions! Glad I found your page!