Nancy Rink Blog

Quilt maker, pattern designer, fabric dyer, and lover of all things quilting.

Designer Duo QAL Block Four + Seaglass Fabric Design Process

Block Four's construction is pretty straight forward. If you are making my Seaglass version, just be sure to consult page S-20 for "Tips on working With Directional Fabric." By the way, I did notice that I failed to change my "XXX" placeholder on page S-9, Step One. Seems no matter how many times I proof instructions, little things like this slip through. Arghhh!

So for this installment, I thought I would talk about fabric design--or at least my approach to fabric design.

Let me first mention that I am NOT a trained artist. Nor am I a trained graphic artist, technical whiz, or anything like that. So designing fabric is, for me, really hard and really grueling. I agonize over every pattern, every color, every color palette, and plod through the process of coming up with a bunch of possible prints for a fabric line. Often times, I have great ideas but am limited by my artistic abilities and lack of technical training. Let me just say, that putting things into repeat is--well--I can't say the words that come to mind.

Let's talk about Seaglass. For this collection, I came up with a color palette first. This was the easy part because--well--that's fairly obvious, right?  Then I brainstormed a list of things related to the sea and seaglass. Some of those words were used to name the prints that made the final cut for the collection: shards, bottles, kelp, messages, shimmer.

Next came some doodling with pencil and paper.  Once I had a few ideas, I sat down with my watercolors and played around. Here is my original watercolor of the "Seaglass" print. This was the third or fourth version I painted.

Seaglass Original Watercolor

Then, I scanned it into my computer and cleaned it up a bit and put it into repeat. Playing with color came next.  By the way--this took hours. Here are some versions I did. The saturated images made the final cut.

Seaglass More Light SwatchesSeaglass More Light SwatchesSeaglass More Light SwatchesSeaglass More Light Swatches

Here are some of my favorites that didn't make the final cut.

Sandollars (Too similar to Seaglass in color and scale)

Sandollars Teal copySandollars Teal copy

Kelp (Reminded the head designer at Marcus Fabrics of something unmentionable)

Kelp Teal copyKelp Teal copy

Packed Floral (too much like a print from one of my previous fabric lines)

Packed Floral Blue copyPacked Floral Blue copy

No name, ?

Beaded Blue copyBeaded Green copy

Ripple (I really really wanted the first two--and maythe the fourth one as part of the collection. Can't always get what you want.)

Ripple TealRipple TealRipple TealRipple Blue

And then there were these that I jettisoned early on in the design process. Sometimes the feel of the print just doesn't fit with the overall look of the collection.

Untitled 1442

Right now I am working on a new collection.  It's a bit different from anything I've done before, so it's slow going and not really coming together yet.  Hopefully, if I take a break from it and come back to it after a few days--or maybe a week--something will click.  I cannot really seem to settle on a color palette.  I keep coming back to my go-to colors. But I really don't want to use a color palette that is similar to my last two fabric collections.  Are there colors you are yearning to see in your quilts?  A color palette that seems to be missing from the shelves of your local fabric store?  Would love to hear from you!












Designer Duo QAL Block Five
Designer Duo QAL Block Three