Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Little Grey Cells

A few years ago this question popped up on a discussion board of a group I was a part of.

"What's the one tool in your sewing studio you couldn't live without?"

I confess that I snickered when I read the various answers. Considering I do not view my studio as a play room, and do not view my tools as "toys," I was less than impressed with the answers.

Rotary cutters got a lot of votes, as did rulers, irons and other gizmos and doodads. As far as I was concerned, nobody got the only truly correct answer.

My decidedly biased answer: "My brain."

Because, if you haven't got a "magical" tool, you can use your noodle, your little grey cells, your thinking cap, your brain, to solve any problem. Very versatile tool, that. And we all have one!

So when I got home tonight and looked at the blocks on my design wall and considered how I might rearrange them to get the effect I wanted with the least amount of effort, (translation: how could I play with the blocks without climbing up and down the ladder to move 117 blocks), in the end I decided not to touch them at all.

Did I "settle?" Certainly not.  This is the design that's up there now, with the colors rearranged slightly (without the contrasting strip in the center of each block):
That yellow 6x8 block is in the center, where I wanted it. But what if I made the colors change direction a bit?

This is quite nice, if a bit predictable.  But what happens if I insert those contrasting strips?

This isn't to scale, and I've got the color of the contrasting strips wrong (the yellow has a green strip, not an orange one; the orange has a yellow strip, and so on down the line), but damn, this is looking interesting.

So how did I do all this while sitting on the couch?
Have you ever heard of Excel?

Now I am fairly sure that a lot of you have one of those fussy quilt design programs, but I do not, because I don't make quilts that use a lot of the same block over and over again. Years ago one of my readers commented "You have the best fabrics."

"No," I replied. "But I know how to get the most out of the fabrics that I do have."  It's the same thing with tools. You don't need lots of gizmos and gadgets (and trust me, I have a lot of them), but you can get a lot of proverbial "bang" for your "buck" if you can make them do what you want.

Even if the number one computer spreadsheet software on the planet wasn't created to design quilts.


The little grey cells...

(I love each and every one of them.)


Quiltdivajulie said...

Excel is an awesome program - but so many have no idea how to use it . . .

Lori R. said...

Well done!
Instead of painting your self into a corner or getting to the "I'll just put them in a drawer" stage, you used your brain.

Mary K said...

I have always used PowerPoint for my quilt designing. You can make blocks color, group, resize, copy, paste, rotate... I could go on forever.
I do not own a quilting program.