QNMP 120300 DESIGN 231x300 DESIGN WALLSOne of my favorite elements of Quilters Newsletter magazine is the Design Wall page. It serves as an intro page to our pattern section. I begin my design with a current fabric line from one of the many fabulous collections out there, then select bits and pieces to add interest to the page. Our editors contribute bits also; historical information, interesting quotes and tips to enhance your quilting skills. This page is from our current issue available at

I also have a design wall here at work, a 7´ x 4´ cork board that reflects what I am currently working on. This week it holds preliminary designs for the cover of the April/May issue of Quilters Newsletter.
SG design wall1 300x225 DESIGN WALLS
Here are some design tips I always use:
• When you are working on a design put every idea you think of out there; good, bad, whatever. Then analyze, add, combine or eliminate.
• Get some distance from your designs. They look different at 1 foot, 2 feet and 6 feet back.
• If you can look at them the next day, do so. Of course, that’s not always possible, deadlines being ever present in this business.
• Get opinions from others. Everyone see things in a different way. What may seem clear to you might be interpreted differently by someone else.
• Stay loose, have fun with it.

[Please Note: This giveaway has ended, congratulations to Linda Ann, winner of Caroline's Collection!]

Share your design tips  or comments with us and we’ll give you a chance to win this bundle of pastel florals from the Elm Creek Quilts: Caroline’s Collection by Jennifer Chiaverini for Red Rooster Fabrics.RedRoosterFabrics DESIGN WALLS

Leave your comment before 11:59 p.m. MST on Monday, January 23, 2012. One comment per person, please. This giveaway is open to people who haven’t won anything from Quilters Newsletter in the past 90 days.

Remember, the best way to learn about giveaways and contests is to follow us on Facebook. Good luck!

About Susan E. Geddes

I am the Art Director for Quilters Newsletter Magazine and QN Special Interest Publications
This entry was posted in Susan E. Geddes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

238 Responses to DESIGN WALLS

  1. SewLindaAnn says:

    I have 2 batting covered foam boards hanging above my sewing machine. I put cutouts from magazines, drawings, cards, anything that strikes my fancy for color, design, a stroke, a shirt. Sometimes something completely outside the scope of a project inspires me in some small way. I also draw and play in a journal type book. Right now I’m into rounded houses of all types. It’s fun to draw them in a color.

  2. ilean calabro says:

    i put a piece of flannel over a piece of foam core board and taped it with duct tape. small piece stick and bigger heavier blocks i pin.

  3. Diana Lindsley says:

    I use a piece of queen sized batting (Warm & Natural) to tack up or drape against my shelves to use as a design wall. Quilt blocks stick to the batting though if they’re going to be there for days, I sometimes add a pin

  4. Diana Van Hise says:

    Use a reducing glass to look at elements on a design wall. It will allow you to see how things work together (or not) from a distance.

  5. Shirley Ratliff says:

    After placing blocks on my design wall, I take a picture with my digital camera. Looking at it later, as a picture, sometimes changes what I see.

  6. Ann says:

    To get a good distance from your design wall/ floor/ lay out spot, I use my binoculars back to front.

  7. terry says:

    I used to have a flannel covered wall and loved to audition fabrics on it.

  8. Pat Hersl says:

    Go with your gut! Sometimes when something in your head says this isn’t working, believe it, at least overnight. Let it sit and look again in the light of a new day.

  9. Bonnie Meadows says:

    I have found that a flannel-covered tablecloth works well for a design wall when you are limited on space and want something you can move easily. I tape it up or use pins if necessary.

  10. Maria Kievit says:

    I don’t have a design wall yet, but will lay blocks on the floor and take a picture of them to see what works or not. Also like using the spy hole gadget (that can be used in doors to see who’s outside) to look at the quilts as if you’re far away.

  11. Jan says:

    I do not have a design wall yet (I MUST work on organizing a dedicated sewing area). I do make it a practice to step far away from the fabrics that I am considering purchasing to see if they play well together and that they do not blend in to each other. I do the same with squares that I lay out on the floor and rearrange as needed.

  12. Deb San Antonio says:

    I don’t have a design wall as yet so what I use now is the king size bed in the guestroom! As you can imagine, it gets pretty cluttered with pictures and fabrics that I have fallen in love with. I show a picture/pattern and then add my own color scheme from my stash to see how it works. This also saves me money and helps me use my stash.

  13. Cecilia says:

    I have an 8 x 8 design wall on one wall of my sewing room. I put my fabrics or blocks on it, then I take a picture of it to see if I like the way the fabrics play together.

  14. pat draa says:

    I like to keep my design wall where I can see it all the time as I add and change it many times. It also gives me ideas for more quilts!

  15. Jean Genest says:

    I don’t have a design wall so I lay a large piece of batting over my sofa & then lay out my blocks to see what arrangement looks best. I have to work fast as my cat thinks this is a cozy place for a nap.

  16. Karen says:

    If I am working on a block design I use a 12 1/2 sandpaper board with felt – I always look at it from a distance and close up.
    When I am trying to decide on color placement for a scrap quilt I use my portable 72 x 72 inch design wall. Again it is always nice to step back a distance – sometimes mistakes pop out at you. Also for some reason this helps me – take a photo of your design and then view it on the computer – I don’t know why but mistakes tend to pop out more to me when I look at it on my computer.

  17. Joan M says:

    I design using EQ7. I understand what you mean about looking at things closely and then from farther back. With EQ, I can work on a design closely, save it, and then open the sketchbook and see several versions of the quilt in much smaller view. This gives me an idea of the look from farther away.

  18. Cassi Bauman says:

    When auditioning fabrics, lay them out in the order they will be in the quilt. Sometimes two fabrics that don’t look good together look fine when separated by a third. Always add a little something in the yellow family or turquise/teal family. Helps give sparkle to what would otherwise look ordinary.

  19. Merie says:

    A painting class taught me that taking off my glasses to look at something helps me to see the values better – if you aren’t lucky enough to be nearsighted, squinting will do the same thing.

  20. Renee Johnson says:

    My first design “wall” was a 3′ x 3′ piece of foam board left over from one of my son’s Cub Scout projects. I found some cheap neutral colored felt (light tan) and used a stapler to tack it on the foam board. That worked really well for piecing my blocks and putting them together (I can fit three 12.5″ square blocks across in 3 rows if I overlap a little). When I finally had a room just for quilting, I bought a package of king size batting and a curtain rod and hung it on my wall. While this one works, it wasn’t the best idea to use a curtain rod – the batting hangs loose instead of laying flat against the wall. I heard of someone who used roofing nails (?) to mount it to their wall. I have to figure something different, but I love having an entire wall for laying out my quilt tops as I go.

  21. Kathy says:

    My design wall is a piece of flannel. I create my quilt design, let it hang there and over the next few days I wander in and out of the room making changes as I see fit. Thank heavens for a design wall or I think I would want to change the way my quilts look after they’re finished and that’s something you can’t do! Thanks for the giveaway!

  22. Chris Rose says:

    I found the door peephole scope to aid in the placement of blocks and a misplacement stands out like a sore thumb.

  23. charlotte dudley says:

    I use a flannel backed tablecloth tacked backwards to the wall. Works great. I always stand back from my designs, and often squint to get a clearer impression. It does help. so does walking away, and then coming back later to see it with free eyes.

  24. jackie says:

    I dont have a design wall as of yet,but a use my spare room floor ,it really helps to see it layed out. love other comments, thanks to all

  25. Shasta says:

    I agree with your tips here. I like to look at my wall under different lighting conditions – morning, afternoon, night, because sometimes that makes a big difference also.

  26. Sue Monsey says:

    I wish I had a good place for a design wall … right now, I use my living room floor. I am blessed, or cursed, with a white carpet so my colors don’t have to compete with the flooring. It’s also nice since we don’t use that room much and my dogs don’t have access to it so I can leave quilt blocks there for several days – walking by it sometimes changes the placement — I do a lot of scrappy quilts so the blocks don’t necessarily have a “right” place. I really like it when I can lay it on the floor at the community center so there are many eyes looking at it and everyone has the chance to move the blocks around … you never know how they will end up when you have many “cooks”!

  27. Janine Huisjen says:

    I didn’t want to attach anything to a wall, so I bought a cheap curtain and attached Warm and Natural batting to it. When I’m designing, I hang it from a tension bar in the opening of the bi-fold doors in my sewing closet. I can easily push it aside to get in the closet if I need to, and it’s the right size for any of my projects.

  28. tarabu says:

    I use a piece of batting taped to a length of 3/4-inch pvc. I can roll it up when not in use, or hang it from my curtain rod using wrought-iron S-hooks from the garden center when I need it on duty!

  29. Cassandra says:

    I have no design wall yet. It’s something I look forward to creating in the future!

    I love Chiaverini’s books. It would be fun to win some of her fabric. Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

  30. Joan Grismore says:

    Good ideas. I liked Janine h. idea. I use a piece of flannel pinned to wall. I found I make less mistakes that way versus the way I used to lay them out on the floor.

  31. Kate says:

    Having one big enough for your project is helpful, good lighting both day light and task light, and one you can leave up for a while and live with the design. A big help in choosing fabrics. Thanks for the chance!

  32. Carol Y says:

    I like to lay out my project before final assembly and take pictures – the camera gives another view point, minimizing the details and providing more focus on the overall design.

  33. Chris says:

    Lay it out, then look at it the next day or I ask my husband. He always has a critical eye. Then there is always the seem ripper when you think you are done.

  34. Carol says:

    Had my son put up a wood strip on wall across frm my sewing machine desk. Hung a flannel back design wall design on small nails on strip. Completed blocks stick there so I can view thm as I work.. one day I looked up & a couple blocks caught my eye. The pieces on each were reversed as to what they should b. Had chance to fix a glaring mistake. Phew!

  35. Linda F says:

    I don’t have wall space for a design wall. I lay out blocks on the king sized bed in my guest room. Remove pillows for a larger flat surface.

    I usually leave the blocks a day or two and look at them often to see if there are changes. After labeling row numbers and stacking, I take the blocks a row at a time to my machine to stitch together.

  36. MarciaW says:

    Sometimes I will layout a quilt on the spare bed and just look at it until reach a decision. Other times, it is the living room floor or a bed, with my mother sitting in her chair. Most the time though, I ask her opinion. She has an awesome eye for color and invariably I get great feedback. Who needs a design wall with a mother like this! Of course, she has been quilting for more than 65 years. Thanks for the giveaway. I know she would like these fabrics too.

  37. Claudia Yates says:

    I take pictures of my squares hanging on the design wall. The patterns and tones show much better this way.

  38. Sandy McCabe says:

    I sew on a table in my bedroom and I’ve been thinking of using my closet doors as design walls.

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