Design Homework: Line

During the last Quilting…for the Rest of Us Design podcast and my accompanying post on Line, I suggested some homework exercises. I did the exercises and thought I would share my work with you.

Exercise #1

I said that you would need the following supplies:

  • piece of blank paper (can be the back of junk mail)
  • catalog or magazine pictures you are willing to cut up
  • paper scissors
  • drawing or writing implement  (You can use anything, but one with a smooth line is great!)
  • glue stick

And I said that you should take the following steps:

  1.  Find a picture in your magazine or catalog and cut a 3×3(?) square out of it.
  2. Take a piece of blank paper and lay it on the table in front of you
  3. Glue the 3×3(?) square somewhere towards the middle on the paper. There should be at least 2? of white space around each side of the magazine picture.
  4. Turn the paper upside down so the image is upside down.
  5. Continue the image out from each side of the paper using your pen
  6. “Simplify the design in the square and its drawn continuation.” Use the cut off edges to make a new design.
  7. Perform this exercise over and over on different pieces of paper with different pictures until you are happy with the result.
  8. Use the simplified design as a starting point for a quilt.

(adapted from Fearless Design for Every Quilter by Lorraine Torrence, pg. 63)

Exercise #1 results
Exercise #1 results
Line: Exercise #1 (2)
Line: Exercise #1 (2)

What I did: I have a relatively large pad of white paper. For what purpose I originally bought it, I don’t remember, but I find it useful for photographing projects that need a white background and drawing out appropriately sized applique’ patterns. It also came in handy for this design homework.

I pasted the square onto these pages and drew the lines. I think the designs would have been more effective on an 8/5″x11″ piece of paper. The large size of the paper diluted the design, I think. Still, it was fun.

And then, on to:

Exercise #2
You can do exercise #2 with free motion quilting as well using a 3×3? square of fabric on top of a small (11×11? or so) quilt sandwich.

I told you that the supplies you would need were:

  • a charm pack OR
  • a group of approximately 50 3-5″ paper squares of all colors and designs (junkmail works well, you could use a scrapbooking paper punch if you have that) OR
  • cut a group of 3-5″ squares of fabric (approximately 50)
  • notebook or paper (reusing junk mail is just fine)
  • pen or other writing implement


Line: Exercise 2
Line: Exercise 2
  1. Put all the squares on the floor or on a table right next to each other. Do not arrange them yet.
  2. Look at them and see if you see any dominate lines. Make a note of how the lines show up (because of the color? because of the design on the fabric or paper? Other?)
  3. Line: Exercise 2 (2)
    Line: Exercise 2 (2)

    If you have a camera, take a photo.

  4. Rearrange the squares in some kind of order.
  5. Look at them and see if you see any dominate lines. Make a note of how the lines show up (because of the color? because of the design on the fabric or paper? Other?)
  6. If you have a camera, take a photo.
  7. Based on what you saw in the squares of your fabric, draw simple lines in your notebook or on paper.
  8. Optional: think about and take note of design ideas that are suggested to you by the images you have created.

What I did: The Young Man took a scrapbook square maker and punched some squares out of some catalogs for me. Above in the first photo, I put all the squares on the white piece of paper in a rectangle. I removed some of the squares that were too obviously faces or letters, but otherwise didn’t rearrange the squares.

In the second photo, I arranged all the squares in color order in lines as much as possible. I didn’t see any designs that intrigued me right at the moment. I did really like the squares in the bottom lines, but I liked them individually not so much together. I liked the curved edges shown on some of the squares. I also liked the arrangement of colors.

Exercise #3

You will need:

  • notebook or paper (junkmail is fine)
  • pen or writing implement (colors are fun)

Directions: Draw different kinds of lines:

  • zig zag
  • curved
  • broken
  • straight (ish!)
  • continuous
  • fat
  • thin
Line: Exercise 3
Line: Exercise 3

What I did: I just drew different lines on a page of my journal. I thought this was a really boring exercise, though I can see its usefulness.