Monday, April 4, 2016

The Sheep Are In The Meadow <<----new design Pattern!

The Sheep Are In The Meadow Wool Applique Table Runner Pattern
When my girls were little, I would sit them on my lap and we'd go through different nursery rhymes, acting them out or singing them.  Itsy Bitsy Spider, Humpty Dumpty, Hey Diddle Diddle, Twinkle Twinkle and my favorite one, Little Boy Blue.
They were so cute acting that one out and I'm pretty sure once they read this, they will still remember our nursery rhyme routine.  It makes me smile just typing this.
Little boy blue!
Come!
Blow your horn...
The sheep are in the meadow and
the cow is in the corn!

This "The Sheep are in the Meadow" wool table runner measures 11" x 30" but it can be made however long you wish.  The pattern can be purchased on my website by CLICKING HERE
The wool kit, which includes the pattern and all of the 100% felted wool needed to complete the project is also available.

The Design From Start to Pattern!

I'm often asked...especially when people see me in person at quilt shows or trunk shows, how long it takes me to create something from start to finish.  
It really depends on what's going on in my life.  Usually it's at least a few weeks from start to finish.  Sometimes more, never less.  It really depends on the time of year, (business is always a bit slower for me in early spring) or if I'm reading a really good book...I put designing aside for a while.  :) 

I decided for this "The Sheep are in the Meadow" design, to keep track of my progress from the very start of the simple sketch to the finished table runner pattern. 
Beginning the evening of March 21, 2016....
I had this idea in my head for a while and finally, while watching tv, I quickly sketched out the vision that was in my head....
I have lots of sketches in this sketchbook that just sit there, waiting for me to continue but this one, with the sheep, I was anxious to get started on it.
The next step:
I draw it out onto a large sheet of freezer paper.  A good ruler and quality erasers are essential for this step.
I draw all of my design on my own.  I never ever ever use someone else's design or drawing for even the smallest details.  The flowers, the sheep, the fence, are all my own hand-drawn creations.

Once I have the rough draft drawn up of the basic measurements of the design, I put it aside and work on figuring out what colors to use.
At this point, I dye up the wool that I'll need...in this case, I just needed to dye the yellow flower wool, since all of the other colors that I need are plentiful in my mill-dyed stash.

Ok, so now I have the basic design drawn and the wool ready.  I trace the shapes onto more freezer paper and get started with the best part of designing...the stitching part!

This is definitely the most difficult part because there's a lot of trial and error involved.  I can start off with a design that looks good on paper but just doesn't work when it's stitched.
In this case, I had some adjustments to make on the sheep positions and some wool color issues. There was some stitching and then some unstitching and restitching involved.

When I finished, I hung it up on my board in my workroom.....
I usually hang the design and look at it from a distance for a day or so.  I use that time to see if corrections need to be made.   
I knew when I was stitching this that I needed to make the next one longer.  This one measures about 26".  
I also had decided to use a lighter color gray wool for the sheep faces. Although I love the darker gray on the faces, it doesn't show up well from a distance or in pictures.  That's pretty important!  So you might notice that the lower 4 sheep have lighter faces then the top 4 sheep.   It was just too much unstitching to do to switch out the darker faces ...besides, the first one that I stitch is always the one that I keep for myself.  
Yes, I always stitch at least 2 of every design before I create the pattern to sell.

The next step in the process of creating a new design is to draft the pattern.  Now is when everything has to be measured and drawn out perfectly.  This is the most problematic for me.  For the first one that I stitched, the shapes end up not always exactly the same shape so I have to make those adjustments for the official pattern.
For this sheep design, I drew out the exact layout onto 11" x 17" paper.  I like to give customers the exact layout guide for all of my designs so that they'll easily be able to stitch the design without guessing where things are supposed to be. 
Once that's done, and that takes quite a bit of time, I break it down and draw out each individual pattern shape onto what will be the official pattern sheet.  This also takes quite a bit of time...and a quality eraser!  
I then write the instructions, getting my husband to proofread it after I'm finished.
Once that's all done, it's then that I use my own instructions and drawn pattern to stitch up the final version of the new design. 
I've learned that this is the best way to find errors in either forgetting something in the instructions or measurements, etc.
So, once I have the final design completed and stitched with backing, I go back to my drawings and work on finishing up the pattern.
For the layout guide and the pattern sheet drawings, I scanned them both so that I can clean them up on my computer.  
I have a program on my computer that I use to clean up all of the eraser marks and generally clean up the drawing.  
I go over every single square inch of the drawing to erase any spots and to darken all of the drawn lines.  Again, I remind you that all of my designs are completely drawn by hand...I just use the computer program to make my drawn lines look cleaner than just a thin pencil line.

I don't use any images or clip-art to create anything...even the background scallop shapes for my candle mat designs are all my very own hand-drawn shapes.  Actually, (a little secret that I'll reveal here) it's pretty easy to tell that they aren't copied shapes from someone else's pattern because on paper, every single one of the scallop shapes aren't perfect...the shape curves are all off by about 1/8" or so simply because they are hand-drawn and not computer drafted.  The wonderful thing about working with wool is that 1/8 or even 1/4" isn't the least bit noticeable in the final product.
Some of my very first pattern printings background shapes were really uneven...my husband stepped in and fixed them all for me so that now, my scallops are almost perfect in measurements.

Anyway, cleaning up the pattern drawings on the computer, takes a tremendous amount of time.  Long hours sitting at the computer screen make my shoulders hurt so I take a lot of stretching breaks.
I actually got tendinitis in my shoulder 2 years ago because I sat too long cleaning up a drawing.  That turned into what is call a "frozen shoulder" and I had to do lots of physical therapy to get it back to working.  I know better now so I take stretching breaks.

This is getting way too long and hubby is wondering why I'm sitting here typing instead of working on orders this morning so I need to finish this up.
In real life, I'm not much of a talker...I'm a listener but for some reason, my fingers like to talk!

So, the pattern drawings are all cleaned up on the computer.  I print them out.  I take pictures of the completed table runner and decide which one to use for the pattern front.   I have another computer program that I use to create the pattern front with picture.  
Once that's completed, everything gets handed over to my husband who then takes charge of getting it all sent to the printer.  Once it's back from the printer, he folds and packs each pattern and then it's ready to sell....
I will at some point tell the story of my husband's expert pattern packing technique...but that's for another time!

  I know this is long so I really appreciate you taking the time to read my words.
Now you know the long tedious process of creating a pattern from start to finish.  
Thank you for reading.  Have a blessed and happy day!  

(Love my customers and a very sincere thank you to those of you who have gone out of their way to message me with their lovely and kind comments.)


2 comments:

Clairellen said...

I just LOVE your sheep! Thanks for your great imagination, and talent to bring them to life!

Caths Pennies said...

Thank you Clairellen. :)