Monday, January 18, 2016

PWS - How to Write a Quilt Pattern - Topic 1 - Intro

Topic 1 – Series Introduction


A.   Welcome

I would like to take this first post to welcome you to the Pattern Writing Blog Series!  This will be quilt pattern writing 101 and the goal for this series is to teach you the tools and give you the confidence write your own quilt pattern. 

Note: If you are signed up to receive posts from this blog (Bloglovin, E-mail, Feedly) you will receive each post related to this series.  Each post will also be linked to in the Pattern Writing Blog Series tab above so that you can easily find and reference individual topic posts anytime.



B.   About Myself


My name is Cheryl and I am a chemical engineer who now works as a patent agent.  My job requires me to take PhD level science, break it down, and describe it to a patent examiner who may or may not be familiar with the subject manner.  I use my engineering and technical writing skills to create quilt patterns that are clear, concise, and useful.

Back when my daughter was a toddler and I decided to make her a quilt for her new bed even though I had no idea how to make one.  I bought some basic supplies, learned everything I could about sewing and quilting on the internet, dove into the project … and have not stopped quilting since.   When making one of my first quilts, I altered the pattern completely, changing the number of blocks and cutting instructions to use different precuts.  I found that I really enjoyed the process of figuring out the pattern and instructions and thus started my journey as a pattern designer.

I sold my first quilt pattern in the Fall of 2012.  Since then I have released over 30 free and for sale block and quilt patterns.  My patterns are available (including free and for purchase) digitally via Craftsy and Etsy and in printed form via Etsy and wholesale direct to shops and distributors.  My patterns (free and for sale) have been downloaded over 13,000 times from Craftsy.

My first quilt pattern took me over five months to write, test, rewrite, have tested, and finally get the courage to post.  When I was writing my first pattern, I could not find any good resources to help me figure out the “right” way to write a quilt pattern.  I hope that this series provides new aspiring quilt pattern designers some helpful information and encouragement.



C.   Aim of the Series

When you first started quilting, you probably used a pattern from another quilter.  As you became more proficient, you might have started changing up the sizes or tweaking other aspects of the patterns you were using coming up with your quilt design ideas.  You may have written notes on the pattern in case you ever wanted to recreate the pattern.  Maybe you started to think about taking your quilt designs and writing them into quilt patterns and publish them (free or for sale). 

If you are at the point where you want to possibly publish your patterns (or simply want to record them better for your own use), then this is the series for you!

I believe that there is no “right” way to write a quilt pattern, we each have our own preferences, ways of understanding instructions and explaining things.  This series’ objective is to take you step by step from a design concept to a published pattern giving you the skills, tools, and confidence to write your own pattern your own way. 



D.   Series Topics

The series is going to be broken into ten topics, about one topic per week, with all posts either posted to this blog or linked from this blog to other blogs (all posts will be linked within the Pattern Writing BlogSeries tab above). 

Topic I – Series Introduction
Topic II – Quilt Design
Topic III – Adapting a Quilt Design into a Pattern
Topic IV – General Pattern Guidelines
Topic V – Quilt Math
Topic VI – Computer Programs for Illustration and Pattern Design
Topic VII – Illustrations and Text
Topic VIII – Testing
Topic IX – Publishing
Topic X – Wrap Up


E.   Posting Schedule

Most weekly topics will contain a series of posts:

Monday - a post from me going into depth on the weekly topic illustrating the topic using a sample quilt pattern.

Wednesday - a round table discussion on the topic by our panel of pattern designers.

Tuesday, Thursday, and/or Friday – some weeks will contain an extra post or two related to an aspect or experience with the topic by one of the pattern designers.

The complete listing of scheduled posts can be found in the Pattern Writing Blog Series tab above.



F.  Guest Designers

The designers who were generous to help me with this series are (in alphabetical order) Amy of 13 SpoolsAnne of Springleaf StudiosChrista of Christa QuiltsLorna of Sew Fresh Quilts, Soma of Whims and Fancies, and Yvonne of Quilting Jetgirl.  We will be getting to know the guest designers more this Wednesday, when there will be a post to introduce each designer in more detail. 



G.   Sample Quilt Pattern

In order to make this series more useful and less abstract I will be taking you through the development of a complete sample quilt pattern to illustrate all of the different ideas and concepts of the series.  At the end of the series, this sample quilt pattern will be available as a free baby-sized quilt pattern available for download from Craftsy.  The sample quilt pattern is called Ninja Bears and is a relatively simple pattern based on the traditional Friendship Star block.



H.   Giveaway

Each of the wonderful designers has agreed to donate one (1) digital quilt pattern as a prize at the end of the series so there will be 7 winners in total to celebrate the completion of the series.



I.   Questions?

If you have questions now, or at any point throughout the series, simply leave the question in the comment section of the post or e-mail me directly at cheryljbrickey (at) gmail (dot) com and I will try my best to answer your questions.  If we have a large number of questions for any particular topic, I (and the guest pattern designers) will respond to them in a new post so the answers will be available to everyone.



J.   Thanks

As we get started with the series, I would like to offer special thanks to Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl for helping me refine the scope, content, and plan for the series and to Paige at Quilted Blooms for proofreading, editing, checking quilt math, being a sound board, and about a million other things to help me get this series complete.



49 comments:

  1. I am looking forward to this series. Thanks for taking us along on pattern writting 101. It addresses a theme I have long been interested in.

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  2. Looking forward to reading this, Cheryl!

    As my boss, a patent attorney (physics), once said to one of his patent agents: "You're going to have to rewrite this more simply. Engineers will be reading it." I still laugh.

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  3. Looking forward to this series Cheryl. Only been quilting for a year, but wanting to branch out and use my own creations. So glad I came upon this series..right place at the right time.

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  4. I am looking forward to this series and was wondering if each post will be or could be available as a .pdf download.

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  5. So looking forward to reading this series and the round table discussions - great idea to explore this topic in this way!

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  6. Really looking forward to this series. I think it will be just the confidence booster I need to develop some patterns!

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  7. Thanks for doing this Cheryl. I'm looking forward to all the posts and discussion, and know it will provide valuable info.

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  8. Looking forward to the series !

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  9. I have already starting writing my own patterns. I am hoping to pick up on some tips to make the process easier and the patterns clearer for those that use them. Thank you for providing this wonderful series.

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  10. looks like this will be quite interesting!

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  11. So happy! I am so looking forward to this Cheryl! Thank you and everyone for putting together this Writing Series!

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  12. Sounds like it will be a great series, Cheryl! I was interested too in that little snippet about your day job. It's always fun to get a glimpse into the non-quilting lives of my favourite bloggers :)

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  13. I am excited for this series because I know how much hard work you have put into it, Cheryl, and I think it is awesome you are offering all this information through your blog. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be learning a lot alongside everyone else!

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  14. I'm so excited for this blog series! I love to find inspiration for quilts around me wherever I am. And have always wanted to turn those inspirations into quilt patterns.

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  15. This will really help me as I have made a few myself but am so uncertain S to explain to,others. As a retired teacher I have a great appreciation for clear instructions!

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  16. Looking forward to the series - thank yoU!

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  17. I am looking forward to this series! I need to learn how to make clear and consistent notes on the changes I make on pattern instructions.

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  18. Very excited for this series! Thanks for putting it together!

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  19. The timing of your blog series is spot on! One of my goals for 2016 is to publish a pattern!! May I share your link and series on my blog, please! Thanks for sharing your insights!!
    www.thebeachyquilter.wordpress.com

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  20. I am really looking forward to this series! This is perfect timing too, because I have made a quilt that I now want to make a pattern for. You might be answering this in a later post and if so do not worry about answering, how do you go about writing a pattern and have the confidence someone before you has not already done it? Thank you for doing this series!

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  21. Thanks for hosting this amazing series, Cheryl. I'm excited to get started!

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  22. Cheryl, this is one of the most exciting things I've ever seen hit Quilting Blogland! Really looking forward to learning more about pattern writing from so many of my very favorite pattern creators! Thank you for all the work you have so obviously poured into this!

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    1. I'm getting ready to write up another pattern too and hope to improve my skills!

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  23. This sounds like a fabulous tutorial! I too search the internet for quilting tips and how-tos. I just recently designed my first quilt pattern and thought it came out okay. This blog will certainly be helpful for upcoming projects. Thanks a bunch!!

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  24. Looking forward to following this series. My patterns are drawn out using pencil and squared paper and I've no idea how to calculate or keep track of fabric quantities. Thank you for creating this opportunity to learn the skills needed to produce a pattern.

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  25. I'm excited to join you on this journey.

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  26. Looking forward to this blog series. I'll be following and learning along. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

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  27. Yay!! I have been waiting for this. Thanks to you and your designers for making this information available. So many people will learn from this!

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  28. I'm looking forward to this series. I love the idea that we'll be following an actual pattern. Thanks!!!

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  29. This is such a wonderful gift to the online quilting world. I am really looking forward to it!

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  30. I know you have put so much into this and I am so looking forward to it! It is going to be fantastic! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with us!

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  32. I'm looking forward to this series.
    I smiled about starting a first quilt from a pattern. Back when I started quilting, there weren't many resources for quilters except other quilters--and none of my friends were quilters. My first quilt was inspired by a magazine photo of a quilt in the home of actor Richard Dreyfuss. I just figured it out from looking at the quilt. Times have changed--although I rarely make a quilt from someone else's pattern.

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  33. I'm looking forward to this series--thank you for hosting it. I'm a technical writer as well, and I've written many patterns so I hope to contribute to the discussion from time to time if that's okay.

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  34. Yay! It is that time we have all been waiting for!! I add my genuine thanks for putting this information and these designers all together in one place!! This is a big deal!!

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  35. This is going to be great, Cheryl! Thanks so much for letting me be a part of it :)

    -Soma

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  36. I've been looking forward to this for a while. Thanks to you and the other quilters for putting this series together.

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  37. Looking forward to this series. Thanks for putting this together!

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  38. Is is such a great idea! I hope to learn a bucketful!

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  39. thank you so much for sharing, I am so looking forward to learning this process

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  40. This series is sure to be a big hit, Cheryl. There really isn't anything out there covering pattern writing. Glad to be a part of it!

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  41. Thanks for putting together this series, I'm looking forward to all the posts.

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  42. So looking forward to following this. Thank you!

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  43. Thanks so much for doing this, as I've been trying to get things together for a book, and don't know where to start to write the pattern instructions, even though I've been designing my own quilts for many years. Thanks again and take care.

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  44. Just found your post and I am looking forward to your information. I already write patterns but would love any insight to make them more professional and easier to use.

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Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!