The Making of Diamond in the Rough Part 1 – My Design Process

Let me tell you a little about the making of my Diamond in the Rough Quilt, my entry into QuiltCon 2017 that was patterned in QuiltCon Magazine. I want to share quite a bit of detail so I’m going to split this up into two posts.

Diamond in the Rough by Christa Watson, at QuiltCon 2017

Have you noticed how often quilters match their quilts???

Designing in EQ7

I actually came up this design while working on another quilt pattern. The premise for the other design was to use a colorful bundle of fabric, and I originally wanted to do something with HRT’s (half rectangle triangles.) Often, I will start in black and white so I can play with design without color getting in the way. And then many times, like in this quilt, the black and white version takes on a life of its own and becomes a totally different design.

It was easy enough to whip up a simple HRT layout in EQ7:

Diamond in the Rough first sketch

I ended going in a completely different direction for the other quilt but saved this basic layout to come back to later. Once I did, I started playing around with the different shapes that could be made from HRT’s in EQ7. I started with harlequins and I kept all of the construction lines showing so that I could see where all the seam lines would be.

Black and White Harlequins

And then I stated playing around with the individual rows. I really liked the graphic diamond shapes that were possibly simply by rearranging the layout of the individual units.

Harlequin and Diamonds Design

I decided to throw in a big diamond just because and that really struck a chord with me. I decided to add a very skinny border in EQ7 which would represent the binding. I also played around a bit with the bottom rows to see what interesting graphic components would emerge. Many times during my design process, the design will go in several different directions and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities.

However, at this point, I knew I had a keeper! It just needed a pop of color…

Diamond in the Rough sketch

Finally, I added a pop of red by coloring the center diamond plus a small patch of binding on the lower right. I also decided it needed one more row of HRT’s along the bottom to balance the design. Then I hid the seam lines so that I could get a clear visual of what the finished design would look like once sewn together.

Diamond in the Rough Final Design

I love working in EQ7 because I know I’ll be happy with the design before I ever make the first cut. In the next post, I’ll write about how I designed the machine quilting and share a few closeups of the quilting.

Diamond in the Rough by Christa Watson, at QuiltCon 2017

I love it when my finished quilt looks just like my original sketch! The final quilt measures 56″ x 72″ and was made with solids and Color Weave from Benartex. I quilted it with 50 weight Aurifil in Very Dark Grey, White, and Red from my Piece and Quilt thread collection.

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10 thoughts on “The Making of Diamond in the Rough Part 1 – My Design Process

  1. Angele says:

    Your quilt is simple yet so complex in thoughts and process. I love the way you share your process with us. I received EQ for Christmas from my sons. This is like you giving me the ok to go ahead and explore beyond the traditional block. Thank you!

  2. cj says:

    Thank you for sharing. It is inspiring. Fascinating how something as simple as an HRT has so many possibilities. I love the one big and little ❤️ pop of color.

  3. Lynette says:

    I’ve been away from blogging, so I hadn’t seen this quilt yet. It’s super striking – no wonder it spoke to you! Thanks for sharing details about your design process. I wonder if lots of us “watchers” get stymied in our own ventures, because we mistakenly think you guys just have these finished visions in your head and magically put them out there. Maybe we should give ourselves more of a chance. ;D

  4. Jeanne Rhea says:

    Oh, I am in love with this quilt! I am a painter and have made few quilts, but am working on a black, white silver and red painting now. Mine is almost all circles, but I bet this would fit so well in the same home.

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