Piranha Plant/Mario Quilt: Pattern Level Up!

So I may be too ambitious but you can’t say I’m not creative!  Tonight at my second Quilt meetup I started planning my first real quilt project, a mario piranha plant quilted jersey scarf.

Because I of course can’t do something simple and want to do something customized (as evidence by such projects as… my wedding), I made my own pattern. Cuz heck, if you are going to spend the time, might as well make it a keeper!  And then never bear to/want to get rid of it and live like a person on Hoarders.

This is how I did it…

DISCLAIMER: I will not claim that I researched this like an intelligent human being (though after wards I didn’t find any good digital way to do it) or it is the best way to do it BUT SO FAR I do not regret it (i.e. in the last 4 hours).  And it only took about 3 hours of solid planning.

  1. Picked out the fabric at Joann Fabrics!  Too much of it!  Or so my quilting sensei suspects.  I suspect as well.  Really I should have made the pattern/cutlist first THEN estimated how much fabric to buy.  But it was on sale and I’m impulsive!  Maybe if this works out I can make like 4 of them… This step also included brainstorming with Austin (as I’m making the scarf for him), overriding his choice and planning the design in my head.
  2. Found a picture on the internetz of what I was going for.
  3. Decided how large I wanted the scarf to be and how big the basic block would be.  I decided on  1’6″x6′ scarf with a 2″x2″ basic “building” block.  Needed the blocks to be smaller since I need detail within a small width.  I might end up making it longer on a whim… but for now I plan 6′.
  4. Created a Mockup in Photoshop:
    1. Cropped the picture to the bare basics of what I needed to plan out (minus the sky trim).
    2. I calculated that with the 2″ sky trim I had seven 2″ blocks across to fit in my image.
    3. Sized the picture to have a 50px to 1″ ratio.  Probably should have made it easier on myself and made the picture actual size… but my computer might have died.  Keep in mind I was more worried about width then length since the middle part of the scarf is just repeated over and over.
    4. Used guides to mark out my 2″x2″ blocks or 100px by 100px, in the case of an image file. This is the result:Marking out Guides in Photoshop
    5. Then using the Rectangle Shape Tool and Polygonal Lasso Tool and my eye, I marked where I saw blocks.  I ensured all these layers were in one folder so at any time I could hide them and see the original. I tried to never go smaller than 1″ sections or have too many crazy triangles or shapes, in order to keep things simple (I’m not totally stupid).  After some haggling this is what I arrived at (neatness was not my aim as long as I understood the relation):My patch mockup!Also you will notice I added some extra guides for the sections I was going to have to break down into 1″ height, this will be explained more shortly…
  5. Now I needed to put this more in a pattern format with inches and such so I could come up with a cut list.  I used Excel!  There has to be a better way to do this… and I kinda made up my only pattern language to accomplish this. The big issue was not being able to merge horizontally… or denote triangles.  Probably should have just played with the grid feature in Photoshop and called it a day… The BEST way was PROBABLY to use graph paper and colored pencils… but I’m a digital girl who doesn’t want to hold on to paper and wants to reuse her patterns so I used excel on google docs.  Quilting on the cloud!  So here it is, explanation to follow…Excel Pattern
    1. Marked out my inches and feet and created squarish cells!  I then saved a copy of it blank for a future use template!  Programming FTW!
    2. I used symbols to denote mixed squares and then colored it with the first color encountered from left to right.  So b/r was a diagonally halfed square with blue in the top left cornerhalf and red in the bottom right cornerhalf.  So r\b would be the mirrored effect.  For the weirder triangles I used symbols such as w>b which meant there was a white triangle chomping through the middle of a blue square from the left.  Or b^r would be a blue triangle chomping through a red square, sprouting up through the bottom.  Vertically split pieces were easier, I used use a pipe (ha!).  So dg|g was dark green on the left and green on the right.
    3. I used some directions to show placement.  Like for the random 1’x1′ in one of the corners of a 2″x2″ I would use wtr or “white top right”.
    4. Any time the pattern suddenly was broken into 2″ by 1″ squares I highlighted the inch indicator to remind myself.
    5. Now the middle part is just repeated so that’s where it says 17-8 or “see row 17 through 18”.
    6. Mirroring was no fun.. but I figured it out. Nuff said.

Next Steps

That’s it so far! Now I must…

  1. Strategically mark out what blocks I will sew together THEN cut rather then do every square separately and what order to sew them together. I will most likely have to print out the excel to wrap my head around this (like this smart lady did)…
  2. Count how many cuts of what dimensions I need, my cut list.
  3. Cut and lay it out.
  4. Sew… Cut… Sew… Repeat…

I enjoyed this.  It was like a puzzle. – S

P.S. For the back I’m using a pattern from a book!  To actually learn standardized pattern instructions… It will be a simple scattered pattern of light blue, blue and white (to stand for the sky).

P.P.S.  I will post my final pattern for use after I finish the cut list.