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Thread: Drafting complex blocks

  1. #1
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    Drafting complex blocks

    I am attempting to draft several complicated Jinny Beyer eight-pointed star blocks from a couple of her books. The books show the grids, but the grids are very small and there are few if any instructions for how to draft.

    I have been to four quilting instructors who got stuck and had to give up (going to number five next Tuesday). Now I am working on this by myself and I seem to have figured out how to draw the blocks on graph paper (I won't go into enormous detail in case you guys don't need all this) but the problem is the points and lines aren't accurate enough to make reliable templates. I have spent a large number of hours on this so far, which is not a problem, but I mention just so it's clear that I'm not on a first draft or anything, more like draft five or so...

    I have some decent drafting supplies, so not sure how to proceed to get the accuracy I need.

    Is there anyone here who has worked on this type of drafting and could walk me through the process so I can get a bit better results?

    Thank you so much...

    Lainey

  2. #2
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    I haven't done this, so I can't help except to suggest you check out her free patterns on her website. Maybe something there will be helpful. Also, maybe you could email her directly and ask her for advice. Good luck.

    Laurie

  3. #3
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
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    What part are you stuck on? If you draw guidelines - vertical, horizontal, and on the two 45 degree angles (which is easy to make accurate on graph paper), isn't that enough to give you accurate lines to draw against?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nycquilter View Post
    I haven't done this, so I can't help except to suggest you check out her free patterns on her website. Maybe something there will be helpful. Also, maybe you could email her directly and ask her for advice. Good luck.

    Laurie
    Yes, I checked out all the free patterns and there was nothing similar in terms of complexity. Then I also called JB Studio and the women there knew how to do the drafting but it wasn't really possible for me to understand what they were saying (I called twice) and I felt like they were somewhat rushed, not really set up for answering my questions. I'm in MA but I'm sure if I went to Virginia in person it would go much better.

    Thank you, we both had the same ideas...

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    Quote Originally Posted by kristakz View Post
    What part are you stuck on? If you draw guidelines - vertical, horizontal, and on the two 45 degree angles (which is easy to make accurate on graph paper), isn't that enough to give you accurate lines to draw against?
    OK, I have all the lines you mention and you would think that would be enough, but somehow it's not working. This is a block with a hexagon in the very center, then a small 8 pt star radiating out of the hexagon and then two more stars radiating out of the central star, each one bigger than the one before. The place I'm getting suck is: I can't get the hexagon to have equal-length sides and because of this then each arm of the first central star has a different size width than all the other arms. Does that make any sense? I can try sending photos but not sure I know how?

    Thank you for responding...

    Lainey

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    Do you have access to a photocopy machine? Then you could keep enlarging the book pictures so you can see them clearly. Then you could recreate the image on a graph paper.

  7. #7
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
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    Do you have a set of compasses (for drawing circles). If so, you can draw a circle centered where your lines cross. Then, where the circle crosses the grid lines are the corners of your hexagon. If you don't have that, then you should be able to measure an equal distance from the center along each line, and use those marks as the corners of your hexagon.

  8. #8
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    So the drawing has a hexagon (6-sided) with an 8-point star radiating from it? That sounds a little strange.

    The interior angles on a regular hexagon (meaning all 6 sides have the same length) are 120 degrees. You can use a quilter's ruler to draft them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kristakz View Post
    Do you have a set of compasses (for drawing circles). If so, you can draw a circle centered where your lines cross. Then, where the circle crosses the grid lines are the corners of your hexagon. If you don't have that, then you should be able to measure an equal distance from the center along each line, and use those marks as the corners of your hexagon.
    Yes I have a compass and have done both methods as you explain. It's not that I can't find the points, it's that I can't get the accuracy. I am off by a 32 or even a 16th of an inch no matter how many times I keep drafting these points.

    Maybe my next question is, how much wiggle room do I have? If one arm of the central hexagon/triangle is plus 1/32 of an inch and another is minus 1/32, is this going to give me trouble? I just can't seem to get it any better than this. And in a couple of lines I am off by 1/16th in most of my attempts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dunster View Post
    So the drawing has a hexagon (6-sided) with an 8-point star radiating from it? That sounds a little strange.

    The interior angles on a regular hexagon (meaning all 6 sides have the same length) are 120 degrees. You can use a quilter's ruler to draft them.
    SORRY, of course I meant to write octagon! No, it's not six sides, it is eight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingcandy View Post
    Do you have access to a photocopy machine? Then you could keep enlarging the book pictures so you can see them clearly. Then you could recreate the image on a graph paper.
    Does this work? Have people tried this? I guess I discounted this method because if it were that simple the books would tell us to use this method? But maybe it works, I just haven't heard the authors of the books mentioning it so I figured the images would distort as you enlarge?

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    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lainealex View Post
    Does this work? Have people tried this? I guess I discounted this method because if it were that simple the books would tell us to use this method? But maybe it works, I just haven't heard the authors of the books mentioning it so I figured the images would distort as you enlarge?
    Yes ... enlarging on a photocopier does work. You may have to fiddle with the numbers to get the exact size ... 129% increase vs 130% increase for example.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DogHouseMom View Post
    Yes ... enlarging on a photocopier does work. You may have to fiddle with the numbers to get the exact size ... 129% increase vs 130% increase for example.
    Wow, that totally worked! I got it to come out to a twelve inch block size. I wonder why the first four quilting instructors didn't know about this method...so simple.

    Thank you all very much.

    Now I just have to sew it

    Lainey

  14. #14
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    This book might help you.

    Drafting and Design Simplified (Quilting Library)Sarah Sacks Dun http://www.amazon.com/Drafting-Desig.../dp/1579545033
    Last edited by kat70113; 11-21-2012 at 11:38 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kat70113 View Post
    This book might help you.

    Drafting and Design Simplified (Quilting Library)Sarah Sacks Dun http://www.amazon.com/Drafting-Desig.../dp/1579545033
    Thanks, I will get this book right away.

    Now here is something interesting:

    I used my scanner on my printer and enlarged the block/grid in the Jinny Beyer book until I got a twelve inch block, as I mentioned above. However, now I am measuring all of the pieces in the block - the central octagon, the three stars radiating out from the octagon, etc - and there are fairly significant size discrepancies between the pieces that should be the same sizes and measurements. This is the same thing that happened to me when I drafted it from scratch. So for example, the central octagon has lines that should all be exactly the same length, but instead they are all varying in length by about 1/8 inch! And this continues in the measurements throughout the block.

    What does this mean? Does it mean that I should just make a template based on an average of all these lengths? Or does it mean I should be working with a computer draft design?

    I am just worried that if I make up templates and one is too large or small by 1/8 inch I will be in major trouble after a few seams. But the only way to know the correct sizes of the pieces is to draft it, and now I have done that two ways (doing it from scratch and blowing up the JB grid) and I'm getting all this irregularity.

    Thank you for any insights...

    Lainey

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    Super Member Krisb's Avatar
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    One thing that is terrifically annoying is kerf. At least that's what I call it. Even using a 3 mm pencil, the line has width, like the kerf from a saw cut. It can add up. Is there some way that you can figure to paper piece it? It might be easier.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krisb View Post
    One thing that is terrifically annoying is kerf. At least that's what I call it. Even using a 3 mm pencil, the line has width, like the kerf from a saw cut. It can add up. Is there some way that you can figure to paper piece it? It might be easier.
    Kerf is a definite issue and especially when I blew up the JB grid the draft lines are very thick now. But no, the instructors I have spoken to say I do best to machine or hand piece this, as do the women at the JB studio. I guess it can't be paper pieced easily.

    But it's more than kerf because even when I draft with a mechanical pencil, very thin lines, I am still having lots of irregularities.

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    I think you will have to draw the original octagon accurately, that could be the root of all your problems. Also, there are about-or-at-least 50 pages of block-drafting instructions in her )Jinny Beyer) .. latest book... Maybe draw on the computer in a drawing program if you are finding out that no matter what drafting tools you are using, you cant get the octagon right to start with......

  19. #19
    Senior Member kristakz's Avatar
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    You originally said you had 1/32 or 1/16th discrepancies when you drew it. There is no way a difference that small is going to show when you piece it, in my opinion. I'd move ahead with one of those drafts. The 1/8" is more likely to be an issue.

  20. #20
    Super Member LyndaOH's Avatar
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    If you let me know which block it is (is it from her Encyclopedia of blocks?) I can create it for you in EQ.

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    I hadn't seen page two of the posts... and I agree, 1/32 or 1/16 of an inch off should be able to be worked in accurately... and 1/8 over and 1/8 under... probably could cause problems. If you can get it all within 1/32 or /16, I would make templates and *go for it*... and besides the drawings having that small discrepancy, you will have to be working with making templates and tracing *around them* (add more kerf) etc.. .you will have to deal with the very fine pencil line widths, and cutting, etc. Make a sample and see where you are at.

    And keep repeating... "We Do This For Fun"

    good luck again

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    Quote Originally Posted by kristakz View Post
    You originally said you had 1/32 or 1/16th discrepancies when you drew it. There is no way a difference that small is going to show when you piece it, in my opinion. I'd move ahead with one of those drafts. The 1/8" is more likely to be an issue.
    OK, this is helpful. I think I can get my draft to where there is nothing greater than 1/16th in terms of discrepancies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LyndaOH View Post
    If you let me know which block it is (is it from her Encyclopedia of blocks?) I can create it for you in EQ.
    This is such a nice offer, Lynda. The book is Jinny Beyer Patchwork Portfolio, the page is 135, the block is called Sea Pines Star...

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    And keep repeating... "We Do This For Fun"

    Oh dear, this sounds ominous!


  25. #25
    Super Member teacherbailey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lainealex View Post
    This is such a nice offer, Lynda. The book is Jinny Beyer Patchwork Portfolio, the page is 135, the block is called Sea Pines Star...
    Please post the pattern on here when it's done....it sounds beautiful and I want to see!!!!!
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