When I first started quilting, I didn't have a design wall. I didn't see the need, since the pattern told me how all the pieces went together, and I don't generally do scrappy quilts so there was no need to lay out all the blocks to determine how to fit them together. That only lasted until the first time I put a block together upside down. At that point, at least one of the benefits of a design wall became very apparent.
Once I had a wall, it was used for more and more quilts. I use it now to organize blocks while I sew them together, to audition border fabrics and designs, and as a place to put a quilt or block while I ponder the colours for the quilt. Many quilts have changed after a few days hanging on the wall.
Even to this day my wall is a bit limited - about 6 feet by 40 inches - not exactly large enough to hold a full quilt. But it does the job. I often pieces the quilt strips together vertically, and hang them from the design wall as I attach the strips. Or place blocks overlapping to get the very most I can onto the small area.
I had planned simply to figure out the placement of the various fussy-cut critters. But as soon as I had it up, I knew it wasn't going to work out. The patterned blocks just disappear into the yellow and red. What I thought was a nice colour match turned into a busy mess that confuses the eye.
And now I have a secondary design wall. Moving this contemplation onto my computer allows me to work with pictures rather than the actual blocks. I can resize, to see what the quilt looks like closer and farther away, and get a feel for the overall impression - easier than can sometimes be done on a design wall in a restricted space.
And, the added bonus. By bringing my thoughts to my blog, I can bring other quilters into my room to give their opinions on the options. So - what do you think? I'm leaning towards the cars on the left - the red & yellow don't really match the print, but the overall effect seems interesting.