Frequently Asked Questions
I hope the questions outlined below help to answer any queries you might have about the Reulanach quilt pattern creator. If not, please get in touch via the contacts page and I’ll be in touch.
What’s in the pattern?
The Reulanach Digital PDF pattern brings together 3 block types (Lone star, Le Moyne star, and Half Square Triangle star). The quilt is pitched at an intermediate (/advanced beginner) level of quilting. You will be comfortable producing y-seams and working with fabric on the bias, or keen to practice and develop these methods as an advanced beginner. The Half Square Triangle star is the easiest to piece as there are no y-seams involved. Blocks measure 8” (finished).
The digital PDF pattern you receive gives you instructions for machine piecing 4 quilt sizes (Throw, Double, Queen and King). The sizes measure (inches) 48 x 64 (Throw), 80 x 88 (Double), 88 x 88 (Queen) and 112 x 112 (King). Fabric requirements, cutting and piecing instructions are all included as well as colouring charts for each quilt size.
At the suggestion of our fabulous pattern testers, we’ve also included fabric requirements so that you can work out if you have enough fabric in your existing ‘stash’ to piece your stars. You can use the same information to work out how to use the same fabric across your stars. An example is provided in the Digital PDF pattern and further information on the Pattern Notes page of the website.
How and when will I receive my pattern?
We hope (quite quickly) to be sending emails with an automatic download option. There are (very boring) tax reasons why we’re currently sending patterns manually. However, sending emails directly means we can have a chat about what your quilt means to you – I’d love to know (if you’re happy to share your inspiration).
You will receive your pattern by email within 3 days of completing your purchase (if you waive your right to a cooling off period). If you retain your right to the 14 day cooling off period then your order will be processed after that. Your pattern will arrive by email shortly after.
Please ensure your email details are correct when entering them into the website, and always check your ‘junk’ folder in case our email (from email@example.com) has filtered there.
What does Reulanach mean?
Reulanach means ‘abounding with stars’ in Gaelic. Scottish cultural heritage data and sense of place are two themes informing the development of my quilt designs. The Gaelic pattern name acknowledges this connection. It can be pronounced ‘ray-lan-uch’.
How does the star quilt pattern creator work?
The pattern generator (or ‘Quiltbot’ as we’ve affectionately named it) consults star chart data showing you the stars as they were (or are) at the location, date and time you have specified.
Star brightness (‘magnitude’) is used to assign stars to different star blocks in the quilt. The Lone star (made of pieced diamonds) represents the brightest stars in your pattern. The varying sizes and numbers of stars (and the important negative space between them) add depth to your starscape quilt.
Which stars are which in my pattern?
Your pattern will tell you which stars and constellations are in the general telescope area though it won’t tell you which star is assigned to which block in your specific pattern. We all felt that sharing which stars appear in the telescope was a ‘nice to have’ part of the design, though it wasn’t something that we’d originally planned to do. If you haven’t thought of how you’re going to finish your quilt, you could try thinking about using the constellations as a source of inspiration for your quilting.
What happens when I revisualise my quilt design?
Clearly there are many more stars in the sky than can be represented in a quilt of only so many rows and columns. For this reason we’ve built in a way to ask the algorithm to select different stars from the telescope area. This is the ‘revisualise’ button. You have the option (or rather five options!) to revisualise the design you purchase. Quiltbot will keep those 5 designs in it’s memory until you select which of the visualised designs you want to purchase. Once you have purchased your design (or navigated away from the page) the previous visualisations will no longer be accessible.
Why can’t I buy more than one design at a time?
Sincerely, thank you for your enthusiasm! Fantastic that you want to purchase more than one pattern at a time. We’ve restricted the checkout to one pattern because we’ve prioritised our development time on all the things that you can see and do with this first iteration of ‘Quiltbot’. In time we may update our functionality on the basis of feedback from our quilt making fans. That’s you, so do get in touch and tell us how you think ‘Quiltbot’ could/should be developed in future.
How was the quilt pattern tool made?
The quilt pattern creator was made possible with funding from the University of Edinburgh through the Creative Informatics ‘resident entrepreneur’ programme.
I used the funding for research and development. The research phase of the project focused on the Festival of Quilts 2022 exploring the use of data in the quilts exhibited in Birmingham (UK), analysing the show catalogue, speaking to people about the Monadh quilt and the potential for using data in quilt design. There was a bit of internet research too.
The development side of the project brought Quiltbot to life with the help of developer David Hewitson (A Big Egg), UI/UX designer Abdul Rafay and a group of fabulous pattern testers. After quite an extensive search to find the best source of interactive star chart data, David built an initial prototype to see if we could visualise the nightsky as a block based pattern by selecting a variety of stars to bring into the quilt design. I worked on the calculations and formulas needed to define the fabric requirements, wrote the cutting instructions and drafted the pattern to piece the different stars. Rafay designed the ‘Quiltbot’ interface - the tool you use to enter your location, date and time, each of the associated pages and thought about the journey between pages. David brought Rafay’s designs to life and integrated the pattern information into the tool you’re now able to play with.
How accurate do I need to be when choosing my location?
The location field on the quilt tool works in a similar way to Google maps. You can use the nearest town or landmark.
Relatively small movements on the surface of the earth will not make a difference to your design because the quilt telescope has a large field of vision. Science! In other words, a pattern generated based on Edinburgh would cover an area of approximately 30 miles (48km) east and west of it. So long as the location you choose is accurate to within that range, your design will be based on the right place.
What inspired the creation of the quilt pattern creator?
The quilt pattern creator started as an exploration of how and where meaning is made when quilts are created and what happens when data is brought into that space. A successful funding application to the Creative Informatics Resident Entrepreneur programme (University of Edinburgh) gave me the investment, support and encouragement to explore the idea to bring the quilt pattern creator to market based on these ideas.
Are the patterns an accurate representation of the night sky at my chosen place, date and time?
Your pattern is a visual representation of the night sky at your chosen place, data and time. The pattern creator consults star chart data showing you the stars as they were (or are going to be) in the place and at the date and time you have selected.
Of course, the practical constraints of quilt design mean the quilt can only include a certain number of blocks. This is why you can revisualise your starscape within the tool. When you revisualise the pattern, the algorithm will pull different stars into your quilt design. It creates a different (but similar) pattern from the sky at your chosen location, date and time.
The quilt creator will show you the names of some of the stars and constellations that appear in your quilt, giving you additional points of reference for understanding how your pattern relates to the stars in the sky.
Why is the pattern so cheap?
The star pattern creator is new (as far as we know) to the quilting market and so comparators are difficult to find. A number of principles have guided the pattern price including the general cost of digital quilt patterns, the uniqueness of the approach and the desire to keep the cost low. Some of the costs of developing the quilt pattern generator have been covered by the funding from the University of Edinburgh Creative Informatics resident entrepreneur programme, which aims to encourage creative individuals to work with data to create new products. I hope to reinvest any profit into further playful explorations of using data in quilt design.
Why is the pattern so expensive?
The pattern is more expensive than a standard quilt pattern because of the cost of development, which runs to several thousand pounds. Unlike other quilt patterns, the pattern you receive will be unique to you (unless someone else generates a pattern based on the same location, date and time!). I’ve kept the cost lower partly to see how it is received and to make it as affordable as possible.
What happens if I’m not happy with my starscape?
You can revisualise your design (up to 5 times) before purchasing it. When you revisualise your design, the algorithm will select different stars from the starscape to appear in your quilt. This allows you to regenerate a different (but similar) pattern from the sky at your chosen location, date and time. If you're still not happy with the design you're under no obligation to purchase!
What if there's a problem with my pattern?
The PDF hasn't generated correctly
This shouldn't happen because I'll be checking PDFs until we're in place where downloads are happening automatically, and even then we'll have a robust and regular testing process in place. If a problem does occur, let me know and we'll move stars to sort the issue!
This shouldn’t happen but if something looks wrong please get in touch. Check the pattern notes page on the website for updates / additional information about the pattern.
What’s the next pattern going to be based on?
Great question! I am working on a cot/baby Foundation Paper Pieced star quilt version with a 5” block. This will use different star blocks and I hope to have this ready by the end of 2023/early 2024. Sign up to the mailing list to hear when this is available. I promise, no spam. I’d much rather be making quilts than writing newsletters so it will likely involve an annual round up and a very occasional pattern release notification.
Beyond that? Let me know! I have some ideas working with different data sets but I’m very happy to work collaboratively. Having worked in secrecy to develop the Reulanach pattern creator I’m keen to work much more in the open in future, share knowledge, and learn from others.