Sunday sketch #283

This week’s block-based design combines straight lines and curves to create unexpected secondary shapes within and between blocks.

The diagonal lines in the four flying geese around the centre square create a square on point within each block. And the outer quarter-circles in each block create circles with the blocks next to them. Lots of movement to draw your eye and keep things interesting!

I first explored this idea of introducing interstitial curves in Sunday sketches #209 and #210 – both designs use blocks with curves that create circles with adjacent blocks.

The fact that there are several elements within each block also presents lots of opportunity for colour play. In these first two versions, I’ve used a palette of 4 colours. Each block has 4 main elements: the curvy bits, the outer part of the flying geese, the inner part of the flying geese (which together create a square on point), and the inner square. So I can use one colour per element per block – which helps to balance the colour nicely across the whole design. (This is an approach I’ve used before – making sure that each element/colour pair appears only once in each row or column. It’s an easier way for my analytical brain to balance colour across a design.)

But there are plenty of other ways that this design could be coloured. You could use just one colour per block (plus white, which helps to tie the whole design together, and the dark background colour).

Or, of course, white as a background colour.

A pared-back palette also works; two main colours can be alternated across blocks for a bit of visual interest.

With (at least) 4 elements per block, lots of different colour placements are possible. I find that it can help to reduce the chaos if at least one element is coloured the same across all blocks (here, the middle square uses the background fabric).

Or, every block could be coloured the same way. Depending on the colour choice, this could be a nice understated way of interpreting the design.

This week’s design could be made into a quilt using quarter-circle blocks, flying geese and squares. (Plus borders, if you like to have the design ‘floating’ in the middle a bit, like I do.)

I really love this design (I know I always say that!), but I am so indecisive about a colour palette that I haven’t tried making it yet. Hopefully one day!




Sunday sketch #282

I’ve often said that I’ll revert to playing with half-square triangles if I don’t have any new ideas up my sleeve. And often, it’s easy to come up with something using HSTs. This week’s design isn’t novel – you might even argue that it’s not modern – but I like it for its calmness and repetition, its simplicity, and this muted colour scheme. It feels like a much-needed palette cleanser.

These blocks are square and set on point. The blocks themselves have a 4 x 4 layout: HST ‘borders’ surrounding a central square, that itself can be a large HST. The next designs play around with colouring the internal (large) HST and the external (small) HSTs in different ways.


Or I can colour them all in for a bolder look. This feels modern yet traditional; old yet new. I love designs like this.

Using a reverse colourway for just the blocks (rather than for the design as a whole) helps to show you how they’re square blocks set on point:

Expanding the colour palette gives you additional options, too.


This week’s designs could all be made into an actual quilt using HSTs and squares (or more HSTs). I tend to put broad borders around designs like this one, to give the eye more negative space to rest on. But I know plenty of people hate adding borders to quilts. I think the designs would work well without them too.

Sunday sketch #281

This week’s design is block based, but you’d be forgiven for missing that. I’ve coloured the blocks in this 5 x 5 layout fairly randomly, using only three colours.

You can probably tell that the major elements are drunkard’s path blocks, squares and rectangles. I originally started with only two colours, then added the black for some visual interest. Here’s the two-colour version of the first design:

Rotating the blocks creates new variations (on the left), as does rearranging the random colouring (on the right).

The possibilities would be endless!

These designs could be made into quilts using drunkard’s path blocks, rectangles and squares – plus some borders.