The last element that I added to Sunday sketch #85 was a wonky star shape that gave a bit of energy and movement to the block. I decided to take that shape and tile it, because… why not?
As soon as I tiled it, I could see other shapes in there – those alternating parallelograms. Colouring the design in reverse makes them more obvious.
These blocks would be fairly easy to make using half-rectangle triangles with a half-square triangle added at one end (to create the sharp points of the 4-pointed stars). Four of those units would be sewn around a central square, staggered using a single partial seam. I like the idea of scrappy stars against a low-volume background – wouldn’t that look great?
Some people have asked me how I come up with so many designs, and this week’s design is a good example of how the process evolves.
I’ve been trying to sketch more block-based designs in recent weeks… it’s not something I’ve done for awhile, but I think they translate better/more easily to published patterns (which is something I’d like to do more).
I tend to fall back on half-square and half-rectangle triangles when sketching – I use these elements much more frequently than squares or rectangles, I think (and definitely more often than circles, which never make an appearance!). I also decided that I wanted something that didn’t read as ‘pretty’ or ‘traditional’, but rather felt ‘quirky’ or even ‘uncomfortable’.
A bit of sketching led me to the general outline of a red-on-white block, which I interspersed with its white-on-red counterpart to create this design.
I like this design, but I wanted to take it a little further. The large centres in each block felt a little too empty for me. I decided to keep the HRT motifs going, filling on those centres with another 4 to create a wonky star shape that adds a bit more energy to the whole design.
Yeah! This is what I was after. The two different block types (red on white, or white on red) could be tiled separately to create some really interesting secondary shapes, but I like mixing them together – it gives the design lots of energy.
These designs are all 2:1 half-rectangle triangles (which are twice as long as they are wide (or twice as wide as they are long, depending on which way you’re looking at them!)). Because they’re slightly offset, you’d need to use a few partial seams to put everything together. I still haven’t mastered HRTs (I still seem to waste too much fabric when I’m trimming), but once I do, this one’s at the top of my list!
I’ve been playing around with more block-based designs lately – which you’ll see over the next few weeks.
This week’s quilt design is a supersized block based on half-square triangles (with the occasional flying geese). Simple, but striking.
This design could be made into a pattern using all half-square triangles (or HSTs and flying geese, if you can cope with one partial seam per block). You could use the centre squares to highlight fussy-cut fabrics or another smaller block, but I quite like the idea of leaving them ‘blank’ to showcase the design itself (and/or your quilting).