Sunday sketch #295

The last day of QuiltCon is today, so you’ve no doubt seen lots of modern quilty goodness online. I’ve got three quilts in this year’s show, one of which is also a pattern in the QuiltCon magazine. I’m bummed not to see them hanging in person, but I’m not quite ready to hop on a plane just yet. Maybe next year?

Anyway, I was feeling like this week’s Sunday sketch wasn’t too modern, but having checked the Modern Quilt Guild’s definition of modern quilting, I guess it fits. It’s got “the use of bold colors and prints, high contrast and graphic areas of solid color”, although no “improvisational piecing, minimalism, expansive negative space, [or] alternate grid work”. The heavy use of half-square triangles (HSTs) feels more traditional to me, despite the bright solids, but apparently “the updating of classic quilt designs is also often seen in modern quilting”. So I reckon I’m covered haha!

I created these fishy shapes using HSTs, then embedded one (in colour) within another (in dark blue). I rotated the blocks to create lots of fishy movement, and separated them with thin sashing to avoid the HSTs from adjacent blocks touching (which would create secondary shapes that I didn’t want). Here it is in my usual warm palette:

And in a cool palette:

As with any block-based design, this week’s sketch has lots of layout options. In the design on the bottom left, the blocks are arranged to create a spiky trail of HSTs (on either side of the white sashing) zig-zagging up the design from left to right. On the bottom right, I’ve just pointed the blocks all in the same direction. There’s a lot less movement in that version, but it’s nice to have somewhere predictable to rest your eyes.

Paring back the palette is also possible.

Or amp it up by adding more layers of ‘fish’. Here I’ve embedded two more fish-inside-a-fish, to make four fish per block. It’s probably overkill – imagine making all those HSTs! Not to mention how small they’d have to be (unless you wanted a massive quilt).

This last variation is so energetic, and I love how the areas where four blocks meet create a kind of ‘ripple’ effect – like you’d get after dropping a pebble into a pond.

This week’s sketch could be made into a quilt using lots – and I mean lots – of HSTs, plus a few strips. You’d definitely want to use a technique for making multiple HSTs at once, like the ‘magic 8’ method. I think the earlier variations could work with prints as the central fabric in each block, but I need to try that to find out. I’d still use solids for the big fish and the sashing, though – things would get way too busy otherwise.