Sunday sketch #340

New year, new sketch!

This design started out as something a bit more complicated, with some half-square triangles in there too. But I realised all the squares and rectangles were interesting enough on their own, so I pared it back.

Undoubtedly someone somewhere has designed something very like this. But I like playing with these sorts of designs anyway. My goal with this sketch was to use a standard layout of repeated blocks, but to colour every block differently using a palette of only three colours. Each block had to be coloured sensibly and symmetrically, with all four quadrants matching. I’m pretty sure all 16 blocks are uniquely coloured, but I haven’t checked with a fine-tooth comb ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s a bit like Sunday sketch #310, where I coloured the same block differently to create an eye-catching, improv-y design. It’s a fun way to sketch without needing to design a brand new block (any one will do, as long as it has enough elements to enable multiple block variations).

Certain palettes give more of a transparency effect in some parts of the design, depending on the value and saturation of the colours.

In the next versions, the palette’s the same but the colour placement is different.

I find it hard to come up with interesting palettes featuring just three colours, so I often use the same combinations over and over again. Like bright pink, orange and white… or light pink, charcoal and off-white.

This week’s sketch is pretty straightforward, and would be easy to make into an actual quilt. It’s just squares and rectangles. The hardest part would be deciding what colour to put where (and then keeping track of the order once you start cutting and piecing!).

Sunday sketch #339

OK, so this week’s sketch is almost identical to a variation of Sunday sketch #338, but I’ve changed the colour palette to show how colour placement can create new effects โ€“ in this case, ’emptying’ out some of the orange peels by using the background colour. That creates some interesting movement at the outside vertical edges.

Even though the outside columns have only half-peels, the surrounding lines complete the shapes in your brain.

I like highlighting those hints of a curve, without revealing the whole orange peel shape.


The main block this week is the same as last week’s: an orange peel positioned vertically in the middle of a block, bisected horizontally by a line that cuts the whole block into two rectangles. Of course, the block can also be flipped so the orange peel lies horizontally. (I’ve also added sashing between the columns in this next version.)

I like the added movement that those hard corners and rounded edges bring. Different colouring can introduce even more movement. In the next version, the horizontal lines created by the block borders trace back and forth down the page like a snake, echoed by the path that the orange peels take. A bit ‘snakes and ladders’, if you like!

These designs could be made into quilts using the same approach as last week; templates would probably be the easiest way to go. I’ve never tried sewing these shapes before, but the curve would be gentler than a drunkard’s path curve, so possibly easier? I’ll have to try it and find out.


Sunday sketch #338

I was telling someone recently that I’d never designed with an orange peel shape, cos I’ve also never sewn an orange peel shape, and the next time I sat down to sketch something, guess what shape came up?

It’s maybe not being used in the way that you’d normally expect to see an orange peel, but I think it works. It’s certainly fun in this colour palette (one of my all-time favourites). The checkerboard colouring helps to keep it fun too.

The main block in these designs has the orange peel in the middle, bisected by a straight line that also cuts the square block into two rectangles. But colouring some of the block in the same colour as the background lets the orange peels hang off the edge in some cases, or give a nice curvy edge at the top and bottom.

Here’s a simpler version (same design but less ‘busy’ colouring) โ€“ this one might be my favourite.

It works in the other direction too. I feel like those orange peels in the middle are giving me the side-eye ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s a more regular layout, where you might be able to see the basic block more clearly. Placing blocks in the middle of the design and then using one of the block colours as the background helps to ‘float’ the shapes a bit.

I also like colouring the edge blocks so that there are no hard vertical lines showing the outside borders of the block โ€“ just the curves of the orange peels undulating down the page.

On looking at the blocks now, I can see hourglass shapes too. I should’ve tried a design that echoed that shape. Here’s one with just a large diagonal instead.

These designs could be made into a quilt using templates of some sort (I’d probably just make my own). Once you got the hang of sewing these curvy shapes (and when I say “you”, I mean “I” ๐Ÿ™‚ ), I think the quilt would come together pretty quickly.

I’m going to use these shapes in more designs, so keep an eye out for related sketches next week.