Quilt pattern: Interstellar

My second quilt pattern has just been published in issue 179 of Down Under Quilts! Even though I submitted my first two patterns to different magazines a few months apart, they ended up coming out within a week of each other.

Interstellar was inspired by Sunday sketch #23, which featured strips and squares cascading down the page.

16-20 Interstellar pdf_Page_1

Translating a design into a pattern isn’t always easy. I don’t usually think about how each Sunday sketch could be made as a quilt until after I’ve finished the design – sometimes the construction ends up being fairly simple, while other times it’s more complicated or even too difficult to contemplate.

As I thought about how to make this design into a pattern, I realised that following my sketch faithfully would require too many partial seams and fabric pieces of different sizes. I’m sure there are many advanced quilters out there who’d relish the challenge, but I’m not one of them. So instead, I refined the design to minimise the number of fabric pieces and make the piecing a bit simpler. It might still look complicated, but the pattern actually comes together really quickly and easily.

Depending on the colour scheme and gradation, it could be a waterfall (blues and whites), a comet tail (bright whites on a dark background), a burst of fireworks (saturated colours against a night sky) or even unicorn barf (a rainbow of bright colours against a light background):


Interstellar is perfect for solids or patterned fabrics, and an ideal way to use up some of your scraps. Issue 179 of Down Under Quilts is on sale now!

DUQ179 cover


Sunday sketch #49

I go through phases where I sketch a single shape over and over again. Triangles, squares and rectangles, octagons, diamonds… I get stuck on a theme and see where it takes me. Invariably, it takes me to the same place: overlapping.


Overlap diamonds and you get more diamonds. Overlap them, and… well, you get the picture. Lots of lots of diamonds. I use graded cross-hatching to show the level of overlap (as on the sides in this sketch), or just to differentiate shapes (as in the middle).

To make this sketch into a quilt, I’d probably piece diamond units into (diagonal) strips before piecing the strips together.

I don’t know why, but I seem to see a sketch more clearly when I take a photo and look at that instead. When I finished this sketch, I didn’t notice that the small diamonds on the bottom left right are missing their median cross-hatch, but it was the first thing I saw in the photo. Hmm.

Sunday sketch #48

Last week I posted the first in a series of designs using diamonds, a shape I don’t sketch – or sew – very often. The first sketch was an ordered, regular pattern; this one’s more improv.


This design reminds me of the twists and turns of barbed wire, with sharp edges pointing in every direction. The diamonds are 2:1 scale – in other words, they’re twice as high as they are wide. You can see ink spots in some of the long lines where I paused to check I was on the right trajectory!

I don’t always know how a design would (or could) be made into a pattern when I’m sketching. Most of the time, I figure it out after I’ve put the pen down. In this case, I think it would involve a lot of angled strips and diamonds, and maybe even some half-rectangle triangles. Plus some partial seams, and a lot of planning.