I’ve talked before about how my design skills match my sewing skills. I tend to design things that I could make myself. Before I’d sewn curves, I didn’t design quilts with curves. Until I could sew a partial seam confidently, I rarely designed quilts that needed them. I’ve never sewn a Y-seam (I know!), and I don’t think I’ve ever designed a quilt that uses them. When my sewing skills develop, so too do my design skills.
But occasionally I’ll play around with EQ8 and end up with a design that I know is beyond my capabilities as a quilter. It might be too complicated, or technical, or just impossible to piece in a straightforward way. I tend not to post these designs, because they never excite me as much as designs I know I could make. Maybe it’s because I don’t work on those designs as much, or iterate them to the point where they might excite me… as soon as I think “I don’t know how I’d make this”, I lose interest. But I save them (I save everything!), cos who knows what might happen in the future?
Well… let me tell you! You might take a class with Jenny Haynes of Papper, Sax, Sten on skinny inset strips, and realise that designs you’ve previously binned in the Too Hard Basket suddenly become absolutely achievable. Here’s one such design.
I’ve done a few series of sketches featuring thin black borders and outlines (see Sunday sketches #203, #204 and #205, and #225, #226 and #227). But in most cases, they’re straight lines (relatively easy to piece) or circular curves that are wide enough to piece (say 1/2″ to 1″ wide).
In this design, the lines are much thinner (1/8″) and curvy and overlapping and I knew just from looking at them that I could/would never make a quilt like this. The potential for inaccuracy and subpar results would annoy me too much. But I really like the design – it’s very Art Nouveau, and reminds me a little of artwork from William Morris (without the flowers) or Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Here are a few more versions.
The previous designs are an 8×8 arrangement of a single block that’s alternately rotated by 180 degrees. There’s also vertical and horizontal sashing (also 1/8″ wide) between the blocks. The next design is all that but without the horizontal sashing.
With so many elements, there are lots of ways to arrange the blocks and use colour to highlight different shapes. Here they are without the sashing.
You can also add colours. I tried this next design in peach, but it looks a little… umm… intestinal haha. All those fleshy bendy bits!
And back to the version with sashing, featuring 3 colours (plus black)…
…or a different arrangement of colours…
And that layout with only vertical sashing…
…so, there are lots of options.
And after taking Jenny’s online class, skinny curves like this now seem totally manageable. You can see a pic on my Instagram of the first skinny inset strip that I sewed during the workshop. How good is that?! It was much less complicated than I was expecting, and really quick and easy. (I’m not being paid to say this haha, I just really enjoyed the class and am excited at the idea of incorporating skinny inset strips into future designs.)
So now that I’ve expanded my sewing skills a smidge, I’ll feel more confident incorporating skinny inset curves into my designs. Yay!
Congrats to me for making it to 250! And thank you to you for following along 🙂
Alternating blocks this week: a drunkard’s path and a bunch of half-square triangles.
Rotating the drunkard’s path blocks by 180 degrees gives the impression of moving the circles one block vertically and horizontally. This also gives the impression of a reverse colourway, although the designs are both black circles on white backgrounds. But the previous version had a dark border, whereas this one has a light border.
Alternating the direction of the drunkard’s path blocks introduces new curvy shapes, while leaving the HSTs in the same position.
And, of course, the addition of another colour can help to create new shapes and movement too.
I also tried replacing the HST block with another square block design, just to see how it would look. The ‘waves’ created by the linked drunkard’s path blocks are still there, but now there are diagonal strings of stars instead of those HST blocks. This is giving me big Star Spangled Banner vibes!
These designs are all made with an alternating arrangement of square blocks: either a drunkard’s path block or a block of 9 HSTs (or a small sawtooth star block). The HSTs block can look somewhat traditional rather than modern, but the right combination of colour and contrast will bring it into the 21st century.
I use curves so much more in my designs now than I used to… probably because I feel more comfortable sewing curves now than I did when I started out quilting. This week’s Sunday sketch uses two blocks in an alternating arrangement: one block is all curves, while the other one is all angles (creating a star shape).
In the first iteration of this design, the stars are coloured differently depending on whether they’re in a ‘flower’ (a shape created by 4 half-circles) or between them.
Colouring all the stars the same way brings those shapes more to the foreground….
And reversing the colourway of the stars – by making the arms dark blue, and the centres white – pushes them to the background, and makes the flower shapes more prominent.
Reducing the colour palette, and flipping the colour from the flowers to the stars, changes the design once again. Look at the movement now! Suddenly secondary curves emerge from all those connected star shapes. I love this version.
But wait, there’s more… 🙂
Adding another colour brings more movement. Now it’s like two pieces of lace, one pink and one yellow, overlapping.
How about we remove the white flowers altogether, and just stick with the stars.
Hmm, perhaps that’s a bit busy (although I still love it). Through those last few designs, another shape has emerged: the stars surrounded by a halo of concave curves. Here they are again, in an alternating colourway. Don’t you just love those big curvy curves that emerge from the dark background?
Anyway, let’s add the missing blocks back in (once again in white).
We can minimise the amount of white by colouring only the centre stars of the flowers.
To help connect the two groups of shapes, let’s make the centres of all the stars the same colour: white. This also helps to bring those larger curves – which almost disappeared in the last few iterations – back into view.
From the first iteration to the last (for now) – all the same design, but quite a different look and feel for each one. I’ll share more versions next week. I have loads!
This design is relatively simple: two blocks, arranged in an 11 x 11 checkerboard pattern. One block consists of two semi-circles, facing each other. The other block is a star shape made of 4 kite-in-a-square blocks, with the kite heads made up of a half-square triangle – 4 of which form the centre square of the star. (Does that block have another name…? Probably, but I don’t know what it is.) The only difference between all these designs is which elements are coloured, and how. Which is your favourite?