More curves this week. Does this leaf motif have a name? It’s a fairly common/popular shape, but I’ve tried to introduce some minor variations to keep it interesting.
The design started off a little simpler, using leaf shapes separated by sashing to avoid bulk (below, left). There’s something about this retro design that I really love, but it’s pretty basic. It reminds me of 70s wallpaper.
Each leaf shape is made from double drunkard’s path blocks and a few rectangles, which offer up some interesting opportunities for playing with colour and design (below, right).
Suddenly the leaf shapes aren’t so prominent, and those collections of rectangles take on their own identity. The next step was to modify those rectangles to become flying geese or half-square triangles, for something a little different.
Funnily enough, though, this version looked a little familiar….
Before I post a design to the Sunday sketch series, I often search my Pinterest boards to make sure it’s not something that someone else has already created. In this case, I soon realised that my design – particular the last version shown here, with the ends of the leaves filled in – is quite similar to the Trellis quilt pattern from Heather Black (Quilt-achusetts). Heather’s pattern used different coloured fabrics to emphasise the double drunkard’s paths and the rectangles at the ends, and she added a (green) square inside the leaf shapes. She also arranged the blocks in a slightly different way, using negative space at the top left and bottom right of the quilt top.
In my design (particularly the first one, at the top of this page), I think the sashing and other spacing between the blocks gives the whole design a lighter feel. The consistent colouring also emphasises different features within the design.
Quilting’s all about joining shapes formed by arcs and lines, and there’s only so many ways you can combine circles and rectangles to create new designs. Similarities are inevitable, but I won’t post a design if I feel like it’s too close to something else out there. In this case, I feel like the differences outweigh the similarities. What do you think?
I bought a double drunkard’s template from Jenny Haynes (Papper, Sax, Sten) awhile back, and I really loved using it to create ‘Blue Wave‘. I keep thinking that I need to design more quilts with that curved motif. And of course, I’m always trying to find new ways to use half-square triangles.
I designed a 2 x 2 block in EQ8: two curves diagonally across from each other, and the other two squares comprising a rectangle and two half-square triangles. There are a million ways you can arrange and colour these blocks, but I settled on a 4 x 4 layout in which the blocks are rotated and feature only 3 colours.
But I also like the look of fewer blocks, all facing the same way.
I’m tempted to tweak this design slightly to remove the bottom-right corner (in hot pink), so that a quilt made from this design would have two square corners and two rounded corners. That’s not something I’ve seen very often (or at all?), but I think it would look pretty cool.
These designs could be made using Jenny Haynes’ double drunkard’s templates (or your own version), rectangles and half-square triangles.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I find Electric Quilt 8 to be incredibly frustrating to use sometimes, but I’m also the first one to admit that it’s much easier than hand-sketching for creating curvy designs (for me, at least). Earlier this year, soon after I bought EQ8, I created my first curvy design.
This isn’t the colourway I started with – it’s about the 50-kajillionth one I tried. But I was so stuck on this design, just really drawn to it, that I couldn’t get it out of my head. I kept trying new combinations of three colours, enlisted the help of some quilty friends, and finally settled on this muted palette. It reminds me of waves, or clouds, or wisps of smoke or fog.
I can’t remember if I created this design because I knew that Jenny Haynes – AKA Papper, Sax, Sten – sells double drunkard’s path templates, or if I only saw her templates afterwards… but I knew the only way to get it out of my head would be to actually make it. So I ordered the 7″ template, ordered the fabric (Kona Cotton Solids in Sky, Baby Blue and Fog), waited impatiently for everything to arrive, and then took it all to my annual sewing retreat in late September.
In a little under 2 days, I cut all the pieces, arranged them by block, sewed the double curves (for the first time ever), and put together the entire quilt top. Is there a word for that feeling of relief you get when you complete a project and you can finally free up the brain space it’s been occupying for months?! There totally should be.
As soon as I finished the quilt top, I folded it up and put it away. I knew it needed expert quilting… and I’m no expert when it comes to quilting. I’d like to develop my skills beyond straight-line quilting, but limited space, a shallow-throated domestic machine and my own impatience mean it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
Coincidentally, my quilty friend Steph Skardal was steadfastly practising straight lines on her new Juki longarm machine. I cheekily suggested that she might like to practise curves on my quilt top… and she agreed. A few days later (quick enough that Steph couldn’t change her mind!), the quilt top was winging its way from Australia to the USA. And soon after that, Steph had a plan and made a start on the quilting. You might have seen some of her progress shots on Instagram (here and here).
I couldn’t be happier with Steph’s choice of backing fabric and quilting design – they complement the quilt design but don’t overpower it. Once she’d finished and washed it, the quilt got that lovely crinkly texture. Look how good it looks!
The fabric colours aren’t as similar as I would’ve liked (I think the darkest colour stands out a smidge too much from the other two colours), but for my first curvy design and piecing, I’m pretty happy with this quilt. And I love Steph’s quilting and binding. I’ve long admired her work, so I was really excited to collaborate with her and benefit from her expertise. I hope we can do it again!
Because Steph finished the quilting in super-quick time (I’m convinced there are 36 hours in a day where she lives), we decided to submit it to QuiltCon. I cheekily called the quilt ‘Blue Wave’ in a nod to current events at the time. Unfortunately, Blue Wave is a #quiltconreject, but we might submit it elsewhere. It seems a shame to post it back to Australia before it’s seen a little more of the world.
In the meantime, I’m toying with the idea of writing up a pattern for Blue Wave. I’d love to see how it looks in other colour combinations and fabrics! And given how quickly it came together, I’d be tempted to try another version myself.