After saying on Instagram last week that I needed to design with flying geese more… here’s another sketch with flying geese – in this case, big and small and overlapping. I designed this series awhile ago as a stepping stone to another design. I wasn’t going to post it (I’m more interested in the designs that it led to), but I changed my mind as it follows nicely from last week’s sketch.
Also, I saw a lovely quilt pattern on Instagram that reminded me of this design, and I wanted to show how easy it is for two people to arrive independently at similar designs. See below for more on that topic!
So in this design, I’ve connected small and big flying geese, extending the bottom geese into chevrons and then overlapping these shapes. I like how a big group of these shapes look like a collection of buildings, like church steeples maybe.
That perspective can be turned upside down by rotating alternate columns of blocks, which adds a lot more movement to the design.
And the shapes can be extended to the bottom of the design. In this version, they look a smidge different in the very bottom row, as they’ve lost their chevron shape and are just plain flying geese again.
Recently when wandering around Instagram, I saw the Chevron Points quilt pattern from Julie at Running Stitch Quilts. (The pattern was released on Friday 13 May.) You can instantly see the similarities between that quilt pattern and this week’s sketch: the main motif is a chevron topped with a smaller flying geese unit. In Julie’s case, she hasn’t overlapped the motifs; rather, she’s alternated them with negative space. She’s also split each motif down the middle, allowing her to play with colour in a different way than I have. Isn’t her pattern gorgeous?
Often I’ve got a few sketches up my sleeve, and whether/when I post them depends on what I’ve recently posted, what kinds of shapes I feel like talking about, and generally just how I’m feeling about a particular design. If I see something similar to one of my unpublished sketches, I might shelve that sketch rather than posting it. But in this case, I thought it was a great opportunity to show how easily different people can come up with similar designs. I asked Julie if she was OK with me posting these designs and mentioning her pattern, and she graciously said yes. (I would’ve been OK if she’d said no; I know the time and effort involved in designing patterns, and I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I’ve got plenty other sketches to choose from.)
There are a lot of quilt designers out there, and only so many shapes to play with, so it’s no surprise to me that two people can arrive at a similar design independently and separately. I find it fascinating! It’s one of my favourite topics of discussion. And, of course, I always love discovering new-to-me quilt designers and quilt patterns.
Next week I’ll share the design that this week’s Sunday sketch eventually led to. With just a few tweaks, it ends up looking quite different from this week’s sketch.
This week’s sketch has made me realise that I don’t design with flying geese nearly enough!
I started with alternating blocks of half-square triangles and double flying geese. The great thing about pairing these two units is that the two triangles share the same 45-degree angle, so they fit well together.
I actually started with the repetitive elements covering the entire design.
I like this design on its own, but you know I can never stop iterating….
So I removed some of the shapes at the bottom, to introduce some negative space and reinforce the sense that those elongated vertical parallelograms are the main shape in the design (created by a double flying geese unit flanked by two half-square triangles).
Here’s the first version in another colourway:
I don’t like this one as much; I like the dark blue flying geese in the first one! OK then, back to a blue background. Here I’ve removed shapes from the side (or added borders, depending on your perspective).
I also liked the idea of removing any of those white-on-blue flying geese that ended up ‘floating’ against the background when other blocks were removed. I feel like this version shows that gridwork of ‘overlapping’ vertical and diagonal lines more clearly.
There are so many potential variations on this design, depending on what you keep and what you remove.
I’m not always so careful with how I colour things, but in this case I like how the diagonal lines of flying geese alternate white and blue, as does each column and row of flying geese. The design feels very balanced as a result.
These designs can be made into quilts using half-square triangles and flying geese, plus some borders (where necessary). There are only a few colourways for each type of block/unit, so it would be a chain-piecing dream.
I’m actually in the process of making a quilt based on this design, and I can confirm that it’s coming together quickly! Hopefully it’ll look as good in fabric as it does on the screen.
This week’s sketches are iterations of last week’s. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a series of related sketches. Although I’m not sure two posts in a row counts as a series…!
So last week’s sketches were all based around interlocking crosses – a bit like Brigid’s crosses – with alternating blocks having the reverse colouring. Using random colour placement instead produces a design like this:
And then I just started removing bits. I designed the block using flying geese and a square-in-a-square units, which means there are lots of bits that can be subtracted to create new and interesting designs. Here’s the first design again:
And here it is with alternating blocks removed (actually still there, but with only the centre square showing), to add some more negative space and help you see the individual crosses (or what’s left of them):
I also tried a simpler palette, so you can concentrate on the shapes rather than the colours.
This week’s sketch could be made into a quilt using flying geese, squares, square-in-a-square units and rectangles.
This isn’t one that I’ll be rushing to make, but I enjoyed the process of iterating the design and exploring different shapes and palettes. That’s the kind of experimentation that I like doing with the Sunday sketches – often a little shape or combination of shapes will spark a new idea and a new sketch. For example, I really love this little shape, which is repeated and rotated in the above designs:
It feels a bit like fingertips touching (not that I’m comparing my work to that of Michelangelo or anything..!). Anyway, I’ll keep playing with it and see if I can come up with something new. Watch this space!