This week’s block-based design combines straight lines and curves to create unexpected secondary shapes within and between blocks.
The diagonal lines in the four flying geese around the centre square create a square on point within each block. And the outer quarter-circles in each block create circles with the blocks next to them. Lots of movement to draw your eye and keep things interesting!
The fact that there are several elements within each block also presents lots of opportunity for colour play. In these first two versions, I’ve used a palette of 4 colours. Each block has 4 main elements: the curvy bits, the outer part of the flying geese, the inner part of the flying geese (which together create a square on point), and the inner square. So I can use one colour per element per block – which helps to balance the colour nicely across the whole design. (This is an approach I’ve used before – making sure that each element/colour pair appears only once in each row or column. It’s an easier way for my analytical brain to balance colour across a design.)
But there are plenty of other ways that this design could be coloured. You could use just one colour per block (plus white, which helps to tie the whole design together, and the dark background colour).
Or, of course, white as a background colour.
A pared-back palette also works; two main colours can be alternated across blocks for a bit of visual interest.
With (at least) 4 elements per block, lots of different colour placements are possible. I find that it can help to reduce the chaos if at least one element is coloured the same across all blocks (here, the middle square uses the background fabric).
Or, every block could be coloured the same way. Depending on the colour choice, this could be a nice understated way of interpreting the design.
This week’s design could be made into a quilt using quarter-circle blocks, flying geese and squares. (Plus borders, if you like to have the design ‘floating’ in the middle a bit, like I do.)
I really love this design (I know I always say that!), but I am so indecisive about a colour palette that I haven’t tried making it yet. Hopefully one day!
I call myself a modern quilter, but not all of my quilts (or my quilt designs) are modern. Some of them definitely lean more traditional. Don’t get me started on how to even define ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ quilts – I honestly don’t know, and I don’t think there’s a clear line that separates them. But sometimes a design just feels less like one and more like the other. It might be the layout, or the blocks, or the colour scheme, or the fabrics.
This week’s designs feel more traditional to me, probably for a few reasons. I picked a muted colour scheme, for one. And the designs are based on a sawtooth star, which dates back at least to the late 1800s. And I’ve gone for a regular, repetitive layout, instead of introducing the negative space or asymmetry that you might expect in a modern quilt.
But hey, enough of my yakkin’. Let’s get started!
OK, so I introduced a little bit of negative space, just to make it seem like this design is on point (it’s not). This is a 5 x 5 layout, with some borders added, and the 4 corner blocks removed. Some of the colours extend from one block to the next, which helps to tie the blocks together.
Here’s the same design with the corner blocks added back in, plus a version with slightly different colouring.
The colouring can also be pared back to highlight less of the foreground and more of the background. This first version feels like lacework letting the light through. And switching the colour of a few of the smaller elements from black to white gives an entirely new version with a whole other feel.
Paring back to just one colour requires filling in different shapes to distinguish the blocks. Now it’s like baubles and stars intertwined. This might make a good Christmas quilt in a different colourway!
Sticking with the two-colour design, we can highlight all the stars in white. The interstitial shapes become square-in-a-square units – some blue on white, and some white on blue. If this design didn’t feel traditional before, it does now!
I like the idea of paring back the design even further, so those square-in-a-square units become more prominent. The version on the left is just the same one as above, without the stars around the edges. In the version on the right, the middle squares of 4 of the white sawtooth stars have been coloured blue, blending them into the background. Suddenly it feels like the whole design is squares on point!
There are so many other ways these designs could be coloured to change the overall look and feel. And so many ways to make the design into an actual quilt: squares and square-in-a-square units; half-square triangles, flying geese and squares; or square-in-a-square units, half-snowball units and squares.
I had so much fun with last week’s Sunday sketch that I kept playing with those stacked flying geese.
This design is a single block on repeat. Each block has four quarters: two are all half-square triangles (in colour), and two are those diagonal flying geese (in dark grey). Rotating the blocks gives that nice back and forth motion.
The same blocks can also be rotated in other ways – with triangles facing towards or away from each other.
This week’s designs could be made into a quilt using half-square triangles (easy to make using the 8-at-a-time method) and flying geese units plus a few extra triangles. Or you could paper piece the geese shapes (a bit like you’d piece a pineapple blocks, but without cutting off the noses of the triangles). It’d be a great stash-buster or a lovely way to show off a bunch of coordinating prints.