A few months ago, I posted a series of Sunday sketches that I designed using Electric Quilt 8 (#88, 89, 91–93). But after that, I made a concerted effort to stop designing in EQ8 for awhile and return to pen and paper. It was actually quite difficult to tear myself away from the computer and get back into a slower – but ultimately more satisfying – way of working.
I’ve struggled to use EQ8, for a few reasons. It doesn’t feel intuitive to me, so I feel like I’m wasting a lot of time searching for functionality that should be more readily accessible. I’ve also found that it’s a time suck; maybe because it’s screen-based, it’s easy to spend a lot of time playing around with it, often without many great results. Sometimes it can feel like it’s a faster way to create, but I’m never as happy with the outcomes. And even if it takes me half as long to get half as many good sketches as pen-and-paper drawing… well, it hasn’t saved me much time at all.
Having said all that, EQ8 is great for two things in particular: colour and repetition. I can tile a block in no time, and then colour it in a million different ways. This week’s sketch is the perfect example.
A 5 × 5 grid of square blocks ends up looking like 5 continuous rows of half-rectangle triangles. Carrying colours beyond the blocks also helps to disguise their edges, so you’re not quite sure where one block ends and the next one begins.
Don’t you just love this colour palette? Black, grey, white, khaki, and a dusky pink. I like how the gentleness of those colours balances out the sharpness of the triangles. I think this design would look great in some really bold colours too though. Or even some prints.
This design could be made into a quilt pattern using 3:1 half-rectangle triangles. Paper-piecing would be a really good way of achieving the precision needed to match all those points.
Following on from last week, another sketch that incorporates a design element and its reverse colourway.
Black on white, or white on black? I like the fact that your eye settles on one before realising that the other’s there too.
I took this design a little further, extending those chevron-limbed arms out in both directions.
Because of the overall colour placement, the left side of this design seems to be the ‘opposite’ of the right side – but really, they’re both the same, just offset by one row. I just love this effect.
Like last week‘s design, this one could be made using half-rectangle triangles and long vertical sashing, or columns of angled strips. It would work well in solids (of course), but could also be a great way to feature one or two bold prints.
I think of my sketches as being two-colour, even thought it might be more accurate to call them monochromatic – I usually use one pen (black, more often than not) and then rely on the paper itself to act as the second ‘colour’.* Apart from making my life a bit simpler, two-colour sketches help me to focus on the design itself rather than get distracted by colour.
Another benefit of two-colour designs is that they’re great for playing with reverse colourways. It’s much easier to create a design and then incorporate its opposite.
This design reminds me of zippers or tire treads. Depending on how you look at it, it could be white on black or black on white. Even though it looks like the top and bottom parts of this sketch are in reverse colourways, they’re not; only the direction of the ‘zips’ is different.
This design could be made into a quilt pattern using half-rectangle triangles and vertical sashing, or long columns of angled strips.
* I know, I know: black and white aren’t colours. But you know what I mean.