I briefly sat down with my sketchbook the other day, drew one simple block, then immediately started up EQ8 to tile it and recolour it. I toyed around with placement too, setting the blocks on point, rotating some of them, and using the inverse colourway on others. I picked a lovely emerald-y green for the two-colour version.
Can you tell what the original block was? If you tilt your head 45 degrees, you might be able to see a few squares emerge from this design. And you can see that they’re made up of two 2:1 half-rectangle triangles (which are twice as high as they are wide). The two diagonal seams of the HRTs are parallel, and the HRTs are coloured so the middle of the block looks like a tilted stripe, with the two coloured triangles on the outside.
Messing with the orientation of the blocks introduces some lovely secondary shapes and lines. Of course, I opted for a symmetrical design!
This design could be translated into a quilt using all HRTs and a few squares of background fabric.
Another hand-drawn sketch this week, and a super-simple one at that.
You can see from the scale of the background dots and my fill lines just how small this design was on the page of my Rhodia dot pad – only a few centimetres across! I love a good triangle, and I just started placing them on the page, following only one rule: each triangle I added had to touch an adjacent triangle, but only at a tip (no back-to-back edges allowed). I stopped when I was happy with the random arrangement.
Those of you who know how much I like symmetry and order can probably see that despite the ‘improv’ nature of this design, it’s still fairly well balanced in terms of positive vs negative space, and the number of shapes in each quadrant. Even when I’m not trying to be ‘ordered’, it happens 🙂
I like the idea of super-sizing this design to make a bed-sized quilt. Which would mean fairly large triangles, but that would also mean a fairly quick make – and what’s not to like about that?
I’ve been having a lot of fun lately, designing within rules that I’ve set myself. The rules don’t have to make a whole lot of sense, and I don’t always follow them absolutely, but I find them really helpful in guiding my creativity.
The design below is a 5×5 repeat of a single block: 4 rectangles staggered around a central square. Each rectangle can be a solid, or a half-rectangle triangle unit of two colours: the original colour (red, teal, navy or hot pink), and either yellow or white.
Mix them up enough, and it becomes hard to discern the underlying rules – although there’s enough regularity or consistency across the design that you can tell it’s not completely random or improv.
Even when I’m not creating a completely symmetrical design, I still try to find some balance between elements and colours. In this design, for example, I tried to avoid having more than one solid rectangle in any one block, and to make sure that the solid rectangles of each colour don’t appear more than once in any row or column. I also tried to make sure that adjacent blocks didn’t have the same yellow/white pattern. I’m fairly sure I managed to follow those extra rules, but you might find places where I’ve slipped up. I usually don’t mind, if I’m happy overall with the final design.
The design also works in a more limited palette of only 3 colours:
As usual, I can’t design which one I prefer. This is one of those designs that gets me really excited. I just want to get busy sewing!