Tagged: half-square triangles

Sunday sketch #309

Australia got a new prime minister this week, so it feels like the perfect time for a bright and happy multicoloured design.

This design is a single block on repeat. Although the block is made up of a few different elements – which I’ll talk about later – I’ve stuck with only a few colours per block. I wanted to emphasise certain shapes, and not let the whole design get over-busy. One way to reduce busy-ness is to use the same colour in certain parts of all blocks – in this case, using white for that internal octagon in each block.

Here’s an even sparser colourway that matches the internal octagon to the background colour (white):

The centre of each block is a square that could fit just about any other type of block, but here I’ve used the sawtooth star – one of my favourites, and a traditional block that I come back to again and again. Sawtooth stars have several elements (the internal square and the outer half-square triangles), and they too can be coloured differently to create another variation of this design.

These blocks remind me a little of storm-at-sea blocks, as all the lines around the central square in each block meet the lines in adjacent blocks, creating movement that draws your eye round and round.

I added even more movement by colouring some of the shapes that emerge between adjacent blocks. (And added a border so your eye has somewhere to rest.)

The outer points of the blocks are positioned in such a way that shifting blocks along a bit still lets them touch by their tips. So I can stack them in tilting instead of vertical columns. Some of the movement from the earlier versions is gone, replaced by movement in new directions.

And the blocks in each row can be connected again, as before.

These blocks are created using a bunch of basic units. Each block is a 16-patch, with the central 4 patches merged to create a larger square that fits the sawtooth star. The 4 corner patches are half-square triangles, and the 4 sides (comprising 2 patches each) are triangle-in-a-square blocks (facing each other with their points touching).

Pretty much any block could be squeezed into that inner square – even a mini version of the same block. I like sawtooth stars cos they’re simple and easy to make, but also just cos I love the way they look.

I could’ve kept iterating this design to try and create one with a bit more negative space, but then you’d lose a lot of that movement, I think. And not every design needs to be ‘modern’ in that way… this one feels a bit more ‘contemporary’ than ‘modern’ (although don’t get me started on how to differentiate between the two…). It definitely has traditional leanings, and next week I’ll share variations that take the design even more in that direction.


Sunday sketch #306

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.


Sunday sketch #301

The similarities between this week’s design and last week’s Sunday sketch are probably pretty obvious. Those square-within-a-square motifs are still there, but now connected by triangles instead of small squares.

The added angles from the triangles lend more movement to the design. And they present more opportunities for interesting block placement.

I like a dark background, but I also prefer the darker triangles – so back to a white background it is!

I like the balance between the straight edges on one side of the design, and the staggered, overhanging triangles on the other side.

This week’s design is a fairly straightforward one – just alternating blocks, set on point. Half of the blocks are square-within-a-square units, and the other half are half-square triangles. I’ve only used three colours here, but you could probably get away with more. I reckon a scrappy approach might work too. Try it and see? (Then let me know!)