I have a pretty big backlog of EQ8 designs to share, which is probably one of the reasons why I’ve felt less urgency to hand-sketch lately. I did pick up my dot pad recently though, which always feels great and makes me wonder why I don’t do it more often.
This week’s sketch arose from another series that I haven’t shared here. Sometimes a design is nothing special, but it leads to something else that’s more interesting. This design is an example of that… I started with some long skinny rectangles set at an angle, but they were kinda boring. But then I cut each one in half diagonally, and created this spiky block.
Repeated in a 4 x 4 layout, the last spike in each block meets up with the first spike in the next block, which lends some continuity to the whole design. Emphasising different sides of each block – through the use of dark and light colours – also helps to make new shapes.
There are a million and one ways to colour this design – and to create new shapes through colour. Of course, I usually settle on the obvious: a gradation from dark to light. Reds seemed like a good choice for such a dynamic design.
This design would be easiest to translate into a quilt pattern using foundation paper piecing. I’m not normally a fan of FPP, but in this case I think it would be super-easy way to get the crisp lines and angles needed to make this design pop.
I try to find inspiration everywhere. When I see an interesting shape or feature, I’ll take a photo of it on my phone or sketch it in my dot pad. I’ve also got a whole Pinterest board of quilty inspiration, along with a folder of screenshots on my laptop.
Recently when reading a New York Times Style Magazine article on couture week in Paris (why not!), I spotted a beautiful design in a short veil in Christian Dior’s autumn 2018 haute couture collection:
Such a simple idea, yet so stunning. I started playing around with it in Electric Quilt 8. I didn’t recreate it exactly, but used the idea as the basis of a cross-based, criss-crossed design. Here’s what I came up with:
In the original, the diamond shapes have a cross at every corner, whereas mine have only 2. It took me awhile to tweak the block design, but I wanted to make sure that the diagonals lined up properly, creating straight lines from one block to the next.
The design works in the reverse colourway too (and at a slightly smaller scale):
Isn’t it lovely?
These blocks could be made using a variety of squares, rectangles and triangles. Paper piecing might help to get the diagonal strips just right.
The repeating shape in this week’s sketch reminds me a little of a churn dash block: it’s got a square in the centre, half-squares around the outside, and lots of sharp points poking out in all four directions… but it’s also quite different.
The repetition of the units also creates fantastic secondary shapes inside. So much movement! I wanted to see how else I could use the same block, so I tiled it normally.
Depending on which way the blocks were made, the repetitive unit could be an X or an (angular) O block. Alternating colours help to differentiate the blocks:
But isn’t it interesting how the block design disappears behind those small squares at the junction between 4 blocks? Those secondary shapes really come to the foreground and push the coloured pieces to the background. It looks less like the sides of each block are a really interesting shape, and more like they’re just straight rectangles overlaid with small squares. What started out as an edgy, quirky block in the top design now isn’t so eye-catching!
These blocks could be made easily using rectangles and triangles. Since a lot of the cutting might be on the bias, you could paper-piece for accuracy.