I don’t often design quilts with lots of long straight lines, because I know how much it would annoy me to make a quilt that needed that level of precision 🙂 I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I try not to set myself challenges that I know will play on my worst characteristics!
But having said that, I’ve long wanted to design a quilt pattern that echoes the branching lines of a phylogenetic tree – the diagram that depicts the evolutionary relationships between living things. I saw one recently for genomic variants of the coronavirus.
So I set myself some rules (some of which I broke), and repeated sets of rectangles to create the feeling of going from large groups to small ones, and then even smaller ones.
I actually started with a vertical layout, and a different colour scheme.
But that layout didn’t give me enough room for different sized blocks, so I spread out sideways. And I kept it symmetrical, for a change!
I played around with a few colour palettes. I also decided I wanted to add even more blocks of different size, so inserted even larger blocks to the left of the design. This broke one of my rules, which was to use each block size in sets of 4. But I decided I didn’t have room for that approach after all.
After playing around with a few palettes, I hit on a design I liked. Then I decided I wanted it to be square(ish), so added another row (of large, medium, small, tiny and teeny blocks) at the top.
This design would be very easy to make into an actual quilt – it’s all rectangles, and the different sizes are all multiples of each other (e.g. 1 x 2; 2 x 4; 4 x 8; etc.). The hardest part would probably be counting up how many pieces you’d need of each colour, then keeping them organised after you cut them 🙂
This is my last Sunday sketch for 2020… and the fact that I opted for muted colours is maybe a reflection of the type of year it’s been…!
I started by sketching some overlapping stripes, then moved from my dot pad to EQ8 to take it further. Whenever you get overlapping shapes, there’s an opportunity to introduce transparency by playing with colour. But sometimes I think I take it too far… it can get a bit overworked and come off as forced. So I’m constantly trying to balance design aesthetics with the ‘too far’ factor. Not sure which side of that fence I landed on today, but I wasn’t in the mood to explore further, so here we are.
I did try some different colours, some of which are in my usual palette. Here, I opted to avoid the transparency effect by using black to mark the overlap between the red and khaki rectangles.
And here’s the black doing the same job for a red and pink version.
Translating these designs into a quilt pattern would be easy-peasy… it’s all just stripes (long rectangles). The hardest part would be making sure all the edges lined up properly. I’d probably tackle that by piecing the design in 5 columns, then adding the large border pieces.
Update (30 December 2020): A friend pointed out that this design is similar to the Fruity Stripe fabrics from Melody Miller’s Clementine range for Ruby Star Society (manufactured by Moda Fabrics). There are definite similarities! The fabric’s stripes are angled, whereas mine are arranged horizontally. And both the width and the length of the overlap varies in the fabric, whereas they are consistent in my design. But both designs use the overlap as an opportunity to play with transparency. Not surprisingly, Melody’s colour choices are infinitely better than mine 🙂
Hearts! You know that emoji with the heart and a little drop under it? I always thought that was a bleeding heart, but apparently it’s a ‘heart exclamation’. I’m not sure when you’d ever use it… when you really love something?? Who knows. Anyway, that emoji inspired this design…!
This one has upright hearts, no matter which cardinal direction the quilt is facing.
It works in just two colours (plus white), too.
I also made a more light-hearted version (haha see what I did there??) by reversing the colourway and using a darker background.
You can also alternate the block layout to a 3-2-3-etc layout rather than a 2-3-2-etc layout. The helps to fill out the corners of the design a little more, so there’s less negative space around the outside of the design.
I prefer the version(s) with more white space, but it’s good to have options! 🙂
And it scales up well too…
These designs could be made into actual quilts using mostly squares and rectangles, with just a few triangles needed for the outside corners. The central part of the block is essentially the ‘deck of cards’ quilt block, with a few added bits around the outside. Super-easy! So much so that I made the smaller version of the quilt top in about a day and a half while on a quilty retreat recently. And that’s counting the time it took to fix silly mistakes that I made by forging ahead without thinking first! So definitely one that could be made in a weekend.