I changed my mind about the Sunday sketch I was planning on sharing this week. I decided it was too close to a pattern that another quilt designer has already published. There were slight variations – I used half-rectangle triangles, whereas they used half-square triangles, and the placement of the shapes was different – but the ‘feel’ of the two designs was definitely the same. Purely coincidental, but too close for comfort, at least for me. Sometimes I think it’s useful to share such designs, as an opportunity to discuss serendipity in creativity and to celebrate fellow quilters’ work. But in this case, I’d want to discuss it with the other quilter first.
So anyway, here’s one I prepared earlier 🙂 Much earlier, in fact! I first posted this design on Instagram in October 2015 (long before the Sunday sketch series started!) as part of Blossom Heart Quilts‘ #myDIYblockdesign challenge. Alyce had just published her DIY Block Design e-book, and challenged readers to create their own blocks. I had just started quilting, so was keen to practice as much as possible. I used Excel (!) to design a series of blocks using half-square triangles, and this is one of them!
I recently revisited this design, using EQ8 to redraw and recolour it. Whenever I create a block-based design, I always try the reverse colourway for alternate blocks.
The design also works well in two colours, with an optional third to tie the blocks together using that repeated square within and between the blocks.
Or the blocks can be coloured slightly differently, again using just two colours. This approach definitely makes the design busier; I think it might be better with two fabrics that contrast a little more than this pink and red….
This design is a simple one (so much so that it wouldn’t surprise me if this was a traditional block): it’s all half-square triangles and a few squares. You could also make it using half-snowball units, quarter-square triangle units, and square-in-a-square units – which would maybe add a bit of work but cut down on a few seams.
There should be a name for when the same shape appears in the foreground and the background in a repeating pattern. It hasn’t happened for awhile – the last one I can spot on my Instagram feed was Sunday sketch #110, posted in August 2018. Sunday sketches #102, #103 and #104 are also good examples (I was obviously hung up on that theme then!).
In this week’s design, the pointy crosses – the ones in that light and dark teal – come to the foreground. The coral shapes recede to the background.
But look closer: those coral units are the exact same size and shape – a pointy cross. Each of the background shapes is made from the corners of the adjacent 4 blocks, but they end up being the same as the main shape that appears in the centre of the block.
Together, they make a checkerboard grid on point. The white squares help to break up the repetition, and the slightly different colouring of the two sets of shapes helps to distinguish them further.
Alternating the block colouring helps to define the boundaries between blocks, and disguises the similarity between the foreground and background shapes even more.
Again, those white squares help to break up the colour and the busy-ness of this design.
As a block-based quilt, this one would be relatively easy to make. It’s just half-square triangles, flying geese units, a square-in-a-square unit, and some squares and rectangles. It’d be great for playing with transparency.
I had an idea for a block this week. Two pairs of diagonal strips with angled ends, overlapping in the middle to create an ‘X’ shape. Don’t ask me where the idea came from – I must’ve seen an ‘X’ somewhere and wondered if I could do something with it.
One of the things I love most about quilt designing is the fact that a single block can create a million quilt patterns, just by rotating or colouring it differently. Case in point…
OK, that’s 4 (well, 2 colourways of 2 designs). I made more, but I just liked these 4 together. They’re all a 6 × 6 layout of the same block, using only 4 colours (I know, I know – black and white aren’t colours). Some use transparency; some don’t.
I actually love the idea of creating a single quilt with all 4 of those designs, with the same colour palette to pull them together. Wouldn’t that be cool?
The best thing about this design might be how basic the actual block is.
Given its symmetry and structure, I bet it’s a traditional block that’s been used before – it’s probably even got a name. It’s like a variation on a sawtooth star. Obviously, with different colouring, this block could be used to create completely different designs that don’t look anything like the ones above.
Making these designs into actual quilts would be pretty easy. You’d just need 4 flying geese blocks, 4 half-square triangles, and one square-in-a-square for the centre for each block.