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.
Remember last week‘s stars within stars? After drawing the block nine times to create last week’s sketch, I realised I could play around with the outer star design a bit more:
One of the benefits of hand-drawn sketches is that I get to spend time contemplating what I’m drawing. I’m moving slowly, and often repeating the same shapes again and again, which leaves a lot of time for thinking.
I decided to fill those stars in with something else…
Squares on point fit nicely. As always, I like the secondary shapes that pop up between the drawn shapes. Here, there are four nice crosses in the middle – not quite Celtic crosses, and I’m sure they have a name, which escapes me now. They also have enough space to fit something in… like, perhaps, more of those squares on point:
I love how the addition of one simple element can change the whole look of a design. For me, the stars and crosses have now receded into the background, and those squares pop out. If I tiled the crosses now instead of the stars, the stars would become the background feature.
Hand-sketching doesn’t always provide the immediate gratification that’s possible through EQ8* or other on-screen methods, but it does force me to move more slowly in my designing and to think differently about what I’m doing and why. I doubt I would have noticed the possibilities in this design if I hadn’t pored over it, and redrawn it again and again. Even knowing that, it still takes me some effort to close the laptop lid and sit down with my trusty dot pad and gel pen! But I’m working on it.
Similar to last week, these designs could be made into quilt patterns using kite in a square, triangle in a square, and square in a square units.
* having said that, nothing in EQ8 is ‘immediate’ so far, but I’m slowly getting to grips with it….