So, here’s a funny story… I designed this week’s Sunday sketch a few years ago, and loved it so much (SO MUCH!) that I held back on posting it so I could make it into a quilt first. Often I’ll get excited about a design and fall down a rabbit hole of fabric selecting and online ordering… and then I lose interest (it’s the paradox of choice). But with this one, I actually made it!
Here’s the sketch (check out the acid yellow!)…
And here’s the actual quilt!
It’s a little hard to tell in that pic, but I bound the quilt in the acid yellow. Thanks to Valerie of Sweet Gum Quilting for the horizontal 1/2″ straight-line quilting, which I love.
So anyway, after I bound the quilt, I packed it away so I could take a proper photo eventually… and then forgot all about it. Oops. Which is kinda crazy, cos I still LOVE this design. It’s so simple, yet it works so well with a huge range of palettes.
With a dark background…
…and a light one.
This is a 5 x 5 block layout with a 5-colour palette, and each block contains three elements (the middle square, the star arms, and the background squircle). That combination means that each colour can be used once per row and per column in each of the three elements. Although if you look closely enough, you’ll see that I had to break that rule in a few places.
Including white in the 5-colour palette means that a few stars don’t have a background squircle. I like how that opens up the design a bit and adds some negative space for the eye to rest. (The sashing between the blocks helps with that too.)
You can see that despite all the possible block permutations (3 elements x 5 colours), there are still a few blocks that are repeated in the previous versions. I tried again with the colour placement to avoid repetition, but it’s not easy! These next two versions feel a smidge ‘heavier’ to me, but maybe the larger number of unique blocks just makes the design seem busier?
Of course, you could avoid the difficulty of colour placement by using fewer colours and going with just two blocks in an alternating layout.
I also like alternating the ‘full’ star blocks with the ‘bare’ star blocks, which lightens the design a bit more.
I know I’ve only used solid colours in these variations, but I think this design is one that would work really well with prints, particularly a coordinating range of fabrics.
This week’s sketch could be made into a quilt using quarter-circle (or drunkard’s path) units, triangle-in-a-square units (or half-rectangle triangles), squares, and sashing. I know a lot of people don’t like using sashing, but I like how it opens up a quilt design and lets the blocks breathe a little. OK, that sounds weird, but basically quilts feel less crowded to me when they have sashing.
Anyway, I’m not sure I’ve ever re-made the same quilt design before, but I’m very tempted to make another one of these quilts. It was awhile ago that I made it, but I’m pretty sure it came together quickly, as there are only a few basic shapes you need to make. As usual for me, the longest part was deciding on the colour palette.
I love creating block-based designs where lines from adjacent blocks combine to create new shapes. I guess that’s how secondary shapes emerge, but sometimes alternating block colouring can create secondary patterns too.
In the first version of this week’s sketch, alternating the colour placement in adjacent blocks creates a diagonal plaid effect. The colouring means that the features connected horizontally are that dark peachy-pink, while the same connected features running vertically are in light pink.
Changing the colour placement a bit eliminates the plaid effect. In the next version, both the block colouring and placement are the same (blocks are identical but every second one is rotated 90 degrees). Now light pink corners are touching dark pink sides, and vice versa.
There are enough different elements in this design that you can pick out single shapes to highlight.
Or several shapes.
Or avoid focusing on any particular shapes, and just colour all the blocks in the same two tones. That simple colouring helps to highlight those diagonal lines, too.
These designs could be made into quilts quite easily using flying geese units, squares, and triangle-in-a-square blocks.
I ended last week’s post by promising to show some iterations of Sunday sketch #309 that are more traditional. But first, here’s a more modern-ish version.
To get more modern-ish versions, I find it easier to start with a full design and then take things away, rather than starting with a blank design and adding things randomly. Why is that…?
Anyway, on to some iterations that feel decidedly more ‘traditional’ to me.
This is essentially the same design as last week, but with the individual shapes coloured differently to emphasise each one. Actually, these variations still aren’t showing every single shape; for example, the vertical and horizontal diamonds in the next version are actually made up of four pieces (the side pieces of four triangle-in-a-square units). I’ve just coloured them in a single shade, otherwise my brain would go crazy from the bitty-ness of it all.
And of course, so many pieces means soooo many colour combinations, permutations and variations. This next one feels very Parc Güell to me – a bit mosiac-y.
If so many pieces are too many pieces for you, it’s possible to pare this design back to even fewer pieces than I used last week. This creates a layout of 8-pointed stars, separated at their corners by large squares.
And I can pare it back even further, allowing some of those inner octagons to stand on their own. I like how their edges still align with those of their neighbouring stars. This might be one of my favourite versions!
Finally, like last week, I can shift alternating rows of blocks across by one half-block, and the tips of the stars will still touch. This creates some new secondary shapes and some new movement in the design – instead of vertical columns of blocks, I now have angled stacks. This lends itself to new design variations too.
I stuck with the sawtooth star as the centre unit of these blocks because I wanted the link to last week’s designs to be clear. But you could replace it with any square-based unit… a nine-patch, a different kind of star, a circle even.
I love how a single block can look so different depending on how its components are coloured. I’ve always thought if I ever sold patterns, I could market the same one to two completely different target markets, just by changing up the fabric and colour placement!