I started this week’s sketch on my dot pad, but I’ll show you where I ended up first.
This palette’s one that I’ve had in my head for awhile – that murky, blue-y green (teal I guess? but darker?), and that bright orange. I love it! Anyway, I didn’t start with that palette either, but I’ll explain how I got there.
I started by playing with triangles of different size. These shapes kinda look like (conical) martini glasses. By shading the components differently, it creates an overlapping effect. I decided to explore the idea more in Electric Quilt 8.
It’s pretty clear from the sketch that the easiest way to recreate the hand-drawn sketch is to break down the triangles into half-square triangles. So that’s what I did. Although I coloured the first version in a palette of four colours (against a white background).
This design feels busier than I’d normally like. I decided that big triangles that weren’t overlapped shouldn’t include the smaller triangle from the adjacent shape, so they’re solid. And just something about this version feels… I dunno, not quite right. I don’t like how the predominant lines are the diagonals connecting the hypotenuses of the larger triangles. And there’s way too much going on with that palette.
So I made a few tweaks: I set the half-square triangles on point, so the triangle shapes now appear to be in rows and columns. That removes those diagonal lines; they’re now horizontal, which is somehow less imposing. And I reduced the palette by one colour. It’s still pretty busy, but a bit more manageable now.
I often like to set designs against large white borders – almost like an artwork framed by a mat board. But I think this version would actually look better without the borders, so the repetition fills the quilt top. I like this version a lot more…
…but it’s still not what I had in mind originally. So I kept tweaking. I reduced the palette once again, to a pair of colours for the triangles against another colour in the background (I’ve used this light grey, blue and black combo before, most recently in Sunday sketches #314 and #315). And I found a fantastic combo with acid yellow – I know this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it!
Finally, I started removing triangles to create some negative space and introduce some more interesting movement. I don’t usually plan this; I just pull things out until I like how the design feels.
And then I found this colour combo, which I stuck with.
I liked that version a lot, but the middle of the design felt a bit heavy compared to the rest. I decided to break up the columns of triangles in the middle – adding a bit of negative space. It was also an opportunity to add more large orange triangles. I think that naturally draws the eye from orange triangle to orange triangle, helping to create more movement in the design.
I also added a floating shape at the bottom right. This breaks my rules a bit – every other shape touches at least one other – but I’m allowed 🙂
These sketches could be made into quilts using half-square triangles and squares. You might need a design wall to keep everything organised until you were ready to sew rows or columns together.
This week’s sketch reminds me a lot of Sunday sketch #308. It’s got the same columns of repetitive, overlapping shapes. And the shapes themselves are very similar, with a large component and a small component that touch at a point. These are two of my favourite Sunday sketches (I know I say that all the time)!
Quite a simple design this week, although there’s a lot going on when you take a closer look.
This is a block-based design of square blocks in a standard 6 x 6 layout. (It might look like a 4 x 4 layout because the outermost blocks aren’t fully coloured in).
Each square block has two ‘snowball’ corners: one small (in dark blue) and one large (in white). Their sizes are designed so the diagonal lines flow from block to block across the whole quilt. Apart from creating movement, it gives the impression of larger shapes within the design (triangles, squares, diamonds…).
Here’s an even more minimalist version.
The same block / layout can be coloured differently to highlight, for example, just those small dark triangles. This version doesn’t feel overly interesting to me, but I love this palette (which I created fairly randomly in ElectricQuilt8 using the Kona cotton solids colour libraries). I’ll have to use it again.
I originally designed this week’s block on point. This layout reminds me a bit of Sunday sketch #301 (although there are plenty of differences once you take a closer look).
I really like the visual effect – the repetition of the dark triangles, the horizontal lines, the apparent overlap between adjacent larger triangles… but for some reason, this design still feels like it falls short somehow. Something’s missing for me, although I haven’t put my finger on what it is yet. That doesn’t matter… it’ll hang around in the back of my head until I figure it out one day.
In the next version, I’ve played with the background and foreground colours a bit. I love how using the background colour as the middle part of the block makes the top and bottom row look like parts of the design are floating.
This week’s design could be made with squares and more squares. Doing the snowball corners (I’m not sure if that’s the actual name for when you overlay a small square onto the corner of a big square, sew a diagonal seam, trim, and fold back to reveal the new corner?) would create a bit of wastage, but you could save up the cut-off corners for another project. The alternative would be to make multiple small and large HSTs, then piece them into a square using rectangles as well. That approach would mean more seams within the blocks… which means more cutting, sewing and pressing. It might also use more fabric too? (Those seams add up.)
I based this week’s design on the sweater worn by Noreen Vanderslice on season 2 of Fargo. As soon as I saw it, I needed to recreate the design as a quilt. That was my starting point, and then I kept playing until I reached versions I was happy with. It’s probably no exaggeration to say that I think about quilting all the time, and I’m inspired by lots of different things. But this week’s designs are definitely less ‘inspired by’ and more ‘copied from’ and then ‘derived from’. The distinction between inspiration and derivation is not always clear, but in this case it’s pretty obvious (to me, at least).
Also, this doesn’t feel super-original to me as a quilt design. I don’t recall seeing it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s been done before. I even used a similar diagonal-snowball approach in Sunday sketch #160, which was published as the ‘Flight Pattern’ quilt pattern in the 2020 QuiltCon magazine. If you know of a quilt design like this, let me know and I’ll update this post!
The similarities between this week’s design and last week’s Sunday sketch are probably pretty obvious. Those square-within-a-square motifs are still there, but now connected by triangles instead of small squares.
The added angles from the triangles lend more movement to the design. And they present more opportunities for interesting block placement.
I like a dark background, but I also prefer the darker triangles – so back to a white background it is!
I like the balance between the straight edges on one side of the design, and the staggered, overhanging triangles on the other side.
This week’s design is a fairly straightforward one – just alternating blocks, set on point. Half of the blocks are square-within-a-square units, and the other half are half-square triangles. I’ve only used three colours here, but you could probably get away with more. I reckon a scrappy approach might work too. Try it and see? (Then let me know!)