I’ve had an idea in my mind for a while now – something about diamonds embedded in other shapes. It’s not fully formed in my brain… so I’ve been playing around a bit in EQ8 with diamond shapes.
This isn’t the idea I had in mind…! But I liked it enough to pursue it for awhile. The main shape is a bit like the triangle-in-a-square block from Sunday sketch #243 (and subsequent weeks), although the tip of the triangle doesn’t reach the top of the block here. This block has the same versatility though, and the addition of the thin border and sashing provides another spot for using colour.
I had to use acid yellow again! I mentioned on Instagram lately that I think it needs to be in every quilt design from now on….
So there are loads of ways to rotate and colour these blocks. Lots of layout options!
And the same layout can be coloured in different ways, leading to a quite different look and feel.
It can also be pared back in terms of palette, with only 4 colours instead of 5.
And the shapes can be grouped in different ways (using colour again) to give the impression of larger blocks.
Lots of options! These designs would all be pretty easy to make – I think freezer or foundation paper-piecing would be the way to go. (That’s what I’d prefer, to get the thin sashing nice and straight and even.) And one benefit of a design with lots of the same block is that you can save lots of time by chain piecing.
So, this doesn’t solve the problem of the other diamond design I need to work out…! If I can get the vague idea in my head into , you’ll be the first to see 🙂
I love the look of skinny strips in quilt piecing. A few quilters have used this technique to great effect recently – Steph Skardal has done a bunch of stuff with straight strips, while Jenny Haynes (also known as Papper Sax Sten) has mastered curvy strips. (I’m hoping to take one of Jenny’s workshops soon!) And lately I’ve discovered Sarah Bond using angled strips to create elongated triangles and diamonds. Sarah’s been running workshops on her technique recently: check out #precisionpieceddiamonds on Instagram. (As much as I love seeing quilt teachers’ own work, it’s even better seeing the amazing variety in their students’ work – which I also think is a sure sign of a good teacher.)
Anyway… I was playing with long strips recently, and created this week’s diamond-y designs. I didn’t set out to recreate Sarah’s approach, but given the similarities, I just had to reference her work.
In my case, I’ve overlapped the large diamond shapes, which creates smaller secondary diamonds. They can be coloured in differently for effect, or left ‘blank’.
Even with a limited palette, there are plenty of combinations and permutations of colour – for the strips themselves and the shapes they enclose.
But sometimes simple is best.
I’ve never actually sewn with skinny strips – I kinda assume I wouldn’t get them as straight or precise as I’d like (and even the slightest smidge of wonkiness would drive me nuts). But I think the best way to do these would be using paper piecing. If you’re interested, you should check out workshops and tutorials from Sarah Bond, Jenny Haynes and Steph Skardal!
A very basic design this week, which immediately brings to mind arches and tunnels.*
Whenever I sit down to sketch without any particular design in my head, I start by playing around with basic shapes – circles, squares, triangles, rectangles. This is the first thing I came up with this week – a few lines, a few curves. A cute colour palette that makes me happy.
It’s not a groundbreaking design – someone somewhere will have already made a quilt just like this, I’m sure. (I even searched Pinterest for examples, but no luck. Laura Ward’s ‘Getting over the hump’ quilt uses arches of different scale and a limited colour palette, and Tula Pink’s Gothic Arches quilt pattern repeats the same shapes at different scales… but I can’t find an example of curved arches repeated like this… if you know of one, tell me and I’ll update this post!)
Anyway… my goal with the Sunday sketches is to explore geometry, practice playing with new shapes, make designs that make me happy… and inspire others to do the same. Sometimes even the most basic designs tick those boxes.
The blocks can be rotated to create a secondary shape – those black lozenges cut across with coloured triangles. The horizontal breaks between the rows feel like they’re descending slowly to the right… is that just an optical illusion?
I also tried a version in which the blocks don’t have that horizontal strip of colour at the bottom. This allows the arches and tunnels to sit directly on top of each other. In some cases, the background colour of one arch flows into the foreground colour of the tunnel above it. I don’t really plan colour placement when I’m colouring designs like this… I just work with one colour at a time and try to space things out so they feel comfortable to me. Occasionally I’ll avoid placing the same colours next to one another, but other times I just let it happen.
One advantage to removing the horizontal strip is that when blocks are rotated, the lines flow from one to the other without interruption.
And, because all these tunnels and arches make me think of aqueducts, I made a design with blocks of different size – a bit like the Pont du Gard.
These blocks are all made with triangles (somewhere between half-square triangles and half-rectangle triangles), curves (two adjacent drunkard’s path units or a single semi-circle) and strips. It would require lots of repetitive piecing, but I find that those quilts are often the fastest to sew!
* My husband helpfully suggested that I paint this design on a wall and wait for someone to crash into it hahahaha. Yes, it’s a bit Wile E. Coyote / Road Runner-esque…!