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…!
New Year, new Sunday sketch! Happy 2021!
Onwards and upwards – a theme that fits well with this week’s sketch. I created a block of 2 diamonds, which have sharp chevrons – those pointy arrow shapes – at opposite ends. Flipping and rotating the blocks then creates movement between the diamonds and the chevrons, depending on how you colour them.
I had a hard time deciding on which was my favourite, but I like how the angles create hidden mountains in this first design.
This next design was my other favourite – it’s a bit more chaotic (although also following certain rules and order).
The designs can also be rotated so the diamonds lie horizontally rather than vertically. Suddenly the vertical zig-zag created by the border between light and dark shapes is more obvious.
The design can be simplified further by focusing just on the fine arrows. I like this version; it’s more delicate, and it allows other secondary shapes and movement to emerge.
Speaking of chaos, the blocks can also be rotated. Having said that, there’s clear order in this design: the blue arrows occasionally converge in a foursome, as do the larger white kite shapes.
The background of each block can also be coloured, introducing a bit more energy and movement.
And, of course, the design can use more than 2 colours. Here I’ve added green to highlight some of the diamonds. I first coloured all the diamonds on the diagonal…
…and then tried colouring diamonds vertically. I’m not sure which I prefer!
These designs are all based on a regular arrangement of diamonds. You could use a template to cut the diamond shapes (and piece them in diagonal columns), or just make each diamond from two triangles (and piece them in rows). The arrows/chevrons would probably be easiest to do well using foundation paper piecing (for accuracy).
I mentioned recently that I was reworking Sunday sketch #171. Here’s where I ended up.
When I posted the original – more than a year ago, in October 2019 – I didn’t really have an idea of how the design could be made into an actual quilt. That’s pretty unusual; I normally have a fair idea of how I could translate the design into a pattern. So I always wanted to go back and refine the idea so it was (relatively) easy to make.
I ended up thinning those diagonal shapes, and making the area where they overlap into a square rather than an elongated hexagon. That simplifies things immensely. But the main concept hasn’t changed at all, and all the same elements are still there.
There are two sets of squares on point; the ones created by the overlapping ‘arms’, and the ones that float in the centre where four arms meet. In the design above, I’ve coloured the groups in orange and blue, respectively. In the design below, they’re in the same colour (dark blue).
The design works well with a bunch of colours, rather than just a few.
I think it also works when you take away an element, like those floating squares. Here’s the same colourway on a light background, with the reverse, too: the same colours on the dark version, with the dark squares replaced by light grey ones. I like them both.
I also introduced a new element by colouring in the shape around those floating squares. This one’s not my favourite, but I’m including it to show how different the overall design can look with just one minor change. To my eye, this addition really bulks out each coloured shape, and creates the impression of larger square shapes across the design. It grows on me the more I look at it!
This design would still be a bit finicky to make. It would require slightly oddly shaped blocks to be set on point, then pieced together in columns. The blocks themselves are mostly squares, half-square triangles and triangles though.