Monday, December 28, 2015

Look What She Did

Hope made this quilt top using my posts on a wonky Birds in the Air block. It's not finished but she's letting me show it to you anyway.

I've been meaning to sew this design for a long time; I just haven't got around to it. I'm very  pleased to see  that Hope has  sewn it. I look forward to seeing it when it's finished

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Three Block Quilts # 4

Drunkard's Path

Snowball Variation

Shoo Fly

What if I start with these 3 very simple blocks? Can I combine them to create interesting quilt designs?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Three Block Quilts # 3

Drunkard's Path

Friendship Star

Shoo Fly

I've chosen these three blocks to experiment with. I want to see if I can find interesting ways to combine them and come up with new quilt designs.

Friday, December 11, 2015


Sandstone Valley

In a recent post (Dec 6) I showed you the rough draft of my Hidden Valley alphabet. I thought if I took a second look at it I could work out some of the bugs. Instead I came up with a similar but different alphabet that I decided to call Sandstone Valley.

The Hidden Valley alphabet was based on a three dimensional cube. The Sandstone Valley alphabet is based on a square with a drop shadow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Similar Orientations Associate

I've used Empire Star blocks for this example because they are asymmetrical. As a result I can place some horizontally and some vertically.

You see the two two kinds of Empire Star blocks as being different because they are different. All the horizontal blocks are one grouping. All the vertical blocks are another grouping. The horizontal blocks associate. The vertical blocks associate.

However, the connection is not very strong. How can I make it stronger?

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Hidden Valley

Annie's comments on yesterday's post inspired me to design this pieced alphabet. I'm calling it Hidden Valley for the simple reason that I don't think I've named an alphabet Hidden Valley before.

This is a first draft. I designed it in a rush last night so I haven't spent a lot of time playing with it and working out the bugs. That means it is still subject to change without notice.

I thought you might like to see it anyway.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Shadowed Block

Nine Patch
What if I start with a Nine Patch block laid out on a 10 x 10 grid?

What if I add shadows so that the block appears three dimensional?

Friday, December 4, 2015

Look What She Did

Susan used my Connaught alphabet to make this label for the quilt she is giving her grandson Lucas for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Look What They Did

Maureen made a pillow for a young man (a friends grandson?) who likes alligators.

She used my Connaught alphabet for his initials.

The letters are 6" tall.

Linda made mug mats using what started out as a tree decorations for the O's.

She used a shortened version of Connaught for the J and Y.

The letters are 4" tall.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Three Block Quilts # 2

Drunkard's Path

Snowball Variation

Shoo Fly

Today's question: What if I combine these three blocks to create quilt designs?

Today's answer:

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Similar Values Associate

When you look at this quilt design it is easy to see that there are red wheels and yellow wheels. Even though they don't actually join up the reds associate to form wheels and the yellows do likewise because similar colors associate.

At the same time similar values associate. All the reds are dark and all the yellows are light.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Three Block Quilts # 1

Drunkard's Path

Friendship Star

Nine Patch

Yesterday I played with Drunkard's Path and Nine Patch to see what I could find. Today I'm adding Friendship Star into the mix.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Paired Blocks # 31

Drunkard's Path
& Nine Patch
Two very simple blocks that I've played with before. I decided to play with them again. Maybe I'll find something different this time.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Change In Size
To Suggest Depth

This trick is as old as the hills, maybe even older. Everybody knows that things far a way look smaller. Therefore something smaller must be farther away.

And it works. It's hard to see the bird on the right as being right next to the one on the left only half the size. But if it's an actual quilt then that's what is happening.

The bird is from my 23 June 2010 post.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Similar Colors Associate

Because they are reds, all the reds in this quilt connect and form a ribbon.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mix & Match # 5

Jacob's Ladder
& Ohio Star
Ohio Star on the left and Jacob's Ladder on the right are two very traditional blocks that anybody can easily make.

Anybody means you.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Similar Shapes Associate

The circles in this illustration, because they are all the same shape, form a bond with each other. They seem to form a V shape.

Similarly the squares form an upside down V.

What at first is just a collection of circles and squares takes on larger structures because our minds associate similar things with each other.

The result is to give a certain amount of unity to the design.

If you find a quilt getting cluttered or confusing, you might want to try giving it structure and unity by using similar shapes to pull it together.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mix & Match #4

Flying Shuttles
& Shoo Fly

What if I cut these two blocks into quarters and the use pieces of each to make two new blocks?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Contrast In Size
To Focus Attention

You looked at each of the small Sawtooth Stars. I know you did.

But you didn't look at each of the large stars. You noticed some are dark blue and some are light blue. But there are too many and they are too much the same for you to spend time with each one individually.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Sashing 
To Define Shapes

The design on the left is confusing. Everything runs together. You can focus on little bits here and there but it's hard to get an overall picture.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Vary Techniques
To Create Interest
This quilt design calls for 5 Ohio Star blocks to be pieced and then outlined several times with heavy stitching. In addition 4 Ohio Star blocks are stitched between the pieced  blocks. The background would then be quilted with a textural design.

Using piecing, and stitching make this more interesting than of it were simply 9 pieced blocks.

Piecing, embroidery, applique, embellishing and quilting are just a few of the techniques you can combine to make your quilts more exciting.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Overlap
To Suggest Depth

Overlapping creates the appearance of depth.

You know this already. And I know you know this because everybody knows this. I just thought I would remind you anyway.

Overlapping is probably the easiest way to create the illusion of depth, especially when you are appliqueing a quilt.

The horses in the design above are flat silhouettes. But because they overlap you know the black one is in front of the others. The result is not a flat image but one with depth.

For more depth combine this with a value change.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Contrast In Shape
To Focus Attention

The first thing you notice in any quilt is the color. Only after that do you pay attention to the design.

The predominant shape in this quilt design is a circle. At first you might assume that all the shapes are circles. But then you notice the diamonds. And once you do, because they are few and different, your eye comes back to them again and again.

The circles are like beads on a string and they lose their individuality they are a part of a team. Or in this case three teams. The diamonds are the team stars.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

5 Patch Block # 4

Yesterday I made a 5 Patch block using only rectangles with connector corners.

I thought I try the same trick again today.

Monday, November 9, 2015

5 Patch Block # 3

I asked my self, "What if I start with a 5x5 grid and filled it with rectangles that had connector corners on opposite corners?"

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Shadow
To Suggest Depth

This quilt design looks three dimensional.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Vary Subject Matter
To Create Interest

Yesterday's post featured 6 beer bottles. Today's post features 6 beer bottles. But today's post is more interesting because it includes mice and lettering as well.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Contrast In Position
To Focus Attention

Anything different gets attention. In this case the bottle that is not in the row. This tells a us that the other bottles are not as important, so we focus on the one that is.

This sort of thing can be done in a pieced quilt but it will require some careful planning. It is much easier to do in an applique quilt.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Value Change 
To Create Depth

When the background is light, light values tend to fade into the background and darks stand out.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use A Black Background
To Intensify Colors

The same colors look richer and more intense when they are on a black background. On the white background they are quieter, more laid back.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Contrast In Orientation 
To Focus Attention

The fourth ballerina is backwards and that gets your attention. She stands out from the crowd.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Value Contrast 
To Focus Attention

I designed this quilt and I like it. I think it's a clever tessellation.

However, I think it could be a lot better. It lacks interest. it needs something that says 'look at me'.

What if I play with value contrast, what if I make some parts lighter and some parts darker, will that make it more interesting?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Shadows 
To Suggest Shape

Friday, October 30, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Color Contrast 
to Focus Attention

Question: Which butterfly grabs your attention? Why?

Answer: The one that is different; because it is different.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Making Visual Choices

Use Value Contrast 
To Define Shapes

There is an ancient saying handed down through the ages from quilter to quilter; you've probably already heard it a dozen times; But that's not going to stop me from repeating it one more time:
Value does all the work; color gets all the glory.

Too often quilters only pay attention to the  color hue of the fabrics they choose and forget to consider the color value. They don't realize that choosing darks, or lights, or mediums  is often more important than choosing colors.


What's wrong with this block?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Four Friends 7

Some Quilts From Russian Friends

A little while ago Hope (I hope Google translated her name correctly) emailed me a picture of a quilt top she made using my Four Friends design.

I got more pictures  from her today and another message.

Wayne Good day! As I promised I send you a photo of my students, who made the blocks in your master class. That's what happened and their own unit, I redid the same. Nina tried to make the extended block. I decided to slightly change his side, made ​​a dark center.

Here are the pictures:

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Simple Block # 5

Start with two simple units - a split square and a half-square triangle. 

Combine them to make a simple block.

Now comes the fun. Play with the block. Color it different ways. Combine it in a variety of settings

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Four Friends 6

Look What Надежда Did
Смотрите, что Hope ли 
(I hope Google translated this correctly. You never know)

This is her version of my Four Friends quilt. She has replaced the two yellows in the original with a yellow and a white. I think it works well.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Simple Block #4

A four patch and a split square are both very simple units.

Using 2 of each I designed this simple block.

The question is: what can I do with it?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Simple Block #3

I think you'll agree that a half square triangle and a 4 patch unit are both very simple to sew.

I'll use these 2 simple units to make this simple block.

Then I'll use this simple block to explore some quilt designs.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Simple Block #2

In my last post I used these 2 simple units to make a simple block.

I'm using them again to make another simple block.

Here's what happens when I play with this new block:

Friday, October 2, 2015

Simple Block

I am using these two simple units (a half square triangle and a split square)....
... to make this simple block that looks like an 'S'.

When I play with this block here's what I get: