Tag Archives: EQ7

Medallion Process — Final Borders

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Unnamed top. About 71.5″ x 71.5″. January 2017.

Last weekend I finished this quilt top. I’ve shown you some of my process along the way, through the flying geese middle border. The geese border needed to be contained and balanced. Putting the orange and hot pink edge both inside and outside does that.

That decision was made before we traveled for the holidays. While gone I worked on designing the final border.

Remember the purposes of middle and outer borders are to

  1. build the story by repeating and varying earlier elements such as color, value, shape, line, and contrast; contributing to a motif or theme; and
  2. correct problems with balance and proportion; and complete and unify the composition.

I used EQ7 to try design options. If you ever think that designing with software is cheating somehow, let me assure you it is not. I spent many hours, trying literally dozens of designs, before choosing what you see above. One option that made the finals was a border of variable stars on point. Those variable stars, in fact, are what inspired me to begin this project, so it was hard to let them go. The star proportions are the same as the variable star in the middle of the Carpenter’s Wheel center block, so would echo it. (The EQ7 drawing below uses a different version of the center block than I used. See the photo above.) The on-point setting also repeats the 4-patches’ setting in the first border. Another benefit is the ability to use all the colors again in a natural way.

carpenters-wheel-with-stars

Pretty, yes? But I like the boldness of the components that come before, and the stars are small and the detail gets a bit lost. To me the design did not seem well balanced or fully unified.

Long ago I played with a number of quilt designs, which used a repetition of a center block motif in the corners of both an inner and an outer border. Here’s one example (and see more here and here.)

wraparound corners 4

I tried this idea in a variety of ways, and I liked the direction it was taking. I chose corners the same as the corners of the center block. They are the same size, and the pinks are the same fabrics. They made sense, continuing the floral motif and unifying the design in ways the variable stars did not.

However, with all the blank space between those corners, it didn’t balance well with the busyness and boldness of the flying geese. What it needed was more.

Next I tried more. I tried adding a flower variation in the centers of the border. Several iterations of that later, I stopped with my final choice. But still it looked too bare.

Once the chain blocks, made of double 4-patches, were added, I stopped. The 4-patches repeat the inner 4-patches. The chains’ stair-stepping shape also imitates the line of an on-point setting. Finally, they present the notion of floral stems or vines, or even swags, very traditional ways to border a medallion.

I have fabric for the back and will quilt it soon. I’ll show you final photos then.

Playing Today

My word for the year is PLAY! While I generally enjoy my creative time, some is more playful than others. Today I’ve played at two things so far. Both are designs.

Last evening I googled images for “urn flowers applique“. One of the images selected was an antique quilt done in only two colors, peach and white. (I couldn’t find out more about it. It had been a sale listing and the information was gone. No date, no name, no provenance.) The two colors formed a primary design as well as a secondary. I grabbed a piece of paper from the recycling bin and scribbled part of the design, enough so I could replicate it today in EQ7.

On analysis, it was done in 256 half-square triangles, in a 16×16 layout. The antique also included a peach inner border and a white outer border. My drawing below in blue and white skips the borders but includes a narrow white line to emulate the binding.

Binary Stars blue

Really cool, huh?

Here is a corner to show you the construction. Make the corner 16 times, and your quilt is ready for assembly.
Binary Stars blue 4 by 4

And since I was playing, I wondered how it would look in multiple colors. I love two-color quilts, but frankly I think this is a lot more interesting.
Binary Stars multicolors

And the corner for this one:
Binary Stars multicolors 4 by 4

Notice, if you will, that this design has absolutely NOTHING to do with “urn flowers applique“. That was my original search because I’m planning to start an urn flowers applique project! But first I need a design.

Since I don’t draw well, I decided to cut shapes and arrange them on paper. This gives me a pretty good idea of how big the shapes should be and how they might be arranged. The crumpled white paper is the wrapping label off a roll of batting. (Do you save some of that paper, too?) I taped two strips together and then started cutting shapes from another chunk. To save my arrangement I traced quickly around the shapes. It should be pretty easy to transfer to freezer paper and then fabric.

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I’m planning to do old-fashioned needle turn applique, without all the glueing and pressing and fusing and fussing that some of the other techniques use. This will be relatively primitive, both due to my skills and my intention. The colors I’m choosing are joyful, not stuffy. I’ll show you progress as I make it.

What are you playing with these days? 

 

The Quilt with the BIG Center Block

As mentioned, I started a new medallion quilt. This one has a big, 50″ center block, and a total width of about 84″. It will be square.

At about 60% of the width, the center is larger, as a proportion, than I usually use. (See my three posts on proportion here.) The size makes the borders challenging. If they are narrow and fussy, they will be out of proportion with the large-scaled center. They need to have enough visual weight to hold their own, while also enhancing the center’s impact.

Here is my plan. I started with the center and then designed around it. So while this isn’t strictly “design as you go,” it was definitely designed one step at a time.

Isaacs Big Bed Quilt

The center is 50″. Notice it is built on a 5-grid, so each of the 25 segments (5 x 5) is a 10″ finished square. Each half of a flying geese unit is 5″. It doesn’t look complex, but there are 97 patches in the big block. The broken dishes blocks in the first pieced border are each 7″. While not scaled the same as the center (and they don’t need to be,) they are large and graphic, giving appropriate support for the whole design.

I have the center built, as well as some of the hundreds of half-square triangles for the two pieced borders. The outside edge of HST might have a different arrangement when all is said and done.

Here is the center of the center:

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Can you see the delicious cats and mice fabric used as the light value? I’ve had that since my oldest grandson was born, almost 11 years ago. I used a little in his baby quilt, but have hoarded most of the rest since then.

I’m still working on the half-square triangle blocks. When they are all built, I’ll use 144 of them to make the 36 broken dishes blocks. Truthfully this part of the process is a little tedious, so I might not be speedy.

Playing with Color and Value Placement

Recently I showed you a block that uses the economy block as the center. It’s called “Union Square,” or “Contrary Wife Variation.”

Union Square block

I showed you two different versions of it. Here is the straight set with sashing.

Union Square straight set

Union Square or Contrary Wife variation, straight set with sashing.

What a difference it makes to remove the sashing. If you’re like me, your eye starts to focus on the dark shapes rather than on the blocks. In fact, you might start to see T blocks.

Union Square unsashed

Union Square unsashed

And one more change, putting some subtle color in the blocks’ corner patches. For me, this really blurs the block outlines.

Union Square unsashed 2

Union Square unsashed, with color/value variation

Now let’s try placing the values differently. Different colors, here, too.

Union Square unsashed 3

Union Square unsashed variation

Honest to Pete, it’s the same blocks. Putting the darkest value in the corners and their adjacent wedges takes the eye directly to them. In other words, the visual weight is where the dark values are. That is accentuated by using the pale yellow to create squares on point between the dark segments.

The lesson in this, if there is one, is that the way you see a pattern or design first is not the only way it can be done. Most of us are used to using our own preferred colors. But values can be placed differently, too. Experiment with designs to see how color and value placement changes the look.


 

If you’d like to see my other posts on economy blocks, the first post showed you how to make the economy block ANY SIZE with my tutorial and cheat sheet. The second showed you 17 different arrangements of the block with alternate blocks. They range from simple to fairly complex. The third is linked at the top of this post. It is on blocks that use the economy block as their center.

 

More Fun with the Economy Block

I keep playing with the economy block, which I first wrote about in January 2014. Apparently other people do, too. It’s my most-viewed post by far, with at least several hits every day. In fact if you google “economy block”, this is the result:

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 9.31.52 AM

Yep. Two hundred and six MILLION results, and mine is number one. Okay, now that I’ve bragged…

The first post showed you how to make the economy block ANY SIZE with my tutorial and cheat sheet. The second showed you 17 different arrangements of the block with alternate blocks. They range from simple to fairly complex.

This week I’ve played with the economy block as the center of a bigger block. Below are two blocks. Each is sized to be 1.5 times the size of the economy block in the center. For example, with a white center below of 4″, the economy block is 8″. The points on the outside add another 4″ (2″ on each side). The total finished block size is 8″ x 1.5 = 12″.

Here is a block EQ7 calls a “Contrary Wife Variation.” I’ve also seen it called Union Square. Wouldn’t it look great as the center of a medallion quilt? 😉

Union Square block

Union Square straight set

Union Square or Contrary Wife variation, straight set with sashing.

Union Square on point

Union Square or Contrary Wife variation, set on point with sashing.

EQ7 calls this one the “Double X, No. 4” block. I think it looks a little more delicate than the one above. Also the cornerstone in the sashing helps create a wonderful secondary design.

Double X block

Double X No. 4 block

Double X str set

Double X straight setting

Double X on point

Double X on point setting

I’ve shown these in one color set, but it’s easy to imagine them in a range of colors, with more than three colors per block, or using lots of fabrics (scraps.)

There’s a lot more, but this is enough for today.