I’m away from home for several weeks because I have new twin granddaughters, born in Hong Kong about two weeks ago. It’s been a whirlwind with so many emotions, and it’s been wonderful.
The short story is that everyone is doing great! I’ve had a lot of extra time with my grandsons, ages 3 and 7, as everyone adjusts to new babies. It’s been heaven on earth.
Being away from my studio for three weeks means that I don’t have much to share on the sewing front, but it has given me an opportunity to create some virtual designs in EQ8. In case you’re not familiar, EQ8 is quilt design software from The Electric Quilt Company. It’s an incredibly powerful tool and I design most of my quilts with it.
I dreamed up something called Churn Dash Remix last week in order to demonstrate some concepts about color and design while I’m away from my machine. I’m using the simple Churn Dash block as my starting point. Just above you’ll see a basic version with a nine-patch grid so that each of the three columns of patches is of equal width.
There is a lot you can do with just color and value before you ever alter the proportions of the block. Just above, the background patches become more important with zesty teal and a large-scale hot pink/orange. So simple, but effective.
Changed it up a little for a whole new look. Yellow adds spice to just about anything.
Now let’s rearrange the value placement. Value is just the lightness or darkness of the fabrics compared to their neighbors. The block above hardly looks like a Churn Dash, but it is. All I’ve done is place the lights and darks in different spots.
Here I’ve substituted reddish-pink roses for the aqua, and I love it! Plus-sign designs have been hot for a while. Have you seen them popping up in magazines, books and on social media? Who knew that a humble Churn Dash could masquerade as a plus sign?!
One more variation, above. Before we leave these proportions, let’s look at a few scrappy versions.
Here’s a tip:
One easy way to elevate your block to something special is to swap the normally light background for a dark one.
The navy blue above is a good example. The block is more exciting just by letting the Churn Dash shapes be lighter than the background and almost glow against the dark blue.
The same block with pinks instead of yellows. Here’s another tip:
The most important thing in a scrappy block is that the values in the different areas are similar.
See how all the dark background fabrics above read in a similar way? Nothing sticks out as a lot lighter. Same for the pinks: They’re all about the same medium value.
But here is what people sometimes do:
See how two of the background patches, even though they are blue, are much lighter? That doesn’t work in this case. The backgrounds need to be similar in value if they’re to work together as one.
You’ll notice that some of the pinks are more peachy and some are more purply, but that’s a good thing! The value is much more important than the shade of pink. Variety in the shades of pink makes the block interesting and engaging as long as the pinks are similar in value, which is just lightness or darkness.
Here’s the block in scrappy navy and aqua. Love it!
Everything we’ve done has just been with color and value. Wait until you see what happens when we change up the block proportions in the next post! So much fun!