The block is not what you might be expecting from a quick glance at the quilt:
I wanted to know more about the block and the creative mind behind it, so I asked designer Janice Averill a few questions about her process.
Q: Your Magic Stars design in the new Quiltmaker intrigues me. How did you come up with this block? What’s the trick behind the magic of the stars?
A: I’ve always been fascinated by the patterns found on ceramic tiles. The ones that fascinate me most have the line of symmetry along one diagonal. This can create a secondary design when the pattern is tiled with a 90 degree rotation for every other block. Translated into quilt design terms this looks like two different blocks.
I decided try to mimic this with a traditional pieced block using value placement and piecing to create the asymmetrical effect. I used an uneven nine-patch grid for the block skeleton. This is really a 5 x 5 grid when you strip it down.
I placed “broken dishes” or “hour glass” motifs, which are four-patch blocks, in the four corners.
First one, then by cloning (above), three more (below).
Here’s where the magic happens; by diagonally dividing the rectangles at the center of each side of the block, the design was given a diagonal orientation.
It’s then reinforced with value placement by arranging the values in an asymmetric fashion on the diagonal.
Q: Do you work in color right away or do you begin with grayscale? How is each one useful?
A: Working in grayscale is a tool that I use to maintain optimal value placement in my designs.
I work with grayscale in my designs and then move on to the basic color wheel for fine tuning of the value placements.
This is helpful because working with a large number of gray fabrics can be confusing.
I use color to help me see the design better as I develop it. I use yellow as my light value and violet as my darkest value, with the appropriate values of orange, red, blue and green needed to fill out between the two extremes. I also make use of the cool and warm properties of the orange, red, blue and green hues in my designs.
If I use only warm and cool gray tones when I design, I can quickly become lost. After I’m satisfied with the outcome of the design using colors, I go back to grayscale. Then I’ll populate the fields with swatches of fabrics that are of equal value and temperature for each shade of gray.
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Coming soon: Part 2. See many interesting color and value variations of Magic Stars!
If you prefer, buy just the Magic Stars digital pattern.