Optical Illusions in Quick Quilts

20180118-optical-illusions
McCall’s Quick Quilts, February/March 2018

McCall’s Quick Quilts, February/March 2018

Did you know how easy it is to create interesting optical illusions out of fabric? Wait till you see all the great quilts in the new February/March 2018 issue of Quick Quilts! It contains a bunch of fresh, new patterns perfect for the New Year. Take a look at it as you start planning your projects for the next few months, since I bet you’ll find something you like in this issue.

 

As we work on preparing each issue for publications, some patterns tend to emerge as favorites, at least for me. It could be the look of the quilt, or the techniques used to make it, or that the pattern was fun to write, or any combination of factors. For this issue, one of my favorites turned out to be one of everyone’s favorites, since it ended up on the cover! Blues Traveler by Kelli Fannin really looks nice hanging on the clothesline.

Blues Traveler by Kelli Fannin, 72” x 72”

Blues Traveler by Kelli Fannin, 72” x 72”

Even though the Courthouse Steps block is a very old design, Kelli really made it look modern and new with the way she used color and value. The large blocks look as if they’re receding in space, and the lines seem to shimmer in space as you gaze at them. The way she used the different blues adds to the effect, going from light to dark and vice versa. It reminds me of the classic optical illusion that just uses black, white and shape to create a dizzying visual effect.

using value and shape to trick your brain!

Using value and shape to trick your brain!

Not only does it look so cool, but it’s really easy to sew! We’ve also got a kit available if you want to recreate this quilt exactly. The Painter’s Palette Solids from Fabri-Quilt are very nice for this design. Though there are likely infinite color and print combinations that would look lovely in this design as well.

A couple of other patterns in this issue also use a combination of color, value and design to create interesting visual effects, though perhaps not as dramatically as Blues Traveler. Over and Under by Abigail Dolinger has a woven plaid look that has a lot of depth to it, as the name implies. It looks like to colorful blocks are sitting just underneath the floating white sashing strips. It’s such a strong, sophisticated effect, really nice for a more masculine design if that’s what you’re looking for. This pattern uses partial seams to great effect, which is an easy and useful technique to have in your sewing repertoire!

Over and Under by Abigail Dolinger, 73½” x 73½”

Over and Under by Abigail Dolinger, 73½” x 73½”

There’s another quilt in this issue with a woven plaid effect—Grandma’s Farm by Barb Eikmeier. This one is made with deep, warm earth tones, rich scarlet reds and a pop of bright blue. It’s pretty traditional, but with a fun twist thanks to the color choices. This one, like Over and Under, looks as if the blocks are floating just underneath the sashing strips, creating a sense of multiple planes. Like the two previous quilt I talked about, it’s a great example of how simple piecing can turn into a grand, visually striking composition thanks to color, shape and value. And Grandma’s Farm is made almost entirely with strip piecing, so it comes together much more quickly that one would think!

Grandma’s Farm by Barb Eikmeier, 64” x 78”

Grandma’s Farm by Barb Eikmeier, 64” x 78”

I love how quilt patterns can create such interesting visual effects, and this is just a taste of what’s in the issue. Check out the preview blog post for this issue to get more of what’s inside, or just go ahead and get a copy for yourself! You won’t regret it.

Happy Quilting!
Gigi

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