Arcs Are Everywhere


Call them curved lines, curved segments, whatever – they’re all round us.  Consider the roof of the Sydney Opera House – those shapes they call ‘sails’.  I read that if all those sail shapes were somehow able to be all put together they would form a complete sphere, just as you can with an orange.  Marvellous.  All on the back of an envelope, too.   Anyway, in the world of patchwork, there are lots of designs like Rob Peter To Pay Paul  or Dunkards Path  that incorporate a curve or two into the pattern.  If your sewing skills aren’t up to it they can be a bit harder than piecing together straight line shapes,  but there are heaps of tutorials on You Tube now that you can explore for tips on how to piece them well.  Any design looks all the more dynamic for including some or all curved shapes, so imho they’ve always been very appealing.  If you’re into improvisational piecing, inserting curved shapes isn’t easy, and the smaller the harder, but it can be done –









Early in 2016, I was exploring a linear pattern, the knitted garter stitch, that had been on my mind for a long time – and wrote a blogpost on how I diagrammed the lines I saw, and the collage above includes the stages of inserting curved shapes (lines) and the particular piece that resulted from that exploration, Dreamlines #3, (lower right) which has since gone to a new home with a US collector.

I love this block -to me it says sun rays, but turn it round and it suggests rising or setting sun – and it probably goes by several names in the traditional quilt block lexicon.  On the left is an actual little 4″ x 4″ sample block – I have long thought I’d like to do a whole vast quilt of little blocks of this – there’d be hundreds – and it’s not so simple, really – I started, and found the work per block was considerable.  But I love it, and perhaps at a slightly larger scale sometime … or maybe not.


I have blogged quite often about starting points – inspirations if you like, and as I’ve said before, to me a line or a shape is a seam in waiting.  And many of these inspriations involve curves.  Another contemporary quilt artist who finds curves interesting starting points is Brenda Gael Smith whose most recent post actually put me in mind of the Sydney Opera House sails.   Lately I’ve been working on some deconstructed circles and while I was making them, a few other ideas came to mind about patterns of arcs.  My actual planning, um, visual diary, page has a group of doodles on it with so much other stuff, like lists of possible names, and other comments, that I selected out a couple of diagrams and re-drew them out on a plain sheet to include in a scan image for this post –

I do such diagrams sometimes as I am in the middle of working on something so that I don’t forget the brainwave I’ve had.  So they are loaded with information you can’t see, but I will share some with you – the top left hand square is boring and I labelled it so.  The top right hand square I’m no longer sure what it means as nothing seems obvious to me.  Lower left I was thinking of arcs of one colour with the darker shaded ends representing of that colour’s opposite on the colour wheel… maybe, or something like a bright red tip at the end of every arc no matter what colour – though the arcs would then probably be shades of all the one colour zone, like all blues; though I don’t normally work in blue. probably because much of my inspiration has always been landscape.  


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