Jaye and Sandy’s Design School Homework

Jaye’s Lessons (and Show Notes) on Unity on her blog

Sandy and Jay’s podcast for the UNITY in Design Discussion

I have been following Sandy and Jay’s discussion and trying to apply the principles and elements being discussed. I usually do the homework projects but have not posted pictures or made more than an occasional question or comment related to the lessons. For this discussion I went a little further and actually analyzed one of my quilts using the show notes as a guide. I found this to be very helpful in understanding the discussion and using what I learned to my own efforts in design. I have contacted Jay and Sandy requesting permission ( which they have so graciously granted) to post excerpt of the blog and podcast show notes. So here is my evaluation of my quilt using the UNITY as an principle of design. If you want to learn more I strongly suggest you read to Jaye’s blog and listen to Sandy’s podcast. Links provided on this post. If you post a picture of your quilt and with analysis of it’s designs please let me know as I would like to read the post. THANK YOU, NONNIE.


Creating Unity (aka Unity with Variety (Pentak & Lauer, 5th ed. pg.19)
Unity cannot exist without other closely related elements and principles (Wolfrom, Adventures in Design, pg.97), which means that this is probably the principle where we will discuss the most other elements and principles.

FLORAL FOUR PATCH BLOCKS ARE MIRRORED AND DUPLICATIONS OF EACH OTHER WITHIN THE FOUR PATCH. The four patch blocks are further mirrored and repeated across the quilt. Blocks are mirrored in the corners and from the center out, repeating same / similar pattern motifs top to bottom and kitty corner.

“Unity of design is achieved by the arrangement of the lines, shapes, colors, values textures and patterns that are used.” (The Quilter’s Book of Design, 2d ed, pg.13)

Unity of design is achieved by the strong sashing blocking in the four patches. The interplay of the dark and light gold sashing over the quilt highlight the lines and makes strong block sections. The value changes of the light and dark gold colors make a bold block statement, but also connect the strong lines of the quilt.

The Grid:
A checkerboard pattern using only black and white fabrics has complete unity. There is a “constant repetition of shape and obvious continuation of lined-up edges.” This design, however, can be a bit boring. (Pentak & Lauer, 5th ed. pg.34)

This quilt is composed of is a simple four patch with double sashing in a strong grid / plaid pattern. It is very linear. The interplay of the light and dark gold unites the blocks in a bold statement, despite the simple construction techniques used. It is not the checkerboard pattern but it was built using the checkerboard assembly/ chunk method.

Unity through Repetition:
“Repetition is another way to create unity in a quilt design. The repetition of an element in a composition can tie the whole together, creating a relationship among the elements.” (The Quilter’s Book of Design, 2d ed, pg.15)

The simple four patch is mirrored motifs that repeat made using fussy cut patches. Each of the blocks are repeated elsewhere on the quilt. I tried to balance the motifs by having them kitty corner from each other in symmetrical placement on the quilt. I placed the darkest and strongest of the motifs in the corner and spaced equally in the center sides of the quilt.

“Variety creates increased interest in a design.” (Wolfrom, Adventures in Design, pg.99)
Porch posts or stair rails are another example. Certain standard measurements repeat while a variety of carving vary the sections of each column. (Pentak & Lauer, 5th ed. pg.36)

Despite using the same motifs to make the four patch fussy cut mirrored patches, I change the placement of the motifs to highlight different aspects of the motifs. Each block was slightly different from the other blocks using the same motifs. I had 9 different motifs to work with. I took particular care not to have a motif placed to close to another block using the same motifs.

Subtle repetition can enhance the unity of composition. By using subtle repetition, the artist draws the viewer in to look more carefully for differences. (Pentak & Lauer, 5th ed. pg.38)

The repetition in this quilt is NOT subtle; it is in fact a strong component in which the over all look is dependent upon. It is how I organized all the fabrics, balanced and deliberately repeated. The right side duplicates the left side of the quilt and repetitive blocks are kitty corner from each other.

Achieving Unity:
“One way to tie the foreground and background together is to repeat a color in both the positive and negative spaces.” (The Quilter’s Book of Design, 2d ed, pg.20)

In this quilt I feel the repeating of the sashing colors anchors and unites the floral motifs. The sashing forms a secondary pattern and kind of takes over and makes it’s own design statement. In a way it overwhelms the primary designs as the squares of the larger then the original floral motifs.

Jaye’s Lessons (and Show Notes) on Unity on her blog

Sandy and Jay’s podcast for the UNITY in Design Discussion

Well, this is my analysis of my quilt, FLORAL SPLENDOR. Please post your comments or better yet do an analysis of one of your quilts. Please let me know so I can read it too.

3 thoughts on “Jaye and Sandy’s Design School Homework

  1. Nonnie, I just wanted to tell you how beautiful I think your quilt is and how impressed I am with the effort and time you put into your craft. It shows! Your work is absolutely beautiful!!!

  2. Great, Nonnie! Love to see how you’ve taken the concept and run with it. Very helpful to read. I’m glad you’re getting so much out of the series!

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