Friday, February 20, 2015

The Penrose Square Quilt

A few years ago when I took up quilting again, I was obsessed with the idea of optical illusion quilts. I read a couple of books on 3D perspective, optical illusions, higher mathematical dimensions, and Escher-like quilts. I loved the look of the Penrose Square and other impossible objects and thought they would make phenomenal quilts.

For those curious, here is a representation of a Penrose Square

I was unable to find a pattern for the Penrose sqaure and so I spent a couple of months with graph paper, paper piecing methods, strip piecing, and EQ7 developing my own pattern. I eventually settled on a nine-patch method but I found it inexact and cumbersome and set the project aside after making several blocks. I was disappointed with how they were turning out - somehow, they just didn't look as cool as I had imagined they would. Setting them on point helped significantly, but then I felt like there was too much empty space around the blocks.

I eventually found and tested a better partial seam method of making these, but by then I was disillusioned with the project and my research into pattern writing and copyright issues and abandoned the Penrose Square quilt to a shoebox in the back of my quilting closet.

I never did publish any photos or plans for this because at the time I was considering a side business as a pattern designer. However, given the prevalent world-wide drama with copyrights, PDFs, illegal copies, and VAT taxes, I have finally determined that I have no interest in entering or attempting to earn a profit from that particular field.

A recent diving trip into the depths of unfinished projects allowed the Penrose Square quilt to resurface and I decided to attempt to finish it into a wall hanging for my sewing room. Last night, I sandwiched and started the quilting. The empty space needed to be filled, so I choose brightly colored thread and a basic box filler design.

I'm learning to stitch straight lines with this quilt (although they are slightly crooked or curved more often than not), and I must admit that I like it a lot better with the quilting.

It is about a third quilted now, and as it is a small quilt (2ft x 3ft) I don't expect it will take me very long to finish.


In this case, I think the quilting is really bringing the pattern to life.

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