Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Kaleidoscope of Triads Continues

In my previous post I presented my completion of pinwheel hexagons in grey and my status in assembling star hexagons in vivid colors from tri-colored equilateral triangle units. I call these units triads for short.

I went into production mode on making those triads. I cut out a lot of the squatty triangles in sets of six and grouped the sets into triplets. Then I could chain sew one hexagon's worth of triads at a time without pausing for the distraction of choosing a color combination. I tweaked and twiddled until I felt I had a quasi-balanced assortment of squatty triangles to start with.

It continues to amaze me how these versatile little triads can form such different patterns. I pushed on making these hexagon of six triads each and viewing them in each of three orientations to discover my favorite which I marked with a leading asterisk. In general I was going for a star look in the center rather than a pinwheel look. I reserve the pinwheels for the grey blocks. I also like when a directional fabric (such as the blue diamonds) points radially outward. When it points sideways it tends to lead the eye around and encourage a pinwheel interpretation. Here are the combinations with my notes beneath. Warning - this is photo heavy but how else can I gather and remember my thoughts? Remember, each triplet of hexagons in the following photos is really just one hexagon in three alternative configurations. The following series of strip photos are only eight blocks in total once assembled.

Fabrics are red swirls, blue diamonds, pale green checks.   
     definitive star in center     blue diamonds radiate out     * light is brought to outer edge

Fabrics are lime lines, blue pin dots, pale green checks. 
  too much a pinwheel       still strong blue pinwheel         * different at outer edge

Fabrics are lime lines, blue diamonds, red polka dots
diamonds at edge pointing out         mediocre       * polka dots accentuating perimeter

Fabrics are lime lines, blue diamonds, red squiggles
    *squiggles work well outside            busy center               mediocre center

Fabrics are red/green stripes, pale green checks, red swirls
 none of these thrill me - perhaps break up center option for outer points

Fabrics are blue pin dot, pale blue checks, red polka dots
definitive inner star            * use for outer points             strong polka dot for outer edge

Fabrics are red pezzy, lime lines, blue diamonds
these all seem to garish for inner stars but could make definitive outer points

Fabrics are red swirls, pale blue checks, blue pin dot
 love those checks but need to find where to use them to best advantage

Keeping my "star in the center" guideline in mind, I found that I liked the most different fabric – often the lightest – falling along that hexagonal ring interface between inner star hexagon and outer extended points. It may wind up being flipped outward as the base of outer star points (see defining diagram in previous post). I also found my preference to be that the most different of the three fabrics go on the outer edge or, if it is a directional pattern, that it point radially outward. Here are three examples each from the first three of the above eight photo strips. The six triads are auditioning as contenders for those extended star point having been flipped outward. In the first two the light green checks fall on the hex ring and in the third, the red polka dots fill that role.

Red swirls, blue diamonds, pale green checks flipped to make up outer points. 

Lime lines, blue pin dots, pale green checks flipped to make up outer points. 

Lime lines, blue diamonds, red polka dots flipped to make up outer points. 

Obviously I have a lot more work (play?) ahead of me before I am content. Here is my filled design wall with all of my triads pieced but not satisfactorily placed just yet. I am reminded of my daughter's voice telling me. "Mom, remember balanced and symmetric are not the same thing." I am an engineer. I can do symmetry. But since I have drawn from such a variety of fabrics, logical symmetry flew out the window, and I am left struggling with artistic balance. At least I am proud to brag that every one of these fabrics on that wall came from my stash; I did not buy even one additional fat quarter for this quilt. I did buy the pattern though – which I have deviated from and will probably continue to to do so.

I am striving for balance here with an even distribution of colors. I want those big twelve-triad stars (there are seven of them) to pop out at the viewer. Maybe it would help if those pinwheels were gathered by light and dark and not alternated...?

Hmmm. Helps with the white pinwheels hexagons but not so much with the darker ones. This is, however, a viable alternative arrangement under consideration for the grey hexagons. There are advantages to grouping by value rather than intermixing.
  1. Putting lights up high and darks down low may make the selection of star tips easier since I can pre-decide if they go best adjacent to a light pinwheel or a dark pinwheel.
  2. This arrangement might make focusing on the twelve-triad big stars more natural since one does not have to filter them out from the two tones of white/grey. 
  3. Although not true balance, this arrangement does give the bottom portion of the quilt a weightier feel - just like gravity would behave.
  4. This segregation of light and dark calls attention to the fact that all dark pinwheels spin clockwise and all light pinwheels spin counterclockwise. Keeping that little detail straight had me scratching my head quite a bit as I seamed them.
Does consolidation rather than intermingling of the light and dark pinwheels truly look better or is it just another instance where my logical left brain is beating down the artist trying to be heard from within my right brain? The battle rages on; though actually it is more of an ongoing friendly skirmish.

Ahh... decisions, decisions... I am deciding to clear my brain for a bit by visiting Let's Bee Social #164.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. It keeps me busy. But perhaps I should say it keeps me dizzy! Enjoyed your comment.

  2. What a fun creative post!!!! Fwiw, I like the neutral hexs distributed evenly. Is there a way of grouping your colored blocks more by color/value, perhaps? I know for myself, I just keep playing until there is no one element that stands out to bug me, evaluating whether it actually bugs me, or if I am just overthinking. Play does not count as overthinking! I also think taking pictures helps me to see things better along the way, too! Enjoy!!

    1. I agree with you. I did decide to intermix and the light and grey neutrals rather than grouping them at the top or bottom. And thank you for validating me by saying that playing is NOT overthinking. I have been teased often about overthinking. I appreciate your visit and taking the time to comment. I have more to come before this quilt is finished.

  3. wow - it is amazing how different the stars look when you rotate the triads! I love the look of the double-stars, and I wish you luck getting the level of "pop" you are going for against the white/grey! I am not sure how I would tackle this one.

    1. My experience with this is making me braver to go back and tackle that mask quilt from years ago.