Week in Review 2020 – 05/29

What do the tough do when the going gets tough? This tough artist sets herself a diabolically demanding, but equally tempting mission. It is my equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest.

Blueprint for Turbulence

No way would I tackle such an adventure without EQ8. I really appreciate how EQ8 allows me to test drive design option after design option. If I had to draft everything manually, substituting this line, that color, a different layout or block option, I can imagine it taking me months vs. a few concentrated hours. If it took me months to design a new quilt, I believe there is an extremely good chance I would give up. EQ8 not only provides me with design tools, but also tools to share and print my plans.

Traditional Storm at Sea block

Turbulence (the current working title for my new work in progress quilt) is based on the Storm at Sea block. I’ve always loved the secondary wave patterns created by this block. Since the impetus was to capture a turbulent sky and ocean, the Storm at Sea block was a perfect choice to play with. I could have taken the simple route and selected a horizontal layout of blocks. This is the traditional way with blocks sewn together in horizontal rows and those rows seamed together to form vertical columns. However, to create the choppy ocean and night sky thunderstorm I was after, I opted for a diamond layout. This still has rows and columns, but on the diagonal. Think of the way window panes might be positioned in older buildings.

EQ8 provides a diamond layout. When I place a square block in a diamond pane, it automatically distorts and drafts the block behind the scene. I can even print out each block in this insanely complex quilt to use as a color by numbers pattern.

Can you find this block in the blue print several images back?

A plus for selecting the Storm at Sea block is that it can be paper pieced. This means I don’t have to spend endless hours cutting fabric using templates, especially since the individual triangles and parallelograms are not the typical 30, 60 and 90 degree angles used in quilting. Next week I’ll try to remember to share what the back of the piece looks like so you can see just how intricate this design is. Here is the front side.

After designing Turbulence in EQ8 I selected fabric from my stash and began piecing. There will be 2,645 pieces in a 40″ H x 24″ W quilt.

I could have chosen to piece this quilt with solid fabrics. This is how I designed the quilt for simplicity sake. However, one of the reasons I am fiber artist vs. a painter is because I never tire of how patterned fabric, be it commercial or achieved via surface design, creates an interplay of light and shadow. Nature is not made up of solid colors. Even though I am creating something abstract, I want to capture the light streaking through the sky or reflecting on the ocean.

I am linking up with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays.

By Gwyned Trefethen

I am an artist who uses fabric, thread and miscellany to create designs gifted to me by my imagination.


  1. Bravo for going complex with this design. The thought of keeping straight what fabrics to sew where makes my head spin, and I consider myself experienced at paper piecing. I assume you’re either extremely organized or extremely patient.

    1. Just as a journey begins with a single step, so too, does each of my intensely pieced projects begin. Admittedly, this is the most challenging one yet. Since I can print each separately in EQ8, I will print the blocks one by one as I need them. The complexity of the pattern actually makes it fairly forgiving. If I choose one or two fabrics, even 20 fabrics incorrectly, no one else will be able to tell.

      Yes, I am extremely organized and relatively patient.

      Love your avatar.

    2. I have been piecing complex designed quilts since the just after the millennium. It is a way of working I love. The more I do, the more complex I get. Of course, I get more experienced, too. Yes, I am extremely organized and fairly patient. The advantage of EQ8 is it allows me to print out a blueprint. I can also select each block in the quilt separately and print that block “showing fabrics”. This means I don’t have to get out a magnifier.

  2. You certainly know how to challenge yourself! It is such a dynamic piece and I can’t wait to see how you tackle it. I also love Storm at Sea and made a large (almost queen size) but I did not do any distortion, just using lots and lots of blues and teals. Your title is perfect for these turbulent times.

    1. Trust you, Norma, to get precisely what this quilt is about. Like you have used the Storm at Sea block in the past, but always a square block, not a diamond. The undulation isn’t quite as strong with my coloration, but that those jagged spikes of abstracted ocean spray and lightening should be very jarring. Why use one blue and teal, when 100s will do, right?

    1. Isn’t that the way many quilts begin? The concept/design reels you in. Even the first few blocks work. The big question is whether it will come together in the end. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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