A couple of years ago, I was introduced to Penrose tiles, a non-periodic tiling pattern, by a person of great significance in my life. The first time I saw it, I knew that one day, I would have a version of it in quilt form. At the time, he had been writing some code to generate a picture of the Penrose tiles and that was the picture I saw. The tiling and the colors he used were my original inspiration.
A quick search of the internet found very few quilts made using Penrose. With the number of adjoining corners, I knew I was going to have to do this by way of English paper piecing. For the templates, these are not your standard angled rhombus shapes so I had to cut my own. I was able to get the code from my original inspiration and after some tinkering, I printed out my pattern pieces in a size I wanted.
For the fabric, I’ve bought a lot of fabric trying to find something that would work. I am currently on my third set of fabric.
In the first iteration, I had run into the quilt shop and ran out with 2 blue and 2 yellow fabrics. They were mostly solids. Once I started sewing, I could see immediately that they did not sit well together and the contrast between shades was too abrupt and harsh. I had this feeling when I was picking them out but I decided to go ahead with it anyways.
In the second iteration, I spent a little more time at the quilt shop and came away with 4 blue prints and 4 yellow prints. I still wasn’t sure but again, I went ahead with it. After I began sewing, problems I noticed included, again, fabric differences were abrupt and harsh when placed next to each other in this tiling pattern, and the actual patterning on the fabric was distracting and not appropriate for the tiles.
Last weekend, I went to a different quilt shop because I needed to get out of the house and go somewhere. I had been thinking about Penrose again and thought about using some batiks. Batik fabrics, because of being dyed rather than printed, can have various shades on a single piece of fabric so I thought this would be interesting to try. Also, instead of those half sized blue tiles that the image has, there’s more flexibility in fabric color so I decided I would stick with the whole blue and yellow pieces. This would also cut down on the bulk at the sharp corners where the pieces joined, another problem I ran into on the previous iterations.
I started with the bolt in the middle with the blue background and the yellow flower/leaf motif. Those were the two shades I wanted to use. From there, I tried to stick with blues and yellows still within range of that bolt but making sure it varied slightly both on the lighter and darker side. There’s more blues than yellows in the pattern so I have more blue fabric.
As I was walking around the quilt store, I realized that batiks was a very good choice for the shades of blue and yellow I wanted because I could only find the shades in the batiks. When I walked through the print section, the color was either too dark or too light and overall not what I wanted. (Also, without a car, getting to a quilt shop is difficult so I was going to make/buy the most of it)
After getting home, I got down to work. I was very happy with the beginning and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It’s all I want to do these days! Similar to knitting, once I find a pattern I like and materials I enjoy working with, the motivation is there in large quantities.
When I first started on this project a couple of years ago, I wanted to make a quilt. After the first two iterations and my frustrations with it, I lowered expectations to an 18″ x 18″ pillow. Now, with these fabrics, I’m back to the quilt. I have the idea drawn out and I plan on going back to get more fabric to make sure that I have enough.
Hand piecing a large portion of a queen sized quilt is going to take some time but I am going to enjoy the process the entire way!