Finding Your Car in the Parking Lot – Testing Quilt Patterns with the April Block of the Month

@travlis @GreenvilleMQG #licensedtoquilt   

Parking Lot – April block from the Greenville Modern Quilt Guild’s block of the month

I have a faint memory of a bowtie quilt made by my Great Grandmother. The memory isn’t clear at all. I just know that I liked the quilt, that it was a quilt pattern suitable for a boy. Not flowery. Not fancy. The quilt I remember was a blue and cream quilt that was a solid masculine quilt. After the drunkard’s path block the bowtie block was one of my earliest favorite blocks. As I think back, I probably liked drunkard’s path more only because is sounded salacious and reminded me of Mayberry’s mischievous townsman, Earnest T, from the Andy Griffith Show.

This month I’ve sat down several times to try and make various bow tie quilt variations. Most of the time I didn’t love the outcome, but I kept coming back to the pattern to push through my creative blocks and self-judgment. Remembering this journey is all about giving myself permission to test, after all we are all “Licensed to Quilt”.

Thanks for joining me in my exploration of the April BOM – Parking Lot

Here’s the most basic layout with the block in a simple repeat.

Parking Lot – the April block of the month in repeat

It’s pretty cool how the strong diagonal pattern becomes when I rotate every other block.

April block of the month variations.

Here are as few examples of the block in traditional X and O layouts. This time I played with the individual block units and matched up the 4″x4″, 5″x5″ and 4″x5″ bow ties to form new blocks. I love the one below on the far left. The dominance of the of the 5″x5″ O’s that form a more solid area or focal point. The secondary 4″x4″ O’s recede and create a sweet secondary pattern. I can imagine how fabric choices could enhance this simple design.

I also wanted to explore some color variations within the block. I played with the idea of exaggerating the diagonal layout of the block and how tones of the same color could make the eye bounce across the quilt. I also wanted to see what would happen if I changed the white bow ties to a color. I ended up with navy as my favorite choice. The saturation of color almost make the bot ties unrecognizable.

I also wanted to explore variations based off previous month’s designs. Here the bow tie blocks make an appearance with the intersection and city block designs.

A mashup of January, March and April blocks of the month

Since the Greenville Modern Quilt Guild’s challenge quilt has to use negative space as a predominate element, I thought I’d play a little here too. Sneaking Smoothes was the outcome. There’s potential in the pattern, I really like the dark centers of each bowtie, I also like the cool negative spaces that start to form.

Sneaking Smooches – I Hug You

After several days, I looked back at the mashup of the January, April and May quilt blocks (shown above) with fresh eyes, I saw something new. By removing the January and May blocks from the design, a wavy pattern was formed by the teal and red bow ties. When I replaced the green bowties with background that “wave” was even more dominant. OK… there was something to work with. After testing a bit further, I settled on a big X pattern made with two rows of blocks and intersecting in a pattern that is reminiscent of a woven pattern. Finally a quilt with movement, and unexpected negative space! Sometimes it just takes longer for our creativity to percolate. Right!? That’s why we have to give ourselves permission to test.

All Tied Up

Last month when I presented the Parking Lot block, our guild member Didi Salvatierra shared a modern bow tie quilt she made using black and white sashing and letting a rainbow of bow ties wrap around the quilt. This version I call “Inch by Inch” is a tribute to her wonderfully creative version.

Leo’s Inch by Inch

As I said earlier, I this block was stumping me. How can I make it more modern? So one evening, I pushed further. I set the blocks in alternative grids and changed the coloring within the block’s individual components. From that I created Bow Ties and Argyles and Self-Tie Bow Tie.

Bowties and Argyles

I really love the way that by exaggerating the scale of the blocks and stretching them across the entire quilt creates a LARGE unexpected new design. This pattern would be an excellent choice to play with the quilting designs. So much big space to use beautiful quilted texture.

Self-Tie Bow Tie

Thanks for following my April journey. I hope I have inspired you to push your comfort zones and try something new.

If you have a UFO that’s puzzling you, if you are stuck, let it go and don’t let it bother you. When the time is right try again. Give yourself permission to test.

I love to see what you are making. Don’t forget to tag me @travlis and the Greenville Modern Quilt Guild @GreenvilleMQG #licensedtoquilt  so I can see what you creating.

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