I got some lovely spotted fat quarters from my mum for Christmas. They were all different colourways of the same basic polka-dot pattern, so I wanted to use them together. Other than that I had no plan, unless you count “having no plan” as a plan – I’ve been wanting to experiment for a while with a more improvisational kind of patchwork, so I just cut all my spotty quarters into 2″ strips and off I went.
It ended up being a pillowcase!
I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. The patchwork panel was bigger than the pillowcase needed to be, so I cut off the uneven edge and appliquéd it (very roughly) onto some purple polycotton for the back. It reminds me of a bookcase, or maybe a skyline.
I didn’t use all of it – all told, this was a shade under half each of six fat quarters, so about .75m.
The grey-brown strips do have spots, but they don’t show up all that well.
I like the effect, and the diagonals on the right-hand side especially – almost like shafts of sunlight and shadow. With a more restricted (or just more carefully matched) palette and more care, I think you could get something like the colour-play Bridget Riley uses – the intersection of vertical and diagonal lines in paintings like “Fete” or “Nataraja”.
This thought led me down the Google rabbit hole, and sure enough, the potential for patchwork as a medium for op-art has been picked up by plenty of modern quilters. Rather wonderfully, I also found a list of quilt blocks paired with/inspired by works by eminent female artists here, which includes three Riley-esque patterns.