web analytics

Finish: Negative Space Swap

At the August meeting of my guild, we wrapped up a swap for the negative space challenge. The challenge was to create something small for your partner which incorporated negative space as a design element.


My partner was my friend Karen (capitolaquilter) so I’m fairly familiar with her style. Familiar enough to know that it’s quite different from mine, which is always a fun design challenge! I also know from our conversations that she’s really been taken with the houndstooth pattern that’s been making the rounds. I also knew I wanted to make her a table runner, since that was one of the things she asked for, and I’ve never made one before.


Starting from the houndstooth pattern, and trying to incorporate more of the negative space idea, I came across this quilt in her favorites. I decided to try doing something similar with the houndstooth pattern. It didn’t work well to have it bleed together like the stars did in the inspiration quilt, so I ended up with the above pattern instead. I liked how it played a bit with a color being both foreground and background depending on where you looked.


However, black, white and grey are not really Karen’s style. And I knew I wanted to batik bomb the project in some way, as that’s a thing we’ve had going for almost a year. (Batik bomb being where you include a batik into a modern project.) So I went looking for a batik and couldn’t find one I really liked. So I ended up going with a Kaffe Fasset print instead. From there I pulled Kona Spice and Brick as the background, and Kona Moss for the midground.


I sewed up the blocks and when I laid it out, I really didn’t like it. There was something off about it, and the Kaffe print really fought with the houndstooth pattern. So back I went to find an actual batik. I went to a different store with more batiks, and found one I liked, but it didn’t match the moss well. As I was staring at the batik figuring out how to make it work, I had an a-ha moment and realized the other reason I didn’t like the current incarnation is because the moss green was too close in value to the brick color. It didn’t have the contrast I was hoping for. So I picked up Kona wheat which went much better with the batik and was much lighter in value than the two background colors.


I sewed up the blocks with the new fabric, and MUCH better. I also picked a batik for the back of the project because it incorporated all the colors (including the moss green!)


For quilting, I’ve been wanting to try organic straight lines fairly close together, but non-uniform distances. This seemed like the perfect project to give it a go! I wanted to set the batik houndstooth off even more, so I echo stitched around it, and straight line stitched the rest. The nice thing is that this left a negative space houndstooth pattern on the back, bringing in the challenge even more!

The binding is a shot cotton in a similar tone as the wheat, but gives it a bit more depth which I wanted. I didn’t cut quite enough, so I added a bit of the batik to make it fit. I’ll just pretend I planned it, though!

Because these aren’t my go to colors and prints, I was second-guessing myself the entire way, especially because Karen’s my friend and I really wanted to do something special for her! I kept doubting myself until I put that binding on. Then I felt really good about it. And I’m pretty sure Karen liked it, although it probably could have used more batiks. 😀


Dimensions: 15″ x 54″
Design: By me, but I used this tutorial by Finding Sweetland for figuring out the houndstooth pattern (and a LOT of math to resize the blocks)
Fabrics used: Kona brick (dark red), spice (cinnamon color), wheat (tan), some batiks (no clue)
Number of people consulted to get outside opinions and calm design angst: 4
Number of people consulted on math calculations: 2


I love comments, and respond to each one!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

23 thoughts on “Finish: Negative Space Swap”