Challenge 2018 – Penrose Tiling

April 1, 2018 at 9:55 am | Posted in Patchwork | 4 Comments

Every year, my quilt group issues a challenge to make a small 40×40 cm quilt using specific materials. We show the results in our yearly exhibition. Here’s last years entry.

This year, we got a particularly ugly fabric to use – we were pretty much unanimous in that assessment. But then, it isn’t called a challenge for nothing, isn’t it?

Challenge 2018 - Fabric

Since we decided the fabric was enough of a challenge, there are no other constraints. As long as some of the fabric is visible and the quilt is approximately 40*40 cm in size, you’re fine.

As opposed to last year, I immediately knew what I wanted to do with this. I like English Paper Piecing, and I love to play around visually with mathematical concepts. Penrose tilings are a way to pattern the plane with a non-repeating pattern. One particular tiling of this nature is formed out of just two different rhombs, and making a quilt of this has been on my list for a long time. A different type of Penrose tiling is been used as the basis for the internet-famous Passacaglia quilt pattern.

The flowers on the challenge fabric were just the right size to be fuzzy-cut for some of the stars, and in order to emphasize and not hide the pattern, I made the rest of the rhombs out of red and white solid fabric for the fat and skinny rhombs, respectively. I think it worked well, here’s the result:

Challenge 2018 - Penrose Tiling

I like the effect of the little flowers creating a bigger flower in the middle of the stars. For the quilting I made use of a different attribute of this tiling that I hadn’t noticed until I read about it, but is pretty obvious once you know it: since the opposite edges of the rhombs are parallel, you have various sets of parallel lines going in different directions over the pattern. That means you can run lines through the middle of each rhomb and end up with uninterrupted lines from edge to edge of the quilt – ideal for machine quilting with no fuzz! I choose a yellow thread to show up on both the red and white rhombs, taking up the colour of the flowers. I think it works well, and I love the smaller stars showing up inside the bigger stars of the pattern!


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  1. It’s spectacular! If you have’t named it yet, I think it should be called Fun with Geometry 🙂

  2. That is the best use of ugly fabric I have ever seen! Love those stars.

  3. oh wow, you worked a miracle on this fabric with your rhombuses! The fussy cutting was inspired, and the pattern is gorgeous

  4. […] Every year, my quilt group issues a challenge to make a small 40×40 cm quilt using specific materials. We show the results in our yearly exhibition. Here’s what I did last year. […]

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