Thursday, August 29, 2013

Scale and Proportion

Big Tree Crib Quilt
by Ernest Haight
Collection of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.

I remember how impressed I was when I first saw this quilt by Ernest Haight in the 1980s. Three block sizes: an exercise in relative scale or proportion.

St. Thomas Spinning Fish by Doreen Speckmann
 Doreen Speckmann did similar experiments in scale.

New York quilt top
late 19th century

It's not a new idea to change the relative scale.

In fact it's an old idea
with medallion quilts popular before 1865

Many mid-19th-century samplers 
are built around larger blocks.
But they certainly don't look modern.

In fact changing the scale is a difficult thing to do
because the small parts can look like visual clutter.

Or the large parts can loom like a wall cloud on the Kansas horizon.

There's a lot of potential for visual disaster,

Dream Catcher by Kathy Doughty

Which makes you appreciate successful experiments in changing scale like these contemporary quilts

Princess Feathers by Kim McLean

Dustin Cecil
See his Flickr photostream here:

Leek by Linda Frost
Here's Linda's blog:


  1. Experimentation can lead to various finishes indeed!
    About scales, I have just written a post about Jane Austen's coverlet with its 3 diamond sizes :
    Sorry, it's in French!

  2. I'd never thought about the Austen quilt having a change in scale. Your Austen post is lovely. I can read French, very very slowly.