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Pleasing proportions in quilt making

Barb Vlack moderates this forum about EQ quilt design issues.

Pleasing proportions in quilt making

Postby judyjohnson » Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:37 pm

I have read a good deal about the use of Fibonacci numbers, the golden rectangle, etc. in quilting and have applied the ideas to a number of quilts. I recently read, somewhere, about a rectangle that some quilters say is more pleasing than the golden rectangle.  Unfortunately, I can't remember where I saw the information.  Does anyone know the name of such a rectangle and/or its proportions?  Or, perhaps, someone else read the article and can reference it.  Any help would be appreciated.  I am a retired mathematics curriculum specialist, an avid quilter, and a frequent user of EQ6  I'll certainly try to incorportate any information I might receive into my next EQ6 design project! :D Judy Johnson
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Re: Pleasing proportions in quilt making

Postby BarbVlack » Wed Nov 12, 2008 3:46 pm

I'm afraid I don't know of the other rectangle you remember reading about. I am in love with the golden rectangle and golden proportions. I advocate the use of the value of phi (1.618) to determine good proportions for quilt sizes and especially border widths. Do a search on the Internet for "phi" and you will find many mathematics and art references. It's fascinating. Phi relates to the Fibonacci numbers, and the Fibonacci numbers relate to the Golden Rectangle and lots of other natural things. It relates to beauty as perceived by the eye as being perfectly proportioned.

I really can't imagine that some quilters have found a "better" rectangle for quilts that beats the Golden Rectangle. :) If you find the reference you remember, please come back here and let us know!

How I would use phi:
1. Figure the length of the short side of your quilt. Multiply by 1.618 and you'll have a perfect rectangle size for the length.
2. If you have a quilt that is made up primarily of, for example, 10" blocks. Multiply the size of that 10" block by 1.618 for a wider border or by .618 for a narrower border. It looks great! I used to size the border by half the size of the block, and many other quilters I know went by that "rule." When you compare a border sized by half the block with one sized by phi, the one sized by phi has a more pleasing appearance. Really. Set examples of the two in EQ6 and compare them side-by-side in the Sketchbook. I hope you will agree.
3. If you have a series of borders to apply to a quilt, you can size them using Fibonacci numbers. OR add one border. then use phi to size the next border and so on. You'll be generating the same proportion that Fibonacci numbers offer.

It's really fun.
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Re: Pleasing proportions in quilt making

Postby penny » Wed Nov 12, 2008 4:08 pm

I was waiting, hoping Barb would answer, because she's the best on this. Thanks, Barb!
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Re: Pleasing proportions in quilt making

Postby Jossarne » Sat Jun 18, 2016 7:01 am

I'm not certain what reference she was speaking of, but here are a couple of good ones. -- The article concerns web design but he does a good job of explaining the numbers. -- This author references quilting as her example.
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