10.25″ wide x 15.25″ high

This is the underlying unit in all the quilts in this series.

It’s based on a time-honored design in the field of book design called the Villard Diagram, shown second in the column of pictures. Architect Villard De Honnecourt devised the diagram in the 13th century to guide the placement of words on the page, ensuring a harmonious relationship between textblock and the spaces above, below and to the sides.

I was drawn to its beautifully satisfying proportions, its many diagonals and the endless triangular shapes they describe.

With a few exceptions (most noticeably Geese Gone Awry), triangles are a rarity in my quilts. And the few that show up in Cirque du Coleur and Square Dance are free-form improvisations.

So my first step in this series was to devise a method for consistently making triangles with perfect points.

I experimented with paper piecing, a method that entails stitching fabric directly onto a pattern printed on paper. But that didn’t work for me.

I ended up printing a Villard Diagram for every unit I planned to make, coloring in the triangles, and cutting a pattern piece for every shape I would need to stitch together. I also backed every fabric shape with fusible interfacing, a successful defense against any wonkiness that might creep in as I sewed.

For Solitaire, I stitched every line in the Villard Diagram. To encourage the fabric to lie flat in areas without diagonals, I added nine lines of matchstick quilting and zigzags with variegated blue thread in the blue triangles.

And for the tiniest bit of bling, I used Elizabeth Brandt’s Urban Gestures fabric for the binding.

Click here to browse the home page, or here to see the second quilt in the series.

Photography by Douglas Sandberg