I often use fragmenting when designing quilts. The concept of fragmenting a traditional patchwork block is not new. It has been used for centuries with the traditional Lone Star design.
In the Lone Star design, each of the diamonds of a traditional eight-pointed star has been broken up into the same number of smaller diamonds.
Traditionally, each round of diamonds from the center outwards is the same fabric. I used this same idea to create the quilt, Star Sapphire. Each of the diamonds has been broken into eight divisions per side, but the coloring is different from that of a traditional Lone Star. I treated each large diamond unit as being made up of four smaller diamonds, and then shaded the patches within each of those four diamonds to create a non-traditional effect.
When I developed the idea of fragmenting an entire design, I still started with a traditional quilt block. However, then I broke all the shapes in the design into smaller versions of that same shape. Each shape had the same number of divisions. In addition, when coloring the fragmented shapes, I shaded each of them from light to dark. Let’s look at a recent example.
I developed Rajasthan from a traditional design called Beginner’s Delight. Below you can see the original design, the fragmented version and finally the quilt. The larger sized quilt uses four of the blocks. And rather than fragment the central square, I opted to use a border print square. (You can learn how to do this in my Creating Border Print Squares lesson.)
How to Fragment Your Own Block
Fragmenting is fun. It gives you the opportunity to really play with color and shading, or simply to use lots more fabrics. When selecting a design, a simpler one will best.
To fragment the block:
- Divide each side of each shape into the same number of equal divisions.
- Draw parallel lines from the sides of the shape to one of the other sides.
- Draw the second set of lines.
With a triangle, you need a third set of lines. Sometimes I find this last set makes the shape too busy and I opt to eliminate it.
Shade the units from light to dark. Try shading in various directions until you find the one you like best.
For more detailed information on fragmenting, coloring fragmented designs and creating templates for each of the shapes, see pages 45 to 48 of my book, The Quilters Album of Patchwork Patterns.