Sunday, December 20, 2015

Triangle Quilt Design with Low Poly Rocks My World

Suddenly, quilt patterns by a talented designer named Violet Craft (really!) are everywhere. They're stunners. Her lion is an Internet celebrity:
Find this pattern and more on her webpage.. (No financial affiliation). Violet's talent is offscale, plus she had an assist from a mathematically-generated mosaic program that's all the rage among designers in many different media. It's called "low poly," short for "low polygon." 

In low poly, images are broken down into small units - not the regular squarish or rectangular pixels of our computer images; low poly units are varied, irregular, often-sharp triangles and polygons. The reason is: Math. (That's the extent of my comprehension.)

Violet explains her creative process in the Winter 2016 issue of  Modern Patchwork, in an article by one of my craft business gurus, Abby Glassenberg of 'While She Naps' (Abby's blog is fantastic.) Violet used a free program called MeshLab to generate and tweak her low poly images.

Immediately after reading the article, I located Meshlab, here, but it was way over my head. So I kept searching until I found a free site where you can upload photographs and low poly them for free and almost-instant gratification. The site is I started with this action shot of our late, great guinea pig Ginny, revelling in romaine.

Hit the "open image" button. Navigate to the image. The site uploads it, and after a dramatic pause of several seconds, translates it....
Way too complex, so play with the sliders at the top of the screen. After each slide, wait 10 seconds or so for the image to resolve. The most useful for simplification are the two on the right - bring down the "point rate" and "point count".
 In the next image, I brought them a little too far down, and costing Ginny an eye.
Next I hit "randomize" and the eye returned.
What the heck! Let's go for broke! I sent the point rate and point count all the way to zero:
Ginny!? Is that you?
After initial dismay, I have come to feel that the image above really captures the essence of Ginny. as well as the spirit of the lettuce. Or maybe not.

When you run out of pet photos, try a quilt. You may learn something unexpected about your composition and color choices. Here's a quilt I showed on this blog a couple of weeks ago:
Here's how it looked after the first round of triangulation:
Pretty cool, and not at all what I expected. 
Same quilt, with the point sliders on the lowest possible settings:
Whoa!!! The focal point on the upper left - that was totally unexpected! It should be in a flippin' quilt MUSEUM!!! A Low Poly Hypothetical Quilt Museum?!!

Once you adore it, hit "download image", and then choose between bitmap or vector. I chose bitmap. which I can open with Photoshop, and save as a jpg. Then I can print them out and develop a piecing pattern.

That's going to be the art part, and the hard part - turning the images into quilt patterns. Violet creates paper piecing patterns. Much simpler would be to construct them with fusible-backed raw edge appliqué. I am going to give it a shot. To be continued!

PS:  Warning! I just discovered that low polying people is a gamble. Here's a lovely image of my parents, 25 years ago:
Low polyed: 
The eyes are scary, but I do like what happened to Dad's shirt, and Mom's smile shines through.

On the other hand, here's a low poly version of two of my girlfriends posing side-by-side in silk saris for a Bollywood-themed party. My friend on the left was wearing a blue-and-pink sari, and on the right, a green-and-red sari.
I love it! It's Cubist, in a triangular sort of way. Since they borrowed both saris from me, I could cut them up (the saris) to make this actual quilt. 

I think it's safe to predict that we're going to see a lot of low-poly quilts in the future!

PPS: Violet isn't alone with the low-polyed animal portraits. Here's a fine artist selling animal prints:

PPPS: Shared on Nina Marie Sayre's art quilt collection, Off the Wall Friday,  at Check out the goodies from many different fiber artists!

PPPPS: A wonderful video tutorial showing one way to piece low-poly type images was made by Canadian quilt artist Yanicka Hachez. Find the tutorial here. And more of Yanicka's designs are on her blog, here. Thanks, Yanicka!


  1. how cool is this! playtime folks :-)
    thank you for sharing

  2. that was fun -- I low-polyed "Study In Purples" -- and got a rather interesting result!
    /Users/sarajcory/Desktop/Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 9.00.39 AM.png

  3. This is "VERY INTERESTING". Is it possible to down load this gadget? I could wast a LOT of time playing with this.

    1. Ann, I don't think you can download the online converter that I used. But you theoretically can download the MeshLab program. It looked a bit too complex for me....

  4. It is fun to play with pictures. I did something similar to my Gravity quilt top:

  5. Myra, your gravity quilt variations are totally awesome! I especially like the one going down the drain! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Wow, this is pretty cool. I could spend hours playing! Thanks for sharing the link and also the results of your experiments. I love the last version of Ginny.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Kaja, you will have fund with it! And yes, that final version of Ginny is kinda compelling, in a minimalist way! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Trying to do holiday cooking, and NOT go to the site! Thanks so much for you mini tutorial. A little gift perhaps or eye candy for the holiday season?

  8. That is so cool, I can see how you could get sucked into playing with it all day! Thanks for sharing.


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