Generative HSTs

I’ve seen a few artists online who work with ‘Generative’ Designs – using computer code to generate quilt designs – and I wanted to give it a shot.  Lots of people do very complicated and complex things (and I don’t understand how they do those things!), but we decided to start simple.  I roped my husband into helping me out as he’s more up to date with computer programming than am I.

We started with simple parameters:

  • Half Square Trianges (HSTs)
  • 2 available sizes, with the user choosing the percentage of large and small HSTs
  • A menu choice of colors for both the background and the foreground triangles

He worked on that for awhile and came up with a cool little program that is quick and easy to run.  It also gives you a list of how many triangles of different sizes and colors to make to help with cutting and construction.

I had a stack of grunge scraps in lots of colors that I wanted to use up, so I tried to select colors in the program that were close to what I had on hand.  Once I had all my options selected, I generated a number of designs and printed copies of the ones I liked the most.  I laid them on my longarm frame and looked at them for awhile, then one by one removed the ones I liked the least.

This was one I didn’t choose (too big a density of purple):

This one too (somehow there are 3 big red HSTs at the bottom):

But I liked this one:

So off I went to make it!

Making it was simple to do, but also kind of hard because I kept wanting to move things around.  For this one, my first one, I wanted to stay true to the design as generated.

This is the top – I finished it our Spring Quilt Retreat:


For the quilting, I decided to try and pull the colors forward with simple quilting and do all the busy stuff in the grey.  I had the opportunity to take a class with Christina Cameli around the time I was starting to quilt this guy, so she gave me a bunch of ideas.  I really wanted to learn how to quilt big ‘showboat’ flowers, so after spending a few weeks doodling them I was ready to go!

Here is the finished quilt:


Some detail of the quilting and the flower ‘showboats’ (Christina talks about using showboats in your quilting…)




and the back (can’t see much, but I love the grunge polka dots…):


It was fun, and I should do more experiments – both with the design and the quilting!


Final Details:

  • Finished 40″x56″
  • Warm and Natural Batting
  • So Fine#50, color #517 (a light yellow) in the grunge colors, color #408 (light grey) in the background, and Bottom Line #623 (light grey) in the bobbin
  • Around 170,000 total quilting stitches – I did a bad job of keeping track on this one!

Link Ups:

  • This was a finish on my Q3’19 FAL list so I will be posting it on the FAL linky right now because it closes soon!

3 thoughts on “Generative HSTs”
  1. How cool you found a way to figure out that “generative design thing”. I read about it too but the language/software I looked at was so crazy for me as a non programmer that I dropped it directly 🙂

    Love the design you picked and how it looks quilted up. And… your quilting is amazing! Congrats on this impressive finish xo Melanie

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