Less is More

Sub𑁦trac𑁦tion

/seb ‘trakSH(ǝ)n/

the process or skill of taking one number or amount away from another.


As part of our current Mini-Quilt Challenge, we asked for submissions that use subtraction as a design feature. In response, we’ve received a number of questions about what this means, so we want to share with you some QuiltCon 2020 quilts that utilize this abstract design concept. 


We love the way Christine J. Yi used the element of subtraction in how she machine quilted the negative space in these two quilts:

Block Party by Christine J. Yi @christineyi_sew

Block Party by Christine J. Yi @christineyi_sew

Spring Waltz 2nd mvt. by Christine J. Yi @christineyi_sew

Spring Waltz 2nd mvt. by Christine J. Yi @christineyi_sew


The use of negative space is a familiar design concept for many modern quilters and often draws from the use of subtraction: 

Illuminated by Barbara Triscari @barbara_triscari

Illuminated by Barbara Triscari @barbara_triscari

Kauai Memories by Debbie S. Kraszeski @kraszedcreates

Kauai Memories by Debbie S. Kraszeski @kraszedcreates

Color Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe @victoriafindlaywolfe

Color Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe @victoriafindlaywolfe


Minimalism and subtraction: 

Three Years by Alissa H. Carlton @alissahaightcarlton

Three Years by Alissa H. Carlton @alissahaightcarlton


Some quilts that use subtraction emit a feeling of deconstruction:

Rolling Stone #1 by Diane E. Wespiser @dianewespiser

Rolling Stone #1 by Diane E. Wespiser @dianewespiser

Take Two by Juli Smith @zahada_mod

Take Two by Juli Smith @zahada_mod

Disappearing Oranges by Cheryl Brickey @meadowmistdesigns

Disappearing Oranges by Cheryl Brickey @meadowmistdesigns

Unconnected by Sarah Bistline @sarahb7

Unconnected by Sarah Bistline @sarahb7


Subtraction in the absence of color or color used thoughtfully to create negative space:

Lanterns of Hope by HollyAnne Knight @stringandstory

Lanterns of Hope by HollyAnne Knight @stringandstory

Blossom Burst by Sarah Lefebvre @sidestitches

Blossom Burst by Sarah Lefebvre @sidestitches

Quilt no. 24: Prarie by Shelby Skumanich @godshomemovies

Quilt no. 24: Prarie by Shelby Skumanich @godshomemovies

The way you use size and scale can create a feeling of subtraction: 

Alpine Trail by Betsy Vinegrad @betsy.vinegrad

Alpine Trail by Betsy Vinegrad @betsy.vinegrad


We can’t wait to see how you interpret the use of subtraction in our Half-Square Triangle Mini-Quilt Challenge. Submissions close on April 1st, 2020. 




1 comment

  • Thanks for including my quilt in your Less is More examples. This was my first Quiltcon quilt, so I’m encouraged to challenge myself even more with new designs!

    Debbie Kraszeski

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