1. The square
A square has four even, adjacent, sides that form right angles with each other. The form of square is essential and basic. A stretched square is a rectangle – but remains a square form or squared form. The verb to square, squared, or squared off means to create two adjacent straight sides regardless of the length of each.
2. Cutting square
When working with fabric, to cut square is to cut each piece with the sides and hems at right angles to each other–ideally with the grain-the warp running from top to bottom and the weft from left to right.
Failing this, as the grain may ‘run out’, work with the selvedge and cut the bottom and top of the piece square in relation to the sides–even if means missing the grain. But before you do this, make all attempts to stretch the fabric.
A large set square will help you, as will working on a big table with perfectly right angled corners. Another idea is to mark the table cover into squares to be permanent guides.
3. Geometric pattern
The square is the simplest symbol and we are costly making squares – when we lay a place setting we are creating a squared shape, bordered by the cutlery and the table side; cushions are mostly square, as are floor tiles and wall tiles. Patchworks, paper, drawings anything we might make is based on the simplicity of square. Weaving too. The simplest weave – the tabby over and under, that we all learnt to do in infant class creates squares, time after time. When we cut following the warp and weft grains we create something that is square.
4. The Golden Section
The square is the starting point for the geometric form that creates the ratio commonly called the Golden Section, or the Golden Mean – the underlying formula that creates the scroll, and defines the shapes and forms found everywhere in the natural world. These proportions underpin classical design and when we use them we automatically create unity and harmony, at one with the environment.
5. Squared pattern
Checks, plaid, line checks, open checks – squared pattern that we recognise and use particularly in all forms of ginghams and tartans. Squares always work with florals,with stripes and with other sizes of squares. A good way to use just two colours – say blue and white is to play with the shapes and forms of woven or printed squares – larger, smaller, overlapping, tonal, double lined, etc.etc. alongside varying width stripes.