Viva Magenta!

I began this quilt at the Slow Stitching Retreat in Washington, Maine, in August 2017. Heather Jones taught a class on Color Theory and improvisation. Before we began cutting any fabric, Heather discussed her love of the work of Ellsworth Kelly. She said, “His works demonstrate unassuming techniques emphasizing simplicity of form, similar to work of John McLaughlin and Kenneth Noland.”

We were asked to bring solids in one color and a solid of a different color with white and off white. I chose yellows with green as the accent color.  We cut the strips without a ruler.

In the spirit of Ellsworth Kelly, I chose the strips randomly.  I put my blocks on the design wall and these were very muted.  A fellow reteater, Juline, was using purple in her blocks.  I exclaimed, “I need purple.” She gave me some purple/magenta strips and they made my blocks sing.  Heather also gave me some magenta to add to my blocks.

I didn’t work on this quilt again until January 2018 at a quilt retreat, then again at another quilt retreat in August 2018.  I finished the quilt top at the retreat. On the last day of 2018, I quilted it, and on the first day of 2019, I added the binding.  It finished at 32″ square.

So it’s now 2023, and I’ve had this blog post ready to publish for four years. The 2023 Pantone Color of the Year, Viva Magenta, reminded me of this quilt. Viva Magenta!

Light Coming Home

I started this quilt the week of the Eastern Kentucky floods. I grew up across the border in Southwest Virginia. The images of the debris entangled against the bridges and houses. The lives lost. I processed this through making this quilt. Lots of curves and sharp lines.

When I began, I thought I would use more of the rust fabric, but it felt important to use the vanilla fabric as a dominant background with the black fabric and thread outlining each piece. Mildred Haun’s short story, Darkness Coming Deep, inspired the name of this quilt. It is the story of the death of a child. I wanted to express the opposite of that pain, Light Coming Home. This quilt represents lightness coming to me through the making of this piece.

This quilt will be exhibited at QuiltCon Atlanta 2023 as part of the Windham Fabric Ruby & Bee Challenge.  These are the colors:

  • Russet 51583-40
  • Mandarin 51583-31
  • Vanilla Custard 51583-53
  • Pool 51583-45
  • Cornflower 51583-46
  • Stormy 51583-44

It measures 52.25″ x 52.25″.

I took some risks with the quilting. I used 30 weight Aurifil in black to define all of the seams and to add the illusion of piecing growing from each section. In some places I stitched in the ditch more than once. In other places, I used Sulky 28 weight in white. along with blues and rusts I had from my mother’s stash; some are probably 50 years old, but they worked great.

Mr. Wordle’s Ultra Vivid Voice

This is Mr. Wordle’s Ultra Vivid Voice.

I created this work during a Finding Your Voice workshop, taught by Irene Roderick. My intention was to make a quilt with the online game, Wordle, as my starting point. To win the game, you have to guess a five-letter word. You have six tries to guess it correctly. When you get the word correct, each letter is surrounded by a green square.

At first I made five green improv blocks. At one point the piece looked like a face (see last photo).  I called him Mr. Wordle, then I killed Mr. Wordle because his eyes seemed to follow me. You may believe this was a rash decision, but I will plead a crime of passion.

The quilt represents the process of improv as well as the process of getting the right Wordle word.   What is happening in my brain was translated into this improv piece.  Ultra, vivid and voice are five-letter words.

The quilt measures 46″ by 56.5″. I used yellow, red and pink thread throughout.

I started with stitching in the ditch with my walking foot, but it didn’t seem like enough quilting, so I added tons of straight-line quilting, trying to echo sections of the piecing. It adds more movement, and it made me happy.

Here is how it began: