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!

A Cloud Eclipse and Simple Improv Tutorial

For October, I am the lead Quilter for the Emerge Circle of do.good Stitches. I created the design for our group to make (see below). I’m posting the instructions for my fellow do-gooders on my blog, but I thought WLS followers might enjoy seeing how to simple improv.


I used this photo of the eclipse as inspiration for the color palette:


The light on the clouds is awesome.

I uploaded the photo into Play Crafts palette maker:


These are the colors: Navy (royal is okay too), Black, Light and Medium Grays and Cream/White



For example, you can use cream, black and light gray together. If you don’t have navy, that’s okay with me.

Please avoid prints with other colors in them.

Please make TWO BLOCKS.



Cut strips 13″ length  by 2.5″ to 5″ (or thereabouts) width


Use scissors or a rotary cutter.

Don’t use a ruler.

I learned this technique at the Slow Stitching Retreat in Maine this summer. Heather Jones focused on color theory and we used all solids, but the idea works with prints too! When I’m ready, I’ll write a post about the class and my experience at the Retreat.


In any order, sew the strips together along the 13″ side.

Press seams open or to the darker fabric.

Square up to 12.5″

Great Job!


The Story of SCALE

SCALE was the third chapter of the Savor Each Stitch Book Bee. Carolyn Friedlander’s book has a photo of bales of hay in front of a house and tree.

The caption reads, “Scale is relative to everything around it.”

On June 2, 2015, I wrote this in the book bee community:

I don’ t have a design in mind for Scale. I pulled some prints — large to small to inspire me. CF’s Circle Lattice is interesting and I like the idea of a large applique piece.


I had pulled some Kaffe prints and I sketched a large applique:

At the same time, my daughter was home for the summer from college and we visited the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ exhibit: Van Gogh, Manet and Matisse. The Art of the Flower. The exhibit was very crowded and the art was displayed in different rooms in chronological order, beginning with the early Impressionists. The early works were so real. The ladybugs on the leaves looked like they were alive right there on the paintings. Van Gogh’s work wasn’t lifelike but the paint was three dimensional . By the end I felt I had traveled through time, and I felt dizzy and overwhelmed by FLOWERS.

That experience stayed with me and I made a large applique flower (no photo). BUT, I didn’t like it.

I liked the Kaffe prints so I made a tote bag as a Scale stitch tote close

Since I liked the idea of a large flower, I created a large improvisational “flower” using solid scraps.

Scale piece









I didn’t like how the small flowers were interacting with the large one.

On July 16, 2015, I wrote:

 My Scale study has taken another turn. I decided to make some large and small improv “flowers.” I did that and tried to assemble them. Hated it, then slashed and reassembled them, and I think I’m getting somewhere. Now to decide if I need a border and how much border. I think it needs some “breathing space” — not sure what would be best.  Blue perhaps.
Scale pieces
Susan, a fellow bee mate, suggested BLACK, and I’m so glad I took her suggestion.
Don't say Beatlejuice, Nora Paige
After I putting on the face binding, I thought it needed some more hand quilting.

That’s the story of SCALE.