Friday, May 20, 2022

Rich Red I

If you caught my recent post about supplementing my solid stash, you may remember a suggestion from my friend, Dionne - to buy a lot of one color and use it in each future project - for as long as that felt like a good idea, of course. And that came to me as I was trying to decide what to do with the yellow scraps I had left from a project late last year.

I'd been glancing through A Common Thread: A Collection of Quilts by Gwen Marston, and when I happened upon her series of Red Square quilts, I knew I was on to something. I promptly began piecing blocks in the spirit of Red Square IV, which Gwen made in 2008. And in doing so, I'm considering this quilt the first in a series of sorts, where I use Kona Rich Red.

I made single blocks, as well as strings of them, first just placing them randomly on the design wall; then filling in or adding on with scraps and fabrics from stash as I built the quilt top.

For a quilt back, I pieced one leftover block with a variety of small pieces from stash. That blue plaid on the right doesn't obviously coordinate with the front of the quilt, but it certainly did with that floral, which decidedly did. Gwen was whispering in my mind, "Just have fun and try things," and that made everything fit.

For quilting, I used Aurifil 50wt #1103 [burgandy] to stitch an 'X' through the center of each red square. with a frame in the larger squares. Then with variegated 50wt #4658 [Limoni Di Monterosso - side note, I have actually been to Monterosso! Good memories!] I quilted squared coils around each red square, with quilting lines no more than 1/2" to 3/4" apart. There was a variety of other patterns used to fill in as needed - all with my walking foot, and totally improvisational.

It was a little tricky squaring this one up, and I confess I had to pull out my laser levels among other tricks of the trade, before I was satisfied. Bound in Kona Grellow, the quilt finished at 43" x 53". Quilted relatively loosely, this one turned out very cozy, which is never a bad thing, now is it?

So we'll see how using Rich Red in subsequent quilts works out! If you've ever done a color-based series, please do share with us in the comments.


  1. That's such an interesting concept to continue using the red in future projects. I have yards of rich red that I purchased for a red and white quilt and ended up using a red by Painters Palette. Hmmm...

  2. Golly Debbie! This is wonderful! I love the color combo... all those hues of yellow along with rich red. Just delicious! I love reading about your piecing process, and your quilting process. You make it all look amazingly easy, when I know for a fact it isn't! I'm envious of your intuition when it comes to putting together such a dynamic quilt. I hope you'll enter this one into QuiltCon 2023 because it will surely be accepted. I'm looking forward to seeing it there, in person.

  3. The rich red paired with so much yellow is very striking (and not something I'd probably think to try). Having one of those square laser levels can make all the difference in trimming up tricky quilts; I'm glad you were able to get it complete to your satisfaction. I look forward to seeing where this series takes you!

  4. This quilt turned out great! I love the bright yellow with the red. All the wonky and improv piecing had to be a fun time for sure. That’s getting the squaring up of a quilt right down to precise. What a handy tool to have.

  5. I love this quilt and the idea for your series.... can't wait to see it evolve. I guess my series last year was loosely color based as I used the same 7 colors for the whole series.... a different approach than yours

  6. I enjoy seeing all the components that came together to make this quilt. And how fun that the thread color ties to a happy travel memory. Thank you for linking up with me for TGIFF.

  7. So interesting and although I love using my scraps, I'm probably a bit more traditional & shy away from improvisational quilts, though I have been told, I'm sometimes quirky with colour & not following instructions to the letter. Maybe I should try a little more outside the box. Thanks for sharing & popping over to my blog. Take care & hugs.

  8. I always enjoy your posts. I was going through this past post and saw the photo with the laser level. Do you have a tutorial on using this tool? Thank you.

    1. I do not, but check out this one by Mandalei Quilts. I think it's helpful: