Author Archives: pmegio

Why do Quilters use the Painter’s Color Wheel?

I am taking a virtual quilting workshop that is basically a lot of fun, BUT, the instructor is relying on the traditional Red, Yellow and Blue color wheel for choosing the colors to use in our quilts.

For example, I randomly chose Tetrad Blue. So, I made an improv quilt with two sets of complimentary colors: Blue/Orange and Red-Violet/Yellow-Green. The idea was to start with monochromatic blocks with different values of the colors and then mix them all together. The mixing proved too chaotic and I felt it was a non-harmonic clashing mess. So rather than merge it all together, I softened the look with negative space and came up with this:

And I ended up liking it. Sometimes I even love it. It definitely looks better in person.

Next up was a small minimalistic quilt. I tried working with the color wheel but ultimately the blue fabric I picked seemed to look really interesting with the yellow and yellow green fabrics I pulled out of my stash. But, even though I thought it all looked okay together, I could not make it work on the color wheel. I pulled out my Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool by Joen Wolfrom and still could not justify the use of my colors. Regardless, I decided to use the colors:

Maybe improv is not your thing, but I do think the colors work, and it was a fun time putting it together. And, yes, it went beyond minimalistic, but never mind about that!

So I began wondering about the use of the color wheel for quilting. Should I be relying on it to pick “complimentary” colors? Do orange and blue go together? Here is an article I came across:

If you read through the article you will see alternative color wheels. Both the wheel based on light and the one based on the CMYK printing ink (process color) show yellow across from or complimenting blue, rather than orange. And, that is what I did in my second quilt.

If I had followed the traditional mixing color wheel I would have had a violet and yellow quilt.

There is a lot of discussion regarding the traditional color wheel and its shortcomings. Here is another article: I have not read through the entire discussion, but the point it this: the Wheel is controversial! My favorite quote from that article is this: “Experienced artists learn to use the color wheel as a compass to color improvisation

I am looking at a CMY Mixing Color Wheel which I think makes more sense.

I also have another tool that my friend Peggy Anne recommended years ago, The Color Scheme Bible by Anna Starmer. She used this to put quilt kits together for her shop for years with great success. I did not find any schemes that featured Orange and Blue in Anna’s book.

SnippyScissors Diagonal Thinking Genius

My friend Susan is a quilting pattern genius. She looks at things with an open mind and suddenly has an amazing new way to construct a block that avoids fussy bias warping triangle hassles.

Here is a her latest diagonal thinking genius breakthrough in pictures.

This method is wonderfully precise and does not wast that much fabric. My big question: HAS ANYONE EVER SEEN THIS METHOD BEFORE???

I think NOT!!!

Improv with Rules!

This is a block plan for my do.Good Stitches Hope Circle group. Look for us on Instagram, #dogoodstitcheshopecircle to see what we are up to.

Each block will be a 12″ block (12 1/2″ with seam allowances). It will consist of four 6″ (6 1/2″ with seam allowances) improv blocks.

Start out with four 8″ squares of fabric, two light and two dark. Use fabrics that will all work together. Also have two, three or four 8″ long strips of contrasting fabrics that are between 1″ to 1 1/2″ wide.

Layer each light fabric with a dark fabric, both sides UP! Then slice through each set, being careful not to slice too close to the edges. Next swap the fabric pieces in each pair to set up four blocks.

The next thing to do is add in the strips … or not! Plan to add a strip to at least two of the four blocks. Decide for yourself how many of the four you want to put strips into, and also decide how many blocks you want to slice twice, as shown below.

Not adding a strip? Just sew the two pieces for that block together. If you are adding a strip then go ahead and sew it to the edge of one of the pieces, and then sew the other piece on. If you happen to have cut a curve when slicing, just straighten it out when you are sewing the strip in.

Then go ahead and trim the blocks you are finished with. I trimmed three of the four. Trim the blocks to 6 1/2″

I am going to slice the fourth block again and then add a strip to it. When piecing this block you are going to want to try and line up the seams from the first slice. Just hold the seam down 1/4″ in with your thumb and flip the fabric over to see if it looks like it will line up. No worries if not perfect! No one will notice with so much going on in these blocks! Press your seams towards the strip, and then trim to 6 1/2″.

Once you have your four blocks completed play around with how you want to arrange them and then sew the four blocks together into a 12 1/2″ block. Here is my completed block:

I am asking everyone in our circle to make two 12 1/2″ blocks. One of the blocks should be predominantly cool colors (purple, blue, green), and the other should be warm (red, orange, yellow).

Here are the rest of the blocks I made to give you an idea of the different ways you can slice your blocks and arrange them.

Tom’s Ties

Tom asked if I knew anyone who would be interested in making a quilt with his collection of ties. Who me, did I know someone? So, of course, I am now making quilts out of silk ties. I had to practice with Bob’s before I would commit to taking on Tom’s Ties.

Here is what I came up with for Bob

The plan for Tom’s Ties is a little different:

Here is what I have so far for Tom:

If you are working with silk in a quilt it is best to stabilize the fabric somehow. You can use a fusible interfacing for this. I have used a light weight fusible woven interfacing with silk in the past. For this quilt I decided to paper piece the blocks, as the paper provides stability. The other thing I decided to do was to spray the silk with Best Press, which worked great and did not harm the fabric.

Keep in mind that silk ties are not dye fast. They bleed like crazy, so be careful with the steam on your iron and when all is put together DO NOT WASH THIS QUILT IN WATER. The only safe way to clean a silk quilt is vacuuming it!

Virtual Quilt Show

The Boston Modern Quilt Guild is playing with the idea of a virtual quilt show. I am going to play with that idea here with some of my quilts.

Click Here to see BMQG Group Quilts

Thank You Jane, 2108.

Jane Stickle finished her quilt in 1863. People are still enchanted and challenged by her unique quilt blocks. Even with all of my modern gadgets and fancy machines I still had a lot to learn from Jane. Could not have managed to get through all of the blocks without help from the Dear Jane Group lead by Pat Kowalczyk at Quilters Common, which met for 4 years starting in 2013.

Checkerboard Skew Revisited, 2020

In 1973 Beth Gutcheon included this design in her book “The Perfect Patchwork Primer”. This book inspired quilters to take a fresh look at quilting and her designs are still making us ask what is a modern quilt and showing how timeless modern is.

Seeing Red, 2020

Are you seeing a red and white quilt? This is actually a pink and white quilt, but color is often a matter of opinion. The design is based on a half scale Fibonacci sequence used to determine the width of strips used. I borrowed Ricky Tims Convergence technique and sewed the strips together, rotated and then cut strips again.

Storm, 2020

During the pandemic I found myself trying a virtual workshop. I took Mid Century Modern with Carole Lyles Shaw. This is improv to the max. You start out with a big pieced circle and then you just keep slicing, relocating and adding. I posted my progress online and Carole commented that I should keep slicing! At some point I was satisfied with my slicing and this is the stormy result.

Process Color, 2019

I wanted to work with the four colors of ink that I am always feeding my printer to see how bold they might look together. I had been playing with the Ricky Tims Convergence Quilts style so I went from there and here is the result.

Hope, 2020

I am working with a group of ladies in the do.Good Stitches Hope circle of quilters. We are an online community working through Instagram and Flickr to design and share quilt blocks. I designed this quilt, collected the blocks and put this quilt together. It is always amazing how the quilts come together with just a little bit of prompting for fabric selection. The rainbow of colors gives us all hope for less cloudy days ahead.

The following contributed blocks to this quilt: Sherryl Barnum, Jeanine Conner, Angie Fitzreiter, Heather Flegel, Cath Hall, Christie Kline, Suzy Lampman, Susan McKinney, Jennifer Mendola, Sarah Terry

Garden Trellis, 2020

This is another one of my Stack and Wack quilts with a new more complicated block that makes the quilt look like a Garden Trellis. I have a pattern for this quilt and was scheduled to teach it at Quilters Common, but then suddenly everything changed. Hopefully I can get back to teaching classes later this year!

And here are two Group Quilts that the BMQG have put together:

“Orange You Glad We Made This Quilt?” and “Shattered” are group quilts created through distanced and virtual togetherness. The design process began with a group brainstorming in a park. Participants then made curvy starter-blocks using materials provided by the guild, followed by a virtual workshop where the starter-blocks were altered by random prompts. The improvised blocks were brought together at a backyard design session where two quilt designs emerged. Although the two quilts were made from improvisational blocks that were essentially the same, the resulting quilts were very different. The process was truly collaborative and fun.

Orange You Glad We Made This Quilt?, 2020, Long Arm Quilting by Rebecca Loren

Shattered, 2020, Long Arm Quilting by Patrice Denault

Dear Jane Revisited

I had a comment on my Dear Jane Quilt, which I am now calling “Thank You Jane”, because I learned so much about quilting during my Jane Journey.

The comment was regarding the sashing on the quilt. The sashing was borrowed from Tula Pink’s City Sampler Book, as explained in a previous post.

I have come up with some drawings which should help to explain the dimensions I used for the Trellis Sashing. The first thing I did was add a 1/2″ border around each Jane Block to increase the size from 4.5″ to 5.5″ finished. From there I prepared the sashing as shown in the drawings. The dimensions shown are the unfinished sizes. Cut pieces the sizes shown.

Be Kind Bee Blocks

Hello to my Boston Modern Quilt Guild friends, and to anyone who comes across this blog post. I have put together a couple of block designs for our next Be Kind Bee quilt.

Both of these Blocks finish to 12″ square.

Here are instructions for the X Block:

Fabric and Cutting:  For these blocks please select a white or white on white fabric, a dark solid or dark blender fabric and a medium print fabric. 

White Fabric: You will need to cut 8 pieces that are 1 ½” x 2 ½” and cut 8 pieces that are 1 ½” x 4 ½” or use a strip piecing method as shown below and start with 1 1/2″ width of fabric strips. 

You will then need to cut 4 squares that are 4 ½” x 4 ½”

Dark Fabric: Cut 4 squares that are 2 ½” x 2 ½”

Print Fabric:  1 square 4 ½” x 4 ½”

First I cut out all of the pieces for the block. I just cut 1 1/2″ strips for the pieced 4 1/2″ squares and then sewed the blue squares to the strips before cutting. After sewing the strips on all four sides I trimmed these to 4 1/2″ square. I then arranged the squares into three rows as shown. Complete each row and then sew the three rows together.

Press the seams towards the white squares in the top and bottom rows and towards the print square in the center row.  When sewing the rows together press the seams towards the print square.

Here are instructions for the Twinkle Block:

Fabric and Cutting:  For these blocks please select a white or white on white fabric, a dark solid or dark blender fabric and a medium print fabric. 

White Fabric: You will need 1 Width of Fabric (WOF) strip that is 4 ½” wide. Cut 8 pieces that are 4 ½” x 4 ½” squares.  Cut FOUR of the squares in half on the diagonal.

Dark Fabric: 1 WOF strip that is 1 ¼” wide and 1 WOF strip that is 1” wide. From the 1 ¼” wide strip cut 4 pieces that are 1 ¼” x 6 ½”. Cut 4 pieces that are 1” x 3 ½” from the 1” wide strip.

Print Fabric:  1 square 3 ½” x 3 ½”


Sew a tringle to each 1 ¼” x 6 ½” piece as shown. Then sew another triangle to the other edge of the 1 ¼” x 6 ½” piece as shown.  Trim each of the four blocks to 4 ½” x 4 ½”.  Press the seams towards the dark fabric for these units.

Sew the two 1” x 3½” pieces to the top and bottom of the 3½” x 3½” print piece, then sew the two 1” x 4½” pieces to the sides.  Press the seams towards the dark fabric for these units.

Arrange these pieces and sew together into three rows as shown.  Press the seams towards the solid white squares in the top and bottom rows and towards the solid square in the center row.  When sewing the rows together press the towards the print square.

The thought is that we will create a quilt with this that will end up looking something like this:

Let’s see what we come up with!

Face Mask with Drawstring Fabric Ties

Here is how I am making face masks.  These masks have a drawstring tie along the top and bottom that allow for a tighter fit across your face and under your chin.

I am using 100% cotton, quilting weight fabric.  A half yard of quilting cotton will make 2 face masks.  I prewash the fabric before making masks, so they will not shrink after they are made.

Cut 1 piece of fabric 10″ x 15″

Cut 2 pieces 1 1/2″ x width of the fabric (42″)

If you have any fusible, or even non fusible, light weight non-woven interfacing cut a 10″ x 15″ of that as well.  This will add a bit more protection against viruses.

For each of the two 1 1/2″ x width of fabric strips for the ask ties:

Fold and press a 1/4″ of fabric  on each short end, then fold and iron the two long raw edges towards the center.  Next fold the tie in half and press.  Sew a seam close to the edge to finish the tie.

For the Mask:

If using interfacing layer and press the interfacing to the wrong side of the 10″ x 15″ piece of fabric.

Fold the mask fabric in half, right sides together, so the piece measures 7 1/2″ x 10″.  Sew a 1/2″ wide seam along the long raw edges. Press this piece so that the seam is in the middle of the mask.


Next sew the side seams.  On one side start 5/8″ from the edge and sew towards the center, stopping about 1″ from the center.  Repeat this on the other end of this side,  Be sure to secure your stitching when you start and stop each of these seams.  You are leaving a hole in this side so that you can turn everything inside out!


For the other side start your seam 5/8″ in and stop 5/8″ before the end, securing the stitches when you start and stop.  Starting and stopping 5/8″ away from the edges leaves openings for the drawstring casings.

Next pull your drawstrings through the top and bottom openings of the mask.  Use a safety pin to make this an easier task.

Once the drawstrings are in place, make sure they are centered, and then tack them down in the center of the mask to make sure they stay in place when laundered.

Then sew along the edge of the two sides to close the opening and help hold the shape of the mask.  Secure all seams.

Next sew the drawstring channels.  Sew 5/8″ away from the long edge to do this.  Secure all seams.

Now press two 1/2″ pleats as shown in the photo.  Make sure the folds are set up so mask will pop out in the front for your nose!  This picture shows the BACK of the mask.

Sew a 5/8″ seam along each side to hold the pleats in place.

You have a face mask that should give you some protection also protect your fellow humans if you are unwittingly walking about with a virus!!

And, if you have a double chin, no one will know!!

I am updating this post with some steps for leaving an opening in the back of your mask to add a filter.  I read an article that says that blue shop towels make a great filter, so here you go:

Cut pieces as above, omitting the interfacing.  For this version you do not need to use interfacing, because you will be using a disposable filter each time you use your mask.

Make the ties as indicated above.  Then sew the mask.

Before folding the mask piece in half, I folded over the 10″ long raw edges twice and then  sewed a seam close to the edges.  Then I folded the piece in half and overlapped the edges.  Next I sewed the sides closed.


After turning the mask right side out, I finished the mask following the same procedures above that I used for the mask with no opening.

Before wearing your mask insert a filter.  I plan to use a blue shop towel.  I cut the towel in half, fold one of the halves in half and then insert it into the mask.

Remember once you have your mask on:  Wash your hands if you touch the mask after being exposed to any germs! Remember to carefully dispose of the filter after each use, and then wash your hands!!

Wash your hands!!!