Category Archives: Color


Guess Who Decorated This Year’s Gingerbread House?

Guess who decorated the gingerbread house this year? I usually decorate with my sons, but they’re growing older and not as enthralled about doing crafts with mom as they used to be. So that meant I got to be really compulsive with my colors! Normally I’m totally hands off and let them play and put whatever they wanted on the house, but this year, it was all mine.

I was in a blue, red, and white palette mood for some reason, and I have been for a long time. Last year’s Christmas Cabin and Advent Tree table runners both used that color palette, and I’m still in love with it. So I gathered blue Dum-Dum suckers and crushed them for stained glass windows. Blue candy canes grace the roof and the path. Mentos dyed blue-green decorate the roof.

Then my eleven-year-old asked me to made tiny stockings for his cousins who are coming over on Christmas Eve, and since they’re all girls, they got the same palette. I couldn’t stop myself.

I’ve missed sharing with you over the past year. I haven’t been in my quilting studio as often as I’d like; in fact, I haven’t made a single quilt all year. Can you believe that? Life has its seasons, and I’m in one right now that calls me to a different place. That happened before, and Color Mastery was born. So who knows what’s in store for the future?

Until then, please keep in touch. I enjoy hearing from my readers, my subscribers, and friends. I’m on Facebook – Maria Hoath Peagler, on Twitter as SM_OnlineClass, Google+, and YouTube. Since I founded a social media training site, I’m pretty much everywhere. So join me!

Colorful Quilt Inspiration

One of the questions I’m most often asked is “Where do you get your inspiration?”

My short answer?  “Everywhere.”

That’s usually not the answer people are looking for.  They want specifics, like publication name, date, and page number, so they can see it too.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

I don’t rely on any one source for inspiration, as I don’t want to be too heavily influenced by any one artist, quiltmaker, or writer.  I want my work to be uniquely my own, taking inspiration from the corner bakery, blooming Tulip Magnolia, sunset over the Appalachians, and smiles on my beautiful children’s faces, as only I see them.  My quilts are an expression of the beauty I see in everyday life.

I do capture much of that beauty in my journals, so I can refer back to it later.  That’s where photographs, magazine images, fabric swatch exercises, and sketches come to live and gather and multiply into stunning quilts.

I’m truly amazed every time I sit down to design a quilt.  I never run out of ideas, color palettes, or possibilities.  I’ve heard other writers complain of writer’s block, but that was never a luxury I allowed myself.  I continued writing, pushing through the fear of “this sounds awful” to some really great stuff.  That doesn’t happen when I design a quilt.  It’s all joy.  Playing with color, shape, and fabric is as good as it gets.

Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks: Old Glory is Mine!


When Carolyn Beam from Quiltmaker asked me to participate in their 100 Blocks issue I was thrilled to contribute, as Quiltmaker is the magazine I recommend most to my students.  It’s a great learning tool, and their 100 Blocks collector’s issue does not disappoint.  It’s packed with appliqued, pieced, and mixed-technique blocks, so no matter what your taste, you’ll find something that you love and can’t wait to make.


Here’s a sneak peak at the behind-the-scenes detail of my block:

Inspiration: I used my color journal as I discuss in Color Mastery:  10 Principles for Creating Stunning Quilts.  You would think I already know what’s in my own journals as often as I write about them.  I was wowed by how many patriotic quilts and memorabilia I had pasted in those pages.  I have three patriotic quilts in my den (above the mantel, over the sofa, and on the foyer wall), but I knew a patriotic block would be a classic that quilters would love to make and use often.  I do wish I could have included photos of my journals here, but they are at Quilter’s Newsletter being photographed for an upcoming excerpt of my book.

Design: I adore simple, elegant blocks, and do not enjoy making quilt blocks with a lot of tiny little pieces.  It’s actually far more difficult to design a simple block that looks sophisticated than it is to make one with 70 pieces.  This one came together after I remembered my mission:  Connecting, Playing, and Longevity.  Old Glory connects me with so many other women of generations past who honored their country by making patriotic quilts.  Playing?  I had fun playing with the pinwheel design in the star area of the block.  I played with several options and decided on this version after I loved the movement it created.  And what block design could have more longevity than a patriotic block?  It’s one that will be made again and again.

Red, white and blue of course, but which ones?  The flag block needs high contrast for each part of the design to show well.  I mapped the hue, value, and intensity of each color, so I’d know exactly which ones would work together to create harmony.  Blue is the easiest, as navy is the classic dark, dull blue used in most flags and quilt blocks.  So what about the red and white?  I went to my stash and found two red fabrics:  both pure red (no orange or raspberry hues) and they were a dull intensity and medium value.  The white fabrics were both bright white and would be more intense than cream or off white, but were needed to balance the navy and red.  I adore how they all coordinate to give a crisp look.

Construction: Here’s a secret:  all 1/4″ seams are not created equal.  For this block, and others I’m making for a quilt I designed for a fabric manufacturer’s block of the month, I find a true 1/4″ seam works well for strip piecing.  However, when you piece triangles, a scant 1/4″ is far more accurate, as a true 1/4″ makes the block too small.  Try it on the Old Glory block and it you’ll find this method works beautifully and gives super-accurate results.

I envision Old Glory set in a quilt with alternating plain blocks and lots of gorgeous feather quilting.  Wouldn’t it look great for July 4th?

Follow the 100 Blocks Blog Tour daily Nov. 9-13 at  for inspiration, ideas and giveaways! The collector’s issue is in your local quilt shop, or purchase it at the Quiltmaker website.

Here’s your own chance to win the issue and make your own quilt using Old Glory!  Leave a comment telling me how you would use Old Glory in your quilt or project, and I’ll choose a winner Thursday.  Watch here for your name to be announced!

Do I Need an Excuse to Visit a Quilt Shop?

More photos from my trip to Athens and Dragonfly Quilt Shop.  As you walk in the shop you’re surrounded by gorgeous fabrics and samples that you can’t wait to make!  Love the beautiful white armoire filled with goodies.  The shop had a Kaffe Fassett table to get quilters excited about his workshop at Dragonfly.  Deb stands next to her quilt made with Kaffe fabrics.  I loved the Dresden Plate quilt – it looked totally vintage.

After I gave Annette her color consultation and we recorded the video, the Cotton Patch Quilters and I went to dinner at Loco’s, which started in Athens.  The moose tells their story.  Later I gave my Creative Quilter’s Guide to Color lecture, but no photos:  it was a whirlwind to end by 9p.m.!

Last, but not least, my Machine Quilting students at Sew Memorable Quilt Shop in Dawsonville.  We had a full house and ladies came with all-metal Singer sewing machines to the latest new Viking, and you know what?  They were all successful!  Can’t wait to see those quilts, girls!

Behind the Scenes

After I shot this video at Dragonfly Quilt Shop in Watkinsville, GA, I gave a lecture to the Cotton Patch Quilt Guild in Athens, and drove home for a late-night arrival.  The same day, my elder son attended a workshop at the local Apple store on how to use iMovie.

I’ve been the computer expert in our home for a long time, and I taught my son how to use Word, how to navigate the internet (with supervision), and even how to create a blog for a math project.  So he was excited to help me with my video.

I planned on creating a black screen with a white title for the Title screen and ending credits, which I can do with the Flip software that came with my camera.  But after he saw my results, he offered to help me do much better.

He showed me how to create the fancy title screen with my book’s cover and the white title superimposed over it, and the ending black frames with the credits on them.  Actually, he wanted to do it all himself, but I’m trying to teach him how to educate others:  never do for them what you can help them to do themselves.

That’s my same motto for my classes.  I never do the work for my students, or else they won’t be able to replicate their experience when they get home.  I gently guide students as to how to achieve results, and everyone’s path there is different.

So thanks, son.  My video looks oh-so-much better.  Who knows what you’ll be teaching me next?

Fall Workshops and Quilt Shows

Fall just begs for a new quilt, doesn’t it?  I have only a couple of workshops left in the fall schedule!  Be good to yourself and schedule an artist date by signing up for my workshops.  Then get even more inspiration at the fabulous quilt shows coming up – of course I expect you to stop by my booth to say “Hi!” Here’s where I’ll be:

Color Mastery Gallery Talk

Ann Litrell, a local painter in Woodstock, Georgia, invited me to speak at her gallery event to raise funds for charity.  Here are the details from Ann:

Gallery Show and Fundraiser – The Colors of HOPE: Author and quilter Maria Peagler, with local quilter Mary Litrel, will show selected quilts from their collections at the gallery on July 2-4. Ms. Peagler will give a talk on Friday evening at the gallery for the Woodstock Friday Night Live event. “Color Artistry in Quilt Creation,” 7 pm.

A quilt by Mary Litrel, entitled ” Esperanza,” will be donated for a raffle, with funds being raised for the HOPE Center in Woodstock. The final raffle drawing and winner will be announced immediately following the Freedom Run in downtown Woodstock on July 4. Raffle tickets will be sold at Ann Litrel Art, and at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists in Canton,

If you’ve never visited downtown Woodstock, you owe it to yourself to check it out:  it is absolutely charming.  Quaint.  All those adjectives for a downtown area you can stroll through and never want to leave.  It’ll be a great way to spend a hot summer day and evening.

Ann is an excellent artist, and has a collection of her paintings at her website.  Don’t miss the Woodstock Depot series, where she paints the local train depot in the styles of great masters Monet, Van Gogh, and others.  That takes talent.  Then check out my own Learning from the Masters series on the great quilters of today and what we can learn from them.

Event:  Color Mastery Gallery Lecture
Date:    July 3, 2009
Time:   7p.m.
Location:  Ann Litrel Art, Woodstock

Gather your quilting girlfriends and make it a girls’ nite out to benefit a great organization.


I took this photo of me around Mother’s Day.  I’m in my bedroom, painted a creamy yellow color, which I love but so many find it difficult to get right.  Behind me is a quilt made for me by my bee group:  we each asked for specific blocks that we would put into a quilt, and I wanted house blocks.  The whole notion of home and nesting I love, and this quilt hangs in my room to remind me of home, family and friends.  Many made the traditional Schoolhouse block, but Ginger made a Mayan ruin reminiscent of her trips to Mexico, Cheryl made a birdhouse, and my funky home sits in the center.

My boys’ artwork and photos are tucked into every nook of my dresser, which we’ve had since our first apartment.  It was our first big purchase, and was oversized for a tiny apartment, but has proven durable and fit into our homes since.  The artwork is my favorite way to greet the day, and includes a bookmark from kindergarten, a Mother’s day bonnet made from a paper plate, a sonogram photo of a baby that didn’t make it to us, birth announcements, and even my own class photo from first grade.  I take a copy of this and show it to the students I speak to at schools.  Giggles abound as they try to pick me out of the class photos, and it helps to show them that even adults were kids once!

I could have all these precious items in an album, but I prefer to have them out where I can see them everyday, touch them, and remind me of what a delightful and abundant life I have.

Color Mastery Workshop at Stitching Barn

Color Mastery Workshop at the Stitching Barn

I spent a gorgeous weekend in Eatonton, GA, near Lake Oconee at a delightful new shop called the Stitching Barn.  Becky Pittman held her grand opening last week and invited me to present a Color Mastery workshop on Saturday.

The shop really was an old dairy barn and is absolutely charming, both inside and out.  Here are photos of the front, with a lovely porch and old equipment.

Stitching Barn Front

Stitching Barn Front - alternate

Becky has not only lovely fabric, but knitting and smocking supplies as well.  I met her knitting and smocking teachers, both experts and so willing to share with their students.  Becky runs the shop with her daughters, so quilting is a family affair for the Pittmans.

Great retreat potential at the Stitching Barn.  Gather your quilting buddies, rent a lake house, and take a workshop from Becky.  Sounds like a delightful plan to me.  Let’s go!

Over at my Color Mastery blog, I’ve posted photos of the exercises we do in class and some interesting results we had from them.  Don’t miss it!

My Slideshow’s Gone Viral

Guess what? I’m a Rock Star!! Or so says the team over at They notified me my slideshow on How to Make a Quilter’s Color Wheel has gone viral, with over 400,000 views.
Here’s the link to the slideshow and the free color wheel chart you can download to do your own. If you enjoyed the slideshow, check out the video tutorials I’ve done on YouTube: short, fun, easy tips on how to get better color in your quilts. I post a new one each month, so subscribe and get them delivered to your mailbox. I’ve got a variety of ways you can stay in touch. You can subscribe to my blog, to my email newsletter, and to my YouTube channel.

My middle-school-aged son will never believe it: Mom’s a Rock Star!

Color and Inaugural Fashions

Did you notice the colors our presidential families wore to the inauguration?  Among a sea of black wool coats, both men and women accessorized in bright, vivid colors.  And the most popular?

Yellow.  And that wasn’t an accident.  Michelle Obama’s yellow dress and jacket were the most highly-contrasting color she could choose to be visible next to her husband, dressed in a black coat.

Style blog Limelight declared yellow 2009’s signature color in their post, “Yellow is the New Black,” praising First Lady Obama’s choice of a yellow dress.

Bill Clinton wore a yellow scarf against his black coat.  Both George Bush. Sr. and Barbara Bush took yellow one step further and wore yellow turtlenecks with violet scarves.  Again, yellow and violet are complements that have high contrast, so their outfits guaranteed they would stand out in a crowd.

And if our government officials weren’t wearing yellow, they sported either bright blue or red scarves or ties.

You can see all these colors in action in NPR’s slideshow of the inauguration here.

Terry Atkinson’s Keeping a Color Journal!

Terry Atkinson over at Atkinson Designs got inspired from Color Mastery and is starting her own color journal.  Read the details here.

Interested in starting your own color journal from Color Mastery?  Email me photos of your journal with the book and I’ll post them to the Color Mastery book blog!  Send them to info [at] colormastery [dot] com.

Quilt Project Runway: Color Trends

Color trends are a dichotomous lot.  They seem to diverge in different directions, with no rhyme or reason as to why they came about.  2009 will be no different, but here are the color predictions from Michael Miller Fabrics:
  • black & yellow color scheme (look for these in Vera Bradley handbags)
  • grey
  • orchid (a dull, medium, red-violet for all you Color Masters)
  • jeweltones in red, blue, and green

Why these colors?  They trickle down from Paris runways, and seep into fashion, magazines, and the ultimate arbiter of all things designer:  Target.  Really.  When you see Rubbermaid, Daytimers, and hangers at Target in trendy colors, you know those are what’s hot.

Here are some quilts from Michael Miller’s newest fabric lines:

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Multimedia message, originally uploaded by Colorful Quilter.

Don’t Miss My Guest Post Over at All About Applique!

Kay Mackenzie, author of the upcoming book Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes (Martingale) invited me to be a guest over at her fantastic All About Applique blog.  I reveal my top three tips for getting great color in applique quilts, as well as some storyline about me.   You can read my post here.

Noticing the Beauty in the Everyday

It’s apple-picking time in north Georgia. Aren’t these apples gorgeous on a sunny day?  Imagine these colors worked into a quilt.  There’s so much light on the red that they look orange, like peaches.

I took these photos with my camera phone, and they turned out much better than I imagined.  In reality, these apples were burning with a scarlet color where the sun hit them.

Some of those apples are just too darned high.  But he can dream, can’t he?

Who Decides the Next “Hot” Color?

Ever wonder who are those trendsetters who declare what the new “hot” colors will be for the upcoming season? I found out when I attended a workshop with Michael Miller fabrics at spring Quilt Market. Turns out fashion colors start in Paris on the runway, then slowly trickle down into the marketplace and across the globe. Eventually, two to three years later, you’ll begin seeing those same colors in Target in the form of Rubbermaid and Daytimers.

So what’s the next hot color? Citron. It’s a dull, yellow-green. Think “icky” split-pea green, and you pretty much have it. I’m not kidding. That’s the new hot color. And according to the presenter at Michael Miller, after awhile you get used to seeing that color and eventually you begin liking it.

I don’t know about that.

Apologies for not having any photos with this post, but BlueHost is having technical difficulties with their File Transfer program. Once it’s resolved, we’ll be back in glorious color!

The Glory of Spring

Peony from my garden

This grand peony appeared in my garden just in time for Mother’s Day. Isn’t it gorgeous? Peonies are so hardy and tough, and the deer don’t eat them, which is a requirement here in the Appalachians.

I’m on my way to Quilt Market in Portland to announce my upcoming book Color Mastery, which will be available in Feb. 09. This is my first Quilt Market, and my first business trip after having kids and being a stay-at-home mom. I’ll miss everyone but will have fun developing contacts and meeting new people.

What an adventure. I’ll be blogging tiny little posts from my mobile phone. I did a test and I can upload photos via Flickr and they automatically appear here as well. Watch for my updates and breaking news from market!

And the Winners Are . . . .

And the winners of the bookmarks with the ruler on the back are:


I couldn’t pick just five, so I’m sending them to everyone who gave me feedback, as I treasure each of your comments. Please email me privately your mailing address and the gorgeous bookmarks will be on their way to you. You won’t believe how beautiful they are!

Thank you for your feedback on the color wheels. What astute readers I have! I’m quite impressed ya’ll noticed the color wheels didn’t match in having yellow at the top. We had changed that a while back, but I used an older version. It was actually quite helpful in communicating to my design team things that are important to quilters that others don’t see.

And stay tuned: next week, I’ll be posting the book’s title, cover, and table of contents. I promise you won’t want to miss it!

Vote on Which Color Wheel to Include in the Book

Color Wheel for Color Mastery Color Mastery Color Wheel

I need your valued opinions! I’m deliberating as to which version of the color wheel to include in an appendix in the back of my book: a fabric color wheel, or the illustration. Which do you prefer and would find more useful? The appendix will have a sheet of mini-color wheels you can cut out and paste into your journal as you’re designing your quilts. Fun, huh?

I’ll draw from the votes and award five people a bookmark for the book that has a ruler on the back. Quite handy for measuring seams, etc. Thanks for participating. I value your input!

Selecting a Fabric Color Palette

Triad Color WheelMiranda Bag

Here’s how I selected the color palette and fabrics for the Miranda bag. I find many quilters who are either intimidated by the color wheel or who understand the theory behind it but not how to apply it to their quilts. A real-life example should help.

I knew I wanted to use the yellow French provencal fabric, and I also knew I needed some contrast between the bag cover, bottom, and lining. But I didn’t want the contrast to be so overwhelming that it was the focus. The focus of the color scheme needed to be the French fabric, and I wanted nothing to detract from it.

So I chose yellow, blue, and red, a Triad color harmony which includes three colors evenly spaced around the color wheel. It’s a medium contrast palette, so I knew it would fit perfectly for Miranda.

While yellow, red, and blue are the hues, I needed to test fabrics for their values and intensities as well. The French fabric was a dull hue, so I wanted the other two fabrics to be dull as well so as not to overwhelm the cover.

Here are the candidates:

Fabric Palette #1

Red’s intensity is too bright. Blue’s value is right but the flowers are distracting.

Fabric Palette #2

Red’s value is good, but the intensity of an all red fabric may be too overwhelming. I need to try fabrics that have red in them but aren’t solid red. Blue fabric is perfect: value is medium, intensity is dull, and the style is in keeping with the provencal feel of the yellow fabric.

Fabric Palette #3

Same red fabric, but the blue fabric’s value is entirely too light. Next!

Fabric Palette #4
This is it! The red fabric is a print with the same style as the yellow and blue, the value is medium, and the intensity is dull. This is the final palette I chose and it turned out beautifully. I’m pleased with how the bag looks and how functional it is.

Remember this example next time you are ready to select a color palette for your next quilt.  I knew my focus (the cover fabric), selected my color harmony (triad) to fit the purpose, and they worked together to create a successful color scheme.

Making a Quilter’s Color Wheel Tutorial

I’m so excited! I’ve created a tutorial on Making a Quilter’s Color Wheel, and you can click on the slidecast here to view it. This took me a couple days to do: an afternoon to shoot the photos and another day to make the slideshow, record the audio, upload and troubleshoot.

Want to receive your free color wheel chart instantly? Click here!

Check out my video tutorials on my YouTube Channel here.  I add a new video each month!

Color for Fiber Artists

I taught such a lovely group of ladies today in my Color for Fiber Artists class. Four quilters, a rug-hooker, and a weaver – a wonderfully diverse group of fiber artists. Everyone had a positive outlook, was eager to learn and grew by leaps and bounds in their color knowledge.

Here they are working diligently on making color wheels from their own stash:
CFA Class 1

CFA Class 2

CFA Class 3

Isn’t it comforting to know that no matter what kind of fiber we work with, we all have a stash? And the wool was so lovely – rug hooking looks as addictive as quilting!

Next week we work on individual projects and selecting colors applying what we learned today. Stay tuned – I can’t wait to show you the beautiful art my students create.

Interview with Danielle Morgan: Black Tea and Honey

Black Tea and Honey Quilt

Another quilt from the ECQG show caught my eye for its excellent use of color: Black Tea and Honey by Danielle Morgan. Simple yet elegant in its design, I could not keep my eyes off of it, entranced by its sophisticated color palette. Here is my interview with Danielle:

Q: How long have you been quilting and how did you get started?

A: I started in 1992. I had always wanted to make a quilt but I was intimidated by patterns that I had seen which required making cardboard templates. When
I saw a rotary cutter demonstrated on a TV show I was confident I could do it and got started pretty soon after that. I didn’t take a class, and I made a lot
of mistakes, but I was happy with my results.

Q: Do you consider yourself a traditional quilter, contemporary, or both?

A: I’m a traditional quilter. I love contemporary quilts, but my mind hasn’t seen fit to create anything in that vein yet. As I grow I hope that will change.

Q: What is your favorite part of the quilting process?

A: Easily, it’s the color planning. I love to go into my fabric room and “pull color.” I can remember even as a kid I liked to rearrange the Crayola 64 colors box
according to my whims. I have a lot of UFOs and I think it’s partly because by the time I get to the sewing machine, my favorite part is over.

Q: What is your least favorite part of quilting?

A: Dealing with my errors in accuracy. Being self-taught, I made it up as I went along. I learned to fudge a lot. Only in the past few years have I gotten serious about strengthening my basic skills. I’m taking classes, making practice blocks, and doing that thing we all hate “unsewing” when I’ve done it wrong.

Q: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to selecting colors for a quilt?

A: Making it “perfect.” I don’t make scrap quilts for the most part, so it really comes down to finding just a few fabrics for each quilt. I feel I have to find the one “perfect” fabric for any given quilt.

Q: How did you select the design for Black Tea and Honey? Is it a pattern or is it original?

A: I designed this quilt as I went along. The center block was a pattern by Karen Kay Buckley. I took her class in machine applique last September. I was really turned on by the colors I had chosen and knew I wanted to make something I would use with this block.
The gold and red are colors from my dining room and living room, and I had a bare wall so I planned this quilt to fit the space available.

Q: Please share with us the process you used to select the colors for your quilt.

A: I loved every piece of fabric I used in Black Tea and Honey. The black, red and gold were purchased together. The greens, purple and darker red were
pulled from my stash to work with the main colors.

Q: What worked and what didn’t? Why?

A: I tried a wider variety of values, thinking it would be easier on the eye, but on such a simple applique block, that kind of variety actually took away from its visual impact.

Q: How did you audition fabric?

A: I like to pull a whole bunch of fabric out. Once I’ve chosen a few that will anchor a design I fill in with other colors. All of these fabrics go into a basket
and live together there until the top is finished. I may use only a few of them, or all of them, but I only hunt for them once.

Q: The colors you selected, yellow and violet, are complements on the color
wheel and are one of the most difficult combinations of colors for
people to use. You not only successfully used the yellow/violet
complements, but used intensity quite skillfully, with the bright
yellow contrasting against the dull brown/purple border. Have you
taken any color classes or had any other color training? Did you
make these decisions knowing color wheel theory, or were they

A: Someone once told me “All greens go together, just
look in the garden to see that it’s true.” I’ve never taken classes on color theory, although I have read Jinny Beyer’s book on Color Confidence for Quilters.
It’s hard to avoid the color wheel if you’ve read many quilting books, but I don’t think about it when I am planning a quilt unless I’m well and truly stuck. I
prefer to play with a pile of fabrics.

Q: When selecting colors, what was most important:
color, value, or intensity (bright vs. dull)?

A: Color first, then value and intensity. I don’t like
to use dull (gray-toned) colors. Dusty rose and sage
green seldom find a home in my quilts.

Q: Are there any questions I should have asked you that I haven’t?

A: We haven’t talked about visual texture at all, but I find it plays a role in how color is perceived. The dark fabric around the applique center and in the
borders is perceived as brown, but it’s actually a black fabric with a small brown leaf pattern on it. I love brown printed on black fabric. It’s so rich.

Q: What is your next quilt going to be?

A: Finding the strength of a whisper is my next challenge. I’ve been collecting peach and blush pink fabrics for almost a year. I’m about ready to begin a peaches and cream log cabin. I’ll applique blue, lavender and aqua flowers on it when it’s pieced. Pastels don’t need to be boring, but it requires special discipline
to keep from tipping that way. I think there still has to be visual tension to keep it interesting.

Interview with Marge Frost: Red Made All the Difference

Red Made Difference

Marge’s quilt in the East Cobb Quilt Guild show caught my eye because of the title: Red Made All the Difference. She had obviously thought quite carefully about the colors she included in this quilt, and I wanted to interview Marge about the experience she had making this quilt. Enjoy!

Q: Tell us your background as a quilter. How did you get started?

A: I began in 1993, thinking I would just make a vest or two, maybe an apron. Little did I know!

Q: Do you consider yourself a traditional quilter, contemporary, or both?

A: Most of my quilts are traditional, but I enjoy branching into contemporary designs and methods.

Q: What is your favorite part of the quilting process? Your least favorite?

A: I love to piece! My scraps are my treasures…I love them more than my yardage! Basting and pinning the sandwich is low on my list, along with marking.

Q: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to selecting colors for a quilt?

A: At first I tried to make everything match, so there was no sparkle. Finding the right balance of very light, very dark and a variety of scale in the fabrics is always key to a successful project.

Q: How did you select the design for Red Made All the Difference? Is it a pattern or is it original?

A: I had been making little candle mats for gifts, and the idea of making enough blocks for a quilt occured to me. I save everything, and have a large supply of strips, so I just kept on making blocks. I varied the red centers, and just cut new strips when I needed a particular scale or color not in my scrap basket. I did not use a pattern, but can hardly lay claim to the Log Cabin design. I thought I would use a denim/chambray-like blue for the sashing and border, but settled on the pebbly grey. When I laid it all out, I thought it lacked punch, so that was when the red outer strips came into play. The red truly did make the difference.

red made difference close up

Q: Please share with us the process you used to select the colors for your quilt.

A: I truly just started by picking up a strip and stitching it on. I try to have contrast in both value and pattern on adjacent pieces, but do not worry much about whether the fabrics “go” together. In this particular quilt, the strips are the same on opposite sides of the blcok, but I don’t think it was crucial to do that…a totally random selection would work just as well. Just no adjacent same colors.

Q: What worked and what didn’t? Why?

A: One has to be careful with yellow…it can jump out of the design and look out of place. Also watch out for a print with lots of white background. (Maria’s note: Yellow and white are both bright fabrics that can demand attention, overwhelming the quilt. The key to using them successfully is to use them in darker values. )

Q: How did you audition fabric?

A: I’m afraid there wasn’t a great deal of auditioning until I got to choosing the sashing/border fabric, and of course, the red for the outer strips. I used various reds that I had on hand.

Q: When selecting colors, what was most important: color, value, or intensity (bright vs. dull)?
A: I think value is the most important– with careful placement of intense color .

Q: How did you finally decide on red making all the difference?

A: I spread the blocks out on the gray fabric and just wasn’t enthused….they looked dull and without spark. I guess the red was inspired by the block centers, and when I tried it, I knew at once that red outer strips would be right.

Q: What is your next quilt going to be?

A: I have been trying to finish up all my UFO’s. I started a cross stitch quilt top in the 1960’s (!) that I hope to finish within a year. I am also working on a log cabin quilt done with Amish type solids, which I am quilting with big stitch. I hop from project to project as I can’t stay interested in just one quilt at a time.

Thanks Marge. Marge’s color selections were based mostly on value, but the intensity of the red fabrics gave the quilt strong visual interest and really did make all the difference.