Rainbow Geode

As part of my New Year's Resolutions to be more intentional in my quilt designing process, I enrolled in Katie Pasquini Mosopust's online Color and Composition class.  Our first assignment involved us creating a color wheel from our stash!  I have several color wheel tools, but I've always wanted to create my own in fabric, so this assignment provided the perfect motivation!

I began pulling 2.5" squares from my charm bins, starting with the medium values first.  It became increasingly difficult once I moved onto finding corresponding light and dark values.  Sometimes this required that I swap out the medium values, in order to make it all work.  And on at least one occasion, I had to use the back side of the fabric in order to achieve the lightest value (although this was later swapped out thanks to a LQS visit where I filled this void in my stash--light periwinkle is now represented!!)
Color Wheel Progression to Include Light, Medium and Dark Values
Getting all 12 colors and the corresponding light, medium and dark values took the better part of the day and once I was done, my stash looked like a tornado came through!  But this was nothing to the next layer of challenge--incorporating a background of neutral browns!  For those of you that have been following my quilting adventures, you can appreciate that brown is practically banished from my studio and my quilts!  In the 150-200 quilts that I have made thus far, I have only incorporated small amounts of brown in 3-5 quilts max!!  And as a result, there were very few brown fabrics to be found in my stash.  So with much resistance and even more complaining, I begrudgingly checked out the brown section of the LQS, where I came to appreciate the range of rich brown fabrics that are available!  My appreciation grew deeper, when designing for a recent quilt challenge and after exhausting nearly every other neutral or color for my background, finally turned to my new collection of brown fabrics for an audition.  They were perfect and ultimately solved my Seasonal Fun Design dilemma!!  I've since been reminded of some wisdom imparted by several quilt instructors:  you need a little mud to help your colors sparkle and shine (I apologize for not remember the exact quote or source, but you get the point!)
Introducing Some Brown/Mud to Help My Fabrics Sparkle!
The next obstacle to overcome was how to layout my color wheel.  While I used a traditional circle when auditioning swatches, I wanted something more graphic and different for my finished piece.  I found a fabulous 6 pointed star in EQ7 that I had hoped to adapt to incorporate light, medium and dark values.  Unfortunately, I have only designed square grid quilts and blocks, and did not have the technical know how to adapt the original design to match my vision.  Luckily, Doug did!  I printed off the basic block from EQ7, added some extra pencil lines/stitching lines and Doug was able to draft up in Visio, which I then enlarged and converted into foundation templates!

The last obstacle was successfully paper piecing each unit using the 2.5" swatches with very sharp angles!  Typically when foundation piecing, I cut my fabrics considerably larger than needed to give me plenty of wiggle room, and I simply trim away as I go.  There was only 1/8" or so extra, which did not provide much margin for error, and as a result my seam ripper did make several cameo appearances as I had to figure out the perfect alignment needed for full coverage in each section!  But with practice and persistence, they were all foundation pieced and successfully assembled without any gaps!

A colorful rainbow swirly print was used for the backing, and an additional neutral brown was used for the final border and binding and some basic stitch in the ditch using Superior MonoPoly Clear and  a variegated brown Aurifil 50-weight to add some light FMQing in the border.  
Rainbow Geode, 11" Finished on Each Side
I really love how the colorful center star just sparkles amidst the brown background, especially the inner star created from all 12 light value fabrics!  I am titling this "Rainbow Geode" as it appears dull and brown from the exterior, but the center just glows and twinkles!

I can't wait to hang it in my studio, where it will serve as functional art and future reference for fabric selections/pairings!!


  1. What a wonderful way to incorporate your color wheel, Mel. You are so clever; in addition to charm, this shows how to use the values. Brown used to be one of my favorite colors. Diane Gaudynski had a quilt title Buckets of Mud (or something like that) for much the same reasons you stated.
    Another win for the clever and artistic Mel!

    1. Awww...thanks Ann! I foresee more browns being used in future quilts...not sure if it will be one of my favorites...but we shall see?!?! I can't make any promises there!!

  2. This is so great! I love the pattern you chose. My stash is very much lacking in light valued fabrics. I always go for very saturated tones. Maybe I should work on that. ;-)

    1. Thanks Sarah. Yes--we certainly gravitate to the saturated tones. Sounds like some fabric retail therapy is in order! ;-)


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