Sunset Waves

Panda Catching Some Sunshine & Waves on a Fun New Quilt Finish

This project began in November 2017, while taking Tara Faughnan's Color Interaction-Playing with Solids workshop.  Tara guided us through a number of exercises, using all solids, to explore different color combinations and observe how colors interact.  As we taped down swatches of color, Tara encouraged us to note how each pairing or grouping made us feel.  Some made me immediately happy or excited, while others had an immediate "icky" response, while others took some time for me to better appreciate their beauty.
Color Studies

I was particularly fascinated with the exercises that demonstrated how the perception of a particular color could change dramatically depend on its grouping aka "Color is relative."  The color studies resumed as we began sewing pairs of strips into Chinese Coins units, which Tara demonstrated how to combine into a larger Bars Quilt.  As I reflected on my less than stellar track record of finishing workshop projects, I chose to continue my 2-color studies by improvisationally piecing spirals.  Creating spirals would still allow me to explore new color combinations and could double as a sample for my new Free Styling & Spiraling workshop
Adding My Own Twist

Working mostly with a split complementary color palettte, I cut strips in reds, oranges and yellows, which were paired up with blue-greens, blues and blue-violets.  Each color was used in two or more spiral blocks, but was paired with a very different color to experiment more with the "Color is Relative" concept. 

Laying out the blocks was a challenge.  My first priority was to distribute the various colors throughout the color and not have the same color in adjacent blocks.  Then I experimented with the rotation of the spirals.  I tried having the spirals all go north/south, which was way too uniform.  Then I tried alternating north/south and east/west, which was still too uniform.  To help ensure a more random layout, I used a die from the LCR dice game to help determine the spiral orientation.  Working one block at a time from top left to bottom right, the die was rolled and dictated what happened with each block:

  • L--turn the block left/counter clockwise 90-degrees
  • C--turn the block upside down/180-degrees
  • R--turn the block right/clockwise 90-degrees
  • Wild, Star or Dot--leave the block as is
I was very pleased with the resulting layout and only made one small change to an area where there were 3-4 consecutive spirals with the same orientation.

Let it Roll...

Two of my favorite FMQing motifs (spirals and zig zags) were combined into Spiky Suns.  I really enjoyed watching the Aurifil Flamingo (#4250) change color and interact with the pieced spiral designs as I completed all the quilting! 
Sunshine Sparkle & Rays with Aurifil Flamingo (#4250)

This fun quilt will be making its debut as I showcase my new Free Styling & Spiraling workshop at Meet the Teachers in Northern California on April 11th and in Southern California on April 14th.  If you are in the Bay Area, join me and learn how to improv piece square, triangle and hexagon spirangles at Scruffy Quilts on June 30th at Scruffy Quilts in San Mateo, CA.   
Sunset Waves, Finishes 37" x 37"


  1. Fantastic - great incorporation of all types of elements: color, chance and interesting design!!!

    1. Thank you KB...I am happy in taking a very different design direction with this quilt. These spirals are so much fun and add so much movement. I've got new ideas for future spiral quilts so you are gonna see lots more spirals in the future!!


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