Tag Archives: Kona cotton


This month Quilts Unscripted, my improv quilt bee, is making blocks for Ellyn. She's asked us to use one of the most colorful aisles of the grocery store as our inspiration... the cereal aisle!

I grew up eating Honey Nut Cheerios, but we never had any other "junk" cereal in our house. Froot Loops and Lucky Charms are the two I now enjoy on occasion, so when Ellyn shared her prompt with me, I knew I would start with one of those. Naturally, I needed to purchase a box of Froot Loops for research. As a bonus, my kids and I enjoyed the treat, too.

Once I had the box in hand, I started matching Kona solids to the colors on the box. Well, the cereal is a rainbow of color and so is the toucan. The colors used on those two elements are actually different colors. This resulted in a broad color palette to start with. 

The full palette here includes Kona Tomato, Peacock, Citrus, Cardinal, Torch, Fern, Tulip, Ocean, Sprout, Daffodil, Water, Watermelon, Amethyst, and Persimmon.

Ellyn had asked us not to make any toucans or leprechauns. She wasn't looking for exact cereal box replication. Instead, she wanted us to be inspired by the colors and shapes on the box. She asked us to take into consideration Margaret Fleisher’s book blocks which I shared about when I made this recent project. Margaret has taken inspiration from the geometry and color in the book cover designs to piece improv quilt blocks. 

My initial sketch had numerous details: some blocks of color to represent the words “Froot Loops” at the top of the box, the toucan, the bowl of cereal at the bottom. I wasn’t sure how I go about piecing the cereal bowl so I started with the toucan. I edited down some of the colors to focus on just the colors that were in his beak and head. I pieced using improv curve piecing (via this technique). After I'd pieced the beak I started to consider making my design more minimalist than initially intended.

I auditioned the panel of colors for the beak of the one feature element with solid red fabric to represent the background color of the box. 

I liked that and decided to move forward by piecing the beak into the background with more Improv curves.

In the end, I was really happy with what I came up with, glad I had edited down my initial plan. And I was the first one in the bee to finish a block this month! The block measures 10" x 15". The final colors were Kona Tomato in the background, and Kona Peacock, Citrus, Torch, Fern, Tulip, and Black. The red in the beak was replaced with a scrap that had better contrast with the Tomato than the Cardinal did.

I did consider using my other Froot Loop box elements ideas to make a second, different Fruit Loops block, but decided to go another way. While on vacation in Texas with my family, we had gotten a package of mini cereal boxes for the hotel room. I kept a few of them to use as inspiration for my cereal bee blocks. While I've never eaten Corn Pops I kept being drawn to the movement of the "pops" on the box and decided to go with that one.

My initial pull of fabric was Kona Citrus, Tomato, Banana, and White.

I decided I would color block the red "POPS" and piece some of the cereals with the whooshing movement lines. I started by piecing improv polygons with six or more sides for the individual cereals. I did this by cutting rough rectangles out of the cereal and then chopping off the corners. I used oversized Citrus triangles to piece onto the corners and bring the cereal elements back up to approximately rectangles.

I pieced the first section of my white strips for the movement lines (intentionally imprecise, but finishing at about 1/8" wide) and added in a bit of blue for the "CORN" in the cereal title. At this point I realized I had a problem. I wasn't happy with the value contrast between the Kona Citrus and the Kona Banana I was using for the cereal.

I auditioned three more colors for the cereals and settled on Kona Grellow (#2).

Ah, much better.

I added two more "moving" pops to the bottom section to represent the area with the cereal bowl (which I omitted). My block is 10 1/2" x 15 1/2". I left it a little big so Ellyn could decide how she wanted to trim it down.

These were so fun to make and I look forward to seeing the whole cereal aisle on Ellyn's finished quilt.

If you were to make a cereal box quilt block, what cereal would you choose? Is there a particular element that you think would be fun to recreate?


In October, Allie asked us to make ladders for her Quilts Unscripted Bee. She asked that we make blocks that are at least 8" on each side with a ladder going all the way across the block, edge to edge. "The ladder can be curved, straight, leaning, have mismatched rungs, be missing rungs, anything. It can go halfway up the block and make a sharp 90 degree turn. It can be wide at the base and narrow at the top or vice versa." Allie provided the white background fabric and asked us to use choose from a palette of bright, candy colors... mustard and pickle also welcome.

I always start by building a pile of potential fabrics for my bee blocks. I had yardage of pickle so I pulled some of that as well. The white background fabric here isn't shown, but wouldn't a rainbow ladder on a pickle background have been amazing!? I pulled scraps that were maybe big enough to be the rungs of my ladder. That's how I narrowed down my palette for this one.

This is what the messy middle looked like. I freehand cut non-rectangular white quadrilaterals for the space between my rungs. Then I chain pieced them onto strips of pickle that would be the vertical sections of the ladder between the rungs. This was the order I worked in since I wanted my rungs to stick out of my rickety ladder. Note that due to the varying widths and angles, none of this lays flat at this point. I trimmed the pickle between each white section after this photo.

Then I added on the expansive white background to the right and left of each section. At this point I trimmed the top and bottom of each section in a straight line. Note that nothing is a rectangle here. Just embracing the chaos.

Auditioning the colors I realized I should have had one more section of vertical ladder pieces so I opted to edit out one of the purples.

Measuring for width so that I would mostly have the ladder rungs overhang the pickle, I recut some of the pieces. At this point I added white to the sides of each colored run (not shown).

Here's what it looked like before I trimmed up the left edge of the block. I trimmed down a couple pickle sections before piecing in the rungs to increase the wonk and keep the ladder mostly moving straight up my block.

Tada! The finished block is 13" x 17"


For my second ladder I took inspiration from a spiral staircase. This is the sketch I drew from a reference photo.

I decided each of my steps, or ladder rungs, would be turquoise so I pieced oversized pieces of white and turquoise.

I used my drawing as my guide to trim my pieces at the same angles (adding seam allowance).

You can see the creases in my paper because I folded the portion I wasn't working on out of the way when I compared the paper to the fabric. This is the lower section all pieced before trimming.

And both finished sections, untrimmed. This was the easy part... because now I had to make it all go together and add in the curved "vertical" parts of my ladder.

I created a freezer paper template for myself from my paper drawing (a technique I learned in Carolina Oneta's class), marked some reference points and labeled the top edge of each piece with an arrow. (I noticed after this photo that my two white pieces were switched.) Then I pieced each have by sewing the orange onto the turquoise and white sections and then added the large white background section. Once each side was together, I pieced each side onto the yellow.

I am so proud of this block. It finished at 12" x 13". There were so many make it work and trial and error moments that went into it. Is it perfect? No. But I won't point out the little mistakes I made and instead choose to revel in the engineering marvel of a spiral staircase turned into a ladder quilt block that lays flat. :-)

I'm looking forward to seeing how Allie intertwines all the ladders she has received!


In May, E. A. asked us to make two-color blocks that contained the word "hope."

For my first block I chose Kona Cerise and green to make some skinny strip letters. My skinny strips finish at 1/8" wide. I created boxy letters improvisationally, but aimed for the letters to all be about the same height. The letters are about 6 1/2" tall and the block finished at about 12" x 10".

In my second block I chose a much lower contrast color combination with dark purple and dark grey. I improv cut all the pieces for my letters in a variety of chunky styles.

Here are my finished blocks and here's a peek at the full quilt.