Mary, I can tell right off you are as much a verbal person as a visual one. You have several good ideas that you described in such detail that I could see them even without a sketch.

8-point star: look at the 5-pointed star on the Spiral t0 Quilt – More Than One Shape page.

Color wash across spirals

Row-by-Row Ocean theme: creating some or all of the fish, starfish and shells using spirals. It would definitely be something different to have the spirals be subordinate to a “representational” theme.

Koru Palm: Mary remembers this plant from her days in the foreign service in New Zealand. It comes up in a spiral like a fern and then grows into a palm tree. Mary, the idea we bounced around was to use a variety of different spirals in a hexagonal grid as the background for an applique fern on top. I think your idea is really original.

All of your ideas are expressions of some kind of personal experience or memory or passion, and that is a really good place to start for a design!


NZ Koru


RM 7-2-07: Mary, I got these new photos — I assume the second one is the background for the Koru Fern you were talking about. What are you thinking to do with the first one?



MR 7-16-07:

Just got back from our boat trip and am sending this photo of the 8 point star – turned mandala. Does it look like it has possibilities? Should I make more rings outside of it? I tried playing with a setting to put it in if you think we could work with this size.

Mary Mandala 1

This is what I’ve been doing (Mandala 2) since I sent the one this afternoon (Mandala 1).

Mary Mandala 2

Studying #l, the center seemed a little weak and didn’t seem to be a good flow with the new edge spirals. What do you think of #2? #1 has the smooth flowing spirals on the outside and I like the fans and paddles in the middle, but I wasn’t sure about the flow. In #2, I mirrored the spirals and changed the center, hmmm. Mary

RM: Mary, I like #2 better too. And given that Rhonda’s mandala works mostly with same-direction spirals, yours with its mirrored pairs is a nice difference.

I find your small triangle on the outside edge (the one that fills in between the pentagons) a really intriguing little touch — it’s the one place that the design is not symmetrical, and it’s “off” just enough to kind of set a spinning energy into the perimeter without being obvious.

I think this is a great design. Now start working out colors. If there are any flaws in it, they’ll show up when you color. And if there are, perhaps color will hide them as well!

In drawing it, you did something very smart: You used Nesting spirals at the center. You’ll find that this will be much less bulky than if you had used pinwheel spirals here.

Assembly-wise, you’re going to have a Y-seam at the inner tip of each pentagon where it fits into the “V” of each mirrored pair of triangles that form the center. Be sure to leave in the foundation paper until you’ve joined all the pieces, and the lines on the foundation should guide you through the Y seam construction.

Another odd assembly spot will be where the outer triangles fill in between the pentagons. It appears that there is a straight line from the inner point of the pentagon, along its side, then along the side of the triangle out to the edge. So it seems that sewing the triangles to the pentagons BEFORE you sew the pentagon into the Y seam might be the way to go. Then sew the short side of the pentagon Y seam, then the long side of the pentagon Y seam all the way from the point of the pentagon to the edge of the mandala. You’ll have to do the first one as a partial seam, then work backward around the mandala, then finish the first section.

Be sure to leave in the foundation paper until you’ve joined ALL the pieces, and the lines on the foundation should guide you through the Y seam construction and any other finicky corner joints.

MR 7-22-07:  Here are two photos. One is the proposed colors, the other a sampling of the gradations from my stash, which will need to be enhanced. The coloring isn’t finished and I hope you’ll have comments.

My colorings were limited by the colored pencils available at the local Staples, but they are meant to be graded. I played with the star/flower center tips, purple and teal. I like the teal. It makes the flower appear larger. The fabrics pictured aren’t set, it’s just what I have in my stash at the moment. I know you’ll give me good suggestions. Thank you for all you’re doing for us. Mary

Mary R fabrics  Mary R colored spiral

RM:  Mary, I love your colors — they seem to me very Polynesian . . . My only suggestion/question is about what you plan to do with those little triangles around the edge.  I like that you’ve colored them on two sides to extend the adjacent spoke, but what to do with the third side — the one that extends in from the outside edge?  And I think that you might want to do the center of this triangle in a color that contrasts with the spokes — make it a little accent around the edge of the design?  Are you going to finish this round or square?  If square, what will you do with the background, and perhaps that incoming edge spoke in the triangles could relate somehow to the background color? 

Ditto for the centers of the pentagons. . . ?

MR 8-21-07:  Here is my finished top. Whew!!! Hope you are pleased. I’m getting ready to quilt it and my goal is to finish by Labor Day Weekend but think it will get into the first week of September.


Mary Reddington Tropicale

RM: Mary, it’s FABULOUS, and the first thing that went through my mind is that it looks very “New Zealand.” Of course, the color choices are quite tropical, but it also struck me that the design is like an island surrounded by beautiful tropical waters.

24 Responses to “Mary Reddington”

  1. maryreddington Says:

    The Virginia girls gathered today at Linda Cooper’s (include Rhonda Adams and Kathy Edwards). Sharing show and tell, thoughts and ideas and a wonderful lunch! It was a good sharing. I’ve got the copy of One Block Wonder. It’s great and turns fabrics into spirals easily. I’m not sure how you thought I could use it. The girls thought the whole background could be made of those and then applique the spiral koru fern across it. Should I (1) make the entire background “wonder hexagons”, then applique one spiral fern on it; (2) mix spirals with the “wonder” hexagons for the background (this would make the hexagons 6″); or (3) do a grid of different spirals in mixed greens? The grid will have triangles and/or half hexagons on the sides to deal with depending on the layout of hexagons. Should those be filled in with other spirals (I don’t think that would be effective or flowing), or with fabric pieces used in the spirals?

    The three photos I’m sending include a digital of a purchased koru fern close up; a photo I took of the fern with fronds background; a digital of 8 12″ hexagons (making approx 30″ square) as the different spirals background. Some are baravelle turning into point on point in the center, some are baravelle only, some would be nesting. Hopefully the photos were sized right as you requested.

    Hopefully this will get us started in defining what I can do with this.

    Went on-line to the Blank website looking for fabric lines and saw your bio. You are so talented in the arts – great mind.

    Thank you for your thoughtful ideas towards making us successful.

  2. maryreddington Says:

    Last night and this morning I colored in the spirals that would go in the grid that I sent you. It really looks promising – more so than the blank pencil drawn hexagons sent in the first photo.

  3. RaNae Says:

    Mary, I just read over your previous post and realized I haven’t answered your questions. Will get to it over the weekend — I’m about to leave the office right now and not feeling at all well…..

    Just one quick note — doing “wonder” hexagons in the background and an applique spiral on top sort of eliminates any of my spirals, so I would rather see you take an approach that utilizes what I’m trying to teach.

    Sorry if this seems short — I just want to go curl up in bed right now, and I’ll be more helpful later….

    I look forward to seeing your colored spiral background!

  4. maryreddington Says:

    I hope you get some rest and feel better. You are keeping up a pace that would make most of us faint!
    I’m coloring away and will send a photo Sunday afternoon. As I color I can feel the fabrics making a forest.
    Anyone to make you chicken soup? Hugs to make you feel better.

  5. yogib2 Says:

    Hi Mary…glad to see you’re working on the background. Your idea using the Koru has such promise. Did you and Linda go fabric shopping? It was great to meet you! Looking forward to our next get together.


  6. maryreddington Says:

    I sent you my photo for the fern background all colored in. While coloring, I could just feel the trees. Now when I drive, all I see is the color in the trees with darks and lights in the background. Hope you think it’s worthwhile going forward with.

    Also sent an 8 point star I tried playing with.

    Rhonda, Thank you for your kind words. Yes, Linda and I shopped Friday – 2 JoAnn’s, G Street, Artful Quilter and Quilt Patch. I didn’t find anything for one block wonder, but Linda did! I got a few bits including one of RaNae’s Radiant fabrics. I too, am glad we met, there was so much to share.

  7. maryreddington Says:

    The 8 point star was something I was playing with and sent it along to see if you thought it had merit to work on.

    The koru background has the spirals colored in though not specifically those colors – just colored to delineate the spirals. I’m not sure what to do with the insets – more spirals, half spirals, or pieced fabrics as fillers. What do you think?

  8. RaNae Says:

    Mary, if you’ve been following the development of the mandala idea (see Kathy Edwards, Crystal Marie, Rhonda Adams, the Spiral Mandalas page) you’ll see that this does “have merit” as you say. What might make it more interesting is to use different shapes. When you look at the round settings that the others are doing, pay attention to the underlying shape of the spiral and you’ll see what I mean.

    As for the Koru idea, I think before you go any further you should plot out how the applique is going to lay over the background to see if you like the total composition.

  9. yogib2 Says:

    Mary…I love the spirals you’ve colored in…they speak to a design in and of themelves, Koru or no Koru.


  10. maryreddington Says:

    I’m nervous about what I should be concentrating on as a design, either the spiral/koru or the star/mandala. And now the time has come to make a firm decision whether to follow these at all or pick one of your assignments. I’m leaving on vacation Thurs the 5th and won’t be back until the 15.
    I’m working on both the koru and star still.

  11. maryreddington Says:

    I’m on a 10-day boat trip and trying to keep up with pursuit of this design process. Some days there is the possibility of internet and/or phone. What I have been doing is trying to improve the koru background with borders (including some one block wonder or stack and whack) and the koru itself. I can’t send any photos at this time but will when we return next week. I’m also still working on the 8 point star mandala extending it further out with more spirals. Do you have any advice for me? I feel so out of touch with the spiro-world, but seeing so many new things from the water. Mary

  12. maryreddington Says:

    This is the BEST day!!! The words I’ve been waiting for! Thank you for all your hard work critiquing and coaching us. Now I’m going to work at the coloring. So glad to be at the next step.

  13. RaNae Says:

    Mary, I’m so glad to hear your excitement. And please don’t feel as though you wasted energy working on your other design possibilities. Think of all you learned as you did them! That brought you to the point of being able to create this magnificent design.

    I’m looking forward to seeing this in color — take full advantage of gradations to give it a 3-dimensional look. You’ll benefit from observing Rhonda’s efforts.

  14. quilterk Says:

    I guess you were thinking of nothing but spirals while away crusiing? I love your design. It’s going to be gorgeous once you color and figure out your fabrics.

  15. maryreddington Says:

    I’m coloring away, have tried and tossed many, but right now I’m liking teal, orange, blue, purple. Will hopefully have a photo to send by Sat or Sun. Had LOTS of time today with no car! (it was the starter – got it back late today). Meeting with Linda Cooper tomorrow for moral support.

  16. maryreddington Says:

    My colorings in the photo I sent you this evening were limited by the colored pencils available at the local Staples, but they are meant to be graded. I played with the star/flower center tips, purple and teal. I like the teal. It makes the flower appear larger. The fabrics pictured aren’t set, it’s just what I have in my stash at the moment. I know you’ll give me good suggestions. Thank you for all you’re doing for us.

  17. maryreddington Says:

    Second step (colors) almost decided, wohoo! Thank you for your comments. I didn’t want to spend too much time going any further until you gave me a positive reaction to what I had proposed.

    I had been thinking of putting a spark of a print in the center of the small triangles, and as well a combining print in the center of the pentagons.

    I would like to finish square and have been trying to work this out for the past few days – how to connect to a background. As you pointed out – get the triangles to connect to the background… How about this – put an orange ring around it and applique it onto a print border? I had originally thought about keeping the background soft and muted blue somehow blending. Perhaps the fabric store might inspire me. I’ve been waiting to go until the color scheme was approved.

    I’ve been on Carly Mul’s Webfabrics site and thinking about going there this week. By the way, how did she get on the Blogroll List? She’s only about an hour away from me. Haven’t been to her since February before she moved. Ginny Beyer’s shop is also near me.

  18. RaNae Says:

    Mary, I’ll try to add some information to the Corners & Surrounds page about adding a background. In a nutshell, just treat the surrounding square as another ring of spiral — extend the sides of your shape out to the edges of the square and sew it like a ring of a spiral. If necessary, square it up after you sew all the background pieces on.

  19. juliewillis Says:

    Mary, your quilt is a real knockout! Really gorgeous!!


  20. lindacooper Says:

    Hi Mary,
    How beautiful it is and your picture doesn’t do justice to the finished quilt I saw. Congratulations on your creativity and achievement!

  21. maryreddington Says:

    Quilt Summary:
    Mary Reddington, Springfield, Virginia
    Hand appliqued and machine quilted by me
    Name of Quilt: Tropicale
    Size: 45″ x 45″
    Type of spiral: all nesting – stitched on pellon-like foundation sheets purchased at JoAnn’s
    Spiral Shapes: Eight pentagons around edge with each containing 9 graded fabrics in each of the five colors of the spiral with a fussy-cut tropical fish in each center; 8 triangles between pentagons also with fussy-cut fish. Each point of the 8-point star was done in two half diamonds then sewn lengthwise. The corners are each two points of the 8-point star.

    What I’d like to share about the process…
    It was daunting, mind bending, painful in the design process but the result is exhilarating, a confidence booster, a not-to-miss challenging experience. It makes your quote at the bottom of your e-mail signature all the more poignant – we committed- and the universe (including this new blogging quilt group!) has made it happen. The support everyone has given to each other has been invaluable. I am so glad to have had this experience. RaNae, this has been awesome and it’s not over yet! It’s hard to even begin how to say thank you to you for this adventure.

    On a technical side, I’m not a fan of the pellon foundation. It leaves the quilt rather stiff. On the other hand, though, I think tearing paper or the pellon off such small seams would have wreaked havoc.

  22. RaNae Says:

    Thank you, Mary, for your kind words and enthusiasm.

    About the Pellon: It sounds as though you used a rather heavy version of it. The Pellon I usually use is quite light — light enough that I have been able to hand-quilt through it without even noticing it’s there. The trade-off is this: If you use stiffer Pellon-type sheets that are designed to go through a printer, they must be stiff enough for the printer. (Some of these are tear-away, but with some effort.) Using a lightweight Pellon requires that you hand-trace the design. Although: Crystal Marie found a way to fuse lightweight Pellon to freezer paper and was able to run it through her inkjet printer that way. The only drawback was that if the Pellon gets wet, the ink runs, which might be a problem if you are using light colors.

  23. quilterk Says:

    Mary, I just returned from Rhonda’s house. I saw your quilt. The picture of your quilt does not do it justice. I just love the little fishies! Great Job, excellent choices of fabrics and great quilting.

    Kathy E.

  24. quiltfee Says:

    I wish I could have been in your pocket Kathy, I would have loved to see this on in real!


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