Saturday 1 May 2021

Leonardo Goes to Largs on May 1st


This quarter's challenge was to make a quilt illustrating Color Theory.

I am fascinated with the Fibonacci sequence of numbers. It is one of the most famous formulas in mathematics. Each number in the sequence is the sum of the two numbers that precede it. So, the sequence goes: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on. 

It's been called "nature's secret code," and "nature's universal rule." It is said to govern the dimensions of everything from the the whorl of a seashell, to the Great Pyramid of Giza. Leonardo of Pisa -aka Leonardo Fibonacci- lived in the 1100s, but since it is found in nature, the sequence, obviously, predates him. (Maybe I should have entitled this Adam and Eve Go to Largs!) 

Being also fascinated by the Largs, Scotland waterfront, I decided to do another quilt featuring it. But how to include this quarter's theme "Color Theory?" I googled "Fibonacci and Color Theory" and found, to my delight, several articles citing the illustrious poet, scientist, and amateur artist, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe! 

Goethe, and Fritz Faiss after him, developed a method of selecting colors from a twenty-four-color wheel that is said to produce a pleasing palette every time. So I decided to give it a whirl. The twenty-four colors of the 24 space color wheel are as follows:

  1. Cadmium Yellow Light
  2. Cadmium Yellow Medium
  3. Cadmium Yellow Deep
  4. Cadmium Orange
  5. Cadmium Red Light
  6. Cadmium Red Medium
  7. Cadmium Red Deep
  8. Alizarin Crimson Golden
  9. Rose Madder
  10. Thalo Violet
  11. Cobalt Violet
  12. Ultramarine Violet
  13. Ultramarine Blue
  14. Cobalt Blue
  15. Prussian Blue
  16. Thalo Blue
  17. Thalo Blue + Thalo Green
  18. Thalo Green + Thalo Blue
  19. Thalo Green
  20. Viridian
  21. Emerald Green
  22. Permanent Green
  23. Permanent Green Light
  24. Permanent Green Light + Cadmium Yellow Light 

For this quilt I arbitrarily chose the first color the wheel/list to be the first position: Cadmium Yellow Light. I then selected numbers 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and 21. These are the house colors.

(If I had chosen, for example, Thalo Blue -#16 in the list- for the number one wheel position, the next six color positions would have been 17, 18, 20, 23, 4, and 12. Remember, it's a wheel, so, 1 comes after 24.)

It is worth noting that I would not have chosen to use these particular colors if not for this exercise in Color Theory, and the promise that they would be pleasing together. As it turns out, my favorite part of the quilt is the sun. And the water is not bad, either. Hummm.... You may also notice that, in the first photo, the browns of the wharf are in the reverse Fibonacci sequence of 5, 3, 2, and 1 block(s) from left to right. And there you have it: Leonardo Goes to Largs on May 1st.

And now for something completely different! Have you heard the joke that starts, "Goethe, Fibonacci, and Becca walk into a bar?" No? Just as well. 


  1. What a marvellous idea! It is really interesting to realise that a totally different way of thinking about colour could result in such a different colour combination. They are colours that I would never have thought to put together but I think that they work together to really striking effect. They seem really happy together and have produced another glorious quilt!

    1. The article I read promised, "a pleasing effect," so the whole thing was done on faith!

    2. The results of thinking outside the usual box are very exciting! :-)

  2. ooh I love this idea. Using a formula to select the colours is brilliant and works so well in your project. The fabric placement and use of the grey backgrouns is fab. Even though its a grey day the feeling is warm and friendly.

    1. Your comment made me think of the fact that colors are often more vivid on cloudy days!

  3. I think if they had made quilts at Bletchley Park (and after seeing your quilt I wish they had), this might have been just the sort of thing they would have made. It sounds very exciting to take a code or two and see what happens and the result is certainly pleasing. If there were endless hours in the day, it would be interesting to make a really long street and see how the colours play out. I also think your background looks great and sets off the colours perfectly :)

  4. This is just fabulous. I love what you did with the challenge.

  5. This is just fabulous. I love what you did with the challenge.

  6. How delightful to have a new rendition of the view from my window Maureen! I really like how you approached this challenge and even more how it turned out, I should be suggesting those colours for the buildings along the front to the local councillors :)

  7. I love it when one thought leads to another, and new discoveries. You've turned your discoveries into a lovely quilt. The colors are so fun, and having the sit of approval from Becca is the perfect final touch!