Katie's Craft Corner: Color wheel quilt

As a lover and collector of yarn, I often find myself searching for online stores where I can at least daydream about the gorgeous colors and textures of luxury yarn even if I can’t cough up $30 for a single skein. One of my favorite online haunts is Purl Soho (purlsoho.com), a New York City-based yarn and quilting shop that focuses on premium fibers (cashmere, silk, alpaca) and hard-to-find fabrics, such as Liberty of London prints.

Purl Soho is more than just a store of lovely – albeit pricey – yarns and fabric. There’s also a blog (purlbee.com), craft books written by one of the store’s owners Joelle Hoverson and a brick-and-mortar location frequented by celebrities such as Katherine Heigl and Gwyneth Paltrow.

One of the things about Purl Soho that always inspires me is their use of color. Brilliant, saturated shades of yarn are photographed together in interesting combinations and piles of floral fabrics make a gorgeous display. One of PS’s most famous images is that of Hoverson’s color wheel quilt.

Hoverson’s color wheel quilt, a large piece of old-fashioned patchwork, is a ring of shifting colors on a clean white background. A staggering 52 colors are used for the tonal fabrics, mostly Liberty prints. It’s modern in its unabashed vibrancy, yet classic. The idea of making one consumed me, calling to my obsessive tendency to arrange colorful objects like colored pencils in a visually appealing way.

Alas, like the postage-stamp quilt before it (don’t ask, 1 1/2 inch squares are not the most efficient way to make a bedspread) the color wheel quilt’s 52 colors is a tad too ambitious and expensive ($74 for PS’s online kit) for my modest quilting abilities. However, scaled down to a single 12-inch by 12-inch patch and eight colors, I could have something colorful and bright to hang up or sew into a throw pillow.

I drafted a pattern on Microsoft Publisher, dug through my fabric scraps, made a dash to the fabric store to round out my color selection with a few new cuts, and got started. The result? A simple and cute square that can become any number of items, from the aforementioned throw pillow to a zippered pouch.

You’ll Need

1/8 yard or scraps of cotton printed fabric in 8 different colors—you only need about a 6 inch
square of each color

½ yard of plain white cotton fabric

White thread

Color wheel quilt patch template—available for download on this article’s webpage at

Project instructions

Print template and cut out pattern pieces. Lay designated pattern piece on colored fabric, trace around with pencil or fabric chalk, and cut out fabric. Repeat for each color. Cut out white fabric according to template instructions.

Sew each “wedge” together by sewing the white triangle piece to the colored piece, easing in rounded edge. Sewing by hand will give you maximum ease and control of sewing the curves. Sew on upper edge white piece. Repeat for each color wedge. Press each seam open with iron after sewing.

Sew two wedges together to make a square. Repeat to get four squares. Press seams open with iron. Sew squares together to make one square. Press seams open with iron. Proceed to sew or embellish to make desired finished project.

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