Sol LeWitt’s Patchwork Primer

Sol LeWitt's Patchwork Primer_final

Sol LeWitt’s Patchwork Primer
Quilt #135 of 200 Quilts
47″ square


It started with a catalogue my father had of Sol LeWitt’s work, and I read it cover to cover, bookmarking different pages and ideas of his, impressed with his breadth and depth and interesting ideas.  I selected this image, “Fifteen Etchings,” thinking it looked sort of like a “how-to” or primer of sorts, for dividing squares into quilt patchwork.  You can read more about my process and sample some of LeWitt’s notes on getting to work in *this post,* including the 6900 variations of the arrangement of quilt fabrics into squares (maybe I’m exaggerating a bit).  The fabric I chose to use was Mirror Ball Dots.  After a long hiatus (I started this in March of this year), I finally got it out, pinned it and got the quilting going:

SolLewittPatchworkPrimer_quilting the quiltI started in the middle, quilting in between the lines of dots.  In the neighboring color, I sewed the other direction, and so on, around the quilt.  I changed out thread on each color, but used my go-to thread in the bobbin: Bottom Line, by Superior Threads.  I lowered my upper tension to keep the thread balanced in between the layers so no white popped up to the top and no colors popped through to the back.


White binding (what else) goes on next.


I think with the combination of the dots on the fabric and the quilting, it reminds me of what I envision a 1960s quilted jacket might have looked like.  I’m sure my sisters had them.


The backing is a Marimekko fabric of large grey blossoms over an acidy-yellow background.



I included the picture that inspired me on my label.


I love the “stained glass” look of quilts, shot from the front when they are illuminated from the back.

SolLewittPatchworkPrimer_front2It’s nice to have a finish!

Now here’s your quote on creativity for today:

“The creative act is not an act of creation in the sense of the Old Testament. It does not create something out nothing: it uncovers, selects, reshuffles, combines, synthesizes already existing facts, ideas, faculties, skills.  ~~Arthur Koestler, in the 1960s

15 thoughts on “Sol LeWitt’s Patchwork Primer

  1. Oh, how I love this! The directional quilting that is mirrored in the Mirror Dots is perfect! What a beautiful finish Elizabeth! Will you hang this on a wall? If not, I have just the spot for it!

  2. I second Suz, I love this quilt, and the backing is just gorgeous, the quilting has added such great texture to it, it could almost be a two sided quilt

  3. Why did I think you were using gingham check for this?! Love, love the Mirror Dots (it’s such a unique fabric) and most especially your quilting and that backing. It’s such a clean-looking quilt and I know your happy with the finish!

  4. I love this. The design is perfect for a quilt and the dots are just wonderful. You did such a nice job on the quilting. Great backing fabric too. It is definitely a winner!!!

  5. This is fun to see, especially since I remember the earlier post. (I think that’s when I starting following you). Some day you must visit DIA Beacon, NY so you can see the rooms filled with Sol L’s wall drawings. The way you end the post with a 1960s quote from Koestler is like finishing the back of a quilt with a custom label.

  6. This is really beautiful, and so happy and fresh. The quilting with the dots gives a surprisingly textured and aged look — the way an older textile looks when the raised parts wear more than the protected parts near seams.

    The original image is very cool and very mathematical — the top row could be the base 2 representation for 1, 2, 4, and 8. When you combine 1 and 2 you get 3 (second row, left side), and so on.

    The whole quilt is:
    1 2 4 8
    3 5 9 6
    10 12 7 11
    13 14 15 3

    Mathematically, one might have considered a solid block, for 0, in the lower right, but visually, I think the extra 3 is better (stop analyzing and just do, right? 😉

  7. I liked the whole concept from the beginning, and I loved the finished top, but the multi-directional quilting is the thing that elevates this to a piece of art. Well done!

  8. This is a great quilt. Visually stunning, and the mirror ball dots with the straight line quilting really brings it a new dimension. Quilting always makes the quilt, a flat top is nice, but the texture is why I love quilts. Great quote on creativity, as well!

  9. Just lovely, Elizabeth. I’m impressed to see your inspiration, and what you did with it, as well as how you quilted it to look so great. Really a striking quilt. By the way, I think it’s Bottom Line thread that you used. I like it too, and use it often.

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