Leonardo Goes to Largs on May 1st

Grey day in Largs

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 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

I arbitrarily chose color 1 Cadmium Yellow Light to hold the #1 position, then I used colors 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and 21. These I used for the houses. If I had chosen, for example, the second color, Cadmium Yellow Medium to hold the first position, the remaining colors would have been 3, 4, 6, 9, 14, and 22.

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.

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

Becca inspected, Becca approved.


  1. My favorite part is the multicolor house with the turquoise, dark green, and yellow orange. What a cute quilt, and I loved reading all the thinking and decision-making that went into it!


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