Mosh Pit—Quilt Riot—Stitched Anarchy

Attentive readers may have noticed I am on a roll. This is the third Saturday I have positioned myself in front the computer and typed out a blog post. It’s taken many years, but I just might have found a rhythm to this blog writing thing. Start every Saturday with an 800 word or less ramble. How hard is that?

A couple of weeks ago, I explained the origin of these five small pieces


After that stitch fest, I did a bit of procrasti—knitting.


There is this weird thing with me and procrastination. Maybe it happens to you too? I seem to procrastinate just long enough to make myself miserable in the act of meeting my deadline. Meaning, I waste just enough time to then have to get up at 4AM for several days running just to cross the finish line in thread-covered clothes I have worn for days. I really wish that were not my style.

So after that bit of knitting—I started a sweater and another pair of socks—I once again faced my design wall.


I had promised Paintbrush Studio Fabrics a quilt for their booth at QuiltCon 2018. They gave me a sample of every color in the Painter’s Palette Solids Collection and told me to do whatever I wanted. When I ran out of samples they sent me this re-supply. Delicious!


I knew I wanted to create something that could be seen from across the exhibition floor, that would serve as a beacon for shoppers to move like zombies towards their booth, that would be a riot of sorts. A kind of WHAT? was she thinking. I wanted to push the limits of patterning and color to the very edge of comprehension.

How to do that? Well, it always starts with the bits. Bits and more bits. These bits are pieced information that I use to build my quilts.

If a bit is particularly good. I will make it over and over again, until I run out of the fabric. That bit will then appear in several quilts. Notice the lower left corner of Boulevard.

Boulevard-1920I liked it some much that I made Way to Graces.

Way to Grace's by Maria Shell Large

I wasn’t done liking it so I made TRIBE.


And the last bit (or maybe it was the first bit) showed up in Fruit Salad.


For this quilt, the bits are used to build out on two sides from a center square.


It is a messy business.

This is me taking notes. I pin bits of fabric to the center block to tell me what I have decided to do next.

The quilt grows and grows.


There is always a point where I am very tired and think the whole thing was a mistake, but I am so far in that I might as well finish.


And then hours and hours sometimes days and days beyond when I thought I would be finished, I actually am finished.


At this point I long to do other things– knitting, cooking, hiking or yoga, but I am not really done.


Now I have to quilt it.

Here is the good news though. I am going with this quilt to QuiltCon 2018!

I will be doing two book signings.

Thursday February 22
10AM – NOON @ Paintbrush Studio Fabrics Booth 905

Friday February 23
11AM – NOON @ C&T Publishing/Stash Books

I have four quilts on display this year. Two of them are in the QuiltCon show, one is in the special exhibition SAQA Presents: Modern Inspirations — Art Quilts from the 1970s Through Today, and the final quilt will be in the Paint Brush Studio Booth 905.

I am still thinking about the name for this one—Quilt Riot, Stitched Anarchy, Mosh Pit? Or something else entirely. I am open to ideas.


In the meantime, I will be standing in front of this quilt for hours on end laying down some serious thread.

I hope to see you in Pasadena!

PS Thank you Paintbrush Studio Fabrics for giving me the inspiration for this work!

This entry was published on February 17, 2018 at 11:12 AM. It’s filed under Quilt Stories and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

48 thoughts on “Mosh Pit—Quilt Riot—Stitched Anarchy

  1. Thanks for sharing your method. I see many hours of work too. Impressive.

  2. Mary Ramsey Keasler on said:

    YAH!!! Can’t wait to see your new quilt. It’s gonna be smashing, of course. Hope to see you in Pasadena! Let’s get together for a drink or a meal. And YES, I also procrastinate for some reason. I wish I knew why I do it so I could stop it. If you sort it out, please let me in on the secret. Good to see you’ve got the blogging under control again. I’m working on doing the same. Just haven’t got a schedule set quite yet. Oh well……. Now I must get into my studio.

  3. Mosh Pit – definitely! What a great quilt.

  4. Jeannie Bench on said:

    You’re a very generous artist in the way you share your process. Thank you.

  5. roccagal on said:

    I am stunned by the beauty and complexity of ur work. It’s REALLY REALLY AMAZING!!! STRIKING! Wish i could see it in person and take a class from u! Am in awe! Ps luv mosh pit!!!

  6. Gail Naylor on said:

    Well, I liked putting together some of your smaller pieced names—what about town square or tribal fruit salad?

  7. Mickeybb on said:

    That is Good News! See you at QuiltCon!!

  8. ReBecca Bogner on said:

    When I look at this I feel like I’m Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) in the 1997 film “The 5th Element” when she’s standing on the window sill looking down at all the multi-levels of 23rd Century New York space traffic, and then jumps off, free falling, hurtling downwards toward the 4D maze of streets, buildings and vehicles— luckily breaking her fall when she lands on Korben’s (Bruce Willis) cab.
    If you haven’t seen this film — I recommend artists and designers see it. While parts of it are dated & hokey — it’s one of my all-time faves. I have been watching anything with Gary Oldman in it ever since.
    So I would name this quilt “Leeloo’s Freefall”.
    LOVE your sense of design!
    😎 Cheers!

  9. That is some seriously wild and crazy piecing. Very cool that you ended up with a series of quilts!

  10. garnerbe on said:


    So much fun!
    Thanks for sharing Maria – have a blast in Pasadena!


  12. If your procrastinating this time led to needing to deliver your quilt in person … I definitely approve! Your quilt looks more like a “frolic” than a “riot” to me. I am so excited to see you (and, of course, your quilts) at QC. I’ll bring my book, too, for one of your fancy autographs.😊 Speaking of procrastinating, I have to get a binding and a label on my mini for the MQG swap (right after I paint a closet and some window sills…). My mini is definitely Maria inspired. I’ll have to show it to you before I give it away. See you soon!❤️

  13. Stunner is all I can say. No one could miss this attention-getter!

  14. My first thought was Traffic. All your names fit, it’s extreme but beautiful. Lots of work too. Wow

  15. “Leeloo’s Freefall” good idea Rebecca, I’m a fan of 5th Element too!
    So much great energy in that quilt, Maria.
    Have fun at the show.

  16. Your work bristles with energy! I am amazed by what you do with your “bits”

  17. I am a procrastinator too, Maria! But not to the point of missing sleep any more 🙂 I love the term procrasti-knitting. That’s my go-to procrastination too.

    I love all your quilts–those small ones I really love. I won’t be at Quilt Con this year–have fun!

  18. Annette Guerrero on said:

    Are you available for dinner/lunch/bkfst at Quiltcon?. Let me know; I live in Pasadena. Annette Guerrero

  19. I always love your quilts Maria. They are exhuberent. xo

    • Thank you Judy! Sometimes I feel very self-conscious about this–why do I want to be do loud? But, then I think, this what makes me happy, do I do it. I hope you are doing good!

  20. Ya! What IS it about backing oneself into a corner before a project deadline? Is this a necessary part of our creative process? I do it, too, and I think it is mentally stressful and exhausting. Usually, though, I procrastinate by doing some other work so I guess there is a small silver lining.
    Great to see you and high-five at QuiltCon. Are you coming to San Antonio for SAQA? I hope to see you and perhaps get a chance to chat, if so.

    • I do that too! I will think well, I can keep working on this project because I have enough time, but not really. It was good to see you at QuiltCon too! I will not be at the conference in San Antonio which is a big bummer. It is always so much fun. We should plan coffee at Houston or some other fun/busy location….

  21. Absolutely masterful. And so beautiful. Bravo! Your understanding of color and composition is brilliant.

  22. congratulations on your Quiltcon 2021 win with this quilt Maria – I am so glad you did such an indepth post about it too 🙂

  23. Pingback: Virtual Tour of Nancy Crow’s “Riff” Quilts | Louisa Enright's Blog

  24. Wowsy! Eye-opening freedom of expression, inviting me to push out my own mental boundaries. Gorgeous, appealing, fresh. An epiphany. Thx 4 sharing!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: