Author Archives: sarah


This is my submission for the "Just the Top" category of the Pantone Quilt Challenge 2023.

  • Viva Magenta Confetti
  • 32.5" x 32.5"
  • Sarah Goer, USA

I spent 25 days of daily practice building these improv blocks. Then trimmed them all to the same size block. My background fabrics are pinks, oranges, and yellows, including Kona Pomegranate (my Viva Magenta). My strips are all turquoise/aqua in a variety of values. And my corner triangles are mostly greens in light to medium values. I tipped close to yellow with the inclusion of Kona Acid Lime and Kona Limelight.

I'm linking up with "Just the Top" for the Viva Magenta challenge. Thank you to Sarah and Elizabeth for hosting, and to all the judges and sponsors!


This month Quilts Unscripted, my improv quilt bee, is making blocks for Ellyn. She's asked us to use one of the most colorful aisles of the grocery store as our inspiration... the cereal aisle!

I grew up eating Honey Nut Cheerios, but we never had any other "junk" cereal in our house. Froot Loops and Lucky Charms are the two I now enjoy on occasion, so when Ellyn shared her prompt with me, I knew I would start with one of those. Naturally, I needed to purchase a box of Froot Loops for research. As a bonus, my kids and I enjoyed the treat, too.

Once I had the box in hand, I started matching Kona solids to the colors on the box. Well, the cereal is a rainbow of color and so is the toucan. The colors used on those two elements are actually different colors. This resulted in a broad color palette to start with. 

The full palette here includes Kona Tomato, Peacock, Citrus, Cardinal, Torch, Fern, Tulip, Ocean, Sprout, Daffodil, Water, Watermelon, Amethyst, and Persimmon.

Ellyn had asked us not to make any toucans or leprechauns. She wasn't looking for exact cereal box replication. Instead, she wanted us to be inspired by the colors and shapes on the box. She asked us to take into consideration Margaret Fleisher’s book blocks which I shared about when I made this recent project. Margaret has taken inspiration from the geometry and color in the book cover designs to piece improv quilt blocks. 

My initial sketch had numerous details: some blocks of color to represent the words “Froot Loops” at the top of the box, the toucan, the bowl of cereal at the bottom. I wasn’t sure how I go about piecing the cereal bowl so I started with the toucan. I edited down some of the colors to focus on just the colors that were in his beak and head. I pieced using improv curve piecing (via this technique). After I'd pieced the beak I started to consider making my design more minimalist than initially intended.

I auditioned the panel of colors for the beak of the one feature element with solid red fabric to represent the background color of the box. 

I liked that and decided to move forward by piecing the beak into the background with more Improv curves.

In the end, I was really happy with what I came up with, glad I had edited down my initial plan. And I was the first one in the bee to finish a block this month! The block measures 10" x 15". The final colors were Kona Tomato in the background, and Kona Peacock, Citrus, Torch, Fern, Tulip, and Black. The red in the beak was replaced with a scrap that had better contrast with the Tomato than the Cardinal did.

I did consider using my other Froot Loop box elements ideas to make a second, different Fruit Loops block, but decided to go another way. While on vacation in Texas with my family, we had gotten a package of mini cereal boxes for the hotel room. I kept a few of them to use as inspiration for my cereal bee blocks. While I've never eaten Corn Pops I kept being drawn to the movement of the "pops" on the box and decided to go with that one.

My initial pull of fabric was Kona Citrus, Tomato, Banana, and White.

I decided I would color block the red "POPS" and piece some of the cereals with the whooshing movement lines. I started by piecing improv polygons with six or more sides for the individual cereals. I did this by cutting rough rectangles out of the cereal and then chopping off the corners. I used oversized Citrus triangles to piece onto the corners and bring the cereal elements back up to approximately rectangles.

I pieced the first section of my white strips for the movement lines (intentionally imprecise, but finishing at about 1/8" wide) and added in a bit of blue for the "CORN" in the cereal title. At this point I realized I had a problem. I wasn't happy with the value contrast between the Kona Citrus and the Kona Banana I was using for the cereal.

I auditioned three more colors for the cereals and settled on Kona Grellow (#2).

Ah, much better.

I added two more "moving" pops to the bottom section to represent the area with the cereal bowl (which I omitted). My block is 10 1/2" x 15 1/2". I left it a little big so Ellyn could decide how she wanted to trim it down.

These were so fun to make and I look forward to seeing the whole cereal aisle on Ellyn's finished quilt.

If you were to make a cereal box quilt block, what cereal would you choose? Is there a particular element that you think would be fun to recreate?


A little history on the Quilts Unscripted Bee and my personal history with quilt bees...

I’m a joiner. I love people and enjoy creating community. (I also love bold color.) Cheers from QuiltCon!

Way back on 2014 when I was a new quilt blogger and starting to connect with others in the online quilting community, I started participating in quilt bees (and quilt swaps, but that's a conversation for another day).

First, I joined do. Good Stitches, a charity bee. I was a piecer. The organization of do. Good Stitches is via a Flickr group, with directions shared in the group or in email. Each month a quilter would select a block for everyone in the bee to make.  My first blocks were large HSTs with strip piecing. These quilts were finished by the quilter and donated to an organization.

In January of 2015, I joined Stash Bee. The idea of Stash Bee was that we were all sewing from our stash. The groups are arranged via the blogspot blog where each month's "Queen" shares their block tutorial (or link to a free online tutorial) on the blog for the other bee participants to access. Bee members then each share their finished blocks on the blog as well.

In January 2015 I also joined The Bee Hive. The Bee Hive was a quilt block tutorial series hosted by Alyce of Blossom Heart Quilts. She organized numerous bee groups. Each month the "Queen" chose one of the existing block tutorials from the series (half were designed by Alyce and half were designed by guest designers) for the bee to make.

In both Stash Bee and The Bee Hive, over the course of a year, we would each make blocks for each other once. There were 12 members per group. This blog post shows the first month I posted blocks for all three bees. Overall, the bees I have participated in over the years have required 1-3 blocks per month. In each of these groups I stretched myself as a quilter in style and color. I am still in touch with a few of the quilters who I sewed with in these bees, though in general I didn't form close relationships. I concluded my time in those bees at the end of 2016. (There is one project from that era still on my WIP list.)

Fast forward, in late 2019 I was talking with my therapist and one of the things that came out of our conversation was that I wanted to have more fun. I decided a quilt bee could be fun and reached out to express interest in Solid Seven. I'd been watching their work and I was acquainted with a few of the members. I was invited to join them in October of 2019. The organization for this group was a little different than my previous bees, because it didn't have a blog component. We shared prompts via email and there was an IG chat group for clarification/questions, show and tell, and general discussion. The Solid Seven came to an end in February 2021.

Meanwhile, for years I had admired the work of Bee Sewcial. I’d been following along for years before one of their quilts, Smile by Leanne Chahley, was awarded the Best of Show ribbon at QuiltCon in 2019. I’d started to dabble in improv piecing in 2016. Bee Sewcial’s work was always inspiring. I wanted to be in a group like that. I wanted to contribute to people’s amazing improv group quilts. 

So in 2021 I found myself without a bee. Ellyn Zinsmeister (who I'd met in Solid Seven) and I decided we would bring together a group of quilters for an as yet unnamed improv bee. The two of us had numerous meetings on the topic and started with a clear definition of expectations for the group and started reaching out to folks who might be interested. At the time our goal was 10-12 people for an improv (with mostly solids) bee. These weren’t all people that one of us knew well, we messaged a couple folks with a simple “We are spinning up a new improv bee. Would you potentially be interested in joining our group?” We got eight yeses to join us and our bee started with its first prompt from Sarah Ruiz in June of 2021*. We added an 11th member a few months later and decided the group would be considered full at 11, giving us the month of December off from sewing for the bee. At the conclusion of our first year, two members stepped down and we added two new members to keep up at a group of 11.

Here's some of us at lunch at QuiltCon 2023. It has been a joy getting to know everyone through our group chat where we discuss the bee, quilting in general, creativity, and life. They are an amazing group of humans. I consider myself lucky to have them in my life and inspired by the work they are all creating. It was so nice to have the chance to connect as a group in person in Atlanta. (And we missed the members who were unable to join us!)

I hadn't attended an in-person QuiltCon since 2019 and I'm so glad for the opportunity to have connected with folks in general, and especially to see so many from the bee. I'm honored to have contributed to three quilts in the group category through our bee. It was a thrill to be at the awards ceremony when Elizabeth and Ellyn’s quilts received first and second place ribbons in the Group or Bee category for their bee quilts from our first year.

Sashes by Elizabeth - first place


Darkest Before Dawn by Ellyn - second place


TIME: A Quilts Unscripted Quilt by Carole


I heard many compliments about our three quilts in the show and how inspired people felt. Some folks reached out to share an interest in joining our group. It was lovely to chat with people and I appreciate their interest. (Our bee remains full at 11 people going into year three.)

My hope is that others will be inspired to build community in the way of quilt bees within and beyond the MQG. I’d be happy to be a resource for anyone looking to start a quilt bee (as I’m sure Ellyn would as well). Please reach out with any questions. My basic advice is to be thoughtful about how you can be inclusive as you form a group, have a leader, communicate clearly about expectations, and embrace the connection aspect of having a group -- don't just make quilts together, get to know each other. Have fun. Stretch yourselves creatively!


*Sarah’s finished quilt, Unscripted, won a first place ribbon in the Group or Bee category at QuiltCon 2022. 

The current members of the Quilts Unscripted Bee (2022-2024) are:

2021-2022 members who contributed to the quilts shown in this post:

You can follow the bee on instagram at #quiltsunscripted and #quiltsunscriptedbee.