Spotlight: Marilyn Lone, Textile Artist

Marilyn Lone Sew It Boldly

Spotlight: Marilyn Lone, Textile Artist

Marilyn Lone translates the world around her in her art quilts. Her award-winning work is brave and bold, making effective use of color and value to communicate her artistic vision. Marilyn learned to sew as a child and never stopped creating. She embraces a variety of techniques to share her imagery through textile art.

Marilyn LoneHow did you learn to sew?

Home Ec class in school and my Mom. And by looking at how other people made things I thought “I can do that, too.”

What other types of hobbies do you do?

Gardening, reading, hand embroidery,

What is your favorite storage tip for your sewing supplies?

I use a florist’s glass frog by my sewing machine to keep tools handy – marking pencils, “purple thang”, hemostat, seam ripper, screwdriver, etc.

About how many UFOs do you think you have right now?

That I’m honestly going to finish? Just one.

How often do you start a new project?

Around once a month.

Are you the kind of quilter that plans everything out ahead of time, or do you just dive in and start playing with fabrics?

Dive in and wallow in the color.

When you are in your creative mood, do you listen to music, watch TV or do you prefer a quiet spot? If it is music, what types do you listen to? If watching TV, what kinds of shows?

Quiet suits me best. No music, no TV, no chatting friends.

What is your favorite tip for quilting? Or do you have a favorite tool to help you succeed at your projects?

Elisa’s Backporch Design Sew Easy Tweezers. These are the best for grabbing that last tiny bit of curved fabric to guide under the presser foot.


Enjoy some of Marilyn’s art quilts and their stories.

Autumn Forest Walk was named because these colors say autumn to me and the black vertical stripes remind me of deep shadows of tall trees. What a pleasure to stroll in this forest!

Autumn Forest Walk Art Quilt

The blocks on this quilt were made with a very freeing method of piecing, slashing and adding more fabric, and then trimming to the final size of the block. Nine blocks are larger, all using fabrics that blend well together, even though each one is a little different. They were machine pieced, then slashed to add the black for the trees.

I made the two smaller sizes of blocks in the same method, slashing and adding black for the trees. With the smallest of blocks on the top of the quilt, it depicts the top of the trees where the leaves and branches are smaller.

I sashed the blocks with solid fabrics in the gold and orange families — the colors of autumn! A few different colors were used in the sashing to add more visual interest to the quilt top.

I machine quilted Autumn Forest Walk with a leaf design on the outer border, a smaller leaf-like design in the blocks and some great filler machine quilting on the inner sashing.


As an art quilter, I love bright, bold color. I created this Orange Poppies art quilt using all Judy Robertson hand-dyed fabrics. 48″ x 52″.

Sew It Boldly Orange Poppies art quilt

If you aren’t familiar with Judy Robertson hand-dyed fabrics, you will wish you were! Because Judy has the most amazing color range in her fabric line that create natural shadows and textures on art quilts. Here I used a few pieces of her yellow, orange and melon hand dyed fabric and appliquéd flowers on a gorgeous hand dyed black fabric (from Judy, too).

I cut the flower petals out ‘fussy cut’ style, to take advantage of the beautiful shading and colors on the hand dyed fabric. Then I cut the leaves, stems and other foliage from one piece of beautiful texturized green fabric. The centers of the flowers used just a touch of the green, to help provide visual coherence in the piece, as well as some brown fabrics.

Fussy cut style of cutting is where you take your pattern piece and move it around on the piece of fabric until you get exactly the color or pattern you want in your quilt. The method is effective in quilts like this, as well as in quilts where you want a specific image or design to be the center of a quilt square.

Then I machine quilted the piece to add texture to the surface of the art quilt.


The Lights Are On Across The Street started out as a small improv design using scraps from my “to save” bin. Once I added the big pieces of the chartreuse and stepped back to look at it on my design wall, I thought that it could be a big green hedge outside my window. So that determined my quilting pattern – leaves! And look! The lights are on in that house across the street. So there must be a party going on! 59″ x 55″.

The Lights Are On Across The Street Art Quilt

Starting with scraps from other projects, this piece came alive as I put it on my design wall and stepped back to see where it should take me. I like to keep components left over from other art quilts in a bin — you never know when they might just be perfect in another project!

The center was a wonky log cabin that was an extra for a different project, and you can see the leftover half triangle squares – both green on green (my hedge) and orange and green. These add great elements to this finished piece! The little slivers of color make this a cohesive piece.

Finally, I finished with a free motion quilting leaf pattern — giving it texture with the theme of the quilt.


I made Seattle Steam when I worked in Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA. The area includes original buildings from Seattle’s early days, with beautiful architecture. You’ll find large pedestrian walkways between the buildings. So on nice Seattle summer days you’ll find people gathered to enjoy the perfect weather. There will probably be a street musician (or two), to entertain the crowd.

Across the street from my sixth floor office was the Seattle Steam Company. In the shining afternoon sun, that stone building glowed orange and the detailed architecture enhanced with deep shadows. So I just had to make it into art for my wall at home. 24″ x 32″.

Seattle SteamI machine pieced Seattle Steam with a very basic color scheme, impactful with the choice of colors for shading (a pale turquoise) and the lighter orange-gold color in the windows. Solid blacks and browns provide dramatic shadows, while pale turquoise highlights the building’s beautiful architecture.

Using hand dyed fabrics gives the piece texture and visual interest, like on the window ledge, under the windows. Then different sized window arches add dimension and movement.

Like my other art quilts, I machine quilted Seattle Steam.


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