Blues, teals, robin's egg blue. Having fun trying out my Blockstep pattern in Dear Mum fabrics.
I enjoy looking at the difference in light vs dark backgrounds. The feeling changes completely when the fabrics are against a darker teal vs white.
Next week school is back in session and I'll be getting back to a slightly more regular schedule. Although I like the break of summer, I also find I gravitate to the schedule and comfort of my routine once fall is here. My daughter will be moving back into the dorm at college next week as well so the house will soon feel very quiet.
Some fun activities that started this summer were two samplers- Moda Blockheads 2 and Splendid Sampler 2. I haven't typically been super active on Facebook and there is a vibrant and lively community there with the Blockheads page, so I find myself hanging out at Facebook more than normal. As a result of being on Facebook more recently, I realized I should relabel my business page to make it easier to find. It was previously just called "ColorAndQuilt" and I've added my name now so its "RobinPickensColorAndQuilt." Duh!! Why didn't I think of that earlier?? I can be really facebook-challenged sometimes! My instagram feed updates there so if you don't hang out on IG, check me out at facebook at: www.facebook.com/robinpickenscolorandquilt/
But back to Blockheads! I look forward to Wednesdays and seeing what the new block pattern will be and seeing all the beautiful versions people make. When I see how people sometimes add more pieced blocks within parts of the blocks I appreciate how they customize and creatively push the boundaries to make it their own. I'm using blue, green, pink and some yellow in my blocks and keeping it in that range of pretty colors while using fabrics from my Poppy Mae, Blushing Peonies, Dear Mum and Dandi Annie lines. It is really thrilling when I see other people using my fabrics too and in ways I would not have even imagined! What a gift!
These are just a couple of the blocks and I'm loving the mix of sizes in this project. We have 6" blocks up to a 24" block! That is huge! I can't wait to see what the overall layout is going to be and its fun to have it be a surprise. Join along with the Blockheads!
Up next...Splendid Sampler 2 update!
How did I not share this earlier? I was probably writing patterns and sewing and finishing calendars. But its never too late, right? This is the overview of the quilts I launched to go with my Dear Mum collection for Moda Fabrics at the Fall 2017 Quilt Market. And Dear Mum is in shops now!!
Left to right is Harlequin, Starlet, Equalizer and a refresh of Tokyo Terrace in Dear Mum. I thoroughly enjoyed working with the Robin's Egg blue/aqua color in this group and the Tokyo Terrace re-fresh was an idea I had rambling around in my head. It was a last minute decision to add that one in (because there is not enough sewing to do before market!) and I'm so glad I did. I wanted to use that lovely Bella Solid Dovetail with the mums and I love the warmth of that gray.
Here's my booth with the quilts I designed and the totes I made using Amy Sinabaldi's Riverside tote pattern. The quilt on the chair is from Tula Pink's 100 Modern Blocks book and I used my previous lines on it. Equalizer got to hang up in the sales area!
The beautiful applique quilt is by Barb Cherniwchan of Coach House Designs. She makes stunning quilts and kits.
A fun moment for me was meeting Tula Pink and taking this picture with her with my version of her City Sampler quilt using the 100 Modern Blocks book she made. I'm using all Poppy Mae and Blushing Peonies on this, mixed with solids.
And on the last day a bit of fun playing on the APQS Millie longarm! Drawing on fabric- oh yes! Market is wonderful for seeing new things and lots of inspiration.
Its been feeling pretty good to get back to projects with Dear Mum fabric. I had a lot of ideas in my head for working with the blue/teals/robin's egg color since that was new to my group at the time. But when I saw this grouping of the reds I got excited about the idea of a quilt made from just this colorway. It's my month for the block for my quilting bee through my local guild so I gave everyone a little of these fabrics (the mums, dots and paisleys) and asked them to do their own interpretation or inspiration with them for a 12' block. I can't wait to see what I get back!
Want to see the whole color range? Robin's egg blue, green, red, and grays. I am loving how these work with Bella Solids of Spray, Chartreuse, Dovetail, Etchings Slate and Charcoal.
Dear Mum is in shops now! Don't forget your Mum and sew up a colorful garden!!
Want to see more with Dear Mum? Check out some tote ideas!
I have a new addiction. Its not buying shoes. Its not chocolate (okay, that one is already established). It's joining in to Sew Alongs.
There is a rush of excitement when you finish a block and photograph it and add it up on instagram or facebook or where ever your sew along is happening. Little pockets of motivated time for a do-able thing. Baby steps that add up to a bigger thing. Sharing in the online community and interacting, getting feedback, seeing how people interpret and add their style and taste, encouraging each other...it's about the people as much as the sewing.
Sew alongs are like my new crack. And in my need for my next "fix" I jumped into two of them in the last few days: Moda Block Heads 2 and the Splendid Sampler 2.
There is a huge group on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/253867175058745/ where you can post your blocks. The first block pattern is Stellar Star from Lynne Hagmeier . The second one is Buckeye Beauty from Me and My Sister Designs. I'm using fabrics from my lines- the top one has fabrics from Blushing Peonies and Dear Mum with Bella Solids Ruby Ice and Light Lime. The bottom one is Dear Mum in the middle with Dandi Annie for the dots and birds. I thought it would be fun to just mix the lines and use them all.
The next Sew Along I jumped into is The Splendid Sampler 2 hosted by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson. I loved seeing what people made from the Splendid Sampler 1 and the first 20 blocks will be released free on a weekly basis, on Thursday mornings. If you want to make more than the first 20, as I'm SURE I will, then the remaining blocks will be in the book The Splendid Sampler 2 which comes out in October.
This first block, Quilt Market, is from Alex Veronelli at Auriful thread and I love it! I always take a deep breath before trimming something like this...and double check the placement as its noted in the directions.
For this project I think I am going to stay in the gray family and mix in yellows from my new Dandi Annie collection. Maybe I'll add more colors as I go along- we'll see. That is the fun of a sampler. You can experiment as you go along and see what fits the blocks and the group.
Want to join along? Come on, its a GOOD addiction! I'll try to post here each weekend to show my progress. Or check out my feed at Instagram @robinpickens.
Now that Quilt Market has passed, I'm thrilled that I can finally share my Dandi-Annie line for Moda Fabrics! The glowing golds and yellows have been warming up my office and brightening my days. This was a special collection to design because it reminds me of growing up and seeing the cheery yellow blooms pop up in our yard. As kids, we loved the simple happy flowers that could be twisted into necklaces and rubbed into our skin to make a lovely golden color. But even better than the yellow blooms were the mature puff balls of seeds. We knew our dreams would come true if we could blow the seeds off the stem in one breath.
After blowing the seeds off the dandelion stem, we would watch our seeds travel off in the breeze in a graceful dance. Hopefullness. Sunny days. Being a kid and finding the beauty in a what others considered a weed.
Those are the memories and wishes wrapped up in the threads of Dandi-Annie. Little birds also pay a visit in this group, jauntily picking their own bouquet of dandelions. Flyaway seeds, some woven textures and plaid, and a lattice repeat that makes me think of cottage gardens...cheery coordinates for a happy group.
Warm colors fill the group with golds, pinks and greens and they are balanced with the cool of gray. The line still coordinates with the colors from my previous collections so I'm sure to try some mixing in of Blushing Peonies and Dear Mum and Poppy Mae. The more the merrier in the garden!
I hope you like Dandi-Annie as much as I do. I think its my favorite Moda group so far! It will be arriving in quilt shops in November 2018. Stay tuned for QUILTS!
A bit of panic started the morning the day my husband and I left for Portland. We were doing great on time- actually got to the airport early. Good, right? Well we didn't realize the long term parking lot was closed down to a fraction of it's former self for construction (what construction, I didn't see any trucks or equipment?) so there was very limited parking. Very. Very. Limited. Other parking lots were full due to the large number of cars that had the same problem we had- finding a parking space. After frantic driving blocks and circling around we finally found a lot (at valet prices, oh well). So even though we were early, technically, WE MISSED OUR FLIGHT TO PORTLAND! Sigh.
Tensions were high in the car that morning and I'm happy to say I'm still married. The good news is we got on a flight 3 hours later with minimal extra charges but it was an interesting way to start the trip. We got to Portland safe and on the day we intended, so that is really all that matters. But I learned...take the Flyaway bus to LAX. Don't drive.
Once we got to Portland and the convention center the setup went quickly due to the fact that I had my husband along for his FIRST EVER time at Quilt Market! It takes me three times longer to hang a quilt by myself on a ladder vs standing back and saying "yeah, a little to the right baby." I'll get into the quilts and fabrics on the next post. But for now, this is me after a 4:30am wake up, missed flight, train ride into city, hardly any food and huge relief to be there and be set up! Yeah, after checking in to the hotel we had a nice dinner and glass of wine so that made up for it.
I was super excited to bring along the quilt top for my Gypsy Wife quilt that I did with the GnomeAngel sew-a-long on instagram. I wanted to show it to the amazing Jen Kingwell, whose pattern it is, and who creates the most amazing works of fabric art!
Another highlight of the trip was meeting some of the talented and incredible people from the mill in Korea. They brought me a beautiful gift of the scarf I am wearing and were so LOVELY! They make magic with my designs and I am so grateful for their skill.
Of course while at market I must buy some things myself, right? I bought a new Baby Lock Sashiko sewing machine, a Daylight company floor lamp and was exposed to the luscious and lovely threads at Cosmo and Cosmo's Tsu Mu Gi. I really needed to go home before I bought more.
The best part of the trip is not only connecting with shop owners and other designers but also having time with the people at Moda. I am so blessed to work with such a fantastic group of people who are great at their jobs, are committed to excellence and their customers, are forward thinkers and truly GOOD people. They are a pleasure to be around and they make market special and fun. Thank you Moda!
I love totes! If you are a quilter I'm guessing you do too. Or you do even if you are not a quilter. I've made three totes with Dear Mum fabrics and I get comments constantly when I use them!
For Quilt Market I made these totes using a free pattern that is on Amy Sinabaldi's blog Nana company. I love the large size of the totes and find these are my go-to bags to transport quilts in when I am taking one to show at a guild meeting or work on binding in the car while I wait to pick up carpool. They came together quickly and although I learned I need to work on fitting my inside linings better, I'm pretty happy with them! And if you are wondering about the labels on these- I ordered a swatch of fabric from spoonflower.com with my etsy shop logo on them so I could make labels.
This next tote is one of my very favorites! I made it at Sew Together Stitching Lounge in Los Angeles and I really hope Victoria, the owner, makes a pattern to sell of this. It uses Soft and Stable by Annie and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the straps. It is jute webbing that is used in upholstery. This tote was made in a couple hours. I love a project like that! Those cute toes...that is my daughter!
With all the rush of getting ready for quilt market I didn't realize I had not posted pictures of my Dear Mum line that is in shops now! I was so excited to do this line and include a pretty robin's egg blue (warm blue) that has a little bit of a turquoise feel. The main print is comprised of two kinds of mums- one of them being the oh so dramatic Anastasia Mum in a lovely chartreuse green. These mums fascinate me! I love their green color and graceful upward petals.
Tomorrow I'll share more of the quilts that launched with this group: Starlet, Equalizer and Harlequin, along with a color remix for Tokyo Terrace. I also made a cute tote with the bug print!
Keep planting, keep sewing, keep loving the splendor of blooming beauties!
I'm deep in designing some new quilt patterns to go with my new line I'll be showing at the spring Quilt Market, but those have to stay secret for now! However, I thought it could be fun to share a little of what goes into the process of making a quilt pattern! I'm really not showing the part of making the actual quilts because you all know what it's like to make a quilt. This is the other part. I work on the computer first for my designing. Yup, nothing gets cut till I've thought it out. I use Electric Quilt 8 and Adobe Illustrator. I have used Illustrator for many years so I have the most comfort with that software.
I love creating colorful florals and patterns. Each collection has a personality based on the florals and colors and I try to design quilts that go along with that in some way, either with larger panels to showcase large scale prints, or shapes of blocks that speak to some thing about the main flower. The image above shows part of the process I went through with Town Square Garden for the Blushing Peonies collection. In this case I knew I wanted to do a medallion quilt with a large center panel and started with images on the upper left. Peonies having such a beautiful rounded shape so I ended up using arcs of triangles to the outside to reference the curved softness and blooms (the images on the right). After I have the structure I like, I break it down into what blocks are the most logical to make and describe in instructions.
I use Moda Bella Solids with my prints and love the range of colors that coordinate perfectly. I get a lot of use out of my Bella Solids Match Maker and color swatches. The computer allows me to try new color combinations very quickly and easily. In figuring out blocks I also do a lot of drawing and scribbling in my notebooks. Sometimes nothing beats paper to jot stuff down on!
An important part of figuring out a quilt is the size, the scale, and the math of the yardage needed. I try to design some of my patterns to utilize precuts because they are such a handy way to get a whole coordinating collection with a lot of variety without having to buy tons of yardage for that much variety. If I'm using precuts, there are some parameters I stay within for piece sizes for my blocks. To figure out my yardage, I take all the little pieces I made in Illustrator and lay them out the way I would cut them on yards of fabric, as is shown on the image above. I'm sure there are faster ways to figure this out but I'm very visual in my thinking so this way works for me.
Then there are the steps of making the actual quilts and finding out what doesn't happen the way I thought it would on the computer. I make revisions on instructions, finish quilts and photograph them (and that could be a whole different blog post).
I've got a graphic design background so I handle all the diagrams and layouts myself. The writing of the instructions is often the most challenging part for me and I try to assume people have limited knowledge of piecing. Because I am newer to this, that's the way my brain thinks- simple steps please! I use a technical editor who goes over my patterns before printing and checks my instructions, terminology, yardage and math and any mistakes in my layouts. I get the layouts revised and it's off to press!
When the patterns come back from the printer my handy helper (my dear sweet husband) and I have marathon sessions bagging patterns. The dining room table, the kitchen counters, everything gets used fill the initial larger orders. And then woosh! off they go to shops and sewing rooms!
You may have noticed coffee cups in some of the shots...yes, lots of coffee when I'm deep in pattern-land! Hope you have enjoyed this little view into my process! If you'd like to check out some of these patterns they are carried in local quilt shops and on my etsy shop. Happy sewing!!
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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