When I saw the Kinship Fusion Sampler created by Gnome Angel and Skyberries I knew I wanted to try it in Thatched fabric, my new basics line coming out with Moda Fabrics (shipping in November 2019). I was wanting a color-play exercise that used a limited palette and a select group of the fabrics. I like this line for fillers and backgrounds, but they deserve to hold their own in a quilt sew-along!
I love the modern feel of many of the blocks, playing with geometry in often asymmetrical layouts. I thought the woven illustration of Thatched would work well to add just a little depth to the blocks.
I actually jumped in about a week into the sew-along, which is typical for me. I WANTED to do the sew-along but I get distracted and think I don't have time to add ANOTHER project. But then I see people posting on instagram and I can't stand it anymore and jump in late.
My original plan was to make the quilt in mostly grays and white with a tiny pop of color. Maybe just the heart block in orange? I selected three grays from Thatched to use- the Gray 85, Pebble 24 and Shadow 117, giving me a light to dark range of grays. There are actually 5 grays in this first release of Thatched but I wanted to keep it simple. I've never made a black and white quilt before or a black, white and gray one, so this was a new exercise in restraint.
fBut I guess at heart I am really a COLOR GIRL and I needed more than just one pop of color! I loved the idea of just orange with the quilt, but the addition of greens to the mix felt so much more appealing and fun. I really like how the combination of Chartreuse 75, Sprig 14, Peacock 77 and Turquoise 101 play together. It was a tough call to decide if I should add the dark green Pine 44 to the mix but I left it at the original four greens.
For the oranges I used Tangerine 82 and Apricot 103. Again, tempted to add more with Maize gold but I pared it back. Every time I use the oranges it feels like a jolt of orange juice waking me up!
Usually I keep the color story of greens or oranges within a block but once in awhile, one escapes and jumps in another color block! Quilt block 29 is an example of that with it's little orange square. And block 82 with one orange corner to liven up the group! (And yes, sometimes I go out of order and make some of the later squares in advance if I have the right pieces cut)
When I got to day 25, I layed out what I had on the floor to get a feeling for them all together. For the planning of this sampler, I used the coloring sheet that Gnome Angel has on her blog at https://www.gnomeangel.com/100days100blocks2019-colouring-sheet/. It was tremendously helpful in planning and playing around with the colors. You need to purchase the pattern to get the coloring sheets and I am not posting my colored in one since that would be a violation of the pattern copyright.
Yes, my helper was involved and let me know she was bored of this whole thing.
There is one thing I wanted to mention about this particular pattern for a sampler. I really appreciate that the sizes of the blocks you cut are very consistent so it is efficient with fabric and makes it easy to precut pieces. For example, a lot of pieces might be 2 1/2" wide so you knew that by cutting that size strip, it would be utilized for a lot of smaller pieces. I could go through and count out how many pieces I would need at certain sizes or how many flying geese were needed at the same size and then make them in bulk. This really cuts down on time and makes it enjoyable to move through the blocks faster and with more efficiency and economy. I thought it was a very smartly planned out sampler that way!
I have been loving the blocks I've been seeing on instagram from other people sewing along. I particularly love seeing some of the fussy cutting and cute fabrics. It is a different feeling to do a sampler with a limited palette and limited fabrics and I like the new muscle that is flexing in my mind to explore the contrast and color relationships. I like how clean and modern this feels to me. But I can't lie, a part of me wants to just throw one of my big flowers into one of these blocks!
I'm guessing the next time I share these blocks on the blog I'll be done or at least close to done. Follow me on instagram to see more progress with the Thatched blocks at @robinpickens. Follow along to see all the great blocks on instagram with the hashtag #kinshipfusionsampler or #100blocks100days2019 and thank you Angie @gnomeangel and Bec @skyberries for a great sewalong! (Also, I am dying over Bec's blocks made with Heather Ross fabrics- fantastic!!)
I like to pair bigger prints with some solids for balance. But does that mean all solids are flat? Calm and rest for the eye can still have subtleties of design and texture. There is something so enjoyable in a little tonal and linear variation that brings interest and depth, like the character of a hand drawn line. It is in this drawn texture that I think of threads coming together to create "Thatched."
Thatched was hatched (ha, ha!) a number of collections ago, as a coordinate for Dear Mum. The little woven drawn lines became a texture print in gray, warm red, green and the Robin's egg blue. It blended so well it wove its way into the next collection, and the next.
Now Thatched is ready to claim its place as a basics line and make its OWN color statement. Colors have been added to round out the palette to include browns, blues, oranges, burgundy and Berry. 30 prints of luscious colors.
Perhaps you keep Thatched as a subtle texture print to balance out your larger prints and be a background fabric or blender. Or you may decide to play with the combinations and relationships of color families and groupings in color studies with saturated splendor.
Let your world of color mix with the texture of drawn line, the feeling of linear weaving. We are, after all, makers. We have interwoven lives and notice the small textures and details that make life richer.
Lean in and notice the detail. Rejoice in the imperfections. Drink in the saturated colors.
At my conference table (the kitchen table!) the ring of color commands presence in the space, singing out a rainbow of song.
Enjoy the blues of Navy, Marine, Sky and Royal. Dark to go with denim. Light to brighten like the sky. Blues blend into greens and teal shades. Moody, pretty blues. Grays that are warm and cool, speckled and subtle. Reds that are deep and dramatic or bright and cheery (and yes, the Crimson and Pine of Splendid are in the basics).
Drawn line in color tones with the character and heart of handmade texture.
The ring of color is almost luminous under the light as night time falls. I will clear it tomorrow. For tonight I will sleep with rainbow dreams...
Hop on over to youtube to see Jennifer from Shabby Fabrics do a tutorial of a festive Christmas Tree Farm Table Runner!
She used a pattern that Moda Fabrics had and allowed her to share. The trees are red and green on one side and white on the other- a fun reverse effect of background vs foreground. Of course I'm really thrilled with this particular table runner since she's showing it in Splendid fabric!!
Along with the Splendid collection there are pops of red and gold star bursts in Grunge fabric as well as with white and star bursts on the background white. I loved seeing how these trees came together in two sides with the strips!
If you are interested in Tree Farm Table Runner kits, Shabby Fabrics has a few available at their store! Happy holiday sewing!
I'm happy to announce my shopify store is up and running! Actually it has been up and running for a short while but I'm still working out some of the kinks and I'm still deep in my learning curve. I signed up for shopify and it took me about a year to learn in between all the other stuff going on, and pull the "publish" trigger. But today is the first day I'm listing a product that is NOT on etsy and is only at my shopify site. It's a shift for me and I'm quite excited.
I've been on etsy for a number of years. And etsy has been a good place for me to be. I will STILL continue to have my shop there as well. I have no plans on shutting my etsy shop down because I know some people are comfortable shopping there. However, I knew there were some ways that etsy was starting to feel like it wasn't the right fit for me as my only avenue to have a shop.
So what wasn't fitting so right? There are some great reasons why you want to start on etsy. But there are some great reasons to grow and evolve beyond etsy too. These are some of my main reasons to expand to the shopify platform.
1. Fees. First off there is a listing fee on etsy of 20 cents per item and every time that item sells and another "same" item is up in the que, you pay another 20 cent fee. And then there is a percentage fee that etsy takes on the cost of each sale. In 2018 etsy increased that fee from 3.5% to 5%. That increase starts to add up over time. And it adds up a lot on larger ticket items. And etsy started charging 5% fees on shipping costs as well. A shipping cost is something I pay to ship something. It is not profit. So to pay a 5% fee on a cost I pay to ship goods is problematic. It's not till you really look at the numbers and see what you are paying in fees each week that it becomes REAL. Kinda like paying taxes. The actual numbers sting a little even though you are thankful you are making a living.
2. Analytics. Knowledge is power and the more you can figure out where your traffic comes from, the better. And truth be told, very little of my traffic was coming from within etsy. It can be well worth it to pay for real estate in a well traveled neighborhood that brings in a lot of customers "finding" you because you are in that location. But looking at my analytics showed me that very little of my customers come from within etsy. Most come from direct links, my website, linktree or pinterest. And it was frustruating to see that now the analytics have changed and direct traffic is combined with "etsy app" so it is harder to figure out that number. With the "etsy app" part of "direct", a direct link could have opened up within someone's etsy app on their mobile device when they clicked on a link. That doesn't mean they "found" you through etsy. I question why they are lumped together when it seems to only muddy the factual information of what etsy is really bringing to me in searches. If some of the increased etsy fees were justified with ideas of improving the search features, that wasn't really applying to me since that is not what drives the majority of my traffic.
3. Loss of control. Every time a company changes an algorithm or decides to implement a new pricing strategy or changes their business goals, it directly impacts your business as a shop owner. But it feels like it happens to you without having any control over it. My best example of this is craftsy (which is now Blueprint.com). I had quilt patterns for sale on craftsy.com and I made sales there. Then I got the email, 6 days before Christmas 2018 with the line "On 12/28, your pattern store will be removed from Craftsy.com" with an explanation that they were changing their marketplace and editing down the individual stores. Honestly, one week is not a lot of time for notice that your shop will be closed, not to mention it being the week before Christmas when you get the news! And it was their decision and not yours. It is THEIR platform and they have the right to do that. And its business. It is not personal. Some designers got to keep patterns up and for sale but craftsy decided which ones and the designers did not have control over whether or not they could add more. I'd assume some kind of approval process was implemented for that but I didn't pay much attention since my shop was on the "delete" list.
This was a gift really. I learned that I feel better if I have more control over my own business. It gave me a kick in the bottom to work on that shopify site. Yes, it still took me another 6 months to get it open but I felt fortunate to have other solutions. Fortunate that I had already researched what online platforms I liked. Fortunate that all my eggs were not in ONE basket.
4. Connection to buyers. Yes, etsy gives you the ability to communicate with your customers through a conversation. But the email address of a buyer is theirs unless a customer gives you permission to contact them otherwise. I have no desire to send a ton of annoying emails to customers or abuse a relationship we may have. However, when I discover I've made a mistake on a pattern, it sure would be nice to have an email list from those buyers whom I could tell there is a correction. Or the ability to ask if you want to be kept up to date on my shop info through a newsletter correspondence. Privacy rules are in place for good reasons, but etsy doesn't let you ask people if they WANT that type of correspondence from you. If I want to let people know about an upcoming sale or a new line coming out, I hope they follow me on the blog, on instagram, on facebook, because I can't really do it with the efficiency of a newsletter on etsy. Etsy essentially "owns" the contact information.
5. How it looks. Etsy doesn't look bad. But I'm a designer and I like to have more control over how something LOOKS. I like to decide the decor in my home, the way I dress, the color on my walls, along with my company logo and how my images are shown. Etsy has a pretty uniform shop setup and its not so easy to mold that to a different look or have your own branding be more important. As a design-driven company, I wasn't so sure that fit with the directions I am headed and how I want to explore my company look and presence.
6. The ability to customize. There are some options for Drop Ship, direct Print-on-demand products but its limited. Having more partners with your products and offerings? There are lots of companies that will integrate and work with shopify and some of the other online storefront platforms. More choices. More areas to grow into if you decide to. My shop is still pretty basic. But I like that it can grow and change more easily to include more options and customizations.
With all that said, I hope you understand why I opened up my RobinPickensInc.com shop which is hosted through shopify. Its my store and I can manage it more to my liking. Perhaps you are a quilter or designer and are struggling with some of the same issues I mentioned. A wonderful article about why you should consider moving beyond etsy is "Why building a business solely on etsy is a bad idea (and what to do instead) by Sarah Peterson. She has excellent points that I have not covered here and I think it is a really interesting and informative read.
I did a lot of research to make sure shopify had staying power, processed payments securely (we all know that is very important!) and was scalable and worked for larger companies who couldn't risk being an experiment. I pay to have a shop on shopify and I believe I am getting a good value for my dollar, just as I want you to have. I wondered if I would sell enough to justify the costs but I believe in a case like a business store, you have to pay for quality and security. Just make sure you are paying for the things that help YOU as a business and not just the platform company.
As I mentioned earlier, my etsy shop will still be open. But as my business evolves and I grow, my shop must be allowed to grow with me. My plan is I will have my kits, including ones I can put together with my fabrics that are out of print, listed here through robinpickens.com (linking to my shopify store) which takes you to https://robinpickensinc.com. I also hope to have some other sewing and design related products showing up soon to add some color and smile to your creative space! You can still find quilt patterns, both in print form and digital downloads through my etsy shop along with them being on the shopify store. There are currently some kits offered on etsy and I will continue to offer the new patterns. But if you want to see more of my designs and kits, sign up to stay connected to the shopify site and my newsletter and I am happy to keep you in the loop! I hope this was helpful to you and explained part of this transition. Thank you so much for your support and keep creating!
A quick catch-up on some Moda Blockheads2 blocks. I have learned so much while doing these blocks! I tried triangle paper for the first time (and liked it!) and I stretched myself with smaller piecing on some of these than I normally do. With every sewalong I do I feel my skills become better. I start to think more efficiently when I look at instructions and question if I can make more of the blocks in a different way (like making Half Square Triangles in the 8-at-a-time method).
This first one is Sherri McConnell's block "Vintage" and I used a bunch of scraps I had from earlier blocks from my Dear Mum collection. I am pretty pleased with how this one came out. I don't have that much experience doing Quarter Square Triangles so this was good practice!
This was the alternative block designed by Corey Yoder called Rainbow Vine. Mine is not a rainbow but does have a variety of green leaves. I liked how quickly this fun block came together. Now I think I need to make sure the block above in my arrangement has a design that suggests a flower bloom!
The next block is a larger 18" one and is designed by Betsy Chutchian. Feels good to get this one completed and I really like this pattern! I used #poppymaefabric and #blushingpeonies . After making a big 18” block like this I needed to do a small one next!
And last one to share today is this block designed by Corey Yoder. Its called Dainty Blossom and is an alternate for the Block 48 which was originally designed in applique. This is so cheery! 12 inch block with a big blooming presence!
I just may be seeing my blockheads blocks wrapping up here! Time for arranging and joining!
I know its a journey and not a race. But I feel like I can see the finish line. But I'm not there yet. One step at a time...that's how progress happens. These are the things I tell myself when I'm nearing the end and need that extra push!
So a few more blocks here. Above its the Scrappy Checkerboard designed by Cory Yoder. Below its Ribbon Star by Lynne Hagmeier. I'm trying to take stock of what I have and what I need from a perspective of color and size. I saw a great layout on instagram that Susan @quiltingcousin did and I liked the organization of blocks in the overall quilt. I've decided to model my quilt after this layout too.
But first, finishing the blocks. I'm not done yet. But I'm keeping up the effort and I WILL FINISH! As I roll closer to the finish line I've done Fidget Spinner by Lynne Hagmeier and Bella Spinners by Me & My Sister Designs. Also Around the Corner by Carrie Nelson and On Point Star by Stacy Iest Hsu. Sew on!!!
My Christmas quilts featuring my Splendid fabric came back from the longarmer, Marion Bott in Las Vegas (she's @bottmarion on Instagram). Oh I love the textures that get added to the quilts when they have the quilting done! I just want to lightly stroke each quilt and feel the patterns of the sewing.
I'm excited that Splendid is in shops now so you can all work on projects with these too! My next step is to put the bindings on and also make pillow backs and add zippers to the pillow cases (or should I leave them as envelope backs?)
Here is the Showering Stars Table Runner as I'm sewing the binding on. I like the linear pantograph of the quilting. The direction of the lines balances out the long format of the runner and strong patchwork lines of the star trails by going the other direction (horizontally vs vertically).
At the time that I was designing these patterns I had to pick out the binding fabric without having the actual made-up quilt in front of me. That is always a challenge for me- deciding binding recommendations so early in the process (but if it goes in a sales catalog I have to do it early). For most of the quilts in this group I wanted the bindings more subtle and just a complimenting Christmas color, so if the quilt is red, I'm doing a simple green. And in the case of Cardinal's Christmas Wreath, I felt so many prints were on the right and left side borders that a solid or almost-solid was called for.
But when it came to Jubilant Song I had picked the striped fabric for binding and boy, do I love it! Now I wish I had picked a striped binding for Joy and Delight. But my green strips are cut and they are attached to the front, awaiting the hand sewing to the back. I am not going to rip off a whole quilt's binding at this point. But note to future-self, be bold with the stripes!!
I recently posted some scrap bags of Splendid fabric in my online shop. There is a limited quantity so when they are gone, they're gone. And I'll be getting a few quilt kits of Joy and Delight up soon too! But for today, a-binding-we-will-sew!
I, like most quilters/makers, have a number of projects in the works at the same time. Yup. Because they all look so wonderful! I did decide to join in the Bowtie Flower sewalong that Elizabeth Chappell of Quilter's Candy is hosting on instagram. When I saw her quilt on the pattern cover, I knew I wanted to try it with Painted Meadow!
To be honest, in order to join a sewalong right now, I need to feel its something that won't take me hours and hours of long work. I want some projects that are doable and I can get to the finish line. I looked over the pattern and realized that it would fit in to my schedule and I could set up time to do all the cutting, all the HST, all the trimming, etc. Add in chain piecing and I'm there! Plus, I have to admit that sometimes I get bogged down in making my own patterns so it is a breath of fresh air to make quilts from patterns created by other designers.
For my white I am using Moda Bella Solids White Bleached 98. The pincushion is from Wooly Felted Wonders. Isn't it cute?
After deciding which prints I wanted to use (and yes, I mocked it up in the computer using the coloring page that Elizabeth provided- very helpful!) I got to work cutting. I decided to make my Half Square Triangles using an 8-at-a-time method. So my squares I cut for HST were actually 10" to make 8 HSTs. The exceptions were the blocks with bees in them. I fussy cut those so my bees would be center stage in the triangle shape.
I recently bought myself a Martelli turn table and cutting mat. Wow! It is a dream to use. I really enjoy having good tools and look forward to treating myself for a birthday or if I meet a goal I've set.
Next up were the stitch and flip blocks.
When making the stitch and flip blocks, I like to sew an extra seam in the part I am cutting off to make additional Half Square Triangles to use for something else. They are small and cute and I'm not sure what I'm going to make with them yet. I'll trim them up when watching tv some night. I'm thinking of doing a little mini wall quilt with them.
Stacks of blocks are now pressed and ready to go!
I hope you are playing along too. Check out quilters_candy on instagram and hashtag #bowtieflowerquilt and #bowtieflowerqal to see what others are doing!
Can you imagine a meadow with hearty, deeply colorful blooms like the red and pink sunset colors across the sky? This is what I thought of while I visited my mother last summer and we walked through the gardens. The coneflowers were in full bloom in the warm summer sun with their plump centers drawing in the bees and butterflies.
I love the proportions of coneflowers and those big full cones, full of nectar, and colorful petals that hang down with a lovely curve in warm red, fuscia and rich sunset shades. The flowers seem as if they are always looking up to the sky in anticipation of the happy sun or as a welcome for the bumblebees.
The beautiful shape of the coneflower inspired this collection and I couldn’t resist adding in those bumblebees- so plump and fuzzy, just like the flower centers! The fabric group also includes little drawings that show the coneflowers and bees in sweet illustrations or dancing within paisley shapes. Watercolor textures, sprigs of plants and sketchy oval dots compliment the lively group.
Painted Meadow has 4 colorways of cream, pinks, green and teal. It is available in precuts of Layer Cakes, Charm Packs, Jelly Rolls, Fat Quarter Bundles and Mini Charms. It was shown at the Kansas City, MO Quilt Market 2019 with Moda Fabrics and will be shipping to quilt shops in October, 2019.
Enjoy the sunset colors of Painted Meadow with coneflowers and the buzzing of plump bees as you feel the warm summer sun…
I've never been to Kansas City so I was really looking forward to visiting a new city, and being there with my husband and enjoying some BBQ and time away from the daily routine. Market requires numerous weeks of preparation so by the time we get there, I'm ready for a the excitement of the show and seeing lots of quilt people! And did I mention BBQ? Plenty of good eating on the trip! A whole day early (and no missed flights this time!) gave us time to rest, explore the city a little and get some sleep before the big set-up. Yup- barbeque was on the menu and it did not disappoint! braised and bbq'd everything and enjoyed the ambiance of the Power and Light district.
We stayed at the Marriot near the convention center, across the street in the older section that was renovated (the former Muehlebach Hotel). The rooms were lovely and renovated and the lobbies were elegant. I loved that we had the top floor so the ceilings were really high and the light was great! I had a great time taking photos of some of the quilts in the room before set up.
So what can you fit in two suitcases? Turns out you can fit: booth fold up boxes, seed packets, 6 quilts, 6 hangers, a quilted tote, promo flyers and clothes and toiletries for two people for 5 days. Not bad.
From a blank canvas to a quilted world! I had my three new quilt patterns, Beanstalk, Kyoto Steps and Picket on display, made up in my new fabric line, Painted Meadow. The three main quilts on the wall and left quilt ladder were longarm quilted by Marion Bott. Don't you love the textures? The Kyoto Steps on the ladder in teal and the pink and green Picket (seen in hotel room) were longarm quilted by Sally Corona at Corona Quiltworks.
For a little giveaway this time I got coneflower seeds (did I mention my new line Painted Meadown is based on coneflowers??) and made up seed packets. I hope the seeds made it all over the globe and into fresh dirt, ready to grow and bloom!
Sarah Huechteman made up a sample of the Beanstalk quilt for Moda and she made me a little gift with some of the leftovers of the Painted Meadow fabrics! How adorable is this little Bitsy Box?! The pattern is from Ticklegrass Designs. Precious!!
What really makes market amazing for me is the time I have with the Moda people and the other designers. I am so grateful to have this experience and company to work with!
I had a great time seeing shop owners and visiting at the Moda party. Another market done and now its time to plan for the next one!
Oh! And if you are wondering, Painted Meadow will be shipping to quilt shops in October 2019.
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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