Criteria for Blushing Peonies Quilt #3: Something bold to go on my wall. Showcase a large central panel of floral fabric. Try a medallion that mimics the blooming of a flower. My solution: Town Square Garden.
I have a discrete group of three women I show my ideas to early on. My mother, my sister and my friend Darci. It is interesting how I will get three very similar answers or three completely different opinions. They are a great test group. With this one, it was my sister who commented that the first version was too Southwestern-Aztec looking. And it was. Okay, new challenge…use geometric shapes and suggest a more curved feeling of petals and layers. Finally I came upon this version and I have to say I am really happy with this one. I kept my big center square for the bold large scale florals to show off their colorful petals. The outer shapes mimic the open petals. But it is also reminds me of the structure of a town square with a beautiful park in the middle, blooming with life and activity, surrounded by blocks of shops and homes that radiate out. This reminds me of grabbing the picnic basket and heading to the town square to hear the band play while the park flowers blow softly in the warm sun. Evening sets as crickets chirp with the music and we lay on the picnic blanket and look up as the stars appear. It’s a small town, main street kind of weekend.
The long-arm quilting on this quilt was done by Tanya Heldman of Free Range Quilter in Los Angeles. She really had a great vision for the solid areas of the quilt. Growing vines, curves, arcs…it blows my mind how she sculpted the texture of the background. Thank you Tanya!
Town Square Garden is carried by United Notions and ships to stores in early November when my Blushing Peonies collection for Moda Fabrics ships. I’m also carrying it in my shop at https://robinpickensinc.com/. Wall size here is 54” x 54”. The pattern also includes a scaled down version of 38 x38”. I am currently quilting that on my home machine and will post more pictures when it’s ready. I’d love to know…what is your preferred size for wall quilts?
Garden on…quilt on…go visit the town square…
Blockstep is a flexible quilt pattern that is great for precut fabric-like layer cakes and jelly rolls or for using up assorted scraps that are at least 2 1/2" wide. The modern quilting design is an interplay of chunky square outlines and splitting them and playing with those sides, or brackets, in rotation.
I first started playing with these simple shapes (or geometric shapes) when I was taking one of my first surface design classes at Otis College of Design. Repeats with rotation were part of the assignment, and I ended up creating this fun design.
Since this design was originally artwork, I printed out this pattern to create some chic wall hangings for my home. The first wall hanging was for my kitchen, which I had done in solid colors. The colors I ended up choosing for the piece were shades of olive green, khaki, and some orange. I then created a red color-way print for the Christmas season to put on the wall. (It even ended up being printed by a company in reds and greens for some Christmas gift wrap).
If you are a quilter and love modern quilt ideas or geometric quilt patterns, then you can thank my mother for this quilt. This is because it was my mother who commented that this would make an interesting quilt. I guess that suggestion hung in the back of my mind and finally came to life about 12 years later.
So, 12 years later, I am happy to finally introduce the Blockstep!
Blockstep is an easy pattern that is great for beginner quilters who are wanting to try their hand at simple geometric quilting. The pattern takes square blocks and splits them and rotates them to create this ''complicated'' geometric design. However, this simple pattern is very easy to follow and takes less time to complete than you might think. Plus, the sewing pattern itself doesn't involve intricate quilting blocks or dramatic curves, which is why it's perfect for beginners or basic quilters.
Now, with that being said, for all the advanced quilters out there, I would still recommend this pattern to you as well! With your sewing skill level being more ''advanced'', you will definitely have a quilt top made in no time at all. However, if you want to make this a bit more of a challenge for yourself, I recommend trying some free motion quilting on top or experimenting with different fabrics and really play with the combinations of light and dark and color arrangement.
This is also a good design to take a more floral print and use it in what can be seen as a more modern arrangement, balanced with solids. I used the floral prints within the blocks and brackets and play with the balance of pattern against solid and am loving the versatility of the framework.
Also, speaking of versatility, this pattern can easily be scaled up and down to create different size quilts, To adjust the size all you would need to do is add additional row of squares, either way, to move up to a queen or king-sized quilt. In my pattern, I included information for wall/lap (which could also work as cozy crib-size), twin, and queen.
As someone who loves modern quilts, I wanted to step outside the box and try some modern techniques that you might not see in a traditional pattern. One of those modern and new techniques (at least for me) was stepping out into the borders with a square or block on each side!
We don't always have to stay in the safe zone and out of the borders! Adding something extra to the borders is a great way to show off your favorite fabrics. For this dark version of the quilt, I used my own fabrics, but you could use layer cakes, jelly rolls, or even charm squares. This quilt is friendly to many sizes of precut fabrics. The fabric requirements in my pattern include yardage and step-by-step instructions to make a 56 1/2'' square lap or wall quilt, a 72 1/2 x 88 1/2" Twin sized quilt or a 88 1/2" square Queen size quilt.
When I had this dark version quilted by the long-arm quilter, Sally Corona of Corona Quiltworks (the white background version was long-arm quilted by Tanya Heldman of Free Range Quilter) she really worked with the geometric structure of the quilt with straight clean lines done in random spacing horizontally. Then Sally took one section of blocks lined up vertically and quilted them with vertical lines in lime green which added high contrast to the other gray threads. I love it!!
Step this way, turn that way, have some fun with Blockstep.
PATTERN UPDATE! This pattern was updated with the release of Carolina Lilies fabric collection to make the cutting with accent colors a little more even. You can find the new and improved BLOCKSTEP at my shop at www.robinpickensinc.com.
I showed three new quilt patterns with my Blushing Peonies fabrics for Moda. They are BLOCKSTEP, TOKYO TERRACE, and TOWN SQUARE GARDEN.
BLOCKSTEP can be made with precuts of a single Layer Cake or a Jelly Roll for ease of coordinating your print fabrics. Precuts can also give you a shortcut on TOKYO TERRACE by using Mini Charms for the small patchwork blocks that are interspersed between the larger rectangular panels. I like doing at least one quilt with a collection of fabrics that has larger panels that make it easy to showcase larger scale motifs. I like to do large-scale florals and show them off!
TOWN SQUARE GARDEN is my first medallion quilt and it was a lot of fun to do. I'm currently doing quilting on my home sewing machine with my walking foot on the smaller light color wall quilt (it's 38" square vs. 54" square) and I'll share some pictures when it's further along!
Feel free to visit the shop or look for these at your local quilt shop. The patterns will be shipping with the Blushing Peonies collection in November 2017. Also stay connected for "color play" when I do some computer experiments with other color ways of my quilts.
September 16th was National Sew a Jelly Roll Day and I was too busy sewing to post on the blog that weekend. At least I was too busy with fun sewing! The folks at Moda started the love of precuts and they have #ProjectJellyroll to show the great projects you can do. Jelly Rolls are great for making projects quicker when you need 2 1/2 inch strips and the variety of prints you can get in a precut bundle. Sometimes you just want the ease of things that coordinate and go together fast!
I decided to use my Sliding Shoji Screens pattern for this weekend project. I designed that quilt pattern to showcase my large scale floral prints with large panels of rectangles that are separated by solid Jelly Roll strips. This makes the cutting much faster. But for this version I wanted to flip the design so the patterns were in the Jelly Roll dividing strips (from my Blushing Peonies collection) and the large panels were solids. Although I liked the plan on my computer (where I often mock things up before cutting) I felt it could use a little extra "something." I decided to try Amy Ellis' Ikat from her Serenity collection and I loved the combination with my peonies!
The combination of precut Jelly Roll strips with large panels of fabric really make this quilt come together quickly. It's satisfying to have a quilt top at the end of the weekend and I really enjoyed sewing along as I saw others doing their projects for National Sew a Jelly Roll Day.
If you'd like to check out the Sliding Shoji Screens pattern, it is available through quilt shops or on my shop.
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
I am proud to be a designer for Moda Fabrics!
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