The Moda designers had a fun project for the Spring Quilt Market this year. A group of us designed 18" block patterns to give to local quilt shops to use during this National Sewing Month. 18 inches is a substantial size for a single block and leaves room to play with fabric and combine several shapes and sizes into a layered composition.
At the time of designing my block I was working on my Picket quilt with it's stitch and flip sides that make up the picket fence border around the quilt perimeter. I liked playing with this shape and how it also suggested flower petals, especially when grouped around a central square.
I call my block "Full Bloom" because it reminds me of the petals in a fully open flower in a grand display. The petals are separated by sashings to give more definition and color play in your piecing while dividing the space in an interesting way.
For a schoolhouse session at Market we showed our blocks. I made up two blocks using my new collection (shipping in October 2019) of Painted Meadow. Coneflowers in paisley shapes, textures, little sprigs, all make up the blocks in this composition. And I could not resist doing a little fussy cutting and making one of my fat bumble bees the center of a bloom. Perhaps this bee is looking for pollen in the center? These blocks are not quilted yet and I'm still deciding if I'm going to make pillows or work these into a quilt top.
I like to experiment on the computer with the blocks and what it looks like made up different ways. With this block, the corners could be more valentine-like with hearts (like the top left image) and a hashtag center. Or maybe the center is surrounded by darker colors to set it off in contrast. Multi-colored blocks (lower left) have a different feel from monochromatic blocks that play with values of light and dark.
Studying what happens with light and dark values is interesting when you have all these rectangles that continue across the block. You can have mid-range tones that suggest overlap and transparency, or sashing lines that stay solid and strong. Some look like woven plaid. Others are radiating light or dark from the centers. I love the different look and feel you can get from one block with this play of light and dark. Wouldn't it be fun do do a monochromatic quilt just exploring these light and dark relationships?
If you want to make a block with a big fuzzy bumble bee, like the one above, look for the Painted Meadow collection in October. Painted Meadow has corals, red, greens, teals and pinks. Or use solids with a range of light and dark values. Or go completely scrappy with enough room in those squares for some good fussy cutting. Whatever you make, I hope it is fully blooming and glorious! Check out this link for the FREE pattern and please visit your local quilt shop to see if they have projects with these 18" blocks!
Robin Pickens 18" Block
Visit the previous designer's blog posts and the future posts to see more 18" block fun! Here is the schedule and links to their blogs:
9.23 - Lella Boutique and Sherri & Chelsi
9.24 - Kansas Troubles and Corey Yoder
9.25 - Crystal Manning and Me & My Sister
9.26 - Jan Patek
9.27 - Robin Pickens (me and here is the pattern!)
9.30 - BasicGrey
10.1 - Betsy Chutchian and Lisa Bongean
10.2 - American Jane
10.3 - Kathy Schmitz
10.4 - Zen Chic and Deb Strain
I'd love to see images of things you make with your blocks! Do you make a sampler with all the designer blocks? A table runner with a set of three or four? A pillow or mini wall quilt? Have fun sewing and share with us!
Sometimes I just like to sew. You know, the hum of the machine. The forward motion and progress. Adding piece after piece in a rythmic order and just getting into my zen place of calm at seeing rows of color and pattern coming together. KYOTO STEPS takes me to this zen place.
This quilt is easy to make- a logical cutting scheme and straight sewing- but still has a richness of activity and proportions. It is designed to allow some large prints to have a bigger block (yes, my common theme to show off my large florals) that are more centrally located. Then think of the other blocks as steps that skip and hop away from the center in light and dark.
I just love the quilting on this one. I want to rub my hands over it and feel the texture of those fans! Marion Bott (@bottmarion on IG) did a fantastic job with adding the perfect layer of textural dimension to this quilt. The fabric here is from my Painted Meadow collection (shipping October 2019) and I made sure some of my fat bumble bees made it into the large blocks. I also put the large pink print with big Coneflowers on the back of the quilt so there would be lots of drama and excitement when you turned it over.
I must admit I really don't like making quilt backs. And I REALLY don't like trying to match a print on a seam when making a back. I'd much rather add a panel down the middle so I don't have to see an unmatched print and use some extra pieces of fabric I have. In this case I made another row of rectangles from leftovers from the quilt top and ran it down the center. I think its stays in the style and spirit of the quilt front and gives a fun interest to the back.
Kyoto Steps looks serene in these teal and green colors. This is a scaled down version of the quilt with slightly smaller rectangles. This lap version still gives plenty of room for a big print to shine while playing with those rhythmic rectangles. Sally Corona (@coronaquiltworks on IG) quilted this one in fabulous hexies. Quite a perfect shape with this chair!
For this quilt I chose a Moda Bella Solid for the backing- I believe it is Pistachio. I wanted to keep it serene and calm but with a pop of color! I like the way the painted lines coordinate print in the Painted Meadow collection make a good binding with subtle stripes of teal, green, deep red or saturated pink color families.
KYOTO STEPS is written for three sizes- Lap 58" x 67", Twin 74" x 89", and Full/Queen 97" x 93". The placement of the rectangles is diagrammed out to make it easy to replicate this spacing of blocks. The quilt is made with 6 half-yard cuts plus background if you are making the Twin, mostly 1/3 yard cuts for the Lap (but get 1/2 yard if your main print is directional like mine is) and a mix of 2/3 and 3/4 cuts for the Full/Queen (also adding background yardage to the Lap and Full/Queen).
If you want to make this in a scrappier way, you can use mixes of Fat Quarters for your pieces. If you are using a Layer Cake, the scaled down size of the Lap will work for those 10" pieces. This quilt is suitable for more beginning quilters.
You can find KYOTO STEPS along with other patterns from the Painted Meadow release at my shop and the patterns are shipping to local quilt shops with the fabric collections!
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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