Blockheads 3 is approaching! It is slated to start on January 15th, 2020. I joined in the fun of sewing along with the online group of people last year for Blockheads 2. I looked forward to each Wednesday and the surprise of a new block, not knowing if it would be large or small, challenging or easy. I learned fun things along the way, like how efficient it can be to use triangle paper, and that little piecing can be really fun (thanks for those Lisa Bongean!). This year I'm especially excited since I am one of the designers providing the blocks!
First, I'm going to take a look back at this past year's efforts. This is the joined, but not yet quilted, quilt top I made for Blockheads 2. I usually work up my quilts in the computer first, so any project that gives me blocks without knowing the eventual outcome, is a fun chance to just play with fabric and color and the suspense of wondering what is coming next. Also- playing along in Moda Blockheads is free. Please don't mass distribute or repost the patterns. But please do share pictures of the blocks you make!
In Blockheads 2 I decided to make my blocks with a scrappy mix of my fabric lines of Poppy Mae, Blushing Peonies, Dear Mum, Dandi Annie, and a little bit of Sweet Pea & Lily, mixed with solids. I focused on color palettes of green, blue/teal, pink and coral, and a touch of yellow and orange. I often rotated the colors I used, week to week.
-Blockheads 2 had a variety of block sizes. This year you will have a couple options regarding size! More to come on that, so stay tuned for more information from the Moda Cutting Table blog posts as well as the Moda Blockheads Facebook Group. In the past I've participated in sew-alongs on Instagram so this was the first time I participated in one on Facebook. It is so interesting to see what people post for their blocks each week. I love to see the range of fabric and color choices. Some people even make two quilts with two completely different fabric groups and colorways. I hope you join the Facebook group to make it easy to connect with other quilters on the journey.
If you are interested in making your blocks with some of my fabrics, I have posted some fat quarter bundles in my online shop with 8 fat quarters each. Painted Meadow and Thatched are currently in quilt shops, so you can get those from your local quilt shops. I'm offering some bundles from my earlier collections including Blushing Peonies, Dear Mum and Dandi Annie. These bundles are intended as a starting place of inspiration or to help fill out your fabric pull (or feel free to use them on some other project you have in mind).
This year, I'm thinking about using a scrappy mix of my collections again, but this time weaving in more of my Thatched Basics! The color chart shows the basics so far, plus some Thatched shows up in new collections (like Abby Rose which has a seafoam color and warm light pink). I'm thinking about doing my blocks in color families and trying for a rainbow of color bands. So Dandi Annie yellows with Maize Thatched, Dear Mum Chartreuse with Thatched Chartreuse and Sprig, etc.
Who is playing along? This following group of designers will be posting their blocks on their blog when it is their week by 6am CST on Wednesdays. These are the Moda Designers and their blogs:
Corey Yoder https://corianderquilts.com/
Sherri McConnell https://www.aquiltinglife.com/
Brigitte Heitland https://www.brigitteheitland.de/blog
Betsy Chutchian http://betsysbestquiltsandmore.blogspot.com/
Jan Patek http://janpatek.blogspot.com/
Lisa Bongean https://lisabongean.com/
Lissa Alexander http://modalissa.com/
Laurie Simpson http://minickandsimpson.blogspot.com/
Vanessa Goertzen https://lellaboutique.blogspot.com/
Stacy Iest Hsu https://www.stacyiesthsu.com/blog/
Robin Pickens https://www.robinpickens.com/
Janet Clare http://janetclare.co.uk/blog/
Jen Kingwell http://jenkingwelldesigns.blogspot.com/
Joanna Figueroa https://blog.figtreeandcompany.com/
Start gathering your fabrics up and get ready to start Moda Blockheads 3!
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've been busy doing more catch up on the Moda Blockheads 2 project! When the week calls for an applique block, Corey Yoder does an alternate block that is pieced. Due to my time constraints, I went for the pieced block. Applique just takes me longer and I have a few hand sewing projects in progress now, so pieced it is!
This Happy Scrappy Baskets pattern was so fun to make. I love simple patchwork blocks and enjoyed making it into this charming basket. Corey also has a pattern for a whole quilt with this one and it looks delightful! You can check it out here! The fabrics I used for this one were a combination of Poppy Mae, Blushing Peonies and Dandi Annie.
This 18 inch block "Mountain Climbing" was a block pattern from Lynne Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles Quilters. More details on her blog. It did take me awhile to make all the half square triangles and I tried doing a group of 4 or 8 each night. When I have lots of triangles to trim, I use a rotating mat and that really helps to streamline the trimming. The light spotted fabric here is from Dear Mum and I liked adding some solid white triangles too for a little additional pop of lightness.
And more on the catch up list- Blocks 13- Patchwork Flower designed by Corey Yoder, Block 25 Oshkosh Star by Lisa Bongean of Primitive Gatherings, and Block 22 Economy Path by Laurie Simpson. Big flowers, tiny stars and delightful plus signs...each block has been so enjoyable to make each week. The catch up continues and I only have two more blocks to go and I will be completely caught up!
Want to join along? Visit the facebook page to get started!
Its coming folks! September 15th, 2018. So get your Jelly Rolls ready! I have been mulling over what I am going to make this year and I think a little computer planning and designing is in order. Last year I used my Sliding Shoji Screen pattern which uses solid Bella Jelly Rolls to divide the blocks but I flipped it so the Jelly Roll of Blushing Peonies became the strips and I used solid pink, eggshell, and the Ikat print from Amy Ellis' Serenity collection as the large panels. I loved the result!
In honor of the new National Sew a Jelly Roll day coming up I wanted to share the most recent pictures of last year's project. When I got the quilt back from my longarm quilter, Sally Corona of Corona Quiltworks I loved it even more! The quilting design has a great retro mid century modern feel and lovely flow. When it is on the wall in the foyer it lightens up the space with a calm pretty feel without being overly girly. I recently got this new lamp and I'm liking the feel of these together. Now off to start planning for September 15th...
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.
I had a request to size my Toyko Terrace quilt down to more of a lap size. I like to get feedback on my designs and I loved the idea of this as more of a lap quilt. So I resized it to 3/4 of the original size and shortened the top and bottom borders to come up with an overall size of 54" x 60". What I like about this size is I can comfortably quilt this on my home machine. Twin quilts and larger just feel too big and cumbersome for me to quilt on my home machine and they go to a long armer. This lap size I can handle.
After sizing this down in the computer I decided to make one for myself. I still had not made the pink version I had originally planned in my Blushing Peonies collection so I added another fabric to the large panels for some more variety and pieced one in a weekend. I love that you can take your time with the patchwork squares or zoom through it out as a weekend project. This quilt is great for beginners. Very forgiving :)
I am very happy with the range of pinks and warm colors- makes me happy! I've kitted this quilt and have it available in my etsy shop- limited quantities. If I'm out of stock just message me on etsy if you are interested and I'll make some more if I have the yardage available.
If you could see my fabric stash, you’d notice I fall in love with big dramatic patterns. I love a big statement. I like big flowers. Sometimes I really want to SEE more of that big design. That is why I also like to make some quilts that give space for a powerful print to have it’s spotlight. Think of it as a gallery wall or panel of windows. I knew I wanted to show off the large scale peonies in my "Blushing Peonies" line for Moda Fabrics. That idea inspired “Tokyo Terrace”…pockets of space to display the splendor, balconies of gardens and sunlit architectural structure. This pattern plays with the contrast between large panels to showcase a bold botanical print and small 2” squares in blocks that balance the large flower blocks.
When working on this quilt, I enjoyed making the blocks of small squares and playing with my placement and balance of patterns and color. Then I love the great feeling when row after row comes together quickly with larger blocks. I pieced this in a weekend and I’ve already done another color version since it comes together so easily. Here is a computer-generated version of this quilt in a pink colorway as well as the green one I made.
The above quilt was pieced by me but long-arm quilted by Tanya Heldman of Free Range Quilter. She used a lovely curved floral design that compliments the soft lines of the peonies and contrasts well with the geometric structure of the quilt.
Blushing Peonies fabric with Moda is in quilt shops now. If your local quilt shop does not carry Tokyo Terrace pattern you can find it in my shop at https://robinpickensinc.com/
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.
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!
Shop Robin's Designs
I am an affiliate for Fat Quarter Shop and may earn a small commission through my links. Thank you for your support!
© Robin Pickens Inc. All rights reserved. No images may be reproduced without permission.