56 Weeks of sewing fun. I've been busy adding blocks together to make my rainbow colored rows. But one block was missing...that final block. Joanna Figueroa from Fig Tree & Co. is our final blockheads designer to wrap it all up. Thank you Joanna for your lovely "Star Dance" block! To get to Joanna's blog with the free pattern, click on the gray bar below. But keep reading if you want to see my color study and how my TWO quilts have come together!
Flying geese and squares to make sparkly stars. A number of my patterns such as Showering Stars, Little Star Shower, and Constance, use stars like this. I liked how Joanna's version also played with the very center square in the overall composition in a color or print too. Let's take a look at a couple of color studies.
My last block belonged in my blue row so that was my starting place. Light, medium and dark blues with subtle variations between the stars. It could be fun to play with black for the background (or starting rectangle of the flying geese) and I love how the white really pops in contrast. The white and black backgrounds make new shapes within the block. The left middle image uses a mix of medium and dark blues on some of the geese corners, positioned so it looks like the colors run diagonally through the block. And the last image creates arrows pointing to a glowing center.
After designing Cottage Bleu (shipping in April) and adding new Thatched colors, I have more blues in my Thatched range now. I have used a few from Cottage Bleu and used back sides as well for lighter shades.
When making my print blocks, I used blue prints from Abby Rose. The plaid fit nicely into the centers of the four stars and I decided to use a different print for the center with my light background and roses.
If I were to make another one of these blocks, I would try the blue hydrangeas from Cottage Bleu. For this particular print quilt, I felt the warmer blues from Abby Rose were a cohesive color group with the other surrounding blue blocks. Here is an image of the rows joined together on my mixed prints/scrappy version. For the sashings on this print/scrappy version, I've used Modern Background Paper from Zen Chic. It is one of my favorite low volume fabrics to use.
On my print version quilt, I chose to do applique on the weeks that Jan Patek and Jen Kingwell had their sweet designs. Last year I did all pieced blocks so this was a change for me. I still seem to resist doing turned edge applique and find my happy place is with the fusible raw edge applique.
I think my favorite of the appliques is the bird on the upper left, dark blue. I added and extra flower or two and more white dots. They make me think of little white baby's breath in a bouquet. And for the "rose" applique week, I chose to cut out one of my Abby Rose blooms instead of the template shapes.
How perfect is it, that the block that says LOVE was actually pieced by my mother? She was visiting a year ago January when it was the week for that block and she helped me out. Then the pandemic and quarantines started and I have not been able to see her in person since then. So I am especially happy to have a little bit of her in this quilt!
The little bird in the middle gray block is one I had not shown yet. It was a block I did late, catching up one weekend. It is the Fixer Upper block from Vanessa Goertzen and I liked it as a framework around my birdie friend.
I love to see how the light comes through when a quilt top is hanging on the frame, before it is quilted. It looks like stained glass and the colors almost glow!
I started this project with a few design parameters I set:
1. Horizontal rows of color (rainbow-like rows), separated by a simple white line.
2. Each of the rows would use gradations of the color to go from darker shades on the left to lighter shades on the right.
3. I would make TWO quilts, one with all Thatched basics and one with a mix of Thatched and colored prints from my collections (with some other designer's goodies added in there too) for a scrappier look. This was to see how different or how similar the quilts ended up looking by the change in prints.
So how about that all-Thatched one?
I must admit the vibrancy and saturation of all that color was surprising to me when I got it all joined together. I was glad I graduated color to the lighter right side so it was not too overpowering. I used the Thatched Cream 36 for my sashings.
Instead of the applique blocks, I used pieced alternatives from Joanna Figueroa. The upper left has the tulip block, house block and another flower posie. I did keep two applique blocks- the Bachelor Buttons from Jen Kingwell since it felt so graphic, and the Bee Skep from Jan Patek. My sister likes bees and having this block reminds me of her. So now I have a mom remembrance and a sister remembrance in my quilt.
Its hard for me to say if I like one version of the quilt better than the other. I will keep some things different as I finish these, using different pantographs for quilting them, and I'm also thinking about adding an additional little decorative border around the scrappy/print one. I like the Thatched one being simpler with no outer border.
I am happy to come to this finishing phase of Moda Blockheads, but I'm also sad that it is ending. I know the connection and sewing along is so important during these strange and unpredictable times. So I made the decision to join in on sewing along with "My Favorite Color is Moda" because of course I need another project! I think the quilt design and colors they have suggested are beautiful! I hope to see you while sewing along with that!
The resource link to all the free block patterns from this Moda Blockheads sew along- archived at the Moda website:
Thank you for the lovely comments that you have shared each week on the block posts and color studies. You are the best! And thank you Moda for this wonderful sew along and all the organizing, writing, planning, giveaways and support. It is a BIG project and you do it with expertise, grace and style.
Let's finish up some quilts, right?
Hugs to you all,
Wine Not! from Jen Kingwell is an easy block this week with a lovely diamond shape. This block looks great square or set on point. This is the very light end of my brown row and the soft warm colors look calm and comfortable.
In playing with the color studies, I liked how the shapes can have a strong arrow form or emphasize the outer diagonals or the inner quarter square triangle center. The last one feels a little dimensional with the center having light and shadow as if it were a pointed pyramid triangle.
For my pieced all-Thatched version block, I used a couple of my new shades that are shipping at the beginning of February. The center dark brown is 164 Chocolate Bar and the light tans are 156 Toast with the lighter 158 Washed Linen.
My print version uses a fabric that has been quite prevalent in my brown row, Ombre Confetti from V&Co. The ombre gradations make it easy to find the light and dark levels you want within a block while keeping the colors harmonious. I love those little pops of confetti!
Pop on over to Jen's blog for her Wine Not! pattern.
And since I'm sharing brown blocks this week, here is one I did last weekend to catch up on a missed week. It is Intersection from Stacy Iest Hsu in Thatched and Solana.
Next week is the last block and then it is time for joining and finishing. I love seeing what you all are piecing together on the facebook page. Keep sewing!
Happy Moda Blockheads Wednesday! Janet Clare brings us this week's block "Windmills" with a fun pinwheels in a group of 4 blocks. I like how the block can be rounded off forms around the pinwheels or emphasize those corner points to change that outer shape. The second one reminds me of ribbons running through the center of the block with sparkly quadrants. The third one has depth in the corners within the 4 centers from the dark and light focused to the outer corners. The last one is a colorful party of windmills!
My blocks were cut out before I did color studies so I stayed pretty close to the original layout. This is the last one for my orange row and I wanted to mix in some yellow for the lighter range, and dark Tangerine for the darker range.
My Thatched fabrics show off the flip side for the pale orange rectangle sides. I used triangle paper for making my HST. With 32 HST per block, and 2 blocks, it seemed best to simplify my colors for those elements and use the papers so I didn't have to do extra trimming.
Fabrics from Abby Rose bring in the orange prints on my scrappy block. I stayed with consistent orange/yellow HST from my first block to be most efficient with the HST making. The rectangle sides were the place to swap out prints to play with my Thatched fabrics.
Hop on over to Janet's blog for the pattern this week and have fun with windmill motion and HST fun!
It is my week for the Moda Blockheads quilt block and I am feeling a little sentimental that this is all wrapping up soon. I have had such a good time! Last year I sewed the sampler but was not one of the block designers. This year, the excitement of sharing blocks I've envisioned has been a highlight to my months. The connection through online communities and sewing has been more important than ever with the changes we have all been going thorough with quarantines and working from home. In weeks that have blurred into other weeks, one thing has been steady...the fun and creativity of Wednesday block releases for Moda Blockheads.
Thank you all for being a part of this quilt journey and community! I hope you are excited with your evolving quilts. And for this week's addition, block 53 is "Bear Cubs Round the Campfire." I've been enjoying some projects with Bear Paw blocks and liked the idea of a simpler corner with a small paw. With all four corners surrounding a center block, it felt like smaller bears, or little bear cubs, sitting around the fire pit or campfire. I have actually been camping when a big, tall bear came into our campsite. He/she smelled the food cooking and we banged the pots and pans to scare the bear away. For this quilt block, I envision these bears to be smaller and so much more friendly!
I took the opportunity to put my little farmhouse from Solana into the center square on my print version. Greens with a little pop of blue is my theme and the farmhouse is warmed up with some happy sunflowers. For my all-Thatched version, I've got greens from Painted Meadow, Solana and Abby Rose, along with the original basics Pine and Chartreuse. I used the flip side of the Solana light green to get the lightest outer shades.
Speaking of Thatched...I recently announced that Moda is releasing another 25 colors into the basics line! It will be shipping either this month or February. I am thrilled to have more colors to play with and can't wait to experiment with more color combinations. Check back to my blog in the next few days because I will be releasing a NEW FREE mini quilt pattern that uses a Mini Charm. I'll have it as a download on my blog. I've got it shown in the new Thatched colors and I am loving the spicy warm colors and new periwinkle/cornflower blues.
But lets get on to the COLOR STUDIES! And of course the pattern and then, please enter to win a layer cake of SOLANA (enter on the Facebook Moda Blockheads page on my announcement post with the picture of my sewn blocks). The pattern is here - just click the gray bar right below this paragraph. But to see mockups and learn more about the GIVEAWAY, keep reading...
When first planning this block, I had a red center square for the "fire" but as I played with it and realized it was going to live in my green row of the quilt, I switched out center colors and added more subtle bands of color in the middle of the sides. I also liked looking at this with warm colors on a dark background, and again tried those bands in a different value of the lighter brown.
Next I tried emphasizing the squares in the middle, either through light and dark or a highlighted color. On the last one I dropped out the corners on the inner box so it reads like a big chunky plus sign.
The facets of cut glass? 70's supergraphics? More continuation of color from piece to piece and the illusions of lines turning corners. It is exciting that this doesn't resemble a bear paw any more.
And finally, a little rainbow love with a color wheel of color showing up in those corners. I like these as a pair with the light and the dark background.
So of course I had to stay up late and make these! I didn't have good enough light to photograph last night so I added these to the post later. I did these as 12" blocks (my green ones are 8") and I think that adding some extra borders would increase the size to nice pillow covers.
I've used some of the new Thatched colors in these. The background below is so fun to try out! It is called Chalkboard Scribbles and is basically the reverse of Heather from the first group (grey lines on white). There is a crisper white on white called Blizzard and deep and dramatic tonal Soft Black.
Thank you for all your lovely comments about the color studies over the weeks! I have greatly enjoyed doing them and sharing the mockups.
I'll be drawing a person to win a Layer Cake of SOLANA fabric. Please enter by commenting on my post in the Moda Blockheads FACEBOOK group (my post with the photo of these green blocks, not the color study one) and tell me what flowers you would like to see me do on a future fabric collection. I'll be picking a winner next Tuesday the 19th.
Thank you all for sewing along and may 2021 bring health and happiness to everyone!
I usually start the Moda Blockheads posts with my color studies. But today I want to share a time-sensitive thing first...a giveaway! Yes, in honor of 2021 starting in a couple of days, I am doing a calendar giveaway on instagram @robinpickens. Just comment in the giveaway post and I'll be selecting 2 winners on January 2nd (just in case some of you are already celebrating and haven't seen the post yet!)
Vanessa's SPARK PLUG block this week is a fun one and I wanted cheery energy with some yellows. They are yellow fabrics from my SOLANA collection that is in shops now. I used the white on white tonal sunflower seeds as my background fabric in the print block and I love the subtleness of the hinted texture. I really enjoy the "varietals" coordinate in this collection and used that for the center rectangles.
It was perfect timing to have the cover of this next year's Seize the Day wall calendar be the same cheery sunflowers that I used in the SOLANA main prints! I really hope this year brings more sunshine and happy days in a spirit of optimism and progress.
And, just in case you are wondering, the Seize the Day calendars come in wall, daily and checkbook sized formats. I just saw some recently at my neighborhood Barnes and Noble.
But back to quilt blocks...for the Thatched version I used the Maize color and got that lovely soft light yellow in the corners by flipping and using the back side. Stay tuned for some news very very soon about Thatched (hint, hint, I hope 2021 will be more colorful)
And now...COLOR STUDIES! I stayed pretty true to Vanessa's layout when making my blocks. But when playing on the computer, I had a little fun playing with a variety of shades of color. I find it especially interesting how the shape looks almost flower like on that middle left one. Or I notice the surrounding box shape on the one to the right of it. And I like all the color gradations on the last one and having some different color families in the corners.
Hop on over to Vanessa's blog for the SPARK PLUG pattern and enter her layer cake giveaway on facebook in the Moda Blockheads group.
And a Happy New Year to you all and may 2021 be filled with fun sewing projects!
Within the structure of "Night and Day" the inside grid can be a simple checkerboard or gradation of colors. I like how the little squares can form a new perimeter around the center or can work with the middle triangles to make arrows. The outer triangles can frame the diamond or play with colors dancing around the shape.
For my blocks I used Thatched in grays, using the backsides as well to get those lighter shades and subtle gradations. I wanted the effect of the checkerboard squares in the center to be very whispery and to highlight the structure of the box surrounding it more.
Dandi Annie became my fabric choice for prints. I forgot how much I love working with these big puff balls of dandelion seeds! I kept the structure of the center box outline and the darker corners on two opposite sides. I'm still debating if I need to rip out and line up those medium gray squares better, but honestly, it is the week of Christmas and I think I'd rather be baking cookies over ripping out seams. So it is staying I think. Sometimes we need to say "it is good enough" and allow ourselves to love the imperfections.
Hop on over to Laurie Simpson's blog for the pattern! And she is doing a layer cake giveaway on instagram!
Happy sewing and happy Moda Blockheads day!
X Marks the spot by Lissa Alexander! I wondered what it would look like with a different color on the bar ends? Like little white cat's paws?
How fun to play with switching corner colors and making the background "disappear" by using the same color for some corners as the big background. I think the one on the lower left looks like it is twisting. And the very last one makes the corner squares almost float. Can you see the white arrow in that one?
Looking for the pattern? Hop over to Lissa's blog and see what she has as a giveaway too!
Lisa Bongean blocks usually have lots of options for what to do with those half square triangles. This week did not disappoint! I love to see how the larger half square triangles on the inner corners make an octagon shape or a chunky plus sign on point. You can treat the outer HST as a fringe or a bears paw entire unit. Play with the corners in different contrast of light and dark? And what a fun V shape in the centers of the perimeter on the last one!
Visit Lisa's blog for this week's pattern:
Each week I take stock of where I have spaces left in my overall layout and look at balancing the more intricate blocks with the simpler blocks. This block will end close to middle/ middle dark on my gray row.
My print pattern block is using Sweet Pea & Lily grays. The Heather in Thatched is a cooler gray is works nicely with the stronger prints here. On the all-Thatched block, I am using slightly warmer grays. In both my blocks I have used triangle paper to make the half square triangles more efficient and reduce trimming time.
Enjoy this lovely block and happy sewing this week!
This is block 42 and we are 3/4 of the way through with this sewalong! Next week begins our last cycle of blocks from designers. This week it is Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree and Company with her Starburst block.
You can treat the quadrants in this block as one piece/color or make the half square triangles a different color. I have also played around with making my pieces that make up the big square pieces as rows of colors vs a single color. I like how it can look striped by trying doing that. The last one makes little bows in the corners!
I am making all my blocks in the 8" size so I tried out some border options. Making a 1" border (finished) around the whole block makes it 8" and I also envisioned adding some of the same squares and half square triangles to bring those same elements out into the borders and creating additional shapes.
If you want to make the version with the HST in the center of the strip and squares in the corner, follow the same directions for making the half square triangles using the 2" squares. The other pieces are 1 1/2" square and 1 1/2 x 2 1/2" rectangles.
This week I decided to make my print block in SOLANA since it is shipping to shops now! I've used the little tractor and barn in the scenic print for my center with coordinate prints from this sunflower line. My outer border is using my happy, busy ladybugs and gold varietals corner squares.
My all-Thatched uses yellow and orange on the front and flip sides to get those lighter shades. For being such happy summery colors, this still feels calming with those paler shades of the colors.
Enjoy this happy, bursting Starburst block and visit Joanna's blog for the pattern!
Get ready for round 4, our final round of patterns, starting next week. I think this week I am going to try to catch up on any blocks I've missed so far. Happy sewing!
Happy Moda Blockheads Wednesday! Well, its actually Tuesday night but I am going to post this early so I can go to bed!! On blockheads days, when it is my pattern, I stay up till crazy late night/morning hours to make sure my post goes up, etc. Tonight I'm trading that for sleep and you all can get this pattern a little early! Win-win! Read a little further down to get your link to the pattern (link in the gray bar). AND for sharing this week, it would make us all happy to see YOU with your block so snap a selfie for your posting!
This block is called MAD ABOUT PLAID and explores some lines that intersect in solid squares, both horizontally and vertically, to make a plaid-like block. You can take it very straight forward and do simple rectangles and two color combo, or play with those stripes more for gradations and accents. I wanted to have a block with lines and some simplicity to balance out the more complex and intricate blocks in the sampler. When I design a collection of fabric, I have the focal print with big florals, but the line also needs small prints or some kind of stripe or plaid to balance out the group. You can see that simplicity doesn't mean boring since there are still plenty of options for interpretation. (Also can you believe you have two weeks in a row with NO half square triangles or flying geese??)
My first block is clean and simple and just as much about the negative space as the colored bars. As soon as you enter color within the big rectangles it starts to change and have more depth. Play with gradation and lightness? Background color within the squares where the lines intersect can make that recede or come forward. The last one plays a little with different colors on the corners.
What if you wanted the colors of the rainbow? Carry a color all the way through the lines, horizontally and vertically to make it feel like continual stripes. Or, the middle and last one show the rainbow moving around the shape and being specific to the corners. I love how the colors look as accent to the black and gray version.
Focus on the center by just emphasizing the squares and one row of rectangles, making a central square. Or take a completely different and asymmetrical approach with more random placement or focus on a side or corner. I like how this can be a framework for more improv work. The last one shows that even if plaid is not your thing, you can still use this as a framework around a baby fancy block. If you make the 12" block, you would need to make a small 3" finished (3 1/2" unfinished block) for the center. That little 3" size is cute in the center!
Okay, you made it this far so you can get the pattern!! I hope you will keep reading (and see me in my work-from-home no-makeup glory), but in the meantime, your pattern is here. Click this bar for the link to the pattern info:
Want to know what I made this week for my actual blocks? It's October so I'm in that Halloween ORANGE mood. I made two 8" blocks- one all Thatched, one with a mix of prints- in the orange family. For my prints I used a mixture from Blushing Peonies, Solana (which should be shipping later this month!!) and Abby Rose. On the all -Thatched, I used Tangerine, Apricot and the backside of the orange from Solana. I love how soft an orange that is on the backside! And of course Thatched Cream.
But it is Halloween this month and I've just been getting the fall decorations out with my daughter. So I also made a 12" in Tangerine and a fun scrappy mix of black and white fabrics for the bars. If I make this into a pillow cover I will either make more to make a set of 4 or add a border around it in another shade of orange. I could extend those lines out into the borders like I did on my FRINGE quilt, pictured below. That quilt was actually the inspiration and starting point for this block design.
Are you feeling MAD ABOUT PLAID yet? I hope so and I can't wait to see what you come up with for this block. Oh, one more thing...those squares could be really fun for some cute novelty fabrics and fussy cutting! Think of little lines connecting intersections of cute prints or some little treasure in each square.
When I'm making a block with the lines/rows in the same fabric in multiple sections, I sew long rows of my strips then subcut them down to size for the smaller sections. This makes the construction go much faster!
This week we thought it would be fun to see a little more of each other so it would be lovely if you felt like taking a picture with your block. We love to see a face with the maker and get to know you a little more. So snap a selfie or see if your cat or dog is talented enough to take a photo of you (they are probably thinking 'leave me alone but scratch my belly first'). Let's see your smiling faces!
All this orange is putting me in a fall mood and I'm ready for a pumpkin latte! Happy sewing everyone!
Visit my fellow Moda designers for more Blockheads fun:
Corey Yoder - https://corianderquilts.com/
Sherri McConnell - https://www.aquiltinglife.com/
Betsy Chutchian - http://betsysbestquiltsandmore.blogspot.com/
Jan Patek - http://janpatek.blogspot.com/
Brigitte Heitland - https://www.brigitteheitland.de/blog
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/
(next week is Janet Clare!)
Janet Clare - http://janetclare.co.uk/blog/
Jen Kingwell - www.jenkingwelldesigns.com/blog
Joanna Figueroa - https://blog.figtreeandcompany.com/
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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