I wanted to create a smaller version of Showering Stars that could be used in home decor for pillows and table decoration. Scaling the stars and trails down to half size made it possible to design with these elements for my Splendid collection in Christmas pillow covers and a table runner.
I find I do most of my holiday decorating with red and the red textured background in Splendid is rich and vibrant. I love it! The whites are the cream texture which has a subtle sheen when you see the white on cream background. Simple patchwork blocks and a few longer strips make the trails and patchwork and flying geese make the stars.
I like playing with the mix of scale by having the double stars pillow and the giant star pillow with a much bigger star. The pattern includes directions for making a simple envelope back for covers and its sized for a nice substantial 26" square Eurosham size.
The table runner is sized 16 1/4" x 71". If you wanted a shorter runner you could crop off the trails on the ends or even just use the center stars with trails (making it 32-36 inches long, depending on if you include the last white blocks on the trails).
One thing that was really touching to find out about my original Showering Stars pattern was that numerous people have made it up in patriotic colors for Quilts of Valor. I love this idea! I've also mocked up these pillow covers and runner into red, white and blues to give some additonal inspiration for those that want to explore a more patriotic theme! I'll share those on the next post!
Check out my three other new patterns that use Splendid on my store at shopify and lets get sewing for Christmas!
Joy and Delight is a new pattern I designed with my Splendid Christmas line for Moda Fabrics. I wanted a quilt that showed off the fun mix of fabrics in a layer cake with decorative frameworks for the blocks. But I also quickly decided it was also a good format for alternating blocks of two fabrics- as shown below- my mistletoe greenery and poinsettias which pop nicely against the saturated red texture in the Splendid fabric line.
For an extra pop of wintery fun I decided to have graphic snowflakes surround the outer border. Afterwards I thought this could even be fun for 4th of July in reference to fireworks! The snowflakes are made with subcutting joined strips so they actually go together rather efficiently. There is something really satisfying about making a big pile of snowflake blocks!
I found the Stripology ruler from Creative Grids was a handy tool for making lots of smaller cuts in an efficient way!
And here are blocks with flying geese and framing in progress.
This is a scrappier looking version of the quilt- the original concept using the mix of a layer cake. On this one the framing around the squares is in two colors- red and green for Christmas- and the snowflakes are in a more olivey green. This is next up on my list to make!
Check out Joy and Delight along with the other three new patterns to go with Splendid in my shopify shop. Lets get some Christmas projects going!!
This group of patterns for Splendid needed a quilt with some larger sections to show off the poinsettias and cardinals without cutting them up to much. I liked the idea of vertical columns that showed a few of the prints with the pointsettias as the main center.
To balance out the large panels, I liked adding smaller pieced blocks, arranged into elegant and lacy compositions, to form as a decorative top and bottom to the columns. Thin sashing, like window edges, run the length of the quilt. The result is a group of three columns, reminiscent of church windows, with light flooding through the stained glass images. They seem grand and ceremonial and festive for a celebration.
Many thanks to The Felted Pear (Susan!) for helping me with this and making those flying geese and HST and assembling the ends!
Nature celebrates Christmas with Splendid. I feel like I can hear the jubilant song of either the church choir or the choir of birds out in the trees. This quilt pattern in mocked up into three color versions in the pattern- cream, red, and charcoal. Although this is shown with Christmas fabrics, I think it would be striking with other large scale prints, like the William Morris fabrics that Moda produces with rich jewel tones.
There are four new patterns I'm sewing for Christmas quilts with Splendid. Check out this and the others: Joy and Delight, Cardinal's Christmas Wreath, and Showering Stars Table Runner and Pillows at my shopify shop.
Harlequin is a quilt pattern I designed that uses Half Rectangle Triangles and I get quite a few questions about which ruler I recommend for it. The pattern does come with a paper template so you can make your own plastic template for cutting out the shapes. However, it is easier with a specialty ruler!
I love this quilt because it symbolizes collaboration and community to me. I had it pieced by Terry Bowman because she is more accurate and more experienced than I am and before Quilt Market we have a LOT of sewing to do in a small amount of time. So luckily for me, Terry was willing to help me out. We met at the Quilt Emporium and Lisa, the owner, also came to the rescue by getting her Bernina out of her car so we could sew up some samples in the back classroom. Lisa saw us figuring out the rectangle size that would make sense and she brought over the solution...the Creative Grids Kaleidoscope Triangle Ruler. It was a great moment of brainstorming and solutions coming together and that is a lot of what is so exciting about sharing the experience of sewing and quilting with others! Quilters are often collaborators in creative ways.
The ruler is the actual height of the pieces you cut for this quilt so it really works with the pattern well. Thank you Penny Haren for designing this lovely tool! Just like other Creative Grids rulers it has some circles of texture on the back to help hold fabric without slipping too.
Any time you are making a block that is new to you or different in trimming, etc, I suggest you make a sample block first. Some of my first samples are with my Blushing Peonies left over scraps and I am hoping to go back and make a nice springy version with pinks and oranges in my "spare time." You know how that goes... I did make this block first and make mistakes on the trimming and had to start a new one. So I'm serious when I recommend making a sample and measuring your block size end result before progressing on a pattern. It can make a big difference! Half Rectangle Triangles need to be trimmed up in a particular way so you have correct seam allowance to maintain your triangle points.
Check out the Harlequin pattern at my shopify store!
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Layers cakes and Half Square Triangles. Fun and lacy borders. Meet "Emilia"!
This quilt uses Layer Cake 10" squares to make large triangles and reflected small triangles on the opposite side with the same print. I've grouped them into color blocks. If you don't have a layer cake to use, you may want to make your cutting easier to start by using Creative Grids Perfect10 Ruler (CGRPERF10) to make those nice sized starting blocks!
One of the distiguishing characteristics of Emilia is the borders. The half square triangles continue out into the side borders, using the sashing color, to make a lovely triangular lacy edge. It makes the whole quilt almost sparkle! Wouldn't this pink version be pretty in a girl's room? I focused on pink, green and lighter purple shades for this one. I used a chartreuse green for the sashings but a minty green would be pretty too.
Emilia is written for two sizes, a larger, 76" square or smaller, 55" square lap size. You can easily adapt the pattern to add more rows of blocks if wider sizes are needed.
Emilia was designed to show with the Sweet Pea & Lily collection, which is shipping in March 2019 to quilt shops. But since I have Dandi Annie here...and its in stores now, I thought it would be fun to take a look at how Emilia might look in some summer Dandelions! These computer renders are some color play to look at the pieced blocks and how the quilt changes looks with the sashing and border colors.
I think I am partial to this darker gray border. I would use Moda Bella Solids Graphite 202 for this. I think the Moda Bella Solids Gray 83 would be nice for the sashings and border triangles.
This makes me think of a sunny summer farmhouse day! Moda Bella Solids Baby Yellow 31 and Maize 273 work nicely together with this line.
And back to grays with a lighter version of border. I like having a slight difference to white so the inner triangles pop and sparkle more. Moda's Bella Feather is a lovely very very pale gray, close to white.
Emilia can be found in local quilt shops or at my shopify shop. I hope you have some fun with half square triangle love and border play with this one! Happy sewing! For more ideas for Sweet Pea & Lily or Dandi Annie, take a look at more patterns...
Jelly Roll-friendly and quick to piece, this Showering Stars quilt is full of drama!
I knew with the Sweet Pea & Lily collection for Moda Fabrics (ships in Feb/March 2019) I wanted a quilt that used deep purple to enhance the theatrical nature of the purples in the prints. One thing I enjoy with this group is the purples are in both cool and warm purples. I needed to find the right deep purple to show off their splendor.
I have now fallen in love with Moda Bella Solid PRUNE 238. Its rich and vibrant and LUSCIOUS! Its the glorious deep purple/plum color as the background. Did I mention I bought a bolt of it? Not sure what I'm doing with the rest but I can't wait to use it as an accent to other prints.
But what would Showering Stars look like reversed, with a light background? I haven't made it this way (yet) but thought I'd give some computer inspiration for other colorways. I used a soft gray in the star points and dashes to let the colors in the star trails feel more colorful and sparkly.
And going all-out color with this turquoise background and light green star points. Completely different look but all of these are using the same Sweet Pea & Lily prints in the star trails.
This quilt was my main booth image at the Houston Quilt Market this past fall. It was fun to have such a different color play with this collection! One part I like is the greens and grays still transition through from previous collections.
Check your local quilt shop for the Showering Stars pattern, along with Sweet Pea & Lily fabrics! Patterns are also available at my online shop if your local shop is not carrying it.
Find a falling star and make a wish! And check back for more Sweet Pea & Lily quilts!
Imagine light coming in through the windows of the farmhouse, dancing between the panes, glowing with the warmth of the sun and soft colors of growing things.
Simple one lane roads intersecting among golden fields and the colors of morning dawn.
The dandelions in Dandi Annie celebrate the simple pleasures, joined with prints of seeds blowing in the wind, sketchy plaid, and painted leaves. Growth and warmth.
I love the way the thin sashing plays from light to dark and extends into the borders. The gray borders add a calm grounding to the bright colors.
There is something so satisfying about making stacks of half square triangles and getting them ready to arrange in balanced symmetry. This quilt is arranged in four colorways of yellow, coral/pink, green and gray. Each color group surrounds an intersection of thin sashing.
For the backing I used Moda Bella Solids in Pesto. What a great green! I'm excited to get my bolts of Dandi Annie fabrics and I'll be kitting a limited number of these quilts in this fabric. But the pattern itself is available now on my online shop and would be fun to make with other fabrics too.
Dandi Annie is shipping from Moda now (December 2018). The quilts shown here were pieced by me, Robin Pickens, and longarm quilted by Sally Corona at Corona Quiltworks.
Happy sewing and farmhouse dreaming! Check out more Dandi Annie patterns at my new shopify store!
Modern graphic blooms stand tall, reaching for the sun. This is the inspiration for my Towards the Sun quilt pattern.
I wanted a quilt to go with my Dandi Annie fabrics that reflected the round spheres of the mature seed puffs of the dandelions. The main prints have a play of large circles behind the plants and I thought they would play nicely within larger circle shapes. This became the overall composition for the blooms within a grid structure for mixing in coordinating prints. With such a graphic and geometric structure, I felt straight sectioned lines as stems would work well to support the blooms and add a new graphic element to contrast with all the circles.
This was my first time making a quilt with half circle and full circle blocks. I created a paper template to go with the pattern that you can use for making the blocks or if you'd prefer to use a specialty ruler template I'd suggest the Creative Grids Circle Savvy Quilt Ruler (CGRSAV1). It has a large range of circular sizes and I used this ruler to make my 6" finished circle blocks. Working with circles was actually quite fun and I found I was most successful with my shapes when I slowed down my sewing a little and lengthened my stitch length to help with the give and stretch going around curves.
This quilt can be made as pieced blocks or as applique, either fusible raw edge or turned edge. The white and yellow quilt here is pieced using the Creative Grids circular ruler and the pink and gray quilt is made with the fusible raw edge method. I top stitched on my machine close to the edges of the shapes after fusing.
The quilts were long arm quilted by Sally at Corona Quiltworks (IG @coronaquiltworks) using pantographs that also use circular shapes and lines, further reinforcing the graphic shapes. Towards the Sun is available at Quilt shops when it ships with Dandi Annie from Moda Fabrics in November. It is also available at my etsy shop www.etsy.com/shop/robinpickensinc. If you get the digital PDF make sure you print out the template at actual size or 100% vs letting a printer resize. You can double check the sizing with the 1" marker on the template.
I'm deep in designing some new quilt patterns to go with my new line I'll be showing at the spring Quilt Market, but those have to stay secret for now! However, I thought it could be fun to share a little of what goes into the process of making a quilt pattern! I'm really not showing the part of making the actual quilts because you all know what it's like to make a quilt. This is the other part. I work on the computer first for my designing. Yup, nothing gets cut till I've thought it out. I use Electric Quilt 8 and Adobe Illustrator. I have used Illustrator for many years so I have the most comfort with that software.
I love creating colorful florals and patterns. Each collection has a personality based on the florals and colors and I try to design quilts that go along with that in some way, either with larger panels to showcase large scale prints, or shapes of blocks that speak to some thing about the main flower. The image above shows part of the process I went through with Town Square Garden for the Blushing Peonies collection. In this case I knew I wanted to do a medallion quilt with a large center panel and started with images on the upper left. Peonies having such a beautiful rounded shape so I ended up using arcs of triangles to the outside to reference the curved softness and blooms (the images on the right). After I have the structure I like, I break it down into what blocks are the most logical to make and describe in instructions.
I use Moda Bella Solids with my prints and love the range of colors that coordinate perfectly. I get a lot of use out of my Bella Solids Match Maker and color swatches. The computer allows me to try new color combinations very quickly and easily. In figuring out blocks I also do a lot of drawing and scribbling in my notebooks. Sometimes nothing beats paper to jot stuff down on!
An important part of figuring out a quilt is the size, the scale, and the math of the yardage needed. I try to design some of my patterns to utilize precuts because they are such a handy way to get a whole coordinating collection with a lot of variety without having to buy tons of yardage for that much variety. If I'm using precuts, there are some parameters I stay within for piece sizes for my blocks. To figure out my yardage, I take all the little pieces I made in Illustrator and lay them out the way I would cut them on yards of fabric, as is shown on the image above. I'm sure there are faster ways to figure this out but I'm very visual in my thinking so this way works for me.
Then there are the steps of making the actual quilts and finding out what doesn't happen the way I thought it would on the computer. I make revisions on instructions, finish quilts and photograph them (and that could be a whole different blog post).
I've got a graphic design background so I handle all the diagrams and layouts myself. The writing of the instructions is often the most challenging part for me and I try to assume people have limited knowledge of piecing. Because I am newer to this, that's the way my brain thinks- simple steps please! I use a technical editor who goes over my patterns before printing and checks my instructions, terminology, yardage and math and any mistakes in my layouts. I get the layouts revised and it's off to press!
When the patterns come back from the printer my handy helper (my dear sweet husband) and I have marathon sessions bagging patterns. The dining room table, the kitchen counters, everything gets used fill the initial larger orders. And then woosh! off they go to shops and sewing rooms!
You may have noticed coffee cups in some of the shots...yes, lots of coffee when I'm deep in pattern-land! Hope you have enjoyed this little view into my process! If you'd like to check out some of these patterns they are carried in local quilt shops and on my shop. Happy sewing!!
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.
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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