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 remember having a knit poncho growing up with colorful fringe hanging from the bottom edges. I loved the sway and free feeling of the long strands of yarn. I wanted to capture that idea of fringe- of fibers extending off beyond the edges- in my new quilt pattern "FRINGE."
FRINGE is a Layer Cake friendly quilt pattern (but yes, you could use yardage instead of precuts). The quilt design "frames" big squares with small squares and lines in a grid structure that is easily scaled up or down to make different sizes. The pattern is written to a Twin or Lap/Wall size but could work as well on a Queen or King bed by adding more columns of blocks.
I like designing big florals so I also like having some quilts that can showcase larger blocks to show them off! Fringe gives you great squares for doing just that. I decided to use mostly dark charcoal fabrics in the small corner squares to make those pop nicely and be a cohesive color story.
I wanted to combine yellows with my Dandi Annie fabric collection to emphasize the warmth of the fabrics. I love how the quilt looks so sunny and happy! I've used Moda's Bella Solids Baby Yellow 31 and Maize 273. Maize is one of my new favorite colors to work with!
There is an alternate twin quilt with the pattern where the "fringe" is longer. I wanted to play with an asymmetrical layout to emphasize the fringe borders and give them even more length and space. The larger borders would be a great place to do some custom quilting sewing.
Sally Corona from Corona Quiltworks did my longarm quilting and for the asymmetrical alternate twin we opted for straight line quilting to mimic the direction of the fringe. The regular twin uses a wonderful swirling design to create a different type of texture and feel. I like to see the contrast of styles and how the longarm quilting designs impact the look of the quilt.
Fringe printed patterns are shipping with Dandi Annie fabric to quilt shops in November and I hope you will check with your local shops for it. You can also find it at my store, along with other new patterns that launched with Dandi Annie - Positively Bohemian, Farmhouse Crossing, and Towards the Sun.
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.
Color play to visualize new quilts! I wanted to see how Hopscotch Happy might look with some Blushing Peonies fabric (This line will be shipping to stores November 2017). Since I'm still in my summery mode with bright and happy hot colors, I wanted to try the red and gray families of color ways and add a little more of the peonies in the pink/orange colors. For three of the blocks, I liked making the background color a soft apricot to warm it up more.
Too much charcoal gray can start to look like Halloween but a touch just adds contrast and sophistication. But what if you DO want a fun quilt that can look fall-like and transition into October and Halloween? A simple switch of background to black and my quilt now looks ready for cozy times in front of the fireplace and candy corn! Have fun playing with Hopscotch Happy! Available at my shop.
Blockstep is a flexible quilt pattern that is great for precuts like layer cakes and jellyrolls or for using up assorted scraps that are at least 2 1/2" wide. The 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 geometric puzzle pieces when I was taking one of my first surface design classes at Otis College of Design. Repeats with rotation was part of the assignment. I printed out this pattern for some art on my kitchen wall, done in shades of olive green, khaki and some orange. I also have a red color-way print for the Christmas season to put on the wall. I also sell prints of this design at Art.com (under Robin Pickens and Geometric Abstract City Squares). It was my mother who commented that this would make an interesting quilt. I guess that suggestion hung in the back of my mind to finally come to life about 12 years later.
This is the first time I have played with floral prints within the blocks and brackets and I'm really loving the versatility of this framework. It's easily scaled up and down in size and you can simple add more rows either way to move up to a queen or king sized quilt.
One of my favorite experiments with this pattern was to step 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!
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 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 add a wonderful contrast to the other gray threads. I love it!!
Step this way, turn that way, have some fun with Blockstep. The pattern will be shipping to stores in November 2017 with my Blushing Peonies fabric from Moda. I've also added these to my shop!
Remember hopping over squares on the ground on one foot, balancing and having fun out in the bright sunshine? Bring back happy squares with Hopscotch Happy, a quilt pattern that is charm pack or layer cake friendly and that can be pieced quickly and easily. Love the brightness of it on white. Love the drama of the blocks on dark. Its fun to make it both ways and see the difference that color and contrast make.
I like to group my sections of blocks by colors. I like pockets of green and red and gray that play together with similar colors. It makes the blocks feel cohesive to me. In this pattern, as I played with colors, I realized if you used 4 Charm Packs (or one Layer Cake) of Moda Precuts of Poppy Mae, you could group the blocks for the lap size quilt to just be greens and reds, leaving the grays for a separate project. I wanted to create a modern feeling quilt that had plenty of negative space for interesting quilting sewing. I love the deep gray of Moda's Bella Solid Charcoal 9900-284. It is my go-to dark gray. I used that with my gray blocks set off to the left side. I also replaced one of the block pieces with a solid persimmon red for a pop of color. After I pieced this, I asked Gina Siembieda, the long-arm quilter who did the quilting for me, if she could work with the angles of the blocks and horizontal lines to create interesting quilting in the negative space. In a case like this, it is helpful to print out an image of the quilt and just draw on it, discussing it together with a long-arm person. Gina ran with it and I couldn't be happier. I love the linear nature of the sewing and the movement and contrast of lines and open space that is created.
Hopscotch Happy is written up for a variety of sizes, including Lap, Twin, Queen, King and as a table runner. It's an easy, fun quilt that goes together quickly. It's available through United Notions/Moda Fabrics as well as in my shop. Hop on over to take a look and start playing happy with Hopscotch!
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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