I love totes! If you are a quilter I'm guessing you do too. Or you do even if you are not a quilter. I've made three totes with Dear Mum fabrics and I get comments constantly when I use them!
For Quilt Market I made these totes using a free pattern that is on Amy Sinabaldi's blog Nana company. I love the large size of the totes and find these are my go-to bags to transport quilts in when I am taking one to show at a guild meeting or work on binding in the car while I wait to pick up carpool. They came together quickly and although I learned I need to work on fitting my inside linings better, I'm pretty happy with them! And if you are wondering about the labels on these- I ordered a swatch of fabric from spoonflower.com with my etsy shop logo on them so I could make labels.
This next tote is one of my very favorites! I made it at Sew Together Stitching Lounge in Los Angeles and I really hope Victoria, the owner, makes a pattern to sell of this. It uses Soft and Stable by Annie and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the straps. It is jute webbing that is used in upholstery. This tote was made in a couple hours. I love a project like that! Those cute toes...that is my daughter!
With all the rush of getting ready for quilt market I didn't realize I had not posted pictures of my Dear Mum line that is in shops now! I was so excited to do this line and include a pretty robin's egg blue (warm blue) that has a little bit of a turquoise feel. The main print is comprised of two kinds of mums- one of them being the oh so dramatic Anastasia Mum in a lovely chartreuse green. These mums fascinate me! I love their green color and graceful upward petals.
Tomorrow I'll share more of the quilts that launched with this group: Starlet, Equalizer and Harlequin, along with a color remix for Tokyo Terrace. I also made a cute tote with the bug print!
Keep planting, keep sewing, keep loving the splendor of blooming beauties!
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 etsy 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.
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 etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/colorandquilt
Blockstep is a flexible pattern that is great for precuts like Layer Cakes (or a Jelly Roll). The design is an interplay of chunky square outlines, splitting them and playing with them stacked as squares and as back-to-back brackets. 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 exploration. I made this geometric design as a print for my kitchen wall, done in shades of olive green, khaki and some orange. Then I did a red version for the holidays. I also sell prints of this pattern 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 simply 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 a block on each side. We don’t always have to stay in the safe zone! When I gave this to the long-arm quilter, Sally Corona of Corona Quiltworks, she worked with randomly spaced gray horizontal quilted rows to stay with the theme of the lined up blocks. But then she added a few lime green lines running vertically down one section of blocks and I just love it! It's a great pop of color and directional change. (The white background version at the top was long-arm quilted by Tanya Heldman of Free Range Quilter with a great contrast of circular to the blocks)
Step this way, turn that way, have some fun with Blockstep. Shipping to stores in November with my Blushing Peonies fabric from Moda. I’ve also add these to my etsy store along with two other new patterns!
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 etsy 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.
Lucky for me I have a mom who sews and is willing to tackle a project when visiting. Little did she know when she arrived for my daughter's graduation that she'd be piecing a whole quilt too! But that is the beauty of Sliding Shoji Screens...you really can piece it in a weekend. Thanks Mom!!
Moda's Bella Solids of Amelia Apricot (9900-162) and Persimmon (9900-294) are mixed with Blushing Peonies in warm tones to make a summery quick and easy quilt. Mom wanted to try my new Juki sewing machine and I think they formed a good friendship. (And yes, when I'm working in my studio I just pile things up and drape fabric wherever- it's how I work)
My mom is smiling because finally the slave-driver (me) will let her have a break. She did good. This happy quilt top is off with a long-arm quilter now. Stay tuned for more pics when the grandma-special returns!
Sliding Shoji Screens is available at my etsy shop.
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 etsy 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 etsy shop!
I'm a Moda fabric designer, quilt designer, coloring book artist, home decor and giftware designer and illustrator. I enjoy sharing my passion for art with my love of family and friends and making a creative home.
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