Do you have a feeling of ZEST or a ZESTFUL approach to life? What is zest? I found this in Wikipedia, with Zest described in positive psychology: "Zest is a positive trait reflecting a person's approach to life with anticipation, energy, enthusiasm and excitement." (Peterson, C.; Park, N.; Hall, N.; Seligman, M. E. P. (2009). "Zest and work". Journal of Organizational Behavior. 30 (2): 161–172). That sounds pretty great to me!
How perfect to have a heart to describe this feeling of excitement, energy and positive attitude! I liked the simplicity of this block and thought it would be perfect to add a little patchwork mix of colors into the shape. With Thatched basics I used crimson, fuschia, tangerine, rose and one of the pinks from Abby Rose in 2 1/2" squares (2" finished size). I made the patchwork sides, then added the stitch and flip corners, then joined them together.
The scrappy version has the same Thatched crimson, fuschia, and rose fabrics plus cranberry. I wanted one of the darker shades to offset the dark red in the houndstooth check. And I loved putting in some of this Bonnie and Camille measuring tape fabric. What a fun way to "measure my love" of sewing! The curving lines in the background corner pieces is one of the coordinates of Abby Rose.
Between Brigitte's (zen chic) LOVE block and this ZEST heart, I'm really feeling the the warmth of good feelings lately!
You can get the pattern from Lissa Alexander at http://modalissa.com/2020/02/blockheads-zest.html/ . She also has some sweet pictures of little combinations of the block plus plans for a heart within a heart block. Its precious! Oh, yes, also Lissa is doing a giveaway on her blog so check it out!
Visit other Moda Blockheads designers for their take on this week's block!
1.15 - Corey Yoder - https://corianderquilts.com/
1.22 - Sherri McConnell - https://www.aquiltinglife.com/
1.29 - Betsy Chutchian - http://betsysbestquiltsandmore.blogspot.com/
2.5 - Jan Patek - http://janpatek.blogspot.com/
2.12 - Brigitte Heitland - https://www.brigitteheitland.de/blog
2.19 - Lisa Bongean - https://lisabongean.com/
2.26 - Lissa Alexander - http://modalissa.com/
3.4 - Laurie Simpson - http://minickandsimpson.blogspot.com/
3.11 - Vanessa Goertzen - https://lellaboutique.blogspot.com/
3.18 - Stacy Iest Hsu - https://www.stacyiesthsu.com/blog/
3.25 - Robin Pickens - https://www.robinpickens.com/
4.1 - Janet Clare - http://janetclare.co.uk/blog/
4.8 - Jen Kingwell - www.jenkingwelldesigns.com/blog
4.15 - Joanna Figueroa - https://blog.figtreeandcompany.com/
Jenelle Kent has a charming new book out with Martingale, Farmhouse Fresh. The projects are absolutely lovely! They use 16" wide toweling, which Jenelle has with Moda Fabrics.
This Rock Pool Toweling in the seafoam color is such a fun combination with Abby Rose! The modern farmhouse look of the toweling works so well with the cabbage roses and pink, green, orange and seafoam colors in Abby Rose.
The ends are made with patchwork squares that add such a nice mixture of colors. My friend Susan, the Felted Pear (@thefeltedpear on IG), had the lovely idea to add some applique and a label and I think it is such a nice touch! Jenelle has numerous applique projects in the book and her needle-turn work looks so good on the toweling. I usually do fusible raw edge applique and I think that works well on this fabric as well.
This cover ends up being a perfect size for my Juki TL2200 sewing machine! Its my main piecing machine so its always out and definitely deserves a pretty cover.
I also like the way this side patchwork looks from the end of my work space.
If you are interested in winning a digital copy of Farmhouse Fresh by Jenelle Kent, head over to my instagram feed and enter! I'll be drawing a winner from people who follow me @robinpickens, Jenelle @piecestotreasure and Martingale @martingaletpp on Instagram and enter on my IG sweepstakes post in my feed. Jenelle will notify winners on February 25th of the IG book tour!
Other IG posting peeps to check out for the IG book tour:
Scrap bags provide nice fabrics for doing scrappy projects. The sizes range and there are not always all the fabrics in a collection, but there is still a nice cohesiveness to having scraps that coordinate from a collection. I've got a limited number of bags up on my shop.
Scrap bags weigh over 1/2 lb. (approximately 10.5 oz!) with scraps of cotton quilting fabrics from the Abby Rose, Painted Meadow, and Thatched collections. Not all the fabrics from a collection are included. Pieces range from 1 1/2" wide to 5" wide and about 12-12.5" long.
If you are joining Moda Block Heads 3 and want some filler fabrics to add a scrappier look, think about scrap bags for an easy way to add variety to your stash.
Visit my shop at https://robinpickensinc.com/collections/fabric-bundles-and-scrap-bags
HELLO 2020! I have a couple things I'm putting up in the house that are specifically for this year. Yes, calendars! Both print calendars (wall and daily) and calendar tea towels (at quilt shops or spoonflower).
I have been creating artwork for the Seize the Day line of calendars with Sellers Publishing for 10 years! My first ones were for 2011 but that means I was working on artwork in 2009 to get in for printing in 2010 to sell for 2011. I just finished up my artwork for the 2021 calendars and got it all sent in last week. You can probably understand why I sometimes get confused about what day it is or even what year it is!
There has been a lovely correlation for the past few years between my fabric lines and my calendar artwork and covers. It hasn't been intentional to make a cover that is an upcoming or existing fabric line, but the two often overlap and compliment each other. I'm so pleased that Painted Meadow is being used to sew with now and still in shops while those perky coneflowers and big fat bumble bees are buzzing around my calendar for 2020.
The first page of the calendar gives a grid of September-December of the previous year, so you can start using it early to transition into the new year. Since I have my calendar from the year before up till December 31st, I skip over using this and I usually feel that this page is a little forgotten in my studio. So maybe if I share it here it will have more life and space to shine.
The desk calendar has tear off pages for the days of the week (Saturday and Sunday share a page) with a variety of quotes and images. I save my pages to write notes on the back. I'd like to say I find all those quotes myself but I don't. The folks at Sellers Publishing find lots of great sayings and sentiments to fill your days with inspiration. I find ones for the wall calendars and a few daily but they put in a lot of effort to fill those pages with daily optimism. Thank you Sellers Publishing!
Side note: where to buy Seize the Day- Barnes and Noble often carries them, I spot them in places like student bookstores on college campuses and sometimes office supply places. I'm curious...would you buy this at a quilt store if they carried them?
And then there are calendar tea towels! I started doing these through the spoonflower competitions each year. As the competition draws close I update the previous designs to the calendar grid and year of the new year coming and I work on a new idea. This year I decided to work with the quilt theme and I created "Sewing Up the Year" tea towel.
Here it is in the Love Patchwork and Quilting Holiday Gift Guide. It makes a nice gift for the quilters in your life. I will be updating this towel each year to reflect the calendar for the coming year (usually around October or November)
A few more tea towels in my shop- calendar themed. There are non-calendar as well and you can check the tea towel collections on my shop page. All of the spoonflower tea towels fit on a fat quarter of linen cotton canvas. You can also get towels that are finished (hemmed and hang tag on corner in back) from roostery.com
A new item this year has been the calendar tea towel for MODA FABRICS. I designed one for 2020 that used the drawing lines from a few of my collections to make a lacy illustration of florals around the calendar grid.
I keep mine folded over a glass door on an antique cupboard in my office. I like to see the contrast of how the linear flowers go with the prints from my collections. Here it is with scarves from Painted Meadow and Abby Rose.
These tea towels with MODA FABRICS are exclusive to MODA and quilt shops. Give some love to your local quilt shop- we need and love them! I know my local shop was carrying them but they have sold out so if you are a shop owner and have these in stock, please comment and let us know so we can send folks your way!
I hope you are as excited for 2020 as I am. It already promises to be filled with lots of activities and shows- which is even more reason why I've got to start getting it entered in my calendar!
I've had a number of requests for showing Painted Meadow fabric in my Joy and Delight quilt design. I love the ease of the computer to try out a few things so lets have some color and print fun! I designed Joy and Delight with my Christmas collection, Splendid. I showed it with the blocks alternating two prints OR in a version with the large block centers using a Layer Cake for a scrappier look. With this exercise in color play, I'm staying with the scrappy Layer Cake assortment.
I'm starting with some of my favorites (I think) because I really enjoy how soft and pretty these can look in this more pastel palette. The above quilt shows the snowflakes in the borders in pink. So now I can feel free to call them sparkle bursts instead of snowflakes. They have a sparkly decorative feeling. Of course you can make this quilt without the border sparkles but I think they do add a layer of twinkle (or pixie dust??) to make those borders feel special. Below is a more close up view to see the softness of the sparkle bursts in a light color. Also the framing around the blocks is shown in pink (below) vs light green (above).
A little more exploration of pinks...lighter to the deeper pink. With the lighter pink background I used dark pink framing and border sparkles. When using a darker frame around the blocks, I like to switch the small squares in between to a light color for more contrast and the color sparkle of the white accents (see, more sparkle!). With the dark pink I went back to the pop of the cream frames but made my border sparkles even darker red.
I enjoy the more dramatic tealish blues of Painted Meadow and thought it would be fun to see some blue stories. A deep midnight blue frames the squares in this first one.
And on this version I wanted to add a soft khaki or light tan for the frames. I think the addition of the neutral natural light tan gives this an entirely different feeling and is a nice compliment to all the color in the blocks. There is something so restful and calm about this color combination.
Hope you enjoyed a little color play with Painted Meadow and this helps in visualizing quilt plans! If you are interested in Joy and Delight, it is shown in Splendid in my shop.
Today I put the last border on my Bird Talk quilt and I was so happy since I've been doing it in little bits and pieces, here and there. One night I will think "okay, I can get all the bird legs done" and another night I assemble the cardinal. Chip away at some leaves...little by little. I had help too with Olivia, who came and calmly cut and pieced leaves and leaf stalks while I filled pattern orders and dealt with computer things.
This has been a happy quilt to make. I don't know why, but birds are just so cheery. Maybe it is because I am named after the first bird of spring- Robins hopping along on the lawn with bits of snow still sticking but signaling that spring is indeed coming. Or maybe it is that I love to see the birds jump around and play with each other in a teasing way on the branches of the trees outside my studio window. Whatever the reason, birds just seem free, colorful, light and full of chatter.
I did start by making birds first. Then leaves. Then border. Then joining it all. The pattern itself is not overly difficult. It is made from patchwork simple piecing, half square triangles and some flying geese. You just have to pay attention to cutting a variety of sizes. I suggest labeling them with some post-it notes as you cut them out. If you want o make scrappier pieced sections of border, combine more smaller pieces into the larger size of block or rectangle for backgrounds.
Wouldn't this be fun with all Blue Jays, or black birds with fall colored leaves? I think this will be really fun to play with pattern and color on other versions. This version was made with Thatched Basics by Moda Fabrics. Some of the differences in colors are subtle- for example, there is a light red, medium red and dark red. You could use all one red, but the differences in value help to define wings from underbelly from top of bird. This could be a great place to experiment with ombres too- Hmmmmmm, I'm wondering the effect I could get with those!
This quilt is a lap size, or a twin with the border. This is the first time I have done a decorative, pieced border and I am really liking how it works with this particular quilt. I wondered if the border would be too much, but now that it's done, I am quite smitten with the border and am looking forward to doing other versions with it.
This quilt is easy to make with a combination of fat quarters, fat eighths and some yardage. I will be sizing it down to half scale for a wall quilt, hopefully by the start of quilt market. I had to make a decision on pattern sizes and the pattern itself is a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" booklet (the size of my other patterns) but its 14 pages of instructions to include what you need for cutting, piecing and borders. I could either make a larger pattern at twice the price and include two sizes, or do two patterns at specific sizes at my normal price (its too much info to put both sizes into the small format booklet). I figured most people would know the size they want to make and appreciate not spending more on the pattern, so two patterns it is. I appreciate knowing if this works for you or if you'd rather spend more and have both sizes together.
This bird family is off to the longarmer tomorrow. Stay tuned for the smaller one!!
Happy quilting! And for more Thatched fabric patterns, check out my shopify store!
The Moda designers had a fun project for the Spring Quilt Market this year. A group of us designed 18" block patterns to give to local quilt shops to use during this National Sewing Month. 18 inches is a substantial size for a single block and leaves room to play with fabric and combine several shapes and sizes into a layered composition.
At the time of designing my block I was working on my Picket quilt with it's stitch and flip sides that make up the picket fence border around the quilt perimeter. I liked playing with this shape and how it also suggested flower petals, especially when grouped around a central square.
I call my block "Full Bloom" because it reminds me of the petals in a fully open flower in a grand display. The petals are separated by sashings to give more definition and color play in your piecing while dividing the space in an interesting way.
For a schoolhouse session at Market we showed our blocks. I made up two blocks using my new collection (shipping in October 2019) of Painted Meadow. Coneflowers in paisley shapes, textures, little sprigs, all make up the blocks in this composition. And I could not resist doing a little fussy cutting and making one of my fat bumble bees the center of a bloom. Perhaps this bee is looking for pollen in the center? These blocks are not quilted yet and I'm still deciding if I'm going to make pillows or work these into a quilt top.
I like to experiment on the computer with the blocks and what it looks like made up different ways. With this block, the corners could be more valentine-like with hearts (like the top left image) and a hashtag center. Or maybe the center is surrounded by darker colors to set it off in contrast. Multi-colored blocks (lower left) have a different feel from monochromatic blocks that play with values of light and dark.
Studying what happens with light and dark values is interesting when you have all these rectangles that continue across the block. You can have mid-range tones that suggest overlap and transparency, or sashing lines that stay solid and strong. Some look like woven plaid. Others are radiating light or dark from the centers. I love the different look and feel you can get from one block with this play of light and dark. Wouldn't it be fun do do a monochromatic quilt just exploring these light and dark relationships?
If you want to make a block with a big fuzzy bumble bee, like the one above, look for the Painted Meadow collection in October. Painted Meadow has corals, red, greens, teals and pinks. Or use solids with a range of light and dark values. Or go completely scrappy with enough room in those squares for some good fussy cutting. Whatever you make, I hope it is fully blooming and glorious! Click the blue "download file" for the Full Bloom pattern jpeg.
Visit the previous designer's blog posts and the future posts to see more 18" block fun! Here is the schedule and links to their blogs:
9.23 - Lella Boutique and Sherri & Chelsi
9.24 - Kansas Troubles and Corey Yoder
9.25 - Crystal Manning and Me & My Sister
9.26 - Jan Patek
9.27 - Robin Pickens (me and here is the pattern!)
9.30 - BasicGrey
10.1 - Betsy Chutchian and Lisa Bongean
10.2 - American Jane
10.3 - Kathy Schmitz
10.4 - Zen Chic and Deb Strain
I'd love to see images of things you make with your blocks! Do you make a sampler with all the designer blocks? A table runner with a set of three or four? A pillow or mini wall quilt? Have fun sewing and share with us!
Sometimes I just like to sew. You know, the hum of the machine. The forward motion and progress. Adding piece after piece in a rythmic order and just getting into my zen place of calm at seeing rows of color and pattern coming together. KYOTO STEPS takes me to this zen place.
This quilt is easy to make- a logical cutting scheme and straight sewing- but still has a richness of activity and proportions. It is designed to allow some large prints to have a bigger block (yes, my common theme to show off my large florals) that are more centrally located. Then think of the other blocks as steps that skip and hop away from the center in light and dark.
I just love the quilting on this one. I want to rub my hands over it and feel the texture of those fans! Marion Bott (@bottmarion on IG) did a fantastic job with adding the perfect layer of textural dimension to this quilt. The fabric here is from my Painted Meadow collection (shipping October 2019) and I made sure some of my fat bumble bees made it into the large blocks. I also put the large pink print with big Coneflowers on the back of the quilt so there would be lots of drama and excitement when you turned it over.
I must admit I really don't like making quilt backs. And I REALLY don't like trying to match a print on a seam when making a back. I'd much rather add a panel down the middle so I don't have to see an unmatched print and use some extra pieces of fabric I have. In this case I made another row of rectangles from leftovers from the quilt top and ran it down the center. I think its stays in the style and spirit of the quilt front and gives a fun interest to the back.
Kyoto Steps looks serene in these teal and green colors. This is a scaled down version of the quilt with slightly smaller rectangles. This lap version still gives plenty of room for a big print to shine while playing with those rhythmic rectangles. Sally Corona (@coronaquiltworks on IG) quilted this one in fabulous hexies. Quite a perfect shape with this chair!
For this quilt I chose a Moda Bella Solid for the backing- I believe it is Pistachio. I wanted to keep it serene and calm but with a pop of color! I like the way the painted lines coordinate print in the Painted Meadow collection make a good binding with subtle stripes of teal, green, deep red or saturated pink color families.
KYOTO STEPS is written for three sizes- Lap 58" x 67", Twin 74" x 89", and Full/Queen 97" x 93". The placement of the rectangles is diagrammed out to make it easy to replicate this spacing of blocks. The quilt is made with 6 half-yard cuts plus background if you are making the Twin, mostly 1/3 yard cuts for the Lap (but get 1/2 yard if your main print is directional like mine is) and a mix of 2/3 and 3/4 cuts for the Full/Queen (also adding background yardage to the Lap and Full/Queen).
If you want to make this in a scrappier way, you can use mixes of Fat Quarters for your pieces. If you are using a Layer Cake, the scaled down size of the Lap will work for those 10" pieces. This quilt is suitable for more beginning quilters.
You can find KYOTO STEPS along with other patterns from the Painted Meadow release at my shop and the patterns are shipping to local quilt shops with the fabric collections!
The original inspiration for this quilt was a caned back to a chair I saw at a yard sale. I thought it would be fun to replicate that woven look with center octagons in fabric. As I was laying it out, the design was becoming a bit too busy and challenging. It needed simplification so the lines did not compete with the prints on the fabrics and so I wouldn't tear my hair out! My happy ending place was this center part of Picket, with white triangle corners meeting each other, suggesting the continuation of line and an almost mosaic-like feel.
As I was playing with the shapes, I loved how the triangles played together and with some of my diagrams, the flying geese ends started to make their own statement. By lengthening the strips, they suggested picket fence posts (but not too long to be overly literal). The pop of white against a colorful border gave that additional chance to set the mood with color.
Picket is designed to be made with either a layer cake (or any mix of fun scrappy 10" blocks of fabric) OR with fat quarters. I like using the fat quarters to get a good mix of fabrics but still have repeating prints and to select my fabrics to tell a color story. The two lap quilts here have color themes of pink/coral/red and blue/green/teal. They have such a different feeling based on the warmth or coolness of the fabric colors.
For the layer cake version of Picket, I auditioned quite a few colors for the border and centers of the X blocks but I kept coming back to this Moda Bella Solids Spray color. There is something so fresh about it and I loved how it popped with the teals and greens and reds.
The quilt is made up of Snowball and X blocks, set on point. It's really pretty fast to make once you get in the groove of the blocks. I make up all the Xs, all the snowballs, then play with arranging them. Then at the end, I get to enjoy my colorful garden all surrounded by my picket fence.
I'm so happy to have had a lot of helpers on these! The large quilt was pieced by Susan Vaughan @thefeltedpear and was longarmed by Marion Bott @bottmarion. The lap quilts were pieced by Danica Willig @danicawilligdesigns and longarmed by Sally Corona @coronaquiltworks.
Check out more patterns made with Painted Meadow (and yes, Painted Meadow is shipping to shops in October 2019 from MODA FABRICS!) at my shop!
Chunky leaves in curved friendly shapes with graphic triangular blooms. Say hi to Beanstalk! This is a leaf/vine quilt made with Painted Meadow fabrics. The selection of fabrics and instructions use fat quarters for the leaf and bloom prints. The green stems and background are indicated as yardage.
I wanted some growing, garden themed quilts. Beanstalk and my Picket quilts were a direct reflection of the desire to marry plants and quilts.
Beanstalk has chunky, curved leaves made with 4" radius quarter circles (8" full circle size) that make the gentle sides of the leaf shapes, meeting half square triangles to finish off the leaves. You can play with the leaves by putting all dark colors to the bottom for a more shaded look or doing scrappy piecing with color and light/dark values.
The Beanstalk pattern comes with a paper template to make the curved blocks. However, I made the blocks for this sample using the Creative Grids Circle Savvy Ruler and I recommend it! Cutting circles with a ruler like this makes them so accurate and easy to sew together. I also have a number of Drunkards Path and quarter circle rulers in different sizes and one of the reasons I like this Creative Grids one is that it has ALL the sizes I use in one ruler! I can design with it, try different sizes with it, and translate a pattern for applique vs piecing with it too (different sizes minus the seam allowance).
When I started the plans for this quilt, I thought I would make it in only green shades for the leaves. But then I mocked it up with the teal and red shades and loved the graduation amongst the color families. It reminds me of fall and changing leaf colors. I think the reds add a lively touch!
Because I try different blocks to figure out my sizing, I usually make a variety of sample blocks. It seems like such a shame to waste these so I try to incorporate them into the backs of my quilts when I can. For this Beanstalk quilt, I used leaves that were too big and too small and a larger bloom as a pieced block in the center of my backing.
This quilt was longarm quilted by Marion Bott and the pantograph is a Sand dollar design. I love the pretty flower shape and the orange peel structure of this design. It makes such a lovely texture on the quilt!
I'm trying to decide what Beanstalk quilt will be next- one from Thatched basics? One with grays and muted colors? I'm not sure but I'm looking forward to planting a new Beanstalk! Visit my shop for this pattern and more that are made with the Painted Meadow collection from Moda Fabrics (shipping October 2019 to quilt shops). Happy sewing!
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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