Today I get to share my newest fabric line for Moda Fabrics, SOLANA. It is based on sunflowers and warm, happy colors. When I designed this fabric, I had no idea how much I would need and enjoy working with this optimistic group of fabrics at this particular time.
Solana is a Spanish word for "the sunny side" of a mount or valley. This seemed like a perfect name for a group about sunflowers because they are always looking to the sunny side, always reaching up to that sunshine.
This collection feels like it celebrates simple pleasures. Ladybugs crawling on leaves, tall blooms looking pretty yet bold, linear illustrations of fanciful sunflower centers... It does remind me of being on family vacations in the summer, driving across country with the windows down and the warm air rushing at my face. I've included a painting of a rural scene in this collection that reminds me of those car trips and seeing miles of farmland and fields.
Solana includes 4 main colorways of cream/buttercup, green, peach/clementine, and pond and horizon blues. The large florals are accompanied by a criss cross ratan pattern, tall stalks, ladybugs, varietals illustrations, sunflower seeds, and of course more Thatched blenders. This collection will be shipping to quilt shops in October 2020.
A very exciting addition to the line this time are two PANELS! Each of these panels have a quote in the center and are a yard in width. Want to have some fun with free-motion quilting? Or add blocks for borders and make these the center of a bigger quilt? I can't wait to experiment more with these and share my progress with them!
The quotes are "Wherever life plants you, Bloom with Grace" (French Proverb) and "Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It's what Sunflowers do." by Helen Keller.
It's been a different experience to prepare for Quilt Market in a virtual way. Today I would have been back home, just arriving from a late night flight after seeing all you wonderful quilty peeps at Market. I miss that experience. It's like reuniting with family. But I am learning new ways of connecting with people over the internet and video. Speaking of video...this is what my dining room ended up looking like to make my market video! I'm still cleaning up...
I'll post more about my quilts with this group, as well as my progress with my panels. I hope you are all finding some sunny inspiration in your days and can look to the bright side!
I've had requests to show my sewing space and I've shown it in bits and pieces before but thought it was time for a better tour! My daughter was home this past weekend and she spent a day helping me clean it up so it was presentable to share. We made a video and posted it to youtube and I'm sharing that here. I'm also giving a little more info on some specifics of my setup and things I use.
This space has gone through a lot of changes and rearranging. When we first moved into this house this room was carpeted and had wood paneling on the walls that had been painted a peachy color and turquoise formica cupboards and counter built into the end wall. Those came out. We put in drywall and wood floors, but after water damage downstairs, years later, we moved everything out and the room was tiled. I've rearranged this room many times and at one point it had 5 large desks in it, along with numerous bookcases, chairs, boxes of samples, etc. My husband has commented that I couldn't possibly get more furniture into the room. Of course that is when I decided to add a longarm. I was determined. I can make it fit. That whole plan and journey is really deserving of it's own blog post, so I'll just say here that this is the new and improved layout with more things moved to the walls (and my daughter's room since she is at college), leaving space in the center for the longarm. Welcome!
I spend a lot of time at this desk. It is actually a dining table from Ikea. It is the "TORSBY" table and I see they have it now with a high gloss white top. My table has a glass top which is painted white on the underside. I like having a larger desk surface by using a dining table, plus I like the clean modern look of this. This table measures 53" x 33 1/2" so I can spread out. I like the fact that the top surface is glass because sometimes I do watercolor painting here (or in the kitchen) and when I do, I can clean off the surface of the glass easily. I tucked a Ikea Alex drawer unit under the table/desk. This holds my pens, envelopes for orders, postage, packing tape, plastic bags for kits, office supplies, etc. It fits really nicely. I also have some holders on the desk top for my notebooks, calculators, business cards and clip boards. The magnet boards are also from Ikea. Just so you know now- I have a LOT from Ikea. I love their creative solutions with furniture and all the options they have.
In the corner I have an antique chest that was my Aunt Doris'. She was the only relative living out here when I moved to California so it seems appropriate that I use it to house things that feel like sentimental treasures to me. I've got the fat quarter bundles and jelly rolls for each of my collections with Moda. I also keep some Christmas giftware little critter figurines I did for One Hundred 80 degrees and lovely pincushions. I like to hunt for vintage sewing things so old thimbles, spools, rulers, sewing machine oil and parts, along with buttons and some vintage cameras live here. When you close the glass door it makes a creaking noise, like the chest is talking to you. I covered the shelves with some removable peel and stick wall covering in white with gold metallic animal spots because it felt fun and fresh (by Valspar and found at Target). I also rotate the vintage sewing machines I display on the chest. The brown one is my newest and I got that from Aspire Sewing in Anaheim at the Road to California show. I love the two-tone tan. Under the sewing machine cover I have a beautiful hand crank Singer that my husband gave me as a gift. How great that I can machine sew even if the power goes out!! Add in some artwork on the wall from Crafted Moon and a sewing notions clock from Moda and I'd have to say this is a really happy corner of the room for me! By the way, the quilt on the wall is STARLET in the medium size, made in Dear Mum fabrics. And the sewing machine cover is a pattern in Jenelle Kent's FARMHOUSE FRESH book using her toweling fabric.
When planning out the rearranging to fit the longarm, I knew a priority to me was to have a longer cutting space. I used two desk tops from previous desks with a cupboard that was left over from our kitchen renovation (I mentioned water damage...well, it started in the kitchen and we had to redo that too) and a Kallax shelf unit from Ikea as an end support. This gives me storage and cutting table support and is a good height. I can measure out over 2 1/2 yards at once from a bolt on this surface and that is a great help when I am making kits or doing backings for quilts. Having a longer cutting table is a great thing to have in a quilting work space! Since my longarm is right behind me when I am working at this cutting table, I can always turn and use it as a counter space for compiling kits too. This area has become a very efficient work space.
On my cutting matts, I have acrylic stands that hold my numerous rulers. They are from A. T. Enterprises and I found them at Road to California. The grooves make the rulers stand up straight. I have a lot of Creative Grids Rulers. No matter what others I try, these seem to be my favorites that I use the most. I use Bloc Loc for trimming my half square triangles and flying geese units, but Creative Grids has become my GO-TO rulers for cutting. When I have blocks that need eighth measures, I use the Primitive Gatherings Creative Grids Itty Bitty Eighths Square and for most of my general cutting, I use the Creative Grids stripology ruler (designed by Gudrun Erla) and 3 1/2" x 12 1/2" ruler, 4 1/2" x 8 1/2" ruler and the big 8 1/2" x 24" ruler for cutting width-of-fabric cuts. So I keep these handy and at the cutting table, vs the other specialty ones that I keep on the wall shelf. I have the perfect 10 ruler too and use that for layer cake projects, but the ones I just mentioned are my normal daily rulers ( the 3 1/2", 4, 1/2" and 8 1/2" long one). For rotary cutters, I usually use Olfa Splash or Martelli Ergonomic (Ergo 2000 which is kinder to my wrist) rotary cutter.
I try to utilize space under my furniture as much as possible. A little further down, under the cutting surface, I keep plastic bins of my fabric stash that I have collected through the years. I keep the stacked bins with fabrics by color and genre, so mid-century fabrics are together, batiks are together, woven plaids together, etc. I can pull out the tubs as I need them.
I also keep my scraps for projects in some tubs and containers I can easily access as I'm doing sewalongs and other scrappy projects. These Variera containers from Ikea provide a nice space to fold up and store my Thatched Basics fabrics in scraps as I work on numerous projects. I keep some of these on shelves or on rolling carts, where they are easily accessed. I put the colors in according to the rainbow ramp of colors I have used. It is easy to pull out a bin, use scraps, put the remaining back, and keep some order to the studio.
This Raskog cart holds the bins of fabric scraps well and I like how it can roll over to the table or cutting surface easily. I have another cart for other sewing notions but I keep this one for fabrics near the cutting table. I can take the tubs of fabric out and replace them as needed and roll it to where I am working. This is where I pull most of my fabrics for my Moda Blockheads3 blocks each week. Since I am doing a quilt with rainbow bands of color for this sew-along, keeping the scraps in color groupings makes this very easy to assemble and play with the options. One of my quilts will be made in all Thatched basics and the other in Thatched plus prints so I like to keep that Thatched bin very handy.
Speaking of Moda Blockheads, I am making 8" blocks (with occasional smaller blocks for other projects) and I found these great project boxes at Target to store my blocks. I love them because they are 11.8" x 11.8" so if you are making any blocks that are 10" or smaller, the pieces and finished blocks fit really well! These boxes are only about $2 or $3 a piece so they are very affordable and I stack them on top of bookcases with other projects in progress. I've got about 9 or 10 of these boxes for my different WIP. The box to the left of the Blockheads blocks above has my Moda Village #modavillage blocks for Christmas and Abby Rose versions. This pattern is from Miss Rosie's Quilt Company by Carrie Nelson and is lots of fun! Want to read more about that? Check out my blog post on my Christmas village.
I think as the Moda Blockheads progresses, I'll need to get the taller versions of this box. There is also a 10" high one and I just might have to go for that taller size to hold my growing blocks!
In the corner I have a lovely corner for sewing and piecing. Some nights, when things are dark in the rest of the house, this little corner is glowing and humming with the activities of late night sewing. The cupboards along the wall hold various cans of spray basting, paint brushes, stationery, and color swatches. The shelf below holds containers for strip piecing, extra rulers, magazines and works in progress. My sewing corner is lit up by a light from Costco with multiple brightness settings and a little fan to blow cool air on me on hot summer days. The corner desk is from (again) Ikea with a curved side that gives me extra space for a desktop ironing board, my Oliso iron, a bulletin board, and my peg board with notions is on the wall in front of me as I sew. I love sewing at my trusty sewing machine, my Juki TL2200. This straight-stitch machine is my daily helper and workhorse. I also have a Bernina 125 for classes and a Juki HZL-F600 for other fancy stitches. But this Juki TL2200 is my bestie in the sewing room.
I got this machine at the Quiltcon in Savanah from SewingMachinesPlus.com and it has run like a dream. I recently ordered more bobbins and needles from them and have had excellent customer service from Sewingmachinesplus.com. I've also faced this machine perpendicular to me and put an extended table on the desk and done free motion quilting on this machine with great results. I love my Juki!
This is the Skadis pegboard system from Ikea that holds a lot of my sewing notions. I have pegs for embroidery hoops, rulers and things I want to hang. The little slide-in containers hold my push pins, safety pins, measuring tapes, bias tape makers, pins, thimbles, needles, clips and marking chalks. I find it is so easy to have these things get lost and mixed in with other things that having this wall system really puts some order and structure to my organization. The shelves hold large threads, bobbin buddies, pins, starches and other notions. The cups hold pens, markers, needles, rulers, pliers, and snips. I've got two boards stacked one on top of the other and there is a little extra room. I think if I had one it would have not been enough so I'm happy to have some higher space that I don't use as much to have that extra storage.
The shelf on the wall holds some of my scraps as well as the cart. I use the smaller Samla bins from Ikea for strips that measure 1/2", 1", 1 1/2", 2", 2 1/2" and so on so I can easily pull down containers and access leftover strips for projects. I print out the size labels on my computer and slide a printout into the front side to easily identify my organization bins.
When I'm at the longarm, this is my view. I can see my sewing space and my window. I've got a Daylight Company floor light that also helps to light up my longarm space as well as can lights in the ceiling. Good lighting is important. I'm still learning the Bernina Q24 but it's coming along!
To the side and behind the longarm I have Billy Bookcases that work really well for bolts of fabric. I have overflow of fabric bolts upstairs (as well as bagged and unbagged patterns and other supplies). Most of the fabrics I use for daily sewing and cutting kits are down here in this space. The Billy Bookcases work well in the tall size for two shelves of standing bolts with some middle sections of sample fabric yardage placed horizontally. I store totes and project boxes on the tops of the shelves. My husband also converted a tv nook in the wall into shelving storage for my art supplies and extra quilts. We close it off with curtains to keep the room looking a little neater. When we added the shelving for bolts to the perimeter of the two walls of the room I lost my design wall for quilt blocks. Something has to give, right? I now use the floor of the foyer as a "design wall" and I walk up the stairs and look over at the blocks in their arrangements from above. It works.
This is my space and I love it. It is a work in progress. It continues to evolve and change. If you have questions, let me know. I'm including link below to some of the items here in case you are interested in them. They don't pay me, although sometimes a company will give me something to try. I'm sharing what I use on a regular basis. If you want a walk through of the space, watch my youtube video below and check out more videos on my youtube channel. If you want to be notified when new videos come out, select the "subscribe" button on youtube.
I hope you have a space that brings you as much joy as my space brings me! Keep creating and sewing!
Torsby Dining Table
Ikea Alex Drawer Unit
Kallax shelving cubes
Variera storage box
Skadis pegboard for wall organization
Samla plastic storage boxes with lids for scraps
Raskog rolling cart
Sewing Machine Cover in book Farmhouse Fresh by Jenelle Kent of Pieces to Treasure
Acrylic Ruler Stands
Target project boxes (11.8 x 11.8" square) with lids
Juki TL2200 QVP Mini
Bernina Q24 Longarm
Starlet quilt pattern
Robin Pickens youtube channel
Stop by Janet Clare's blog for this week's Moda Blockheads pattern, Hampshire Star. I still have a few green blocks left to go in my green row so I'm working in that color family, towards the lighter end of my row (I'm going from darker to lighter in my blocks).
I made my blocks similar to the layout of lights and darks that Janet showed in her pattern. But what would it look like if we played with those half square triangles with our color and light/dark placement?
The first image follows the Hampshire Star layout. The second image treats the top, bottom, right and left middles like ribbons or banners with blue and green sides and triangles that play with sparkly light and dark. I emphasized an additional triangle within the inside corners with a darker olive color. The light and dark variations within the colors reminds me of cut crystal. On the bottom row I played with a darker color being in some of the background pieces. This can define the space with more of a suggested diamond center and more shapes created on the outer parts of the block. These blocks might not be considered Hampshire Stars anymore because of how the pieces are colored but I sure think they are interesting. I especially like how the image on the lower left reminds me of petals or interlocking oval rings. Wouldn't that be fun as a really large block?
These layouts played with the half square triangles...but when I planned out my block I thought I could make a few less pieces (as well as less seams and points to match) if I used some flying geese pieces for some of the block. I still pieced my block in rows but used more flying geese and rectangles.
If you want to use flying geese I provided some sizes of pieces. This uses the one-at-a-time method with stitch and flip corners to make each flying geese unit.
These are my blocks- one of all Thatched. One of Thatched and other prints. I used three coordinates from the Abby Rose collection for the scrappier version. Since I am working on the lighter end of the row of green blocks I thought this would be a good time to try some Thatched fabrics flipped to the back. This shows the lighter range of color. From the back side the colors have a soft, light, chambray look.
I also enjoyed a subtle change in the background on some of the flying geese in the Abby Rose version so I see a hint of a plus sign surrounding the center (the curvy pollen dance lines on the 4 sides).
Check out the other Moda Blockhead designers to see their Hampshire Stars! Thanks Janet!
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/
(Me) Robin Pickens - https://www.robinpickens.com/
Janet Clare - http://janetclare.co.uk/blog/
Jen Kingwell - www.jenkingwelldesigns.com/blog
Joanna Figueroa - https://blog.figtreeandcompany.com/
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!
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
I am proud to be a designer for Moda Fabrics!
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