Did you know a lot of my florals live on both fabric AND calendars? I've been creating artwork for Sellers Publishing for over 10 years! And I love it when a fabric line floral from Moda Fabrics also makes it as my cover girl! These are a couple of my crossover favorites. Painted Meadow coneflowers and big fat bumble bees were on the 2020 wall calendar and the 2021 daily calendar.
Sweet Peas from 2019 became my Sweet Pea & Lily collection in sweet purple shades.
This year's 2021 wall calendar had my sunflowers from my Moda Solana collection blooming brightly! I also had a fabric panel with the Helen Keller quote about sunflowers that is the first image in the calendar.
And a little Carolina Lily beauty to look forward to this October. These lilies should be arriving in quilt shops this November. What a lovely way to enjoy the fall season! Just in case you didn't see it, Calendar Club Canada has a giveaway that closes tomorrow. You have an opportunity to win a 2022 daily calendar and a Sew Happy tote or zipper pouch and charm pack of Carolina Lilies! Hop over to their
facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CalendarClub/ or instagram @calendarclubca to enter!
I'm looking forward to 2021 and hanging this colorful calendar tea towel in my kitchen! This design is exclusive to Moda Fabrics and will be sold through quilt shops. I've used colorful quilt block motifs mixed with some of my florals from Abby Rose, Painted Meadow and Solana. A couple of the ladybugs from Solana are bringing some good luck into the day too.
I have heard some people say they will add a calendar tea towel to a back of a quilt to mark the month and year the quilt was made. I think that is such a fun idea! I like to just collect them as a memento from each year and vary the designs. I also hang them for some time in the kitchen from a skirt hanger and I can then switch them out easily.
If you are interested in getting one of these, let your local quilt shop know you want them to order some. Along with this tea towel (which will be shipped to shops in November), Moda is also making some tote products! They have the same floral and quilt design but instead of a calendar they say SEW HAPPY. I was so excited to see the samples and did this video that shows them more on my youtube channel.
And this fun fast one to get a feel for HOW MUCH fits into this large project tote!
The totes have fun red handles and the regular sized tote and large project one have inside zippered pockets to hold those little things that so easily get lost. Or you can pop a zipper pouch inside the tote that holds rotary cutter, scissors, threads, etc. The zipper pouch has a nice strap handle to the side so you can loop it over your wrist. Another lovely feature in the large project tote is a pocket that runs along the width of the tote on the back side. It has a center seam so it doesn't flop open and its a great spot for some of your rulers, books, and patterns.
This is an example of the types of things I have if I'm taking a class or workshop for quilting, including fabric (did I mention it fits whole bolts of fabric?), cutting mats, rulers, sewing notions, rotating mats, and patterns and quilt blocks or tops. I am forever fighting the long rulers and mats and trying to keep them from sliding out of my arms and piles of stuff as I travel from car to class. I like to have my 24" long rulers and a mat that is at least that wide as well. All this stuff fits in the tote! Of if I'm going to see a longarm quilter, I have my quilt top, quilt back and possibly batting. Or my big embroidery/quilting hoop.
The totes and zipper pouches will be shipping to shops in December. Wouldn't this be a great gift for a sewing friend? I'm making up my list (and sorry Mom, you now know one thing you'll be getting for Christmas!)
Want to see more videos with fabrics and quilts and fun stuff for sewing? Pop on over to my youtube channel! https://www.youtube.com/c/robinpickens
Old News is Still Good News
Well, at least I'm hoping it is! We are a few days into 2020 and I am not a huge one for making resolutions but I am big on setting some goals when New Years time rolls around. It is a logical starting place for reviewing and resetting and planning what I want to accomplish in the coming year. Wait, that sounds kind of like a resolution, doesn't it? Ah, but for the reviewing...
When I look back at 2019, I've got to admit it was a good year for me. Perhaps one of the biggest things that happened is I had two surgeries to have hip replacements. One in January and one in June. I had no cartilage left at either hip, being bone-on-bone. I couldn't stand up straight and walking was getting unbearable. It is a gradual change, accompanied by a lot of denial, that happens with arthritis. It is hereditary for me so I was very familiar with seeing my mother and sister go through it. But it is still scary to face surgery and change yourself.
See that hip with the bone smashed up against it? (pic on the left) That is the NO cartilage pic. There were lots of bone spurs. Ouch. And lots of arthritis. More ouch. The pic on the right shows my fabulous bionic hips now! It is hard to express exactly how life-altering or "giving my life back to me" this has been.
As a quilter, before the replacements, I couldn't stand much to even cut fabric at my cutting table. It was hard to manage a suitcase and getting through an airport to go to Quilt Market. My dear husband came to spring market to manage the bags and put up my quilts in my booth. I would not accept offers to travel to teach- it was just too painful. I didn't even want to walk through a grocery store. I had planned to go to Quiltcon as an attendee in February, thinking I'd be better after the first hip, but I had to cancel when I didn't have travel clearance from my doctor yet. After both surgeries and physical therapy, I was thrilled to go to Quilt Market in the fall and be able to STAND STRAIGHT and walk like a normal person. I even danced at the Moda Fabrics customer appreciation party! I feel so fortunate to live in a time where we have the knowledge, experience and ability to improve our lives through medicine and surgery this way. It is hard to fully express how much this has improved my life.
If 2019 was the year of me getting my hips (and life) back, then 2020 needs to be about continued learning about joints and what types of daily behaviors, diets, and practices can help to extend the life of the rest of the cartilage in my body. After eating WHATEVER I wanted, WHENEVER I wanted, over the holidays (which was everything, all the time) I'm back to more structure, eating better and moving/walking more.
2019 was also a fun year for fabric for me, with more blooming color in the house! Painted Meadow debuted at the Spring Market in Kansas City, Thatched was released over the summer, and Abby Rose was my fall Market colletion (for release in early 2020). I haven't shown much of Abby Rose here but will do it in the next couple of posts! I'm very excited for Thatched since I can blend the colors of the basics line into new collections or just go for quilts that are color studies based on the slightly textural solids.
In 2019 I played along/sewed along in three online sew alongs- 100 Blocks 100 Days presented by Gnome Angel and Skyberries, Bowtie Flower Quilt with Quilters Candy, and Moda Blockheads 2. I attempted to do the Meadowland Quilt sew along from Then Came June but I didn't get too far. She's doing it again this year so maybe I can jump in and try to make some progress on that WIP.
Speaking of SEW ALONGS... in just 11 days MODA BLOCKHEADS 3 starts! Come join the facebook group and get a link on Wednesdays to the blog of the weekly designer, or check out the Moda Cutting Table blog at https://my.modafabrics.com/tags/blockheads on Fridays. One block a week, lots of community, lots of fun. I'm a designer contributing 3 block designs this year so I'm extra excited!
That's all the 2019 big stuff I can think of now. Stay tuned as I'm sure more will pop into my head!
Happy 2020 and hoping you have lots of sewing fun in the year ahead.
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.
The New Hexagon 2 book by Katja Marek
I was so honored that Katja Marek asked me to participate in her instagram book tour for her book, The New Hexagon 2, published by Martingale. This is a second book on hexies, after her popular The New Hexagon. I love the image on the cover here so much! First off, that color palette of greens and teals is stunning and her layout of large and small blocks to make the diamond shaped sashings creates such a wonderful movement within the quilt top.
Katja named the blocks after women she admired and I was so honored that she selected me for one of the blocks! Thank you Katja!! I certainly admire what she has created as well. And I appreciate how thoroughly and well she explains English Paper Piecing in this book with photos and tips that make a difference.
So meet the ROBIN BLOCK! It is block number 7 in the book and is a 12" size, one of the larger blocks. I appreciate having that fun center triangle for putting in something with some fussy cutting. All those rays would look great with fussy cutting too but I decided to make mine with an emphasis on one of my bees and coneflower centers in the middle.
I used my Painted Meadow fabrics to make my blocks since it recently landing in quilt shops. I keep thinking that this block would be great as a lion face (embroidered in the center?) with the rays being a gold lions mane. Or with a graphic sun? I think you could have so much fun with this one.
Say his to my bumble bee! She's nice and plump and busy in the garden.
If you want a copy of Katja's book, give some love to your local quilt shop and see if they have it! If they don't, you can follow these links at the bottom of this post to find her new one as well as the original The New Hexagon (also by Katja Marek). If you'd like to visit the other designers and quilters on instagram that joined in on the book tour, check out the list below. There were giveaways, which are closed now, and I hope that everyone who won a book has a happy sewing journey with their hexagons.
@katja_marek @karenburns1 @martingaletpp @paperpiecesepp @modalissa @kim_brackett @robinpickens @alisonglass @la_casetta_nel_bosco @allie.and.me.design @quilterpatsloan @lynetteandersondesigns @gailpandesigns @sewmorequiltsmom @poppyprint @stitchpublications @stashlabquilts @meghawkey1
Full Bloom 18 inch Block
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!
Beanstalk Quilt Pattern
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!
I, like most quilters/makers, have a number of projects in the works at the same time. Yup. Because they all look so wonderful! I did decide to join in the Bowtie Flower sewalong that Elizabeth Chappell of Quilter's Candy is hosting on instagram. When I saw her quilt on the pattern cover, I knew I wanted to try it with Painted Meadow!
To be honest, in order to join a sewalong right now, I need to feel its something that won't take me hours and hours of long work. I want some projects that are doable and I can get to the finish line. I looked over the pattern and realized that it would fit in to my schedule and I could set up time to do all the cutting, all the HST, all the trimming, etc. Add in chain piecing and I'm there! Plus, I have to admit that sometimes I get bogged down in making my own patterns so it is a breath of fresh air to make quilts from patterns created by other designers.
For my white I am using Moda Bella Solids White Bleached 98. The pincushion is from Wooly Felted Wonders. Isn't it cute?
After deciding which prints I wanted to use (and yes, I mocked it up in the computer using the coloring page that Elizabeth provided- very helpful!) I got to work cutting. I decided to make my Half Square Triangles using an 8-at-a-time method. So my squares I cut for HST were actually 10" to make 8 HSTs. The exceptions were the blocks with bees in them. I fussy cut those so my bees would be center stage in the triangle shape.
I recently bought myself a Martelli turn table and cutting mat. Wow! It is a dream to use. I really enjoy having good tools and look forward to treating myself for a birthday or if I meet a goal I've set.
Next up were the stitch and flip blocks.
When making the stitch and flip blocks, I like to sew an extra seam in the part I am cutting off to make additional Half Square Triangles to use for something else. They are small and cute and I'm not sure what I'm going to make with them yet. I'll trim them up when watching tv some night. I'm thinking of doing a little mini wall quilt with them.
Stacks of blocks are now pressed and ready to go!
I hope you are playing along too. Check out quilters_candy on instagram and hashtag #bowtieflowerquilt and #bowtieflowerqal to see what others are doing!
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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