Fair and Square has a special place in my heart because it was in the first group of patterns I designed. I've learned a lot since then and ended up completely rewriting the instructions. This quilt continues to be a learning experience for me!
I made a revision to the design from the original quilt. I wanted to show this quilt with a soft, buttery yellow background to go with my big bright sunflowers. Sometimes with a pale color mixed with prints needs a little more defining contrast. I loved how a thin white border gave a little additional crispness to the block centers. I decided to carry that thin white sashing around the border to define the space.
The first time I made this quilt I thought the process of making half square triangles went on FOREVER! Now I just enjoy seeing those big blocks come together from a fun mix of little triangles. This quilt can be a fun way to use up some of your extra half square triangles (I save all my extras for scrappy projects) or pieces at least 3" square. Yup, got a lot of those. This pattern specifies a layer cake but can also be made with scrappy pieces approximately 3 x 5" with background fabric added.
Part of my learning experience this time on the quilt was doing the longarm quilting. My system is computerized and I put the sewing designs into the individual blocks vs going with a continual pantograph that is edge to edge. I did a different border design and two designs rotating between the two types of block styles. Aligning the design, staying centered, working out what looked right with the blocks...I did numerous tests on scraps first. I can say I have SO much respect for the amazing longarm quilters out there that I see doing incredible custom work. It's not easy and requires patience and expertise, even when its guided by the computer. I'm glad I pushed myself to try this. It's not perfect, but I think I gave up the quest for perfection a long time ago! I quite enjoy seeing the areas that have mistakes because it records learning and improving for me.
The back of this quilt has the print from Solana of little ladybugs. I just couldn't wait to try this on a backing since it is such a fun little print and I love ladybugs! They seem like good luck and fond wishes coming from busy little bright ladies. This print is great for a backing since the ladybugs have little dashed lines of curvy walking paths in a subtle texture in the background so its very forgiving if you make mistakes while quilting. Yes, I know that from personal experience.
In case you were wondering what yellow this is, its Moda Bella Solids Baby Yellow 31. I paired it with Bella White Bleached 98. This is the original Fair and Square quilt I made with Poppy Mae, my first Moda Fabrics line. It was quilted by Gina Siembieda.
If you want to check out other quilts made with Solana, visit these posts:
or visit my shop! Have a sunny, happy sewing day!
The other new pattern I've released to go with the Solana fabric group is Simple Solstice. This quilt can be done with a Layer Cake or Charm Pack for a small or large quilt! I love the cheery sunshines in sunflower Solana warmth.
The original plan was just the larger quilt, but when I tried blocks in the smaller, Charm Pack, size, I fell in love with the scale of the sunshines. It makes a lovely wall quilt or baby quilt and can have another row nicely added to make it a square.
This quilt pattern uses a mix of stitch and flip corners to make snowball blocks, with rays from half square triangles and flying geese. Because the HST and flying geese are spaced apart, there is minimal corner and point matching to do, so this is really a very forgiving quilt if you don't like having to match lots of points and seams exactly.
I also like the combination of using the scenic print from Solana for the back of the quilt against the white of the front background fabric. For the small version I used the white on white print of the sunflower seeds and it gives the quilt a slightly lacy feel.
Fun fact: this Windsor chair was my Grandmother's. It has traveled with me from home to home and almost always lives in the corner of my bedroom or a guest bedroom. There is something comforting about having a quilt draped over the arm of this chair and I love the smooth wood of the well worn chair arms.
My little visitor friend seems to like these quilt blocks quite a lot. On two separate visits, she claimed them as the place she needed to sit. She knows what she likes!
Simple Solstice will be shipping to shops and the Solana fabric will be shipping in October. If you want to check out this and the other patterns shown with Solana, visit my previous post or my shop. Happy sewing and enjoy the sunshine!
There are rectangular pavers leading up to the front door so the sound of the UPS man with boxes and a dolly have a "Clunkity, clunkity" sound as the wheels drop into the open spaces between the pavers. I know that sound well around here and today it was the sound of PATTERNS ARRIVING!
There are three new patterns for the Solana group of fabrics and this one, BACKSLASH, was the last of the three to arrive from the printer! Tonight we will be bagging patterns while watching tv and tomorrow I will box up some orders going out. Of the three patterns, this one feels the quickest to do and I really like how much fun stuff is in it due to all the print fabrics. It's a little bit of background, a lot of prints.
ThI've made Backslash in color stories- shown here in blues and yellows and one in coral, yellow and green. I liked the flow of movement I got with using a family of fabrics in consistent yardage cuts. This quilt is shown with 11 print fabrics. For the Lap size, you would use 1/3 yard cuts, for the Twin 1/2 yard cuts and for the Queen 3/4 yard cuts (plus background). This quilt can also be made with a Layer Cake. That gives it a busier, scrappier look but could be really fun too! The forward slash and backslash thin sashings on the angled blocks combined with the smaller/grouped in 4 half square triangle blocks provide lots of angles for your eye to travel around the quilt.
This quilt is suitable for more novice quilters or is great to use to showcase a lively group of fabrics together. I hope you have as much fun with Backslash as I did and that you will also check out my other Solana patterns of Simple Solstice and Fair and Square at my shop! (Solana ships to shops in October) Happy sewing!
Kyoto Steps quilt pattern was launched with Painted Meadow fabric and we were just cutting some more kits in the studio last week. My kits do use the coneflowers and bees in the Painted Meadow fabrics and are available in both Twin and Lap size in the red and blue/green colorways. I did a little video to show my Kyoto Steps quilts on my youtube channel. I hope you will check out other videos on my channel!
Since Abby Rose just shipped to shops recently, I thought this would be a great time to show how this quilt could look in Abby Rose! The quilt needs 1/2 yard cuts in 6 fabrics (plus background fabric) for the twin size, 1/3 yard cuts plus background for lap size, and if you are making a full/queen you would have a mixture of 3/4 and 2/3 yard cuts plus background fabric. I enjoy mixing groups of 6 fabrics to see the different looks in romantic roses!
I've included information under each image to list the Abby Rose fabrics used in the mockup. I've listed the name, color and SKU number in case you want to order fabric from your local shops. The first mockups play with orange and pink and pink and green colors. Pretty, springy quilts in light and sweet colors.
How would it look to use a background with more color and with dark shades? I tried Thatched in Cranberry and Burgundy to offset a pink and orange mix and I love the deeper feeling of these.
Greens and Blues? Abby Rose has a soft seafoam blue that mixes nicely with the fresh green. The darker blue is called Night in Abby Rose and is the same Thatched color as Marine 89. I like the crisp feeling of this darker blue against the cream background. I also like using the lighter seafoam blues with Night as a background.
If you are looking for kits using Painted Meadow, visit my shop at www.robinpickensinc.com. You can also see more details of the Painted Meadow quilts on my youtube channel. For Abby Rose, check with your local quilt shops and have a great time sewing!
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.
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!
I'm happy to announce my shopify store is up and running! Actually it has been up and running for a short while but I'm still working out some of the kinks and I'm still deep in my learning curve. I signed up for shopify and it took me about a year to learn in between all the other stuff going on, and pull the "publish" trigger. But today is the first day I'm listing a product that is NOT on etsy and is only at my shopify site. It's a shift for me and I'm quite excited.
I've been on etsy for a number of years. And etsy has been a good place for me to be. I will STILL continue to have my shop there as well. I have no plans on shutting my etsy shop down because I know some people are comfortable shopping there. However, I knew there were some ways that etsy was starting to feel like it wasn't the right fit for me as my only avenue to have a shop.
So what wasn't fitting so right? There are some great reasons why you want to start on etsy. But there are some great reasons to grow and evolve beyond etsy too. These are some of my main reasons to expand to the shopify platform.
1. Fees. First off there is a listing fee on etsy of 20 cents per item and every time that item sells and another "same" item is up in the que, you pay another 20 cent fee. And then there is a percentage fee that etsy takes on the cost of each sale. In 2018 etsy increased that fee from 3.5% to 5%. That increase starts to add up over time. And it adds up a lot on larger ticket items. And etsy started charging 5% fees on shipping costs as well. A shipping cost is something I pay to ship something. It is not profit. So to pay a 5% fee on a cost I pay to ship goods is problematic. It's not till you really look at the numbers and see what you are paying in fees each week that it becomes REAL. Kinda like paying taxes. The actual numbers sting a little even though you are thankful you are making a living.
2. Analytics. Knowledge is power and the more you can figure out where your traffic comes from, the better. And truth be told, very little of my traffic was coming from within etsy. It can be well worth it to pay for real estate in a well traveled neighborhood that brings in a lot of customers "finding" you because you are in that location. But looking at my analytics showed me that very little of my customers come from within etsy. Most come from direct links, my website, linktree or pinterest. And it was frustruating to see that now the analytics have changed and direct traffic is combined with "etsy app" so it is harder to figure out that number. With the "etsy app" part of "direct", a direct link could have opened up within someone's etsy app on their mobile device when they clicked on a link. That doesn't mean they "found" you through etsy. I question why they are lumped together when it seems to only muddy the factual information of what etsy is really bringing to me in searches. If some of the increased etsy fees were justified with ideas of improving the search features, that wasn't really applying to me since that is not what drives the majority of my traffic.
3. Loss of control. Every time a company changes an algorithm or decides to implement a new pricing strategy or changes their business goals, it directly impacts your business as a shop owner. But it feels like it happens to you without having any control over it. My best example of this is craftsy (which is now Blueprint.com). I had quilt patterns for sale on craftsy.com and I made sales there. Then I got the email, 6 days before Christmas 2018 with the line "On 12/28, your pattern store will be removed from Craftsy.com" with an explanation that they were changing their marketplace and editing down the individual stores. Honestly, one week is not a lot of time for notice that your shop will be closed, not to mention it being the week before Christmas when you get the news! And it was their decision and not yours. It is THEIR platform and they have the right to do that. And its business. It is not personal. Some designers got to keep patterns up and for sale but craftsy decided which ones and the designers did not have control over whether or not they could add more. I'd assume some kind of approval process was implemented for that but I didn't pay much attention since my shop was on the "delete" list.
This was a gift really. I learned that I feel better if I have more control over my own business. It gave me a kick in the bottom to work on that shopify site. Yes, it still took me another 6 months to get it open but I felt fortunate to have other solutions. Fortunate that I had already researched what online platforms I liked. Fortunate that all my eggs were not in ONE basket.
4. Connection to buyers. Yes, etsy gives you the ability to communicate with your customers through a conversation. But the email address of a buyer is theirs unless a customer gives you permission to contact them otherwise. I have no desire to send a ton of annoying emails to customers or abuse a relationship we may have. However, when I discover I've made a mistake on a pattern, it sure would be nice to have an email list from those buyers whom I could tell there is a correction. Or the ability to ask if you want to be kept up to date on my shop info through a newsletter correspondence. Privacy rules are in place for good reasons, but etsy doesn't let you ask people if they WANT that type of correspondence from you. If I want to let people know about an upcoming sale or a new line coming out, I hope they follow me on the blog, on instagram, on facebook, because I can't really do it with the efficiency of a newsletter on etsy. Etsy essentially "owns" the contact information.
5. How it looks. Etsy doesn't look bad. But I'm a designer and I like to have more control over how something LOOKS. I like to decide the decor in my home, the way I dress, the color on my walls, along with my company logo and how my images are shown. Etsy has a pretty uniform shop setup and its not so easy to mold that to a different look or have your own branding be more important. As a design-driven company, I wasn't so sure that fit with the directions I am headed and how I want to explore my company look and presence.
6. The ability to customize. There are some options for Drop Ship, direct Print-on-demand products but its limited. Having more partners with your products and offerings? There are lots of companies that will integrate and work with shopify and some of the other online storefront platforms. More choices. More areas to grow into if you decide to. My shop is still pretty basic. But I like that it can grow and change more easily to include more options and customizations.
With all that said, I hope you understand why I opened up my RobinPickensInc.com shop which is hosted through shopify. Its my store and I can manage it more to my liking. Perhaps you are a quilter or designer and are struggling with some of the same issues I mentioned. A wonderful article about why you should consider moving beyond etsy is "Why building a business solely on etsy is a bad idea (and what to do instead) by Sarah Peterson. She has excellent points that I have not covered here and I think it is a really interesting and informative read.
I did a lot of research to make sure shopify had staying power, processed payments securely (we all know that is very important!) and was scalable and worked for larger companies who couldn't risk being an experiment. I pay to have a shop on shopify and I believe I am getting a good value for my dollar, just as I want you to have. I wondered if I would sell enough to justify the costs but I believe in a case like a business store, you have to pay for quality and security. Just make sure you are paying for the things that help YOU as a business and not just the platform company.
As I mentioned earlier, my etsy shop will still be open. But as my business evolves and I grow, my shop must be allowed to grow with me. My plan is I will have my kits, including ones I can put together with my fabrics that are out of print, listed here through robinpickens.com (linking to my shopify store) which takes you to https://robinpickensinc.com. I also hope to have some other sewing and design related products showing up soon to add some color and smile to your creative space! You can still find quilt patterns, both in print form and digital downloads through my etsy shop along with them being on the shopify store. There are currently some kits offered on etsy and I will continue to offer the new patterns. But if you want to see more of my designs and kits, sign up to stay connected to the shopify site and my newsletter and I am happy to keep you in the loop! I hope this was helpful to you and explained part of this transition. Thank you so much for your support and keep creating!
My Christmas quilts featuring my Splendid fabric came back from the longarmer, Marion Bott in Las Vegas (she's @bottmarion on Instagram). Oh I love the textures that get added to the quilts when they have the quilting done! I just want to lightly stroke each quilt and feel the patterns of the sewing.
I'm excited that Splendid is in shops now so you can all work on projects with these too! My next step is to put the bindings on and also make pillow backs and add zippers to the pillow cases (or should I leave them as envelope backs?)
Here is the Showering Stars Table Runner as I'm sewing the binding on. I like the linear pantograph of the quilting. The direction of the lines balances out the long format of the runner and strong patchwork lines of the star trails by going the other direction (horizontally vs vertically).
At the time that I was designing these patterns I had to pick out the binding fabric without having the actual made-up quilt in front of me. That is always a challenge for me- deciding binding recommendations so early in the process (but if it goes in a sales catalog I have to do it early). For most of the quilts in this group I wanted the bindings more subtle and just a complimenting Christmas color, so if the quilt is red, I'm doing a simple green. And in the case of Cardinal's Christmas Wreath, I felt so many prints were on the right and left side borders that a solid or almost-solid was called for.
But when it came to Jubilant Song I had picked the striped fabric for binding and boy, do I love it! Now I wish I had picked a striped binding for Joy and Delight. But my green strips are cut and they are attached to the front, awaiting the hand sewing to the back. I am not going to rip off a whole quilt's binding at this point. But note to future-self, be bold with the stripes!!
I recently posted some scrap bags of Splendid fabric in my online shop. There is a limited quantity so when they are gone, they're gone. And I'll be getting a few quilt kits of Joy and Delight up soon too! But for today, a-binding-we-will-sew!
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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