It is my week for the Moda Blockheads quilt block and I am feeling a little sentimental that this is all wrapping up soon. I have had such a good time! Last year I sewed the sampler but was not one of the block designers. This year, the excitement of sharing blocks I've envisioned has been a highlight to my months. The connection through online communities and sewing has been more important than ever with the changes we have all been going thorough with quarantines and working from home. In weeks that have blurred into other weeks, one thing has been steady...the fun and creativity of Wednesday block releases for Moda Blockheads.
Thank you all for being a part of this quilt journey and community! I hope you are excited with your evolving quilts. And for this week's addition, block 53 is "Bear Cubs Round the Campfire." I've been enjoying some projects with Bear Paw blocks and liked the idea of a simpler corner with a small paw. With all four corners surrounding a center block, it felt like smaller bears, or little bear cubs, sitting around the fire pit or campfire. I have actually been camping when a big, tall bear came into our campsite. He/she smelled the food cooking and we banged the pots and pans to scare the bear away. For this quilt block, I envision these bears to be smaller and so much more friendly!
I took the opportunity to put my little farmhouse from Solana into the center square on my print version. Greens with a little pop of blue is my theme and the farmhouse is warmed up with some happy sunflowers. For my all-Thatched version, I've got greens from Painted Meadow, Solana and Abby Rose, along with the original basics Pine and Chartreuse. I used the flip side of the Solana light green to get the lightest outer shades.
Speaking of Thatched...I recently announced that Moda is releasing another 25 colors into the basics line! It will be shipping either this month or February. I am thrilled to have more colors to play with and can't wait to experiment with more color combinations. Check back to my blog in the next few days because I will be releasing a NEW FREE mini quilt pattern that uses a Mini Charm. I'll have it as a download on my blog. I've got it shown in the new Thatched colors and I am loving the spicy warm colors and new periwinkle/cornflower blues.
But lets get on to the COLOR STUDIES! And of course the pattern and then, please enter to win a layer cake of SOLANA (enter on the Facebook Moda Blockheads page on my announcement post with the picture of my sewn blocks). The pattern is here - just click the gray bar right below this paragraph. But to see mockups and learn more about the GIVEAWAY, keep reading...
When first planning this block, I had a red center square for the "fire" but as I played with it and realized it was going to live in my green row of the quilt, I switched out center colors and added more subtle bands of color in the middle of the sides. I also liked looking at this with warm colors on a dark background, and again tried those bands in a different value of the lighter brown.
Next I tried emphasizing the squares in the middle, either through light and dark or a highlighted color. On the last one I dropped out the corners on the inner box so it reads like a big chunky plus sign.
The facets of cut glass? 70's supergraphics? More continuation of color from piece to piece and the illusions of lines turning corners. It is exciting that this doesn't resemble a bear paw any more.
And finally, a little rainbow love with a color wheel of color showing up in those corners. I like these as a pair with the light and the dark background.
So of course I had to stay up late and make these! I didn't have good enough light to photograph last night so I added these to the post later. I did these as 12" blocks (my green ones are 8") and I think that adding some extra borders would increase the size to nice pillow covers.
I've used some of the new Thatched colors in these. The background below is so fun to try out! It is called Chalkboard Scribbles and is basically the reverse of Heather from the first group (grey lines on white). There is a crisper white on white called Blizzard and deep and dramatic tonal Soft Black.
Thank you for all your lovely comments about the color studies over the weeks! I have greatly enjoyed doing them and sharing the mockups.
I'll be drawing a person to win a Layer Cake of SOLANA fabric. Please enter by commenting on my post in the Moda Blockheads FACEBOOK group (my post with the photo of these green blocks, not the color study one) and tell me what flowers you would like to see me do on a future fabric collection. I'll be picking a winner next Tuesday the 19th.
Thank you all for sewing along and may 2021 bring health and happiness to everyone!
I usually start the Moda Blockheads posts with my color studies. But today I want to share a time-sensitive thing first...a giveaway! Yes, in honor of 2021 starting in a couple of days, I am doing a calendar giveaway on instagram @robinpickens. Just comment in the giveaway post and I'll be selecting 2 winners on January 2nd (just in case some of you are already celebrating and haven't seen the post yet!)
Vanessa's SPARK PLUG block this week is a fun one and I wanted cheery energy with some yellows. They are yellow fabrics from my SOLANA collection that is in shops now. I used the white on white tonal sunflower seeds as my background fabric in the print block and I love the subtleness of the hinted texture. I really enjoy the "varietals" coordinate in this collection and used that for the center rectangles.
It was perfect timing to have the cover of this next year's Seize the Day wall calendar be the same cheery sunflowers that I used in the SOLANA main prints! I really hope this year brings more sunshine and happy days in a spirit of optimism and progress.
And, just in case you are wondering, the Seize the Day calendars come in wall, daily and checkbook sized formats. I just saw some recently at my neighborhood Barnes and Noble.
But back to quilt blocks...for the Thatched version I used the Maize color and got that lovely soft light yellow in the corners by flipping and using the back side. Stay tuned for some news very very soon about Thatched (hint, hint, I hope 2021 will be more colorful)
And now...COLOR STUDIES! I stayed pretty true to Vanessa's layout when making my blocks. But when playing on the computer, I had a little fun playing with a variety of shades of color. I find it especially interesting how the shape looks almost flower like on that middle left one. Or I notice the surrounding box shape on the one to the right of it. And I like all the color gradations on the last one and having some different color families in the corners.
Hop on over to Vanessa's blog for the SPARK PLUG pattern and enter her layer cake giveaway on facebook in the Moda Blockheads group.
And a Happy New Year to you all and may 2021 be filled with fun sewing projects!
Hi Everyone!! I'm so excited that this is my block week for Sewcialites! This is the first sewalong I've done with the Fat Quarter Shop and I am so impressed by how creative AND organized they are!
My block is DEVOTED and isn't that a good thing to reflect on? What do you feel devoted to? I am devoted to my family. My husband is a loyal and constant support and I couldn't ask for a better partner. And my kids are awesome! I often wonder what I did right to get them in my life. My family is a priority that I am devoted to and feel grateful for them every day.
I decided last week to make this block in my new SOLANA fabric since it is shipping to shops now! I'm so happy to see these sunflowers popping up on social media with those happy big blooms. The fabric has a tonal white on white of sunflower seeds and that is what I used for my background. I'm happy a little ladybug made it into one of my big half square triangles! I think this block would also look really nice set on point. The smaller HST give a balanced feel to the right and left sides.
I also decided to try the 6" block in the reverse with color and print to the inside. This block reminds me of puzzle pieces with arms to interlock into the right fit.
You can get your pattern from Fat Quarter Shop for DEVOTED by following this link:
My original plan for Sewcialites was to make the 3" blocks for a wall quilt. I am doing some of the larger ones for fun in other prints and might do a smaller project like a table runner. For my small wall quilt that will include all the blocks, I'm using a subtle gray Heather, Pebble and Cream color palette with Thatched fabrics. I plan on making three of the blocks in little pops of color and I couldn't resist emphasizing sewing, love and flowers.
I'm debating using some low volume fabrics in the setting blocks to add a little print and additional texture.
If you want to check out more Thatched, check out this blog post. Plus I keep a color chart on the side panel of this blog and if you click it you will go to the larger image of the color chart. One thing I like to do with Thatched is also use it on the backside. It has a softer chambray look and gives me lighter shades.
I hope you will also check out Solana. Fat Quarter Shop carries both Solana and Thatched.
Happy sewing and have a wonderful sewing week!
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!
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
Thank you to Lisa Bongean for a wonderful block for this week's Moda Blockheads. You can access the block pattern on her blog at this link:
This week I was making the first of my blocks for my BROWN row in my rainbow row quilt. I don't work with brown a whole lot so this is a good exercise for stretching myself beyond my go-to colors. AND I decided to work in some of my new SOLANA fabric to the mixed prints block so it made it even more fun. But first...a little color/contrast study with the block...
I love the illusion of a square on point made from those flying geese when you keep the same color on all the flying geese and the small corner squares in the center. I also liked keeping a little shading difference between the center square and the star points surrounding it. But its interesting to see how playing with the outside half square triangles and making them a different color from the flying geese can give the block an overall octagonal feeling. And if you play with different colors for the flying geese on the larger and smaller blocks, it separates the inner square vs the illusion of the square on point. The example with the darkest corners on the large flying geese emphasizes a giant plus sign behind the on-point square. And in the bottom row I started playing with adding some orange, thinking a scrappier mix of colors and I like how the white corners and flying geese centers work together as a band of on-point border. The one with orange one might be my favorite of the color studies. But I think that is partly because I really like orange as a color.
My all-Thatched version is using the Cocoa and Oatmeal brown Thatched with a center square of Cream. The star points around the center are the Oatmeal from the back side for subtle difference.
For my version with prints, I am using the scenic print from the group in the corners with the criss cross ratan plaid, sunflower seeds on yellow and varietals on cream in the center. Solana doesn't have brown as a colorway but I think these browns from Thatched go with it quite well since the whole group has a warm, earthy feel. Makes me want to get out in the garden and start planting.
I love how perfectly these blocks go with my latest vintage Singer acquisition- this two tone 301. When I saw the two-tone colors I fell in love with this one. I just got it at Road to California in January from Aspire Sewing from Anaheim. She is lovely. I haven't named her yet (keep thinking "Mabel").
Please stop by the other Moda Blockheads designers' blogs and check out what they are all up to. I'm happy to be back to posting on time this week! Still catching up with a few so stay tuned for more to come this week! Want to follow me on Bloglovin'? If so, click this link! https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/robin-pickens-blog-20472215
At the time Corey Yoder's Starry Eyed block was released for Moda Blockheads, I was deep in Quilt Market sewing. Finally this weeked I've had a little time to do the blocks! Here is Corey's post if you want to get the pattern:
Blue, blue, lovely blue! The main blues here used from Thatched Basics are Royal 96 (corners and background) and Sky 93 (bright medium light blue). For the lightest blue I flipped Sky and used the backside. I wanted the effect of shading or dimension, so even though the pattern used a single square in the middle top, bottom and sides, I used triangles.
The dark center is Navy 94 and the white is Cream 36 in Thatched. I did some color studies on the computer the week of the block release and if you didn't get a chance to see those, it is at this link:
For my block made with prints, I decided to use my NEW Solana line that is shipping to shops in October! The blue here is a more tealish blue with green undertones. I switched up the dark center this time for a lighter center with my happy ladybugs!
In Solana, there are two blues- Pond, the lighter medium blue and Horizon, the deeper darker blue. I love how the yellow sunflowers really pop on that Horizon Blue. The other prints in the Starry Eyed block are the Criss Cross print based on Ratan and Varietals, which are linear illustrations celebrating the varieties of Sunflowers.
I'm so glad we add in more Thatched blenders with each group to have more color range to play with. As for whether or not they stay on as basics depends on the popularity of the color and if it is different enough from the other basics of Thatched. I like how the Solana colors work really well with Marine and Turquoise and Peacock in the Thatched Basics.
Really hoping to get another set of blocks done tomorrow and get closer to catching up. Happy sewing, have a wonderful Memorial Day and stay safe and well!
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!
Designer of colorful florals for Moda fabrics. Modern to transitional quilt designer. Illustrator, sewist, crafter.
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