I love totes! If you are a quilter I'm guessing you do too. Or you do even if you are not a quilter. I've made three totes with Dear Mum fabrics and I get comments constantly when I use them!
For Quilt Market I made these totes using a free pattern that is on Amy Sinabaldi's blog Nana company. I love the large size of the totes and find these are my go-to bags to transport quilts in when I am taking one to show at a guild meeting or work on binding in the car while I wait to pick up carpool. They came together quickly and although I learned I need to work on fitting my inside linings better, I'm pretty happy with them! And if you are wondering about the labels on these- I ordered a swatch of fabric from spoonflower.com with my etsy shop logo on them so I could make labels.
This next tote is one of my very favorites! I made it at Sew Together Stitching Lounge in Los Angeles and I really hope Victoria, the owner, makes a pattern to sell of this. It uses Soft and Stable by Annie and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the straps. It is jute webbing that is used in upholstery. This tote was made in a couple hours. I love a project like that! Those cute toes...that is my daughter!
With all the rush of getting ready for quilt market I didn't realize I had not posted pictures of my Dear Mum line that is in shops now! I was so excited to do this line and include a pretty robin's egg blue (warm blue) that has a little bit of a turquoise feel. The main print is comprised of two kinds of mums- one of them being the oh so dramatic Anastasia Mum in a lovely chartreuse green. These mums fascinate me! I love their green color and graceful upward petals.
Tomorrow I'll share more of the quilts that launched with this group: Starlet, Equalizer and Harlequin, along with a color remix for Tokyo Terrace. I also made a cute tote with the bug print!
Keep planting, keep sewing, keep loving the splendor of blooming beauties!
I'm deep in designing some new quilt patterns to go with my new line I'll be showing at the spring Quilt Market, but those have to stay secret for now! However, I thought it could be fun to share a little of what goes into the process of making a quilt pattern! I'm really not showing the part of making the actual quilts because you all know what it's like to make a quilt. This is the other part. I work on the computer first for my designing. Yup, nothing gets cut till I've thought it out. I use Electric Quilt 8 and Adobe Illustrator. I have used Illustrator for many years so I have the most comfort with that software.
I love creating colorful florals and patterns. Each collection has a personality based on the florals and colors and I try to design quilts that go along with that in some way, either with larger panels to showcase large scale prints, or shapes of blocks that speak to some thing about the main flower. The image above shows part of the process I went through with Town Square Garden for the Blushing Peonies collection. In this case I knew I wanted to do a medallion quilt with a large center panel and started with images on the upper left. Peonies having such a beautiful rounded shape so I ended up using arcs of triangles to the outside to reference the curved softness and blooms (the images on the right). After I have the structure I like, I break it down into what blocks are the most logical to make and describe in instructions.
I use Moda Bella Solids with my prints and love the range of colors that coordinate perfectly. I get a lot of use out of my Bella Solids Match Maker and color swatches. The computer allows me to try new color combinations very quickly and easily. In figuring out blocks I also do a lot of drawing and scribbling in my notebooks. Sometimes nothing beats paper to jot stuff down on!
An important part of figuring out a quilt is the size, the scale, and the math of the yardage needed. I try to design some of my patterns to utilize precuts because they are such a handy way to get a whole coordinating collection with a lot of variety without having to buy tons of yardage for that much variety. If I'm using precuts, there are some parameters I stay within for piece sizes for my blocks. To figure out my yardage, I take all the little pieces I made in Illustrator and lay them out the way I would cut them on yards of fabric, as is shown on the image above. I'm sure there are faster ways to figure this out but I'm very visual in my thinking so this way works for me.
Then there are the steps of making the actual quilts and finding out what doesn't happen the way I thought it would on the computer. I make revisions on instructions, finish quilts and photograph them (and that could be a whole different blog post).
I've got a graphic design background so I handle all the diagrams and layouts myself. The writing of the instructions is often the most challenging part for me and I try to assume people have limited knowledge of piecing. Because I am newer to this, that's the way my brain thinks- simple steps please! I use a technical editor who goes over my patterns before printing and checks my instructions, terminology, yardage and math and any mistakes in my layouts. I get the layouts revised and it's off to press!
When the patterns come back from the printer my handy helper (my dear sweet husband) and I have marathon sessions bagging patterns. The dining room table, the kitchen counters, everything gets used fill the initial larger orders. And then woosh! off they go to shops and sewing rooms!
You may have noticed coffee cups in some of the shots...yes, lots of coffee when I'm deep in pattern-land! Hope you have enjoyed this little view into my process! If you'd like to check out some of these patterns they are carried in local quilt shops and on my etsy shop. Happy sewing!!
I had a request to size my Toyko Terrace quilt down to more of a lap size. I like to get feedback on my designs and I loved the idea of this as more of a lap quilt. So I resized it to 3/4 of the original size and shortened the top and bottom borders to come up with an overall size of 54" x 60". What I like about this size is I can comfortably quilt this on my home machine. Twin quilts and larger just feel too big and cumbersome for me to quilt on my home machine and they go to a long armer. This lap size I can handle.
After sizing this down in the computer I decided to make one for myself. I still had not made the pink version I had originally planned in my Blushing Peonies collection so I added another fabric to the large panels for some more variety and pieced one in a weekend. I love that you can take your time with the patchwork squares or zoom through it out as a weekend project. This quilt is great for beginners. Very forgiving :)
I am very happy with the range of pinks and warm colors- makes me happy! I've kitted this quilt and have it available in my etsy shop- limited quantities. If I'm out of stock just message me on etsy if you are interested and I'll make some more if I have the yardage available.
Finally ready with my newsletter "Inside Color and Quilt" with a fee pattern download of this XOXO Heart Patchwork Quilt! The quilt is a 20" x 20" size that is great for a wall hanging or pillow cover. I'll be making pillows with mine to spread some Valentines love in my home. Sign up for the newsletter so you can get your download link! There is a box on the right side panel of the blog or click this link:
After posting pictures of my studio on instagram I got a lot of questions about my sewing and creating space. I'll be sharing some more info on that and my fabric organization in the newsletter as well as sharing color play explorations for painting, sewing and decorating.
For now, hugs and kisses XOXOXO!!
I participated in my first Sew-A-Long in 2017 in @gnomeangel's 100 Modern Blocks project. Using Tula Pink's book we did an Instagram sew-a-long/quilt-a-long and I decided to use my Poppy Mae and Blushing Peonies collections for Moda Fabrics.
A common question I've been asked is if I had a color plan in mind when I started and I didn't. I rotated between gray, green, pink and orange colors and when I was about 3/4 of the way through I rearranged and figured out my plan. It was a great experience for me because I usually plan out a lot on the computer ahead of time and for this project I just made blocks then figured it out later, in a more organic way. It was a growing experience for me!
The most unexpected thing for me was the amount of community and comeraderie I found on Instagram from going through a group sew-a-long. I loved seeing people post their progress and daily accomplishments and it was motivating and inspirational! I love how we are all in different parts of the world but working on common projects and speak some of the same languages. This was uniting and a feeling of being part of something bigger. What a great creative time!
Many thanks to Sally Corona at Corona Quilt Works for her fabulous quilting on my 100 Block Sampler. She had fun touches with individual blocks and made it feel like another level of creativity was reached.
If you could see my fabric stash, you’d notice I fall in love with big dramatic patterns. I love a big statement. I like big flowers. Sometimes I really want to SEE more of that big design. That is why I also like to make some quilts that give space for a powerful print to have it’s spotlight. Think of it as a gallery wall or panel of windows. I knew I wanted to show off the large scale peonies in my "Blushing Peonies" line for Moda Fabrics. That idea inspired “Tokyo Terrace”…pockets of space to display the splendor, balconies of gardens and sunlit architectural structure. This pattern plays with the contrast between large panels to showcase a bold botanical print and small 2” squares in blocks that balance the large flower blocks.
When working on this quilt, I enjoyed making the blocks of small squares and playing with my placement and balance of patterns and color. Then I love the great feeling when row after row comes together quickly with larger blocks. I pieced this in a weekend and I’ve already done another color version since it comes together so easily. Here is a computer-generated version of this quilt in a pink colorway as well as the green one I made.
The above quilt was pieced by me but long-arm quilted by Tanya Heldman of Free Range Quilter. She used a lovely curved floral design that compliments the soft lines of the peonies and contrasts well with the geometric structure of the quilt.
Blushing Peonies fabric with Moda is in quilt shops now. If your local quilt shop does not carry Tokyo Terrace pattern you can find it in my etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/colorandquilt
Its winter time again for Clara and the Nutcracker Ballet Dancers! My daughter danced twice in the Nutcracker ballet that her local dance studio put on. It was a fun and festive time and I have sugar-plum-sweet memories of it! What a beautiful time to celebrate with some Nutcracker designs for holiday clothes and decorating.
Available through www.redbubble.com/people/robinpickens... my Nutcracker Suite collection. Freshen up the couch with a pillow. Have a cup of mulled cider in a festive mug. Or find some cute totes and zipper pouches for your own little performers...
Happy Holidays! Happy shopping! And happy, happy dancing!
Visit my Redbubble shop! Click here!
Do you have a tiny dancer who is performing in the Nutcracker? My daughter used to do ballet and she was in the Nutcracker twice. The Nutcracker Ballet is a lovely holiday tradition. I've taken my "Clara's Nutcracker Ballet" print from spoonflower and made four tea towels that fit on one yard of linen cotton canvas. You can make four tea towels (all the same design or one each of the four combined on one yard) on each yard of fabric to help celebrate your holiday traditions and add some ballet cheer to your holiday kitchen! Dance on!
Visit my spoonflower links for my Nutcracker collection and Tea Towels collections.
Every year spoonflower.com has a calendar tea towel challenge for the upcoming year. I love seeing the wonderful solutions that all the designers come up with! I love my kitchen and I love a cheery, colorful tea towel hanging from a cupboard handle, folded as a set on the counter, or hanging on the wall as decoration. I usually try to do a set of 4 coordinating tea towels that I will gang up on one yard of linen cotton canvas (or you can order them individually as a fat quarter). This year I've been playing more with watercolor paint and I decided to try a painterly, fun, garden look for my towels.
Each year I update the ones I designed from previous years to reflect the coming calendar year. I'm almost done with those changes...got one more set to go! Also if you want a tutorial on how to do mitered corners (that is how I finish off mine) then check out my instructions from a prior year: http://www.robinpickens.com/blog/fun-floral-tea-towels-mitered-corner-tutorial
Tea towels make lovely hostess gifts. AND, if you don't like to sew, pop on over to www.roostery.com (a sister company of spoonflower's) and order some that are already hemmed up for you. Take a look at the "Spoonflower special edition tea towels" category.
I'm a Moda fabric designer, quilt designer, coloring book artist, home decor and giftware designer and illustrator. I enjoy sharing my passion for art with my love of family and friends and making a creative home.
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