hello house {a new pattern}

Let’s talk about my newest pattern, Hello House!  It’s baby size only for now, but I can guarantee it would be fab in throw size. Can you say housewarming gift??

When I designed this pattern I wanted something modern and simple. I started with the color palette below, inspired by the Design Seeds image, and called it Good Night House. One side along the rooftops being dark and the opposite being light reminded me of the same thing happening in the sky at sunset, when you say good night.  If you haven’t checked out Design Seeds yet, it’s a terrific source for color inspiration!

When it came time that I needed a baby quilt for a friend’s shower, I knew I wanted to try out these houses I had been playing with. Wanting/needing to work within my stash, I remembered the adorable little Farm Fun by Stacy Iest Hsu charm pack I had been holding onto for so long. My friend is “team green” so the sweet little farm prints seemed perfect not knowing if baby is a boy or girl. I am so happy with how it turned out!

I did still arrange the accent pieces above the houses loosely following darker on the left side and lighter on the right. Although the effect is very subtle, I do think it gives some order to the finished project that your eye appreciates. I tried scrambling the rainbow of houses, but found the fabrics looked best to me in this arrangement diagonal wave of color.  The yarn dyed Essex in Steel gives good contrast with every print, and lovely texture.

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pattern design on a {little} budget

Let’s be real here, some things are easier with money!  Money quite often equals access, options, and flexibility in our crafty endeavors.  I often find myself drooling over new fabric lines, thinking how wonderful a design idea I have in my head would look worked up in the latest and greatest materials.  I frown at my simple quilting motifs when I see how custom quilting can truly bring a pattern to life!  Sometimes I tell myself  that if I had those things my quilts, and my patterns by extension, would be better and more successful. I could make more samples, more sizes, MORE MORE MORE!

The truth is, regardless of how much better an endless fabric stash would make my cover photo, or how many more quilts I could create by outsourcing everything to a long-armer, that’s just not my situation right now. Most of our family’s spending money beyond bills and food (OH GOD THE FOOD) goes to yoga, ballet, gymnastics, and baseball. > #momlife < Though I quilt like it’s my job, it’s solidly in hobby territory, folks!

SO working within that reality. . .

What’s good about working creatively with limited resources?

Lots of things!  For one, it keeps your stash small. You buy what you need, and use it!  Storage of my quilting fabric is limited to a few miscellaneous storage baskets in a tall IKEA cabinet. As all quilters know, there is always more fabric than there is money for fabric so it’s best to know your financial and spatial limits and stick to them. Continue reading

house of cards mini quilt {tutorial}

I am happy to share a super fun little @seamedtobe original paper piecing project with you all- the House of Cards Mini Quilt!  This post will take you through how to make your very own.  This mini quilt finishes about 19 5/8 wide by 19 1/8″ high making it a GREAT option for a pillow cover as well!

Don’t do paper piecing?  Below are the reasons why you should try this!!  This is a TERRIFIC project for a new paper piecer- with an impressive result!

  1. 32 of the pieces, the “cards”, are all the same size and shape so fabric prep is easy.
  2. There are no triangles or otherwise funky shapes to make placement for stitching complicated.
  3. Construction of the sections is done Left to Right, so you don’t even have to follow numbering.
  4. There are NO seams to match between sections! None! Zip! Nada!!!

where do I get the papers?

HOC Mini Printables

(I might eventually work this up into a pattern for sale, so get it while it’s FREE!)

What ELSE do I need:

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when new things are easy (or not) :: Inkscape, FREE design software

First things first- I’m on Craftsy now! I had been putting it off like so many other things on my summer to do list, but once I finally sat down to do it, it took less than 10 minutes for me to get my Keeper Quilt pattern listing up on and running on that platform. Can we get a big HOORAY for good things that are easy?!  You can view it here if you are so inclined.

Releasing my Keeper Quilt pattern soon after school released and right before we left on a family vacation made for such a scramble in my brain, I never even blogged about it!  SO here I am blogging about it ;)- this adorable pattern is truly a quilter’s quilt filled with quilts and is for sale in two places- my website’s PATTERNS tab and Craftsy!

Keep reading for the scoop on Inkscape. . .  Continue reading

permission to be imperfect

I heard on NPR once that we have a finite amount of willpower each day. This willpower, also referred to as mental energy, is depleted each time we exercise it.  Making decisions, enduring unpleasant experiences, deferring satisfaction. . .all these things use our willpower. Something as simple as waiting to use the restroom when you really need to go is a drain on your willpower.

Parenting requires a LOT of self control, and therefore a lot of willpower. Have you ever felt like you’ve reached your breaking point around 5 pm? 11 am? Haha! The interviewee posited that since willpower is a limited resource, we should be aware of how we are using it.  I know parenting and running a household get most of mine, leaving the well a little dry for the sewing side of my life.

“What’s the point of all this, Robin??” Well, I LOVE to quilt and to keep it feeling like love, I go easy on myself!  Easy for me is not sweating the small mistakes.  Since I don’t typically sell my quilts or enter them in competitions I have few pressures to create perfect projects. This works out well for me for two reasons:

  1. I don’t like to practice. I don’t want to make a test block when that time could make a real block. I don’t want to make a sample quilt sandwich and test out quilting. I prefer to practice my skills on the real deal, but starting real + small is definitely advisable.
  2. I don’t like to re-do. Ripping. Is. The. Worst!!!!!!!  I already sewed it!  If I’m going to UNsew it, it has got to be bad.  I rarely rip out quilting barring a major tension disaster or other machine malfunction.  For me, quilting is the slowest to unpick and the most rage-inducing. AVOID.

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the keeper quilt {intro}

What if I told you there was a quilt that was quiltier than all the others?  A quilt made of quilts??  IT IS TRUE, FRIENDS. IT IS TRUE!  Introducing the Keeper Quilt!  I wanted my first design to share with you all to be light hearted and fun. This pattern embraces what we all love —> quilts, duh <— and puts them on display in tall, glorious stacks. Each complete with contrast ‘binding’ and carefully ‘folded’, the individual quilt blocks are about the size of an actual 3D folded quilt which just makes my brain so. . . happy??  Tickled?  At peace with the world?  Whatever, it just feels right!

I toyed with naming this pattern the Collector Quilt, but it felt too dismissive of the many hours of work and love we pour into these projects.  Sure, a stash of quilts is a collection, but individually each was slowly and thoughtfully assembled with a specific vision and destiny (too far? haha) in mind.  Anyway, these quilts you keep after making are special!  They are KEEPERS. The Keeper Quilt is a warm tribute to the fascinating and often therapeutic process of cutting fabric apart and putting it back together in the shape of a keepsake that has a special place in our heart.

This version features a variety of Cotton + Steelprints from three collections. I fell in love with the two colorways of suns and mice from the Sunshine collection by Alexia Abegg , and added in complementary colors from the Papercuts collection by Rashida Coleman-Hale. The two color “Cut It Out” prints are so simply perfect and versatile and you need them in your stash NOW!  As I started cutting, piecing, and pairing prints I realized I needed another navy to balance out the color scheme. Hearth in Indigo was the perfect solution and I quickly grabbed some from Fabric Bubb.  Kristina ships SO quickly and has a beautiful selection of modern fabric- go check them out if you haven’t already!

Stay tuned here and on my instagram account for pattern release information THIS SUMMER!  In the meantime I’ll be here in front of my computer googling things like “how to technology” and “SEND HELP”. Just kidding. But seriously.

-Robin

I HAVE NO GOOD IDEAS

Yikes!!! Have you ever felt this way?  I sure have!  It’s not because other people have told me that. . . it’s because I’ve told myself that!  “I’m a quilter and I follow patterns.  I don’t write patterns because I have no good ideas.  I have no original ideas.”  And you know what?  I didn’t!  I didn’t believe that I was creative or talented enough to design a decent quilt on my own, so I didn’t try.  

The quilting community is full of so much incredible creativity and talent that it can be intimidating.  I see quilts all the time that make me think “I could never do that”, but the truth is that I just can’t do it yet.  That technique or level of intricacy might be out of my current skillset, but that doesn’t mean I am incapable of it!  The same goes for this daunting process of pattern design and pattern writing.  I really can’t do it quite yet, but I am darn sure going to try!

A couple of months ago I decided to direct a frequent and persistent SHUT UP to that annoying inner voice telling me that I wasn’t going to come up with anything worthwhile.  I started doodling in my iphone notes. I grabbed a pad of graph paper and started sketching.  I saw shapes and patterns in the world around me through quilty vision.  I learned a computer program (<—- talk about intimidating) to make digital mockups.  Most important of all- I am now kind to myself and my beginner status! I have a lot of bad ideas, y’all, BUT GUESS WHAT.  I have some good ones too.

More on that ^ pretty later  🙂

-Robin