We are having so much fun sharing more about our 2023 Quilter’s Planner designers this month! Today, our featured designer is Rebecca Ricks of RRquilts. Rebecca designed the stunning Round the Corner quilt.
Rebecca is an ecologist by day, quilter by night, and gardener by lunch break. She strives to reinterpret traditional designs into modern quilts and find inspiration all around her. It is Rebecca’s first time designing for the Quilter’s Planner, and we are so happy to have her join us!
Round the Corner was inspired by Rebecca’s time playing Duplos with her two young boys. This design is a labor of love in fond memory of this time. While she has been thoughtful about the layout and arrangement of this design, Rebecca hopes you feel the freedom to arrange your own designs with these proverbial building blocks.
Tell us a little about the fabrics you worked with for your project.
I gravitate toward solids on most of my projects. I find that the solids let the pattern really show through. Round the Corner was no different, except that for this project, I wanted a pretty specific set of colors. This pattern is inspired by my time playing Duplos with my sons, and I designed it to accommodate a large array of colors, just like our Lego boxes. I knew that I wanted the colors in the quilt to reflect the Lego colors, so I knew I needed to do some in-person shopping. My LQS carries PBS solids, which are actually some of my favorites. When selecting fabrics, I carried around a small set of Duplos and held each one up to the available solids until I found a good match. Then I carried them up to the counter and saw all the colors together and laid the Duplo pieces out one last time before asking for each one to be cut. I had quite a few great conversations while shopping about my quilt and the inspiration!
Literally everything about this project has been so fun. I have been dreaming of this quilt for YEARS while playing Duplos with my boys. I loved designing it, refining and writing the pattern, creating the templates, selecting my fabrics, quilting it, with a splash of contrasting thread, trimming the rounded corners, and stitching the binding down with a gorgeous teal contrasting thread. Some quilts just get so much of the quilter’s soul poured into it, and this is definitely one of those for me. This quilt embodies this stage of my life and motherhood in so many ways. My soul literally smiles every time I see it. I love how it reminds me of playing with my kids, but how striking it is all on it’s own.
What is your quilt design process?
I’ve already mentioned my inspiration for this quilt. When translating from toy to quilt pattern, I had to really think about what properties I wanted to keep in the translation. I didn’t want to just copy over the exact Duplo blocks I had been playing with. I didn’t want to copy the toy exactly for a number of reasons – the curves would be more complicated, I didn’t want to deal with the pips in a quilt design, not all the pieces felt cohesive together, and a whole host of other reasons. I also knew that not everyone would want to make a Duplo quilt, but that many people might want to make an abstract curves quilt. With that in mind, I tried to focus on translating the proportions of the toy blocks and chose only the shapes that I thought made sense in an “abstract curves” design. I rearranged the pieces until I was happy with the design.
What type of fabrics are you drawn to?
I tend to choose solid fabrics. I find that the solids really allow the quilt pattern to shine. I nearly always choose rich, saturated blues, greens, teals, and a few accent colors of pink. I don’t even like pink, but it seems to really set off those blues and teals in a lovely way, and I find myself using it in more quilts than I expected.
How and when did you start quilting?
I first started quilting after high school when I wanted to make myself a T-shirt quilt. After finishing that quilt, I didn’t do much else for a while. I dabbled here and there, but didn’t quilt again in earnest until after my oldest son was born. I was working full time and dealing with PPD. I desperately needed something that was just for me, that I could do alone and inside at night while my baby was sleeping. I needed it to be mentally stimulating, creative, and something that I could do on a budget. I already had a sewing machine, cutting mat, rotary cutter, and rulers from that T-shirt quilt, so I ordered a pattern and fabric to get started on my first quilt. I was also really drawn to the interesting geometry of quilts. I started with some ambitious first quilts, and quickly learned that simple geometry doesn’t always lead to simple construction.
Tell us a bit about where you do your sewing.
I work from home. I’m lucky enough that our home has a large bonus room. It does triple duty as our family’s guest room, my office, and my sewing room. My sewing machine and ironing board are always set up, and I can convert my office desk into a small cutting table. Any WOF cuts I have to do at my kitchen table, though! Mostly I like this setup – that this space can serve so many functions, but sometimes, it’s hard to keep focused on work or sewing since those two activities share a space. One of the best parts of this setup is that it is really easy to do some sewing tasks while on long conference calls and webinars. I especially like pressing when on long webinars where I know I won’t need to take notes.
In 2023, I hope to release several patterns. I’ve been thinking a lot about stained glass designs as well as botanical inspiration. I also hope to do some clothes sewing in the coming year. There may even be some more toy-inspired quilts in my future 🙂
I have far too many WIPs going on right now! I’m working on a couple of Block-of-the-month projects from 2021 and 2022. I’m also working on a FPP wall hanging that says a portion of a prayer that my grandfather used to say. I also have some pattern tests that I need to finish up and I have plans to make some patterns super scrap-friendly. See – far too many things in the works at the moment!
What color do you have the most of in your stash? The least?
I have so much blue and teal in my stash, and very little orange…
What type of sewing machine do you use?
I sew on a 1974 Kenmore. It was my grandmother’s machine, so she gave me all the accessories and cams as well! It is an awesome machine! Sometimes I start shopping out a newer and bigger one, but always decide to hold off on replacing this one.
What is your top quilting tip or time saver?
I think that this is just so individual – everyone has a different set of challenges or needs so what works for me might not work for anyone else. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with using the pomodoro method for time management at work. I use my breaks to do quick quilting tasks like chain piecing or pressing. I’ve been shocked at how much I can get done in 5 minutes! I think my biggest tip is just to start. It’s not a time saver, except that I never regret coming up to work on a sewing project, but I always regret accidentally getting stuck scrolling on my phone. Getting started and fitting in those little breaks makes a big difference.
Follow Rebecca online at www.rrquilts.com or on Instagram @rrquilts.