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Frolic with Robin Pickens
Frolic with Robin Pickens
Robin Pickens laughingly admits that her house belongs to “a quilt lady.”
“You definitely know when you walk in,” she says. Though her home sports a neutral palette, Robin introduces color via quilts and pillows: there are quilts hanging on walls in her foyer and bedroom, along with baskets of quilts under her stairs.
Eight years ago, all this would have come as a surprise to Robin, who was working as a freelance graphic designer for television. Nearly 20 years before that, Robin and her mom took a quilting class together, which whetted Robin’s appetite for fabric and fabric design. In 2015, she decided to enter the Fabric8 contest co-sponsored by Moda and Spoonflower and won. Her first line, Poppy Mae, came out in 2016 and she’s created 15 lines since, including her popular Thatched basics. Now she’s thrilled to share her newest line, Forest Frolic.
Robin is always looking for a flower to feature that ties into the season her fabric will arrive in stores and the focus of Forest Frolic is the Indian Blanket, an orange and yellow Southwestern wildflower. “The petals have such interesting patterns and I mixed them with mushrooms for a woodsy feel,” she says. “I was excited to challenge myself by using a warmer, earthier palette.” Fall foliage and acorns continue the theme. “I always like to mix birds in, too—they seem so innocent and sweet and busy—and besides, my name is Robin!”
Forest Frolic also includes two prints on Mochi Linen and and five new colors of Thatched: Mocha, Cinnamon, Copper, Caramel, and Buttermilk. “I love to experiment and challenge myself, and these new substrates and colors give me the chance to do that,” she says.
In late 2019, Robin challenged herself in another way: she bought a longarm from a woman in San Diego, then rented a 15-foot truck and with her husband drove it back to their Los Angeles home, where it had to be moved into her studio through a window. The classes she planned to take were curtailed by the pandemic, so she learned as much about longarming as she could on her own, eventually taking virtual classes in 2021. Now she’s quilting about 95% of the quilts she makes and feeling excited about the possibilities. “When I started designing fabric, I didn’t realize I’d also get to design quilts,” she says. “Thinking about how the fabric will look in a quilt is such a great, creative exploration and now getting to think about the threads and designs to use on a quilt top takes it to the next level.”
Quilts—All Day, Every Day
The addition of the longarm means that it’s easy to tell that a “quilt lady” lives in Robin’s house. Though she was able to contain the longarm in her studio, “I’ve kind of spilled into the rest of the house,” she says. Waiting quilt tops drape over dining table chairs and embroidery projects nestle on the coffee table in her family room. When her daughter moved out to go to college Robin took over her room and now that her son has done the same, she’s intending to use his room, too. “We don’t have any more kids to kick out” her husband jokes, whenever Robin thinks about where to stash more fabric, patterns, threads.
Despite the additional chaos, Robin couldn’t be happier with the direction her life has taken. Her skills grow with each quilt she makes and she loves to travel, share her quilts, and lecture and she’s inspired by watching quilters use her fabrics in ways she never imagined.
“If you had said to me in 2015 when I entered the competition that this would be my life, I would not have been able to picture it,” says Robin. “It wasn’t where I thought I’d be going but I’m so glad—it’s better than what I could have imagined and I feel really thankful for that. Quilters are great people, I love fabric and the feel of it, and I love working with Moda. I can’t imagine anything I’d rather be doing.”
To see the complete collection of Robin Pickens collections, visit the designer section of Moda Fabrics.
For more from Robin visit her website,
Frolic by Robin Pickens will be in stores July 2023. Enjoy Moda's PIECE CATALOG, Issue 56 for Frolic and all the fabrics shipping June, July and August.