Designer Spotlight: Robin Pickens - The Jolly Jabber Quilting Blog

Designer Spotlight: Robin Pickens

Fabric designers keep our hearts blossoming with ideas and quilting inspiration! Today we have another Designer Spotlight for our series where we shine a light on some incredible designers in the quilting realm to learn about how they work and what feeds their inspiration!

Today Robin Pickens is taking us into her wild world of designing as she shares about the inspiration behind her newest collection Wild Blossoms, and more.

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Q: Tell us about your background. What led you to quilting, and what drew you to fabric design?

A: My mom taught me to sew and was the quilter in the family. Growing up I went to many quilt shows and shops with her. I have a BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art and worked for years doing graphic design, art direction and television motion graphics. When my mom was visiting me in California I signed us up to take a improv quilt class together and that was when it hit me “who gets to design this fabric and how can I do that??” That was when I started pursuing fabric design. It wasn’t until I started working with Moda and learned I could also design my own patterns to show with the fabric lines that I started designing the quilt patterns as well.

Q: Tell us about your sewing machines. What kinds do you have and how many?

A: I have twelve machines! Of course that includes 3 Singer Featherweights, my daily sewing Juki TL2200, a Juki HZL-F, the first Bernina my mom bought me which is an Activa125, my longarm Bernina Q24 (so I have the smallest and largest Bernina!) And other vintage machines just because I love the shapes and colors and character of them.

Q: What projects do you have on the horizon that you can share?

A: I am excited to share more this summer about the cross stitch projects I am doing to coordinate with some of my fabric lines and quilts! That has been a whole new exploration. And I’m playing around with some wool applique for fun and want to incorporate that eventually. I’ve got a new line showing this spring (timing of Spring Quilt Market) so I can’t show that yet but will SOON. And I might just have to figure out a cross stitch project for that!

Q: What is your favorite part of the quilt-making process?

A: Playing with color!! I love trying out combinations of colors and light and dark values on my computer. That brings me joy. 

Q: What is the most challenging part of the design process?

A: Writing the actual patterns is something that requires me to be very focused and really try to break down steps into clear directions. I’m a visual learner so I really like things diagrammed. It takes time and concentration to be as accurate as possible and try to anticipate how someone will process the steps you are writing. I think this is the most challenging part.

I do try to challenge myself to try new things with my lines. With Wild Blossoms, there is a width of fabric big rainbow print. Having colors blending and continuing the spectrum from selvage to selvage was an idea that was rambling around in my head for awhile. After figuring out repeats and sizes, the next thing is to figure out projects to utilize and show off that big print. I really like to challenge myself to try new things and build my skills and think of how the fabric designs and the quilts work together to show off their best features. 

Wild Blossoms features flowing florals, wildlife motifs, and gorgeous geometric designs.

Q: What is your design process?

A: I draw and paint on paper and scan that in to the computer. I also work in procreate on the iPad Pro. I bring these elements together in photoshop and work on them. I also design in adobe Illustrator. I always work on the main floral and big print first and get feedback from Moda and then move on to tweaking the palette and making coordinates. The design of the quilts happens later.

Q: To what or whom would you dedicate this collection?

A: My mom and sister. My sister collects bees and where my mom lives, they have these great wildflower gardens. She loves to walk around the gardens and ponds.

Q: What are three words you would use to choose to describe this collection?

A: Cheery, colorful, vibrant. Since I’m using this collection for my Bountiful quilt I am really enjoying how happy it looks in Corey Yoder’s sweet blocks. It just makes me smile to see it in those basket and flower blocks.

Q: What is your favorite project using this collection?

A: I am a bit partial to Bar Hop and Joyful Trio. Both of these show off that big print in different ways. I like that Joyful Trio reminds me of stained glass windows and the 3 vertical columns give the opportunity to group color within each column. I included directions in the pattern to make a table runner from one column after having quilt shops request that. I love it as a runner! I’m looking forward to making numerous different ones for the seasons. It is a really doable project for a weekend and it would not be hard to extend it to fit other table lengths. I also have a version of Joyful Trio done with Thatched Sunlit as the background and it is really springy and vibrant. This works really well with Navy for a background as well.

Share with FQS

We hope getting to know Robin Pickens inspires you! If you share this Designer Spotlight on social media or want to share any ideas of other designers you’d like to see in the future, then don’t forget to use #FQSDesignerSpotlight and tag @fatquartershop.

Happy quilting!


  1. Enjoyed the article/information about Robin Pickens, thank you. Can you tell me the name of the pattern in the third picture down? Is it “Wild Blossom”like the name of her fabric?

    1. Diane, the pattern name is Waverly and it is made with Robin’s new Wild Blossoms fabric line. Beautiful, aren’t they?

  2. FQS, I am really enjoying your Designer Spotlight series. I look forward to learning about many more fabric designers.

    1. Hi, bev!

      We do not have a video for this blog, but are so glad to hear you love the quilts!