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VRD Designer Spotlight Interview with Molly Cook

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

I am sew excited to be interviewing Molly Cook, who is not only a VRD designer, but also works at the Villa Rosa Designs quilt shop in Grass Valley, California. Molly is actually part of a designing trio called the Cook Family, which is made up of Molly, sister Heidi, and Mom Tamara.

Molly Cook, standing in front of a version of her Vineyard VRD Rose Card pattern.

Tricia: Hey Molly! Thanks for taking some time to chat on the blog today.

Molly: Hello!

Tricia: Ready?

Molly: Sure, let’s get to it.

Tricia: How did you meet Pat Fryer, the owner and “Rose Queen” of Villa Rosa Designs, or how did you become part of the VRD family of designers?

Molly: I met her at a guild meeting and she saw my show and tell that I designed by myself.

Tricia: How did you discover quilting?  How long have you been quilting?

Molly: My Grandma started teaching her grandkids to sew around the age of 10, so I’ve been sewing for 11 years.

Tricia: What’s your favorite quilt block(s)?

Molly: Any block that’s simple! LOL!

Tricia: I hear you — I love easy blocks, too. How did you make the leap from being a quilter to becoming a quilt designer?

Molly: I’ve been sewing for community service for years. Working with what I had, I ended up improvising on patterns.

Tricia: That’s really cool, Molly! Can you tell us a little bit about your design process?

Molly: I just gather fabric and lay it out and see how things fit together.

Tricia: What is your favorite/least favorite part of the quilt-making process?

Molly: My favorite is designing patterns and sewing them together. My least favorite thing is binding.

Tricia: I totally agree with you. Binding is definitely my least favorite part of the quilt making process, too. What are your top 3 favorite quilting tools? 

Molly: My top 3 quilting tools are my rotary cutter, my rulers, and my scissors.

Tricia: I’m not sure I can pick just three favorite tools! LOL! What are you working on now?  Any new patterns in the works?  Can you give us a sneak peek?

Molly: I have a couple of new patterns in the works. I’m working on writing them up and making them easy to understand.

Tricia: Here are Molly’s VRD Rose Card patterns to date. You can find them HERE.

Tricia: Wow, Molly! You are one prolific designer! And there’s lots of variety in your patterns. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve designed?

Molly: My favorite pattern would be Lickety Split, but Brickwork almost ties with it.

Tricia: What’s your favorite book? 

Molly: I love Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti books.

Tricia: Type of music/musician? 

Molly: Christian music.

Tricia: Movies and TV?

Molly: Lord of the Rings movies and I’m a Marvel Superhero girl!

Tricia: That’s so cool! What do you do when you’re not quilting/designing?

Molly: When I’m not quilting, you can find me reading a book, babysitting, or crocheting.

Tricia: You stay busy, don’t you? Do you have any advice to quilters who want to become quilt designers? 

Molly: Just dive in. Find fabrics you like and go for it. Don’t start with a complex pattern — you won’t enjoy quilting if it’s got a lot of pieces or is hard to follow with all it’s instructions.

Tricia: That’s super advice, Molly! It’s been great chatting with you. Thanks sew much! We all look forward to seeing those new patterns you’re working on really soon.

Molly: Thank you for having me on the blog!

There you have it, Quilty Friends!

How cool is it to get to know the quilt designers behind your favorite VRD Rose Card patterns?

Awesome Applesauce! Molly is going to be our guest blogger next week while I take a few weeks to get my knee replaced and begin the recuperation process.

Well, that’s it for this week. Be sure to tune in next week to see what Molly has in store for you!

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD

Just Quilty Stuff · Quilt Block Basics · Quilt Play · Rose Cards · Tips and Tricks · Tutorials · villa rosa designs

Quilt Block Basics — Half Square Triangles (HSTs)

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

Before I dive right into HSTs, I want to show off my completed Helix quilt top. Yes, I finished it! I really like the finished top, although I wish my points had turned out better. What do you think?

I didn’t have enough background left to add side strips, but that was okay, it will be fine as long as I’m careful when I sew the binding on because I don’t want to cut off the triangle points.

Quilt Block Basics

Lately I’ve been feeling very creative — maybe the change in the weather? I’ve been churning out new quilt designs on my EQ8 (Electric Quilt) software and I will never have enough time to make them all, I’m afraid. While I was working on all these new designs, I started thinking about the smaller units that make up quilt blocks and I thought — AHA!!! That’s a great topic for the blog!

So, welcome to a new VRQ mini-series, all about the smaller units that make up our favorite quilt blocks.

The first unit I want to talk about is the Half Square Triangle.

Half Square Triangles (HSTs)

Half Square Triangles or HSTs are one of the most common building blocks for a pieced quilt block. Sometimes you see HSTs called Triangle Squares or Half Square Triangle squares or blocks. I like to keep things simple when I write instructions and I consistently use Half Square Triangles or HSTs.

You can find HSTs in simple blocks such as:

Or in more complex blocks like:

One of my most favorite things is playing around with the parts of my blocks to create new block designs when I’m designing. I like to change colors, switch lights and darks, and change the orientation of the units within a block in order to create something new and different. EQ8 makes this sew easy to do.

To show you what I mean, let’s play with the Mosaic # 17 block, which is all HSTs and gives us lots of room to play!

Let’s change the orientation of the HSTs:

Now let’s add another color in the mix:

Let’s try change the orientation, too:

Okay, okay, I’d better stop here or I’m going to lose my writing focus and create another stack of quilt designs I will never have time to make! LOL!

I think you can see how much fun it is to play with HSTs. Imagine what happens when you add other building block units with the HSTs………but that is a post for another day.

Half Square Triangle Assembly

There are many different ways to make HSTs — just check on YouTube, Pinterest, or your favorite quilting magazine.

I am going to show you my favorite method here — this is the method I use in my quilt instructions.

  1. Layer 2 squares together, right sides together (RST).
  2. Draw a diagonal line from 1 corner to the opposite corner.
  3. Sew 1/4″ away from both sides of the drawn line.
  4. Cut the HSTs apart on the drawn line. Open to make 2 HSTs.

I bet you noticed I didn’t use any dimensions for my fabric squares. That was intentional. As I’ve said many times, quilting is all about math (check out my ode to quilting and math HERE).

HSTs are no different! You can use this construction method to make any size HST. You just have to know a teeny tiny magical math secret!

To figure out how big to cut your squares, you need to add 7/8″ to your finished dimensions! Really, that’s all you need to remember. You don’t need to refer to a cutting chart, you just need to remember 7/8″. (Please note that 7/8″ may not work for all HST methods.)

Here are some examples:

I want my HST’s to finish at 3″, so I need to cut my squares 3 7/8″.

5″ finished? Cut 5 7/8″ squares.

12″ finished HSTs……….cut 12 7/8″ squares.

Easy peasy! YAY MATH! Thank you, Mrs. Hank (my high school math teacher)!

HST VRD Rose Card Patterns

We have a wonderful collection of HST pattern sin our VRD catalog. It’s a L O N G list, so hang in there until the end of the post.

Here’s my curated HST list:

Get the April Showers pattern HERE

Get the Baby Zip Ties pattern HERE

Get the Bat Dance pattern HERE

Get the Be Unique pattern HERE

Get the Beatrice pattern HERE

Get the Blizzard pattern HERE

Get the Carnival Glass pattern HERE

Get the Chop pattern HERE

Get the Columbia pattern HERE

Get the Crossed Paths pattern HERE

Get the Diamonds pattern HERE

Get the Domino Five pattern HERE

Get the Drayton Hall pattern HERE

Get the Elementary pattern HERE

Get the Estrella pattern HERE

Get the Fa La La pattern HERE

Get the Falling pattern HERE

Get the Fernanda pattern HERE

Get the Friendship Hearts pattern HERE

Get the Giggles pattern HERE

Get the Hanover pattern HERE

Get the Hidden Gems pattern HERE

Get the Hole in One pattern HERE

Get the Illumination pattern HERE

Get the Indigo Bay pattern HERE

Get the Jardena pattern HERE

Get the Malaysia pattern HERE

Get the Maple Grove pattern HERE

Get the Mountains pattern HERE

Get the Movie Star pattern HERE

Get the Nana’s Aprons pattern HERE

Get the Notches pattern HERE

Get the October Sky pattern HERE

Get the Optic pattern HERE

Get the Orange Waves pattern HERE

Get the Painted Moon pattern HERE

Get the Party Girl pattern HERE

Get the Party Girl Remix pattern HERE

Get the Peppermint & Holly pattern HERE

Get the Pinwheel Picnic pattern HERE

Get the Pride pattern HERE

Get the Rainbow Road pattern HERE

Get the Raspberry Cream pattern HERE

Get the Rebound pattern HERE

Get the Remember Me pattern HERE

Get the Salt ‘n’ Pepper pattern HERE

Get the Salute pattern HERE

Get the Serengeti pattern HERE

Get the Silver Star pattern HERE

Get the Sisterhood pattern HERE

Get the Smidge pattern HERE

Get the Smudge pattern HERE

Get the Snow Goose pattern HERE

Get the Solar Flare pattern HERE

Get the Spaceman pattern HERE

Get the Spiritualized pattern HERE

Get the Square Box pattern HERE

Get the Star Rail pattern HERE

Get the Starfire pattern HERE

Get the Stars N Stripes pattern HERE

Get the Sunny Day pattern HERE

Get the Tower Bridge pattern HERE

Get the Twinkle pattern HERE

Get the Underground pattern HERE

Get the Waverly pattern HERE

Get the Whiplash pattern HERE

Get the Whirlpool pattern HERE

Get the Wild Rover pattern HERE

Get the Winchester pattern HERE

Get the Winter Sun pattern HERE

Get the X Ray pattern HERE

Get the Zig Zag pattern HERE

Get the Zip Tease pattern HERE

Get the Zipper pattern HERE

I hope you enjoyed this VERY extensive list of HST Rose Card patterns. Thanks for suffering through the whole list (wink, wink).

As I was gathering them from the VRD catalog, I was struck with the enormous amount of creativity and innovation shown by our VRD designers.

Kudos to all of the VRD designers! You rock!

Well, that’s it for me for this week.

Take care until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD

Just Quilty Stuff

Spring Cleaning the Quilter Way; Or, A Fabric Yard Sale!

Hello Quilty Friends!

Happy Thursday to you!

Spring has sprung! Happy Spring to you!

Now that it’s officially spring, I am starting to feel that old familiar seasonal “spring cleaning” itch. I definitely feel more motivated right now to actually do a little purging and clutter control in my home and, naturally, in my studio, too. Maybe the longer daylight hours are helping too.

One of my local quilt shops, Fox’s Sew and Vac (BIG SHOUT OUT to all my Foxy friends!), provides a wonderful reason to clean out my constantly expanding stash. Every year, Fox’s sponsors a “Fabric Yard Sale,” usually in February or March. Of course, we missed a couple years due to the Pandemic, but this year’s sale was the biggest I’ve ever participated in!

So, what exactly is a “Fabric Yard Sale”?

Fox’s Sew and Vac is located in one of our shopping malls and they are able to reserve the hallway outside their shop entrance to host their “Fabric Yard Sale.” Due to space limitations, they only have a certain number of vendor spaces, but this year they were able to accommodate 20 vendors! I was lucky to be one of the last vendors before spaces were gone. They charged a very reasonable fee for a space and another small fee for a table. You can bring your own tables, which I have done in the past, but it is so much easier these days to just pay the extra fee and have a table there waiting for me as well as a chair or two.

Once I signed up this year — which was later than I normally would due to a time conflict that was cancelled in the end — I got to work sorting through my fabrics, precuts, notions, patterns, books, and whatever else I had hanging around. I measured my yardage, rolled and wrapped it with a rubber band and added a piece of masking tape with the fabric amount and the price (hey, I used what I had on hand). I went through my fat quarters and organized them into baskets. I even readied a basket of vintage feed sack quarters to take along in case anyone was looking for vintage fabrics. I also gathered a selection of books and patterns.

Here’s a photo of some of my stuff headed to the sale.
My style is Early Flea Market, of course. LOL!

My friend Mary Lee (Hey Mary Lee!) shared my space with me. Her stash management program is very different from my “it looks like a flea market threw up” chaos — when she finds a pattern that she likes, she makes her own quilt kits by gathering up all the fabrics for the pattern along with the pattern itself. Then she puts everything in the same bag. This way, when she’s ready to make something new, Mary Lee just has to grab a “kit” and start cutting and sewing. Anyway, Mary Lee weeded her kit collection out and parted with a group of kits she decided she wasn’t ever going to make.

All too soon, set up day for the sale arrived. We were able to set up on Thursday and the sale ran both Friday and Saturday. After we carted everything inside and started laying out our table, we discovered that an 8 foot table wasn’t big enough to lay everything out in an orderly fashion. Things were a little jumbled on our table, but that was okay. Sorry, but I never even thought of taking photos….

Late Friday morning, the sale was swamped! Really! Every table had people crowded around. Then it thinned out and we all started shopping each other’s stuff. Sigh…..occupational hazard.

Here’s my list of info for you if you are planning to participate in a Fabric Yard Sale:

  1. The more vendors, the less $$ you will make.
  2. As you sell, so shall you buy…..
  3. You need to price your items competitively or you will be taking home what you brought (plus whatever you bought)
  4. Bring some kind of table covering — even if your table looks like Early Flea Market (like mine did), a table covering under your items just makes it look nicer. Use quilts if you can as they are, naturally, attention-grabbers.
  5. Bring lots of small bills ($1s and $5s, mostly) for change and be prepared to change a $20 when someone wants a fat quarter for $1.
  6. Bring plastic shopping bags to put purchases in.
  7. It’s best to have another person with you, but if you have to do your sale alone, make sure someone stops to give you a lunch break. Of course, the folks at Fox’s were happy to watch our tables so we could dash to the bathroom (and maybe grab a yard of fabric we spied across the hallway).
  8. Packing your fabrics, patterns, books, and other items in plastic bins, baskets, and crates makes moving things in and out and keeping your table organized a lot easier than having yardage and fat quarters spilling all over the place.
  9. Bring something to do when things aren’t busy. I always bring a couple magazines, a book, a quilt with binding to be hand-stitched, or even my EPP hexies. Of course, you’re bound to make some new friends and rediscover some old pals, so expect lots of chatting and laughing going on.
  10. Bring something to drink and a snack or two — chocolate is always a good choice.

I am guilty of #2 on my list above…….but not as guilty as some, I will say. Here are my awesome finds:

Mostly I stuck to fat quarters, but I did buy a couple larger pieces. I also got a great deal on a stack of Block magazines. And, believe it or not, but one of the other vendors had whole vintage feed sacks for sale. I bought 5. Shhhhh……don’t tell anyone my deep dark secrets.

I can definitely see my studio looking a little better without all the stuff I pulled out and had piled and stacked anywhere I could find a little space until the sale. When the Fabric Yard Sale was over, I sorted my stuff and decided to donate about half of what I brought home to my local Humane Society secondhand shop. Now to find somewhere to store the stuff I decided to keep (at least for now) as well as the new stuff I brought home. Again — occupational hazard.

Fabric Yard Sales are just an excuse for quilters to gather, share ideas, catch up, make new friends, laugh and gossip. Oh, yes — they also keep quilting fabrics and supplies in circulation.

Well, that’s it for me today. Good luck with your own Spring Cleaning.

Until next Thursday —

Sew. Laugh. Clean. Repeat.


Tricia @VRD