Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jan BJP Finished! More on God's Eye Quilt

bead embroidery on quilt block by Robin Atkins, bead journal project 2011, detail
Here's a little peek at the center of January's piece for the Bead Journal Project. I decided to explore intersections this year, places where my life path crosses and intersects with other paths... meaningful relationships with various people, places and things.

bead embroidery on quilt block by Robin Atkins, bead journal project 2011, detail
This one is about snow and ice, the seemingly dominant path of January's weather around here, and how I react with and to it. As usual, I worked it quickly and improvisationally, without a plan except for the general idea of the crossroads. Looking at it now, I can see the beauty in the snow and ice more easily than I could when it was all around me for real.

bead embroidery on quilt block by Robin Atkins, bead journal project 2011
My plan is to do each month's piece on two fabrics, a quilt block, same arrangement (but different fabrics) as January. I will join the twelve blocks together, on point as shown above, to make a small wall quilt, a visual journal of the year 2011.

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quilt by Karin Franzen
I'm leaving today for a 3-day quilting workshop taught by Karin Franzen. Please take a second to look at the gallery of her quilts (one of which is shown above). To me it's the most compelling quilting I've ever seen! I'm so grateful to be able to take a class from her!!!!!

* * * * * *
God's Eye Quilt

Several of you asked about how to make the God's Eye Quilt featured in my last post, here. Technically it is not at all difficult; the fun and challenges come from arranging the fabrics! You can use scraps and strips left over from other projects. A piece just 12 inches long by one inch wide can be included!

Cut the centers from any DARK fabric. I used a black batik because I like the firm, non-stretchy hand provided by batik fabric for the block center. You could use a black on black print, dark indigo, deep burgundy. It should read darker than your other fabrics. Cut 50 squares, 2.5 x 2.5 inches.

Cut fabric strips in 4 widths: 1, 1 1/8, 1 1/4, 1 3/8 inches. If you are cutting from full width (42") fabrics, cut one strip per size. If you are cutting from fat quarters, cut strips across short length and cut two per size. Important... keep strips separated by size, all the 1" strips in a bag, all the 1.25 inch strips in a different bag, etc.

Sew one strip of each size around the center square. This can be in any order. For example, you can sew the 1.25 in strip around the center square first, then the 1 3/8" strip, then the 1" strip and finally the 1 1/8" strip, or any other order. Mix them up. Make about 12 blocks using one arrangement of the strip sizes and then start another group of 12 blocks using a different arrangement. Strips are sewn courthouse steps method (not log cabin). Press the seams outward. Make 50 blocks.

Make about 2/3 of your blocks with a medium-light to light value fabric for the outside strips. Make about 1/3 of your blocks with a medium to medium-dark value fabric for the outside strips. When you arrange your blocks for the quilt top, place 5 lighter-edged blocks across for the top row. The second row will have 4 darker-edged blocks across. Alternate these two rows, ending with a row of 5 lighter edged blocks.

Cut setting triangles and corner triangles from a dark-value fabric. Sew the blocks and setting triangles together in diagonal strips. Then sew these strips together.

Have fun!!!!


  1. Anonymous2:11 PM

    Your January beaded block is stunning - when I look at it I see an intersection of winter and the promise of spring with those lovely greens, reds and pinks. I love the little bird and the flowers.

  2. What a great theme! I often contemplate the 'intersections' in my life and like to reflect on the lasting (or not) impressions those encounters left on me or the change in direction my life took because of them.

    The colors you chose are so nice (as usual)!

  3. I cannot believe how beautiful this art work is!!!

  4. Anonymous4:36 PM

    I love the idea of putting these on blocks that will go into a quilt wall-hanging. It's going to be beautiful!

  5. Your January BJP is beautiful!!! Very nicely done in Robin's 'way'!! Love the improv!

    And you are lucky to take the class..I'm so impressed with her work!!! Can't wait to see what all you learn/do at the workshop!

  6. Robin, this BJP piece is just stunning. This is my first time so I am working smaller, dedicated to the people of Queensland and Victoria in Australia who have lost so much in the floods.

  7. Having spent some time looking at Karin Franzen's website, I think you are indeed very lucky to be doing a course with her. I have never seen such beautiful quilts of birds (one of my very special symbols) of all kinds. I was so drawn to the little red bird and the black birds. I can't wait to hear about it when you get back. Have fun!

  8. Beautiful piece! I like the idea of intersections in life, it's a great theme to explore.

    I took a look at those quilt galleries -- she is amazing! I'm thinking you'll have a fine time in that class.

  9. Mygollygoodgrief, dear Robin, but are you back in your true element or whut?! As I scrolled down to your 3rd image the word that leapt out of my throat/thought was "STRONG."
    aaah, the Franzen workshop - hope you EXPLODE!!!!!!!!

    Huge embrace from across our water. Come back and tell all or else ;>}

  10. Koralikowe cudo, żurawie zjawiskowe.

  11. I didn't realize how much I'd missed your beading until my heart lept when I saw beads on our blog today. I alway find your work beautiful and inspiring but some pieces, like this one, move me a way that I neither expect nor understand.

    As a very novice beader, I can only dream that one day I can express myself as beautifully as this.

    Thank you for introducing me to Karin's quilts. As you say her art is compelling. Have a wonderful time in her class, lose yourself in it.

  12. X marks the spot! This piece is beautifully wrought under your needle and the idea of exploring intersections is a great one. Being a very visual person too...I started thinking about my life in intersections...nothing quite as peaceful and lovely came to me! Your merge is full of spirit, patience, depth an gifts...

    And yes. What an absolute treat to be able to study quilting with Karin. You are right...I loved her quilts...and her sandhill crane pics and stories.

    Best stitches, dear Robin....xo Susan

  13. i am always mesmerized by the beauty of your beading. the colors and patterns make me want to stare and study it for a long time. i love the idea of "intersections". this is going to make one fabulous quilt depicting your year! lots of hugs to you, robin!

  14. I suspect that you will achieve a greater understanding of what is in your heart while beading these blocks.

    The first one is really a crossroad in the process...the meeting of beading and quilting.

    Karen's work is like looking at a canvas. You have to look really closely to realize its a quilt. I hope you will share with us some of what you learn. You are both amazing artists.

    Have the very best day!!

  15. Oh's beautiful!

  16. WOW you ARE one lucky chick! I just visited her site & it makes me want to quit quilting all together having seen what she achieves so beautifully! Can't wait to hear about it when you come back!!! As for me; I'm off to print the directions for the Eye so I can go back to something easypeasy! :) Thanks for posting it!!!

  17. Your beadwork is always so visually stunning, it completely amazes me that it is improvisational. You are such an inspiration!

    Enjoy your quilting class! :)

  18. Qu'est-ce que c'est beau ! Très bonne journée

  19. I love your January piece - I always feel pressure to "bead the whole thing", and your piece shows that sometimes its what you don't bead that counts too.

  20. Intersections - what a great theme! Your January piece is so beautiful. I love it.

  21. As usual, absolutely stunning beadwork! I love close-up on the intersection, the white beads around the edge of the one arm (they look icy and lacy), and I love the green and pink bits on the bird arm! Really pretty. This will be so fun to watch develop.

    Enjoy your quilt workshop!


  22. I am always impressed by your choice of themes. I doubt it would ever have occurred to me to consider "intersections" for a theme. Now it will!

    Your piece is beautiful, as always. I especially like the scrolling of the white beads. It could be ice or snow, or it could be white caps on the surf! I like your idea for a quilt of the beaded blocks too. I'm almost sorry I chose to work outside the quilt format myself!

  23. I really like your idea of 'intersections' - and this first one is a beauty! I love everything about it, especially the contrast in the colors!
    Can't wait to see next month's!


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!