Saturday, January 24, 2015

Finished Making 61 Quilt Blocks!

For 23 days straight I've been making, quilting, and embellishing blocks for my 2014 Travel Diary quilt. Today I finally finished all 61 of them!!! Here's the stack:

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, 61 finished blocks
The next, and quite challenging, job is to figure out how to put them together to make a wall quilt. I'll write another post about that process later. For now, it will be fun just to show you a few more of the individual blocks. You can scroll back a few posts to see some of the others, and the inspiration for this quilt.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, detail, Dinkel River Sculpture, NL
This one is a beautiful slab of rock with the route of the Dinkel River in eastern Holland carved on it. The dots are small towns, including Oldenzaal, where my friend, Lies Koster lives.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, detail, with electric bicycle, NL
I've just ridden Lies' electric bicycle (a Swiss Flyer) 15 miles to the Bentheim Castle, across the Dutch border in Germany. I love that bike... most comfortable and still a decent workout, even with the electric assist. I want one!

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, detail, Emtinghausen windmill, DE
Oh goodness, a giant chick visited the Emtinghousen windmill in Germany while I was there with Sabine Keichel!!!! Do you think we screamed and ran away or shared our lunch sandwiches with it?

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, detail, winter horn blowing, NL
Jan Knol, partner with Lies Koster, is demonstrating the Christmas and wintertime tradition of horn blowing in the Netherlands.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, detail, house in Denekamp, NL
This is Jan's house and yard. A bird-lover, vegetable and flower gardener, Jan's runs a bed and breakfast place in his home in Denekamp, eastern Holland, where I stayed for a week. Lovely place, great breakfasts, happy memories!!!

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, detail, Kloster Wienhausen, DE
In Germany, I spent an afternoon walking around the grounds of Kloster Wienhausen, a serene and beautiful abbey, a secluded and safe place where widowed women, women who need a home, women of the church, can go to live.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, detail, religious pendant
I've had this old pendant or charm for such a long time, I don't remember where I got it. It's the perfect embellishment for the abbey block, simple yet elegant.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, detail, grapes, Sonderborg, DK
My friend, Joska, in Sunderborg, Denmark has built a grape arbor in his backyard, with several varieties of grapes growing in large, healthy clusters. Although the bees had found the grapes, we managed to pick as many as we could eat.

The museums in Budapest are all housed in magnificent, old buildings, well maintained, striking examples of architecture. This is a bit of the mosaic floor in the entrance to the Museum of Applied Arts. I embellished the photo with a wool felt heart embroidered with a bouquet of roses because I love being in Budapest.

The above blocks are are pictures from my trip to Europe last October. Now we'll travel backward in time to June, when I took a month-long road trip, stopping at various national and state parks, attending my 50th college reunion, and visiting family in MN.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, iris, St. Paul, MN
My brother, Matt, and his wife, Karen, are super flower gardeners! One of my favorite times in MN was sitting on their back yard deck, with Benny, the cat, on my lap, my mind calmed and refreshed by the lovely flowers and birds in the yard. These iris bloomed while I was there!

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, Minnehaha Falls, Minneaoplis, MN
Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis was in full flow in June, with enough water pouring down its 53-foot drop to raise a continuous, gigantic splash as it hit the pool at the bottom.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, Lean on Me, sculpture, Collegeville, MN
Heading westward again, I stopped at St. John's University, where I found this lovely surprise, a towering sculpture made of woven willow and ironwood branches, five "huts" all leaning on each other. The artist, Patrick Dougherty, named it Lean On Me. Here's a really cool youtube video showing how it was made.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, bison, Yellowstone National Park

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, rock formations, Yellowstone National Park
A week in Yellowstone National Park was just not long enough to take in all the beautiful wildflowers, the animals, and the rock formations. This June I'm headed back there again for more!

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary quilt, east entrance, Glacier National Park
Entering Glacier National Park on Hwy. 2 from the East, one has a panoramic view of the formerly glacier-covered peaks behind rolling plains where once bison roamed freely. Stopping along the highway to take this photo, I felt the presence of wild buffalo. Remembering that feeling, I tried to find a way to convey the experience on this block.

Guess that's enough blocks for this post. You can see more of them by scrolling through the previous 3 posts. In the next post, I'll cover the process of assembling these blocks, ranging in size from half of a playing card to larger than a greeting card. As I look at the stack of finished blocks, it feels like a daunting challenge to figure out how to put them together in a way that will look good as a whole. Wish me luck!


  1. These are beautiful. I love them. What a lovely idea and wonderful reminder of your trip. I can't wait to see how you display them. What size are they?

    1. Thanks, Alison! The blocks vary in size from 1.5 x 2 inches to 6 x 4 inches.

  2. Oh, Robin, these are so beautiful. I kept thinking "This is my favorite" and then I'd see another one that I liked even better. Now I think my favorite is "Spirit of Buffalo."

  3. These are great Robin! What a wonderful visual reminder of all your adventures.

  4. I so appreciate you sharing not only the finished blocks, but your process. I've been following with keen interest. I have material that I've saved since my Mom and Dad died, in 2002 and 2004. We cut up lots of clothing we remembered them wearing, and I "said" I would make a crazy quilt. But... for years I couldn't even bring it out. Then, I couldn't bring myself to use scissors on them. Now... well, you've inspired me to find joy in them, and make a little wall quilt, sort of like yours, only with material. And I thought I'd find some good photos to include. I have "doo dads" of theirs I can use like your tokens for embellishments. Lots of ideas swirling... thanks for the inspiration, it sort of feels like the final healing. Even though there are days I miss them acutely, even now! :-)

  5. Oh Robin, I love these so much. Every one of them so meaningful and exquisite.

  6. Very informative, keep posting such good articles, it really helps to know about things.

  7. Wonderful post! I take pictures, and I bead, and I "used to" quilt. But I never thought to take photos with an 'eye' to embellishing them. You've prompted all sorts of ideas percolating.

  8. I only found your post just now, on February 8th. What eye-candy again! I find the bubbly splash of the waterfall particularly adorable. Great solution!

  9. All the material and information in it is quite informative and easy to understand .

  10. Thank you, makes sense to write exactly what you got from the blog and why. Helps the writer and the audience. But as I always say, keep it short and sweet.


Thanks you for joining the discussion on this post today!