Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Travel Diary Quilt - More Blocks Complete!

Day 14 of work on my 2014 Travel Diary quilt.. and still loving it!!! I have completed 32 of 57 pillows (or blocks, the traditional quilting name for a component of a quilt top), most of them the easy ones, the ones I have a quick sense of how to embellish them. The remaining blocks are bit more challenging, forcing me to remember what I always tell my bead embroidery students:

 When you get stuck,
pick up a bead or a doo-dad you love,
and sew it on your piece.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary Quilt, detail, Emese and Jacob, Denmark
Here are a few recently finished blocks... The one above is my God-daughter, Emese, with her husband, Jacob, ready to drive me to Sonderborg, Denmark. Since just prior to departure for Europe, I had been in a one-day workshop with Sue Spargo (waaaay fun), I took my wool applique with me on the trip. In Denmark, I had a number of happy stitching hours, and the interest of Emese, Jacob, and their kids to keep me going. So, of course, I had to put a chick on this block.

Generally the pictures are about 3-4" x 4-5", but the close-up pictures of people, I generally printed smaller, about 2" x 2.5".  These were challenging to embellish, because there isn't much room to tell a story with the beads. Here are four of them grouped together. You may recall, I made an "I Spy" quilt for Emese's daughter, Olivia (below, top right).

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary Quilt, detail, people pillows
I had a great time with Sabine in Bremen, Germany (above, top left). In the block below, I am standing by the Four Town Musicians of Bremen, the donkey, dog, cat, and rooster. As the myth has it, I have my hand on the donkey's hoof, and am making a wish. Although I dare not tell the exact wish, it did have something to do with Donkey-oti, my dear donkey friend back home.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary Quilt, detail, Four Musicians of Bremen, Germany
You see the adorable donkey, bead embellishment? I must tell you about it!

donkey bead made by Shelly of Ginko 305
I guess you can get an idea of the size! It was made by Shelly at Ginko 305, who makes and sells miniature animals on Etsy. Although she had not made them as beads previously, when I messaged her with the request, she readily agreed. Now she's thinking she'll make more of her animals in bead versions!  I've got to have more of them... a reindeer will be the next one.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary Quilt, detail, at Anna's home, Felsöpakony, Hungary

The above blocks are grouped together, because they are all at Anna Feher's home in Felsöpakony, Hungary (except the selfie of her and me taken on the train from Budapest). When I'm with Anna, my friend and best bead companion for 25 years, I feel totally at home, and as her chalk sign says, totally welcome. We beaded and talked beads and got together with other beady friends for a whole week... pure heaven!!! With her husband, Attila (lower right), I share a love of Hungarian folk and American blues music, so we found time for that too!

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary Quilt, detail, with Lies Koster, Netherlands

I also had a great week with Lies Koster, above. We share love of beading, quilting, folding paper, and full moons, among other things.

Robin Atkins, Travel Diary Quilt, detail, T Roosevelt Natl Park
In closing, here is another block from last summer's road trip, from the northern unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where we saw perfectly round boulders, 3 feet in diameter, and wild horses (although not together at the same time, as the embellishment suggests). There were only a few humans in the park that day. Shhh, don't tell anybody what an exquisite place it is...

You can see what I will do with these quilted blocks here, and view a few more of the finished blocks here.


  1. Lovely, Robin! I love the chick that escaped from your wool applique! Naughty girl... And the Anna compilation! lovely, to remember the chalked welcome! You call it a sneeky preview, but I have the feeling you show a LOT!

  2. These exude joy and life! I was grinning the whole time, looking and looking. I enjoyed so much reading all the cherished memories. Thank you so much for sharing all this. It's like a feast for my soul. :-) The finished and assembled piece is going to be beyond amazing.

  3. Just a few remarks on these extraordinary blocks:
    That cheeky giant chick calmly walking across the foreground of the photo in order to steal the show - or so it seems - is a real laugh. What an idea!
    The sun and the "toy beads" go with the photo of the children perfectly.
    You couldn't have linked the instant of wish-making with Donkey-oti any better. Brillant! You must have been "in the flow" when embellishing.
    The horse-and-boulder picture looks to me like a place from another planet.
    Thank you for letting us tag along while you are doing the work. We can just lean back and wonder what will come up next. Thank you again!

  4. I love these, Robin. What I love best is how happy you look.

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  6. Awwwwwwwwwwww on the donkey bead. And here I was hoping that something neat would come of the donkey story (I'm new here.) I just love it and good for Shelly who made it. Kudos to both of you.

  7. Thanks for sharing such a blog with us.


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