Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Finished "Chicks" Quilt (Sue Spargo Wool Applique)

A week of finishing!!! Oh my, it feels good to finish things, doesn't it?!

Robin Atkins, chicks, wool applique, bead and thread embroidery, finished wall quilt

Last October, I started the applique process, stitching chick bodies and wings cut from felled wool onto the wool background fabric. Seven months later, 16 chicks, embroidered with threads and beads, run free! Please click the picture to enlarge it, so you can enjoy the fanciful details.

If you are new to this process, you can see the various steps and pictures of the chicks on these posts. Of course, they are inspired by Sue Spargo's exhibit at the La Conner Quilt Museum, by her book, Creative Stitching, and by taking a one-day class from her to get me going. Along the way, other books, embroideries, and drawings also inspired me.

Robin Atkins, chicks, wool applique, bead and thread embroidery

As you might guess, most of the chicks have at least a few beads. Here is one with the main motif embroidered with beads.

Robin Atkins, chicks, wool applique, bead and thread embroidery

And, here is one with just a few beads, the center of the "flowers," and one with no beads at all.

Also note that I've quilted the piece with Danish Flower Thread in a shade which closely matches the background color.

At first, I thought it would be pleasing to embellish the areas between the chicks with flowers, vines, and leaves using three close shades of the background color. Here is an example.

Robin Atkins, chicks, wool applique, bead and thread embroidery, hand quilting

It looks OK when you look at just four chicks with the flower/vine motif in the center. But when I had finished 6 of the areas (sorry no photo), some of them with larger spaces and larger vines/leaves, it looked too busy. It took away from the chicks. I couldn't tell if I was supposed to look at the chicks or the flowers. So I picked out the vines and leaves, leaving just the flowers, which weren't such a distraction.

Robin Atkins, chicks, wool applique, bead and thread embroidery, binding

After sewing on the binding, the chicks seemed to need a little warming around them. So I added a line of stem stitch in variegated pearl-cotton in a magenta color. It pleases me!

wall mount display case

Oh, and one more thing... This is a quilt, designed to hang on the wall, with lots of details to enjoy as you view it up close. But what happens to wool felt when it is out in the open? MOTH DAMAGE and DUST are the enemies. My solution? Find, buy, or have somebody make a wall-mounted display case, with a hinged door. Hang the quilt inside the case, which remains closed except when somebody wants to take a closer look. The above, found on the internet, is close to what I have in mind, with a white background of course.

Robin Atkins, wool applique ready to embellish with bead and thread embroidery

What's next in chick-land? Well, my dear niece just got married... Here is the start of her wedding gift... I'll post a finished photo soon.


  1. Oh, these turned out so adorable! And I love how you make your choices intuitively. Like the need for the warm border line. Looks perfect!

    Being sort of new to Pinterest, I wanted to make sure it was okay to "pin" the little chicks onto my Fiber Art board. When I hovered my cursor over the images, the little P showed up, like it was allowed; but I'm not sure if you chose that or Blogger; so if you prefer not to have them on Pinterest, please let me know, and they'll go "poof". :-D

  2. You did a wonderful job with this quilt, really impressive..I used to have this sort of patience and now you've inspired me to think about a more 'involved' project than I have tackled for awhile..thanks for sharing this beautiful work.

  3. The detail that has clearly gone into the embroidery and beading is astonishing, the little chicks look so beautiful!

  4. I love your beautiful chickens !!!

  5. It was so great to see your chicks in person, Robin. I loved studying all of the small embellishment details. I am glad that you kept the little blue embroidered flowers on the background fabric. I really liked that detail. I also love the line of stitching around the binding. Is it stem stitch? What a clever way to add a pop of color to the binding!

  6. Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share


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