Thursday, August 07, 2014

Quilting + Beading = Fun!

As a fund-raiser, the La Conner Quilt & Textile Museum issued a challenge last year at the Quilt Festival, offering the sale of a little kit containing 2 small pieces of fabric, one a Japanese silk print and the other a dark blue, indigo-dyed solid. I decided to "go for it" and bought a kit, thinking maybe I'd make a small quilt with it. Below are the two fabrics in my "kit," although the colors in this photo are a little "off."

Quilt Museum challenge, 2 fabrics in kit

All of the entered pieces will be displayed this year at the Quilt Festival in October, and the attendees can vote for the one they like best. The 2 pieces winning the most votes will be on display at the museum for 2 months. Each of us can decide if we want to donate the piece or keep it. If donated, the Museum will sell it either in the gift shop or at a fund-raising auction.

My quilting friend, Lunnette, went right to work with her kit, and soon produced a lovely mountain/water/full moon wall quilt, which we delivered to the Museum last week. Me? I couldn't think of a thing to do with my fabrics... blocked completely...

But at the Museum, the curator, when she took Lunnette's quilt, said to me, "You know, it doesn't HAVE to be a quilt... It COULD be beadwork..." And suddenly an idea popped into my mind.

What if I could make quilted fabrics into beads and put them together into a necklace? Ah-ha! Sounds like fun... quilting + beading! So I gave it a try.

Robin Atkins bead quilt necklace, quilted components

First I pieced the fabrics together, adding one of my own Japanese indigo-dyed prints. Then I made little "sandwiches" of pieced fabrics + lightweight batting + backing fabric, and hand-quilted each unit. The picture above shows the flat, quilted units, and one that I've rolled and stitched into a tube. Below are two of the units.

Robin Atkins bead quilt necklace, quilted component

Robin Atkins bead quilt necklace, quilted component
Here is what the units look like on the back side, after quilting.

Robin Atkins bead quilt necklace, quilted components, back side
Then I started playing around with how to make the pendant and how to form the tubes into beads. Also I had to look, and look, and really LOOK through my stash to find beads that went with the Japanese theme, more-or-less matched the orange-indigo color scheme, AND had holes big enough to accommodate the large, cotton-covered cord I planned to use.

Robin Atkins bead quilt necklace, design process
Above is the "playing around stage." About 20 hours later, below is the finished necklace.

Robin Atkins bead quilt necklace
And here is a detail.

Robin Atkins bead quilt necklace, detail
The Museum wants a name for each of the pieces, which was tough for me... I finally decided to call it "A Crane in the Window." How do you like it?

If you want to have it and support the Museum,  you could get in touch with them about when and how they plan to sell it (and the other entered pieces).