Monday, September 28, 2015

What! Again? Another Hexie Quilt Started?!

Mama's Garden, Hexie Quilt by Robin Atkins, hand pieced, embroidered, quilted; detail
If you're a Beadlust reader, you know I worked for three years (more than 1,300 hours) to hand piece, hand embroider, and hand quilt Mama's Garden, with 4,700 3/4-inch hexies, a true labor of love. A big push this spring got it finished in time to enter into the International Quilt Festival in La Conner, WA. Hooray, hooray, the judges accepted it into the show!!!!

Mama's Garden, Hexie Quilt by Robin Atkins, hand pieced, embroidered, quilted
This coming weekend, October 2-4, all you quilting enthusiasts will find it rewarding to make the effort and get to La Conner (WA) for the Festival, where you will see an excellent selection of quilts and fiber arts, plus a variety of interesting vendors! Here is the information. Head first for Maple Hall, a huge 2-story building, filled with quilts, at the corner of 1st Street (the main drag) and Douglas Street! Bring your camera, because photos are allowed (at least in the past they were).

Map and directions to La Conner Quilt Festival
What do you think? After all those hours, would it be crazy to even THINK about making another hexie quilt, another one with 3/4-inch hexies? Well, then I guess I'm crazy, because the irresistible call of the hexie hooked me again. And why not re-use the same paper pieces?

This one will not be traditional, and will definitely NOT be hand quilted. It will be hand pieced, using small left-over fabrics (I refuse to call them scraps), cotton prints (but not batiks). I have no idea how I will arrange them, how big it will be, or anything else about how this new project will develop.

The first step was to cut out sets of  2" x 2" squares (6 per set) to make flower petals. So far, I've cut about 130 sets. Here are 80 of them, ready to baste onto the 3/4" paper hexie pieces.

fabrics cut for hexie flower petals, new hexie quilt by Robin Atkins
From very small pieces, I cut single 2"  x 2" squares to make flower centers. These I've already basted to the paper hexie pieces.

basted hexie flower petal centers, new hexie quilt by Robin Atkins
After basting some of the petals and centers, I started choosing centers for the petal sets. This part is fun! I enjoy "auditioning" various centers until one of them seems right. I'm avoiding high value contrast between petals and centers, because I might want to do a color study with them (no borders).

arranged hexie flower petal & centers, new hexie quilt by Robin Atkins
When the urge gets really strong, I allow myself to start stitching the hexies together to make flowers.

finished hexie flowers, new hexie quilt by Robin Atkins
This quilt will probably have about 650 flowers! I've cut 130 so far, each different. I cut flower petals from all of my small pieces, every one. My preference is to have all 650 flowers different.

Sooooooo, if YOU have some small fabric pieces you'd be willing to donate, I'd love to have part of you in my quilt. This is what I need:

For petals - 2" x 12" strip, or 4" x 6" piece
For centers - 2" square (only one per fabric design)

Quilting weight cotton prints only, no batiks.
One petal set per fabric design (no duplicates).
Prefer small to medium scale prints.

Mail to:
Robin Atkins
1785 Douglas Road #4
Friday Harbor  WA  98250


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wool Applique + Thread Embroidery + Beads = Happy Quilts!!!

Margaret & Scott, a wall quilt by Robin Atkins
Oh dear, busy me, four months since I've posted here. Lots of quilting, a little beading, some travels, and recently several sets of house guests have made "retirement" a bit of a joke. For now, since the La Conner Quilt Festival is just around the corner (October 2-4), my subject is one small exhibition on the first floor at the Museum, which is currently up, and will remain through the Festival.

Last year at the Festival (and again this year!) Sue Spargo taught workshops on her wool applique embroidery methods. Those of us who were lucky enough to get in were invited by the Museum to exhibit our finished pieces. These marvelous creations are the subject of this post. Uneven lighting makes it difficult to get good photos, so please forgive poor color or tone on some of these photos.

In case you are unfamiliar with Sue's work, below is an example of her work. Students in her class could choose to make chicks, circles, or flowers. Most chose the chicks. Eight of her students are showing their work in the current exhibit.

Chicks, a wall quilt by Sue Spargo, embroidery on wool applique
My vote for the most awesome-creative piece goes to Bunny Starbuck for She Has Flown the Coop! Here it is:

She Has Flown the Coop, a wall quilt by Bunny Starbuck, embroidery on wool applique
Having put my chicks all in neat rows similar to Sue's example, I find it amazing that Bunny's mind took the idea and made a whole different story of it... a coop full of chicks, with two in line on the roof ready to follow the one already in the air. Don't you just love the way the lines divide the space?!

She Has Flown the Coop, a wall quilt by Bunny Starbuck, detail

She Has Flown the Coop, a wall quilt by Bunny Starbuck, detail

She Has Flown the Coop, a wall quilt by Bunny Starbuck, detail

She Has Flown the Coop, a wall quilt by Bunny Starbuck, detail
Note Bunny's use of whispy yarn to suggest little chick feathers, her use of snaps for eyes, the one chick turned full front, the one with a bead-tassled braid and glasses, and the one with beaded loop fringe and a gathered yellow ribbon (?) yo-yo. I love them! I'm in awe, Bunny!

Below is Chicks on Parade by Dorie Benson. It's so fun the way they are so close together, with two of them going in a different direction, just as you might see in a little cluster of chicks. If you click the photo to enlarge it, you can see some of Dorie's excellent stitching and hand quilting!

The next one is Chicks by Glenys Baker, who not only did all 36 chicks but also made a second quilt featuring circles (shown further down). Awesome work, Glenys!

Chicks, a wall quilt by Glenys Baker, embroidery on wool applique
And next is Birds of a Feather Can Dance Together by Lorraine Jones. The fun of the title is matched by the fun of Lorraine's embellishments, including her border treatment. (You'll have to see this one in person, because the light from a table lamp, made the lower corner of the photo look terrible.)

Birds of a Feather Can Dance Together, a wall quilt by Lorraine Jones, embroidery on wool applique
I guess most of us like to "swim the other way," as you can see in the next piece, Chickadees, by Carrie Unick. I thought many of Corrie's embellishments were especially fun and creative, so I've also included a couple of detail photos.

Chickadees, a wall quilt by Carrie Unick, embroidery on wool applique

Chickadees, a wall quilt by Carrie Unick, detail

Chickadees, a wall quilt by Carrie Unick, detail

Last of the chicks is my piece, simply named Chicks. It was so much fun, that I made another small piece (also in the exhibition), shown at the top of this post. Both are displayed in shadow-box type frames to protect them from dust and moth damage.

Chicks, a wall quilt by Robin Atkins, embroidery on wool applique
Glenys Baker, in one year, made not only a 36-chicks quilt (shown above), but also a 48-circles quilt, Circles. How she keeps thinking of new embellishment variations I can't imagine. Yet each of her circles is completely unique! Her choice of border fabrics is perfect for the quilt, complimenting the flow of color among the circles.

Circles, a wall quilt by Glenys Baker, embroidery on wool applique

I love the fun color combinations and the way the beads enhance her embroidery on Nancy Anders' Bodacious Blooms, a joyful wall quilt if ever there was one! (Again, I couldn't quite get the color right in the photo, so you'll just have to go to the Museum to see it in person.)

Bodacious Blooms, a wall quilt by Nancy Anders, embroidery on wool applique

The name of Roberta Roberts' flower quilt, Memories, invites us to look closely at the flower with three ladybugs. I don't know the story, but I can tell there is one here... and I love that. Her embellishments are varied and fun as well.

Memories, a wall quilt by Roberta Roberts, embroidery on wool applique

Memories, a wall quilt by Roberta Roberts, detail

Memories, a wall quilt by Roberta Roberts, detail
There you have it... 10 quilts by 8 students who learned some methods of wool applique and embroidery from Sue Spargo, last year at the La Conner Quilt Festival. I'm so grateful to be one of them!