Saturday, October 17, 2009

Robin Atkins comes to Phoenix

I had the distinct pleasure of attending a 2-day Improvisational Beading class taught by Robin Atkins. Wow, was it an eye opener! So much to learn and so little time... but I gave it a whirl! She started us out with the basics and then moved into more advanced stitches. First we practiced on a trial piece and then we moved into making our own pieces. More about that later!

I took a few pictures; however, I was too shy to take a picture of Robin while she was teaching (didn't want to disturb her) but I did get a great picture of her hands as she told us about her "Marriage Bag."
Robin's hands
As she taught us the different advanced stitches, Robin would bring around examples of her work to show us how she had used that particular stitch. It was a wonderful way to see how the stitch looked on a beaded piece, as well as a great way to get up close and personal with the artist and her art.

Here is another of her pieces that I just love... Rosie!
Isn't she something else? There is so much going on with this little lady! Here's a close-up of her garden...
Rosie's garden

As you can see from Robin's post about her visit here, there were some talented people in that class. Apparently Lisa has a new love!

As I said earlier, by afternoon of the first day everyone was working on their own personal beaded piece. I started in on mine and got quite a few beads embroidered on it and then Robin said she wanted to show the class my piece... as she took it she said "I hope you don't take this wrong, but..." Oh, dear. Then she used my piece as an example of how improvisational beading should not start! Hoo boy, not the impression I wanted to leave her with! But I soldiered on and got a bit more improvisational with it instead of making it so symmetrical and I think she was a bit happier with it at that point. So was I!! I could see that I had planned it out in my head instead of being spontaneous and just letting it flow the way she had shown us. Wanna see it?
My piece
I started it with the buttons and then added the rhinestone beads around the top button and it was altogether way too symmetrical. The bottom part is where I actually started just beading without a plan. I like the way it is going and I'm going to use it as a practice piece as I work through the beading on my Midsummer CQ.

Oh, yes, there will be scads of beading around Titania! I think the techniques Robin taught during those wonderful two days will really help to bring some dimension and extra emphasis to many areas of the center portion. I can't wait to dig into it!

And, speaking of the center portion... all blocks have been pieced! WooHoo! ;0)
Center blocks pieced
I had such a hard time piecing the tree... it took every evening of the past week. The center block and the left block took 4 evenings, then, this morning, I got up and pieced the top right block in 3 hours. Quite a steep learning curve! Of course, I can see where I need to do some revision on the piecing here and there but at least you can now see the idea that was in my head! On my monitor, these colors are pretty true. When I first envisioned this, it was going to be much softer, lighter tones; however, when the muse speaks, I listen! Of course, this is just the base and there will be many additions along the way!

We're off on a long road trip for the next couple of weeks, but I'll be stitching the entire way... WooHoo! Va-ca-tion!!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Still here!

I am still here! I've been doing some stash enhancement in anticipation of doing the final embroidery and beading on the center piece of the Midsummer Quilt.

Sassa lynn threads and beads
I bought some Sassa Lynne threads and some beautiful ribbon from Maureen's Vintage Acquisitions.

She had the colors and the selection I needed all in one place which is nice. I also bought some flower beads and size 15 seed beads off of ebay and etsy... some place else, too, but I can't remember where... ah, I remember! Bead World... that's where I got them!

Leaf beads
I also got these leaf beads at Bead World. They have a pretty nice selection of flower and leaf beads there.
Green bead mix
This is my green bead mix I made up, along with some vintage flower sequins I'll be using quite a bit. They have a lovely irridescent shine to them!

Work has been a bear lately and we've also had company in town so it has been hard to get some major quality embroidery time in; however, I've actually managed to get a bit done, believe it or not! I wanted to show you how I was doing the ferns in the corners. I started them with just a fern stitch, but it seemed way too sparse and not very fern-like at all. I decided I needed to fill in the leaves alot more so I just started adding straight stitches alongside the lines of fern stitch. Here is the plain fern stitch...
Fern stitch

and here is the fern stitch with the straight stitches added in to make it more "ferny." (Yes that is a word!) (maybe...)
Fern stitch filled
I've used different greens for the various ferns and it has helped it to seem more... ferny! ;0)

We are going on a road trip in a few weeks and I want to get the whole center pieced so I'll have it with me to fill the hours on the road... and sitting on the couch in my mother-in-law's house. ;0) I'll be back in a day or so with the tale of how I spent my weekend! It was fun!!!