Nosegay for Mother
Designed by Barb Adams
for Blackbird Designs
This month's Past Perfect featured artist is Barb Adams of Blackbird Designs,
here in a watercolor with her partner Alma Allen.
It's hard to separate Barb's work from Alma's they think so much alike.
But I have seen the label on this quilt and it said Barb was the designer.
Last year's Quilt Market in Houston
Barb & Alma are quite a force in the quilt world and have had great influence on a resurgence of interest and skills in applique design.
Gathered Harvest from their 2017 book Fresh Picked
is folded on the quilt rack above.
They've published many books and patterns and designed many fabric collections with their signature style. They often design two versions of a quilt, each with her own choice of fabrics.
I bet this is Alma's choice. She loves scalloped edges.
And I bet this is Barb's choice. The color and fabric choice is often a little edgier.
They formed Blackbird Designs 18 years ago in 2000, publishing pattern books with quilts, rug hooking and embroidery designs.
Fresh From the Garden, 2000
Winter Garden from
When the Cold Wind Blows
They always win best booth at Quilt Market (and deserve it)
They met in a quilt class that Alma taught. Both live near Kansas City, Barb in Missouri, Alma in Kansas. Their partnership is a classic example of a cottage industry. They design the quilts and draw the patterns, pick the fabrics and often create them, and have hired a team of stitchers to sew up their ideas.
Leona Adams (1925-2015)
For many years Barb's mom Leona was their chief stitcher.
I love their rather Gothic take on historical pattern--in the Secret Garden tradition.
Secret Garden for their Wild Orchid fabric collection
Wild Orchid print
Their gardens are rarely manicured, more likely to go to seed in untamed fashion
with vines sprouting tendrils going off in a new direction.
Quilting in the Garden
Print from Anna's Starry Night line.
A Little Flower
You can recognize their distinctive compositions: how they situate the image inside the block.
While most traditional pattern is symmetrical, theirs often are not.
Posies in the Valley
Some of their recent stuff....
Sweet Cherry Wine for Moda
The Raven with their trademark bird.
Their other major focus is cross stitch with tons of patterns and ideas for embroidery, where they are quite a success.