Finally it's my day to share a project with you using the panel of birds that inspired Madame Samm to organize this blog hop. The bird house above is waiting for it's first occupants in many years. It was rescued from the barn of a renowned birder in my area and I'm hoping to bring it back into active duty this summer!
I owned a quilt shop for 26 years and I stocked bird prints regularly but this is the first one I've seen which depicts the birds so true to color -- love that about it. This panel was designed so the tree in the background looks real and that was my inspiration -- to expand the tree.
I achieved that by alternating the bird panels with "wonky" 9-patch blocks of leafy greens and sky-like blues. Instead of offering a "hop-prize" that only one lucky visitor can win, I'm going to share a simple tutorial on how I make these easy blocks to inspire everyone.
I begin with an assortment of prints, the more the better. The search begins in my "scrappy" leftovers because I only need pieces that are about 2" larger than my target block size -- in this case, that was 7" by 9".
I pick 9 different prints at a time (this is my auditioning layout) and then stack all of them together with the right sides up.
Using my ruler and rotary cutter, I cut the stack of nine prints into 9 pieces -- no measuring, just set the ruler down and cut. Notice my cuts are slightly angled.
Next, I shuffle the prints so that each block will have all 9 prints and they will be in random order.
I leave the first stack alone.
I move the top piece to the bottom of the second stack.
I move the top 2 pieces to the bottom of the third stack and keep going.
For the last stack I move the top 8 pieces to the bottom of the stack.
Now its off to the sewing machine. I stitch 3 rows together just as I would for any 9-patch block. I've found that pressing the seams to one side in the first and third rows, then the opposite way in the middle row works best.
When I stitch the rows together, the seams may or may not match -- oh, well. The outside edges of the blocks look really wonky because I don't measure the piece of fabric at the beginning exactly -- they were roughly 7" by 9" but some were larger.
Now I trim the bird panels -- it was 5" by 6" for me
and trim the 9-patches to match.
I began the layout by placing the bird panels in the same order they appeared on the fabric to maintain the continuity of the tree in the background. I moved a couple of them (a yellow warbler would never nest that high in a tree) to suit my personal sensibilities. I spent several days "squinting" at it on my work wall before setting the blocks together to be sure I was achieving the look I wanted.
I kept the quilting simple and chose to use only vertical lines to highlight the vertical design of the border print. The quilting is more subtle in person than in these photos.
I've named the piece, A BIRDER'S DREAM -- to have so many birds in one tree at the same time!!!
I'm not sure this "artisty" photo attempt enhances the quilt, but my yard is too muddy right now from all the snow melt. You can see the border fabric -- a pale blue covered with gray naked trees -- exactly what the large beech forests look like all winter here in Northeast Ohio.
Not much better with it pinned to the two shrubs near the fence. I like the way the trunk and branches of the tree flow through the 9-patch blocks. The finished piece is 40" by 47".
I enjoyed making this piece -- it gave me a chance to plow through my stash of "landscape" prints. I have used the "wonky" 9-patch for several landscape inspired quilts in the past and love the spontaneous process of whacking and stitching. I included a photo of my first one in a post last spring and you can see it HERE -- scroll towards the end of the post for Redbud Spring.
I had to go shopping for the binding fabric -- just didn't have the right shade of charcoal. Marty Anastasio at The Quilted Thimble in Chesterland, Ohio quickly suggested several options and this "mushroom" shade is perfect. She has both this panel and the newer birdhouse panel in stock and I think I'll loan the quilt to her for display for the month of April. If you live in Northeast Ohio, she is located at 12628 Chillicothe Rd. ( intersection of Rt. 322 and 306, same plaza as Giant Eagle) and her phone number is 440-729-2259.
The "wonky" 9-patches will work with any panel -- just start with fabric pieces that are 2" larger than the trimmed size of the panel. The process goes quickly and lends itself to very simple quilting so it's a great strategy for those "need a quilt in a hurry" moments. If you decide to give it a go and have questions, just e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for visiting today and I hope my project inspired you!!
Don't forget to visit the other quilters who have been working hard to share their inspirations with you!!