Thursday, April 23, 2015

The "A" Word

 I am very inspired by this little Focus quilt and having fun playing with techniques. I think the real thing is that I just love the color palate and the spontaneity of each addition. The third clue of the Nesting Robin  says to add flora and/or fauna I just had to do a bird. I love all birds so this was the first thing that came to mind.

 I have chosen to deviate from the "border" with each going all the way around the center and think I will be making components which I will set together in the end. The progression will follow the clues for the Nesting Robin though.................hey its my quilt so I get to make the rules.

I am a huge fan of needle turn applique. I learned to quilt (all by hand) in 1984 or thereabouts. Back then the use of a sewing machine was frowned on. I took a little quilting class from a lady who was teaching the ladies in her church to quilt. I met her in a fabric store (there were no quilting stores at the time). I wanted to see the quilting fabric and the sales lady showed me the one display of a few dozen nice calico prints and introduced me to the lady also looking. Well she invited me to take her class. In that class I learned how to make templates out of cardboard, mark seam lines with a pencil, cut things out with scissors and sew it all together by had. We did a grandmother fan which was the introduction to applique. Then I did a beehive block and did some needle turn leaf shapes...............Never in all the years since then have I ever found an applique method that I like better and I have tried many. I have no idea where that kind lady is but I owe her a lot of gratitude for being my first introduction to the quilting world. I don't even remember her name.

The bird block will likely go here but for now I am just going to leave it like it is and the background fabric is larger and just folded over in the photo till I make a final decision on it. I already know what the next round will be.................that is for another day. For those of you that want to see how I did the bird keep reading:

 Here is the little drawing I made. I found a similar bird on Pinterest and he reminds me of the black, grey and white Chickadees that hang out around my house in the pinion pines. I decided to take artistic license and change the colors. The beak and feet are the blue sheet from the center. The rest from scraps. I cut out the parts of the bird and used a white clover pencil to mark the turning line. Then I appliqued the wing  to the body, The purple head to the body and then the teal stripe on the head. That is what you see in the above photo, I now have three loose pieces, body, beak and feet.......more on the feet later. Now I can play with background fabrics. This fabric was the winner. I auditioned about a dozen other fabrics.

 This fabric was second place and if not for the colors in the rest of the quilt it would have been perfect. It is brighter than the photo and the teal is perfect with the bird body.

 So now to work. I began under the tail and began to needle turn the tail, top of the wing, around the head using matching thread. I used three thread colors to applique the bird. You can see that the beak and the feet have been placed exactly where they need to go. So around the top of the head and towards the beak.

 At this point I pinned the head back and appliqued the beak.

 Once the beak is finished then I resumed applique around the rest of the head and down the front of the body till I got close to the feet.
 Again turn the fabric back from the feet. As you can see the feet are not trimmed up. They took almost as long to applique as the entire rest of the bird. I trimmed them as I went, pretty close to the edge and clipped. I used pretty tiny stitches as there are lots of tight turns.

Voila! There he is finished. You can see how little and detailed those feet are by using the penny as a scale. I think Lincoln is impressed there! Not sure what happened to the lighting in that photo but the green is washed out. Now you can go back to the top and see the bird all finished.


Suze said... your wee's a plover, right??

Suze said...

on closer reading..I see you meant it to be a chickadee...still think it looks like a plover though!

Sewing Up A Storm said...

Suze you are the second person to say the bird is a plover. I guess that is what he looks like. He is not a totally realistic bird so I guess he can be interpreted by the viewer. I did have fun making him and have a project coming up soon with sandpipers of a photo I took on my Florida trip last Fall.