February 14, 2015

Birds and Birch Trees

I just got a brand new teeny tiny niece this week. She is absolutely lovely. At the moment she lives about 10 minutes from me but soon her family will be moving far away and I probably won't see her much over the next few years. I wanted her to have something that she knows I made her so it had to be a quilt of course.

As a child I despised the colour pink and hated the way girls had it thrust on them. I've warmed to it over the years and it's now one of my favourite colours. However, it drove me nuts when I had my first little girl and it seemed as though the baby girlswear world didn't know that any other colour existed. I assumed that my sister in law is not that much of a pink girl either and so I wanted to mostly steer clear of that colour range.

I gave myself a few rules for this quilt. Number 1 was stash and scrap fabric only. I'd like to say I was being sensible and thrifty but in reality it was Summer holidays and I didn't feel like dragging my fat, hot pregnant self and my four little beasts out to the fabric shop.

My second rule was to keep it simple. Like most quilters I make things too complicated at the start and end up with piles of unfinished quilt tops that get left by the wayside for new ideas and fabrics. 

My third rule was to make the backing from a single piece of fabric. Often I do a pieced back which sometimes gets almost as complicated as the quilt top. Then I have to think of a way to quilt it so that the quilting pattern compliments both sides. It ends up taking me way longer.

With these three rules it helped me to get the quilt FINISHED! Hoorah. 

When I'm in the zone I prefer making things up as I go along. I drew a rough sketch for how I wanted the quilt to look and then got out my scrap box.
I began sewing scraps onto white cotton pieces which I then cut into random sizes.
Next, I had a strip of white fabric the same width as what I wanted the tree trunk to be and cut that into random sizes as well.
Then I put them together, trying to keep the tree trunk fairly straight so that I wouldn't have to cut too much off or fuss with curves later.
The next part of the process was just a matter of playing jigsaws with what I had of these aqua homespun pieces.
When the quilt top was put together I thought that a beautiful birch tree really needs some birds to live in it.
With a bit of hand stitching on the birds and birdhouse, that was the quilt top done.
I snuck working on this quilt into times when the hungry hippos weren't at me for more food or something else so I decided to go with a quilting pattern that would be easy for me rather than trying something new. So I went with my regular wonky straightish lines and quilted other trees in the background.

For the binding i used some Riley Blake grey stripes. I love using stripy fabric for binding. I find it just softens the edge beautifully and adds a bit more interest for the eye.

I'm really happy with how this one turned out and more importantly, so is my niece's mum!


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