Friday, June 4, 2010

The Quilt Files, Episode 21

I'm always thinking ahead when it comes to gifts for holidays and birthdays. If I see something I think someone in my family will like, I snap it up even if the appropriate occasion is six months away. When I saw this pattern in the Keepsake Quilting catalog, I knew my mom would like it. I also knew exactly where she could put it (always something to consider when gifting something that hangs on a wall), especially if I changed the color scheme from the pattern picture.

The original pattern, for a chickadee sitting on a pussy willow branch, was pictured on an olive and brown-colored background. Blech. I'm not big on earth tones, as is evident to anyone who knows me; besides, my mom's newly remodeled kitchen bathroom had royal blue as one of the most prominent colors. So I raided the stash I had left over from my nephew's aqua-blue quilt, added a couple of scraps, and came up with the following:

Isn't that nicer than olive and brown—after all, the sky is blue, isn't it? The applique was simpler than it looks, because I left the edges raw. I could do that because a wall hanging isn't intended to be handled, so there was no need to create clean edges by folding them under and hand stitching. I didn't even need to protect the raw edges with heavy satin stitching, I just captured all the edges when I machine quilted the piece. The white fabric I used for the pussy willow blossoms had silver flecks in it, so I decided to use a silver metallic thread for the quilting. I stippled most of the background, although you might be able to tell that I tried to create a cirrus cloud-like wave pattern near the top. A friend who creates beaded jewelry gave me a tiny pearl for the chickadee's eye for the finishing touch. Here it is in detail:

It may not be the most finished-looking applique I've ever done, but I think the overall result came out pretty well. It really didn't take very long to put the whole thing together, but I was really pleased with the result. It made a very nice Mother's Day gift.


  1. Yes, it did. It took me a bit to decide which wall to hang it on, but it is now hanging in my blue bathroom, and it looks great. You do good work.

  2. Lovely. Olive and brown? Blech.