A couple of years ago a friend of mine told me she was having a baby, a little girl. This beautiful mother-to-be loved a particular line of fabric which included birds and flowers.
I gathered together some of the fabric from the collection, made a tree, planted some flowers at the base, and constructed a birdhouse. I had a ball!
A note about the some fabric: just as I never follow a pattern exactly, I don’t think I’ve ever made anything solely from one designer’s collection. Though the collections are a great way to get coordinating colors and a variety of scales and patterns, I find they are often a bit static. I like to add a zinger or a focus, or just something different from another source. In this case, the collection didn’t have a fabric that said “tree trunk” to me, so I used a little brown check. Likewise, there was not the right blue for the birdhouse. And I’m confident that the leaves were cut from green fabrics from the collection and perhaps from others as well.
I cut the background to the finished size of the quilt (38″ x 65″), adding a bit in all directions to allow for shrinkage that comes with appliqué and quilting. The tree, branches, and leaves were all freely cut using the eyeball method on top of the background. Needle turn appliqué was used throughout. I like raw edges on leaves (as in After the Chlorophyll, Shade Tree Mechanic, and a few other projects) but this was to be a baby quilt to be used, and I didn’t want fraying to be an issue when washed. Nor did I want the little one getting stray threads in her hand or mouth.
Broderie perse (a fancy word for fussy cutting) was used with the flower centers at the base of the tree. The birds were larger than those printed on the fabric, but I mimicked the birds the designers had used when I made patterns for mine.
The tree bark was quilted with a dark brown thread, the rest with a matching thread that simply gave texture. The exception to this was some of the embellishing stitches around the flower heads. In some cases, there were details printed on the fabric that couldn’t easily be cut out and appliquéd, so I recaptured those with the quilting stitch using a heavier thread. All threads used were cotton, and the batting was cotton. That is often my preferred fiber for all components of a quilt, but certainly is the case when it’s for a baby. Seed stitch was used to embroider the seeds the bird on the ground is eating.
All quilting was done on the sewing machine, hand-guided, free motion stitching. A variety of motifs were used, including echoing, vines with leaves, curved crosshatching, vaguely parallel lines.
Now G is having a little brother. Hmmm….