For nearly three years I’ve been working on a bird quilt for my Mum. I bought Feathered Friends: 18 Paper-pieced Blocks for Bird Lovers by Jette Norregaard Nielsen on 22nd February 2010, as my Mum loves birds and I love making quilts. The book is fantastic – I had never done any paper-piecing before but this quilting book takes you through the process step-by-step, teaching you how to quilt the blackbird. Some people on Amazon have commented that the book is not for beginners, but I’m from a generation that just give things a go and I found that Jette was really good at explaining what to do! All the patterns are in colour (very helpful) and all the seams in the quilt are straight – there are no curves at all in the book which made it an easy foundation piecing book to start with. And doing paper-pieced birds is easy once you’ve got the technique.
I used plain fabric rather than patterned fabric as patterned fabric is impossible to line up, and I think it makes the quilt look more modern. I made (top line) a swallow, bullfinch, blue ti;, (middle line) waxwing, woodpecker, jay; (bottom line) blackbird, sparraow, and a nuthatch. I used the RSPB website to help with the colourings of the birds, as the English birds differed in some of their markings and colours to the birds in Denmark. I was really please because as soon as my Uncle Pete saw the quilt he named all nine straight away!
Finishing The Quilt
I really enjoyed making this quilt as I was able to make each bird block individually, and finally when I had finished the nine blocks, I decided how to put them together. I bought some hedgehog fabric from Ikea for the back; and I used the left over wadding from my animal alphabet baby quilt.
I safety pinned the three layers and quilted through all the layers with one continuous crazy line. It was the first time I’d tried this technique but it was really easy to pick up and the result looked great. I’m definitely going to do this on more of my projects.