Look At The Birdie

My paper pieced birds project has moved right along. I’ve completed the quilting, and only binding it remains. I got tired of paper piecing the birds, so I stopped at 23. I placed 22 of them on stylized branches and reserved one for a label.

My original inspiration was this quilt which introduced me to the McCall’s Quilting bird pattern.

paper pieced birdsMy quilt doesn’t have quite the same modern feel, but I was going with scraps and some Fossil Fern fabric in blue. I tried a layout with just straight branches but felt my birds needed to be a bit more grounded (or treed.)

birds5You can see I’m trying to branch out from the birds’ perches.

Ultimately I ended up with this. The quilting is a chevron pattern done with a walking foot.


Right after I quilted my birds I saw the wall below on a trip to my local grocery store. Maybe the image wormed its way into my subconscious, but I could swear I never noticed the pattern before.




Filed under Completed Projects, Modern Quilting

26 responses to “Look At The Birdie

  1. Alexandra Galvão


  2. John Faircloth

    Ms. Snarky, I dearly love your “Look at the birdie” quilt. I am not a quilter, but I have an Amish lady who quilts for me. I want to make a ‘birds in a tree’ quilt for my new Granddaughter’s room, so I am wondering if you have or can sell
    me a pattern for your quilt. My quilt lady is a hand quilter. I may be wrong, but I think the birds will easy and fun, but it is the tree and background I am concerned about. I am a retired Minister, and I guess quilts have become my hobby (habit).
    John Faircloth

    • Alas, there is no pattern for the whole quilt, just for the birds. That is a paper pieced pattern from McCalls Quilting, available free online at http://www.mccallsquilting.com/content_downloads/Bird_Block.pdf. For the background of the birds I used various blue scraps to give the idea of sky. the branches and the tree itself were made from brown fabric scraps. Perhaps you could sketch out the size of the quilt you want (I use graph paper) and figure out where you want branches and trunk. Then, you could decide the size of the bird squares and see how many you’d need to make to get the size quilt you want. Some of the branches are simply narrow strips of brown sewn under a row of birds. The slanted branches were improvisationally pieced in the quilt border. You could just do a trunk and branches perpendicular to it. As to fabrics, I used my scraps, but you could work out a color scheme if you want to have specific birds like robins or jays. I like scrappy quilts but all solids would work too. Good luck.

  3. Oh gosh, I love your birds perched in the tree!

  4. I really like those birds in a tree. I pieced a bunch of birds, had so much fun, now they are languishing in a box. Meanwhile, outside our tree skeletons are full of little juncos waiting their turn to eat the cracked corn beneath the trees. That store wall is great. I love getting new visions after a design gives me a new pair of glasses (so to speak.) Great blog.

    • Thanks for the kind words. Hope my birdies inspire you to release your birds from that box. And yes, I find myself noticing the oddest things. My husband tolerates my gushings about cracks in the sidewalk, but he’s much more into traditional seascapes.

  5. Hi. I’ve been making birds like this for years, before the McCalls pattern. I free piece mine and wrote a tutorial about them. I explain how to make the birds different and unique. You can find the information on my blog at patcherymenagerie.blogspot.com

    • Your pieced birds certainly are more devil may care than my paper pieced ones. Occasionally I take on a paper pieced project when my brain needs a rest from decision making and the birds did that for me.

  6. Oh, I like your composition much better than the original. The way your branches make a border was genius! I look forward to seeing if you do use a darker binding at the lower section to suggest grounding OR what you do decide.

    • Thanks. Desperation can lead to creative solutions, and I’m learning to be much more flexible about what a border is. I’ll return to the binding on my birds once I get some other projects out of the way. Bindings are NOT my favorite part of making a quilt.

  7. Barbara

    I like the Mcall’s version but I really like what you did with it –giving it your own spin that totally works. I find myself using bird motifs a lot. Did you enter a quilt in Farmpark this year? If I can finish quilting it by Friday, I will have one in it. I would love to meet you at the contributors event.

    • Thanks. I think the bird quilt that inspired me was a group project that used the McCalls pattern. No, I didn’t enter Farmpark this year. The quilts I’m proudest of really don’t meet the show’s definition of a quilt, and I find more and more that the judges’ comments deal with the craft aspects of quilting – binding corners, etc. I want feedback on the design aspects. So, I’ll go to the show and enjoy seeing the usual wide variety of entries.

  8. So much fun! Love the jagged tree, which does indeed look like the shelter found in my own back yard. I like the colors, a little darker and less sweet than the McCall’s version. The trunk and how the striping doesn’t extend clear to the bottom. Lots of great details here to enjoy. I didn’t notice the quilting in chevron at first but that suits very well. What will you use for binding?

    • Thanks. I’m trying out binding options now. I’m thinking of doing the sides and top in one fabric and the bottom in a darker fabric to suggest the ground. I now have lots of 2.5 inch strips in fabrics I’ve rejected for the binding.

  9. Charlotte

    It’s nice to see the culmination of our retreats coming together as such a great quilt. Changing the tree and branches was a wonderful idea and gave those birds life.

  10. Goldfish! (Sorry–I’m doing Weight Watchers and got distracted by the food!) I think this turned out great–it’s fun and lively and I like the way the branches are sort of cubist and disjointed.

  11. Ursula

    Love your birds and branches. That’s what quilting does: all of a sudden you see pattern everywhere. Last summer we did a cruise (Spain, Italy, Malta). Without my quilter’s mind I would probably have taken the usual tourist pics. Instead I ended up with dozens of detailed pics of floors, walls, tiles, fences and mosaics. Pompeij alone is breath taking. One should be able to spend at least a week there.

    • Ah yes, the pictures quilters take just puzzle those who are looking for Joe and me standing in front of Mt. Vesuvius. Mosaics especially offer a wealth of inspiration. Thanks for the compliment.

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