Friday, January 12, 2024

Project Quilting 15.1 Bird House

I am always excited to kick off the year with challenges to my creative spirit. Project Quilting, along with the Stay At Home Round Robin, aka SAHRR, which starts this coming weekend, do just that!

Our first challenge is to make something that evokes "the myriad places a bird calls 'home,'" as explained by Trish at Here is my finished piece. Read on to see how it evolved.

I thought for a day, then went on Pinterest and zoomed around for a little while, and this caught my eye:

Well, I have a TON of 2" squares from days when I made colourwash quilts, and need to use them. I still love colourwash or watercolour quilts and so this really appealed to me. 

Moreover, as things do seem to have their way of transpiring or should I say conspiring, Brianne texted me on Saturday with a photo of her mug cosy in use, 😍 and then asked

The next day the challenge came out, and, because she loves gardening and her back yard, I thought I could incorporate the request with the challenge.

Well, 2" squares finish at 1.5". A mug rug is about 7" x 9", so that meant I would be working with just 5 squares by six, which doesn't leave much if any room to develop the fence and the house; the house itself is six squares high and seven squares wide. Still, I liked the idea of the watercolour background, so I pulled out my 2" squares trays. In a ‘squinty’ period of time (being nearsighted has its advantages when you want to see a blurred or far away effect) I had my background that evokes dappled light in a garden. 

Then it came to me, from the back of my brain, probably on a dog walk, why not use Crafted Appliqué and cut slivers of fabrics to create a nest in a corner of the watercolour? Eee! I was excited. It all then came together very quickly. I used a scrap of Hobbs Thermore, great stuff, especially for smaller projects and wallhangings, thin yet satisfyingly gives really good texture.

With all the layered 'twigs' the nest is rather 3D

I quilted in the ditch of all the seams with light pink Aurifil and then had the idea to do some sun rays with Aurifil invisible thread (love this stuff). 

Here is the back, another piece of serendipity: this piece was on the top of my pink stash stack and I thought, ‘Perfect!’ as it was one of the pumpkins in Brianne’s Patchy Pumpkin Farm quilt I made her two years ago. I opened it up and there was a rejected pumpkin book inside, the perfect size, well a little oversized but that’s even better, for the back!

My beautiful Bernina 180 free-motion quilted with the invisible in the top and the light pink in the bobbin through all the layers of the nest with ease, AND? How about the robin's eggs I was 'urged' by my creative muse to place in the nest. I uploaded a two-minute video to my YouTube channel:

I usually use an open-toe foot for FMQ, but this clear one worked better to help hold down all the fabric 'twigs'. You'll notice I stitch pretty slow! I did a circular FMQ around the twigs several times, and then did lines and zigzags and random stitching to secure it all down. With Crafted Appliqué you don't have to worry about fraying, and even if it does as the mug rug gets used and washed, it will be in keeping with the many 'frizzy' birds' nest I've seen!

I placed the nest in a lower corner, intending it not to be the focus but the bit of an 'aha!' moment when you do spy it, much as bird nests reveal themselves in autumn when the leaves are falling. I have had several robins nest in the maple outside my sewing room windows over the years. Although I see them flit in a out and chase off other birds as best they can, red-winged blackbirds and grackles being the hardest to chase off, I never can see where their nest actually is until the leaves are gone.

The soft pink stripe makes the perfect binding front and back.

Brianne has some interesting bird stories from her back yard too, so I am sure this will bring summer memories to her as she drinks her morning coffee in the wonderful quiet of the early winter mornings.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Original design
Size: 8" x 9.5"
Fabric: scraps and stash
Batting: Hobbs Thermore
Backing: True Colors by Jensen Morrison for Free Spirit Fabrics
Quilted: on my Bernina 
Threads: pieced on my 1947 Featherweight with GĂŒtermann cotton; quilted with Aurifil cotton and invisible threads, Aurifil in the bobbin

In case you haven't heard, Make Modern issue #56 (affiliate link) has just come out! This means that I can release my pattern (see sidebar) which was in issue #55,  this coming week. I absolutely love this magazine for so many reasons, and I can't wait to snuggle up in a chair, quilt on my lap, maybe Bella too, while I peruse the quilts and articles within! I love the Valentine-themed cover!

Linking up


  1. One of the reasons I enjoy these challenges is how one thought leads to another and another, and then a quilt emerges! Your little quilt blooms with possibilities - I love the little "hidden" nest! Nice finish!

  2. Such a fun mini! I completely missed the bird nest in the first photo.

  3. Just gorgeous! And full of meaning as always!

  4. I can imagine those eggs hatching, ... well maybe not today.

  5. What a beautiful little nest with its bounty of eggs. I love the water color look and Brianna should be thrilled. Isn't great when our kids want something made by Mom!!

  6. The watercolor effect of the background is perfect and I love the quilted sun rays. The nest is perfectly hidden and tucked away. How wonderful that this already has a purpose and home to be enjoyed in!

  7. Adorable!! And now that I know the story of how you made it, I like it even more. I’m sure Brianne’s beverage of choice will be yummier on her “big coaster thing.” Teehee

  8. This is a perfect answer the PQ prompt. I love the watercolor and the bird's nest with the robins eggs. It is so adorable and will give Brianne much joy when she uses it!

  9. Love it. I took the prompt very literally this time, however, I love your mugrug it's fabulous and the stories behind it. I'm hoping to keep up this year :-)

  10. What a fun piece Sandra - a great interpretation of the prompt. Yes, I had an aha moment when I saw the nest, and also appreciated the sun's rays radiating down. How fortuitus that Brianne requested a 'coaster' just at the right time!

  11. It is absolutely beautiful! Love the 3D like nest! Perfect! Thanks for the video! FMQ still intimidates me!