Wednesday, March 4, 2020
At New Year's, I knew that there was no better way to get me back into the quilting grove than to join a swap. The trouble was, that I hadn't really seen any swaps in my Instagram feed for a while. I guess that is what happens when you are out of the loop for a couple of years, the players change and new people that I didn't follow had replaced them. Luckily, I did find a swap and joined the Quilters for Koalas swap hosted by @shoppershaz_swaphost (who hosts quite a few swaps in case you are interested). This particular swap was to benefit the wildlife affected by the fires in Australia and had an animal theme (preferably Australian animals).
Based on my partner's inspiration mosaic, it seemed she preferred paper pieced designs and liked birds in particular, so I went about trying to find something special for her. Now, when I signed up for the swap, one of the questions the form asks you is your level of experience. Instead of "beginner" or "expert", one of the choices was "Not much intimidates me", which is true for me, not necessarily because I am an expert, but more because I'll try anything, so that's what I put. Why, oh why, did I take that as a personal challenge though??? I decided to create my own paper pieced pattern for my partner.......
I started with a beautiful photo by David Clode. Then I traced the image, got my ruler out to straighten all the lines, etc. and eventually came up with a paper pieced pattern with zillions of little pieces. Ok maybe not zillions, but probably close to a hundred per bird - zero stars, would not recommend.
Then I got to work. I lucked out on the bird on the left. I found the perfect piece to use as his eye, so instead of having 15 little seams there, I ended up fussy cutting what used to be the handle of a pair of scissors. It worked perfectly.
Unfortunately, the bird on the right had a different eye, so I had to do a bunch of tiny seams there.
I also have a confession to make. I had some difficulty quilting it! It's been YEARS since I've quilted anything on my domestic machine and I'm embarrased to say that I am out of practice. Plus, I didn't make things easier on myself by doing that jigsaw puzzle low volume background. It created a ton of bulky seams that my machine was spectacularly finicky about. As a result, the quality of the stitching is much lower than I would like. I considered ripping it all out and starting over, but then realized that given those seams it was unlikely that I would do much better the second time around. Hopefully, my partner will admire it from at least arm's length. Fingers crossed that she likes it!!