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Bird Bed Quilt

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This quilt probably sat as a wip longer than any sewing project I’ve ever done. Years. Kinda ridiculous, but I’m pretty stoked to finally have it done, so let’s not get hung up on how long it took me!

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I bought the pattern when I went to Sew Expo in 2010 from the Metropolitan Quilt Company. The couple manning the booth was super friendly, the quilts on display were super cute, and even though I had little to no interest in quilting at the time, I simply had to make this quilt! Unfortunately , the awesomeness stopped there. As much as I hate to say this about a small, independent company, I would strongly discourage anyone else from buying the pattern (though it does look like the company is no longer in business). It was really frustrating to work with the pattern because 1) Some template pieces are printed on multiple sheets of paper. There are no marks for how to fit the various pieces together into one. 2) Parts of some of the templates are printed in white, parts in solid black. I can’t figure out if there’s any significance to this or just poor attention to detail. 3) The pattern overview says that you can use either the starch method or the fusible method of applique, however it is actually impossible to use the starch method on all of the pieces. 4) Not all template pieces are actually included. One of the flower centers is missing. 5) The pattern says that a 1/4 yd is fine for the flowers but a regular 1/4 yd does NOT fit the pattern piece. It must be a FAT quarter. 6) There is no overall placement layout given in the directions which means you must rely on the picture on the front to know where to place your pieces.

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I worked on this quilt very slowly over the course of several years. I left it at my moms house and put a little bit of time into it each time I came home for a visit. Fast forward several years and I finally took it home with me and finished it up at the very rapid pace of a couple more months. Ha! I was taking progress photos, but it’s been such a long WIP I can’t find any of them at this point!

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The quilt pattern was written to be 55″ x 65″ but I actually have a king size bed now so I added on an extra frame and extra borders on the sides so that t would fit a king mattress with a drop (107″ x 89″). I kept detailed notes about what I did for a long time, but of course I have since lost them. There’s probably nobody that actually cares about the exact changes (since the company is no more and I don’t recommend the pattern), but if you have questions, feel free to ask. I actually really liked the changes I made to the pattern to make it large, especially the detail of the branches extending through a second border.

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I sewed the flowers using a double sided fusible and a blanket stitch around the edges with a fun variegated thread. My mom has grown a bunch as a quilter in the last 6.5 years as well, but at the time she had me use cheap double sided fusible. It made the flowers stiff and hard to sew through and even harder to quilt through. Fortunately, they aren’t that large. I did turn the edges of the birds and tree branches under 1/4″ and topstitched them down with a straight stitch.

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My mom did the gorgeous quilting on the quilt on her long arm. I talked through some ideas with her but mostly let have her free reign as she is quite a talented quilter and has a great eye for design and I just don’t know that much about quilting (though she is teaching me!). I love the details she put in like extra leaves and wings on the birds. She says that she started to put in a much fussier design on the borders but ripped it out and went for a basic geometric design to echo the simplicity of the quilt.

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I used a wool batting so that the quilt wouldn’t be too heavy (I couldn’t bring myself to use polyester). It’s a fairly low loft. I think t works nicely for this quilt and the quilt should be a good weight to be useable year round (varying the numbers of blankets underneath it, of course, as I’m always cold when I sleep). Perhaps it’s not the best choice to have a mostly white bedspread in a house with a baby and a cat (and hopefully soon another cat and a dog!) but Adam and I try to keep our room as our special place. The messier household denizens are welcome to visit and snuggle but not play and not make messes. Hopefully we can maintain that!

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I really like the touch of whimsy it brings our otherwise simple and elegant bedroom (did I really just un-ironically call something I like whimsical? Let’s say it’s kitschy instead. That’s better.). I’ve tried to decorate our bedroom peacefully, but it needed just a touch of quirk to it, and I think this fits the bill perfectly.

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There are several other handmade touches on our bed. I recently hand-dyed the pillow shams, though I may give them one more round in the dye pot as I’m not sure the color is quite right yet. I made all the throw pillow covers – a couple are from bits of vintage barkcloth and the ivory one is silk that my cousin brought me from Bangladesh almost 15 years ago. The rug is crocheted from recycled t-shirt material and is a modification of my Spaghetti Lace Rug pattern. The lamp next to my bed was handmade out of paper by an artist in Portland and was my college graduation present to myself. The painting next to my bed was painted for me by the grandfather of a homestay family I visited in Japan when I was in high school.

So tell me, what’s your longest WIP?

Comments 3

  1. I love your quilt. Years ago I picked up a wall hanging pattern and it only had the outlines of the main pieces and no instructions. Now, after a few classes and looking at YouTube videos i could figure out how to make it. First, I need to figure out where I stored it.

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