The QM Scrap Squad is a select group of seven QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue of Quiltmaker and make their own scrappy versions to inspire you.
Today’s featured quilt is by Bonnie Stapleton from Powhatan, Virginia. She blogs at institcheswithbonnie. You’ll hear from Bonnie in her own words below.
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When the Scrap Squad received the Old Glory pattern, we were encouraged to think of other motifs to sprinkle across the quilt. I came up with 19 ideas.
In the end, owls trumped all the other ideas because I have a new grandbaby on the way.
Several months ago, I was on a visit to see my daughter Jenny. She had just done some stenciling on the wall of the new baby’s room. I snagged her paint chips to use as my color choices.
Um, really? Lime green, mango orange and blue? I went shopping and I was tickled to find fabric that matched the paint chips. Of course, three fabrics weren’t enough so I did some stash diving once I got home.
This orange fabric came from Hawaii where Jenny and her husband, Brian, honeymooned. I was given the fabric with instructions to use it in a quilt for a grandbaby.
I got going on this quilt—except I didn’t want my owls to tumble gracefully across it—I wanted them grounded. Real owls perch on tree branches, right?
I added the brown for branches with diagonal seams.
I sewed and ripped several times because I didn’t like the distance between the branches.Later I realized how much blue there is in the top of the quilt. Maybe that is a bit of sky? And yikes—those dots are a bit wonky—but it’s all okay on the final quilt.
When Quiltmaker sent me the owl pattern, I made two reduced copies and one enlarged copy. I worked with 115%, 100%, 85% and 75% of the main owl design.
I didn’t want the appliques to be stiff so I trimmed out the center of the fusible web before ironing it on. I used an applique pressing sheet to build my owls.
After building several, I decided their eyes could be looking somewhere instead of directly ahead.
I started placing the owls on the branches. But, honestly, would this many owls all be just sitting around on branches? I don’t think so! Several have decided to fly off the branches.
I decided this could also be a counting quilt. The first branch has one owl sitting on it, the second has two owls sitting and flitting, and so on—until there are five owls on the last branch.
And, I couldn’t just plop them straight on the branches…some are moving around.
To keep the quilt soft, I used a water soluble stabilizer for stitching the owl parts.
7 owl parts x 15 owls = a lot of stitching!
After stitching, I trimmed the excess stabilizer off; the rest should wash out.
At one point while constructing the background, I decided I needed more of a particular strip color and width, so my quilt ended up being slightly larger than the size given.
What I didn’t think about was what a slightly larger quilt top would do to the pieced outer border. I had cut most of the pieces before I really looked at the border—and figured out where I could “fudge” my measurement to make it fit.
This border is easy to fudge: I adjusted the “F” and “G” pieces. I also marked and matched the half and quarter points of the quilt top and the border. One side was slightly longer than the border so I sewed with that side on the bottom, against the feed dogs, to help ease in the fullness.
Several months have gone by since we got the Old Glory pattern. I am now at Jenny’s house waiting for my new grandbaby to make his or her appearance.
I’ve applied the binding here while on “baby watch.” I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the quilt draped on the crib with the stenciled walls.
These owls are just ridiculously cute! Please join me in wishing Bonnie, Jenny and their whole family the best as they wait for this new baby. Hoo-hoo do you suppose it will be?!?
Help yourself to the free applique patterns for Bonnie’s owls and all the other Scrap Squad options!