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Birdhouse Quilt Square #1


Getting creative with fabric! One of my favorite things ever!

The quilt group I joined is putting together some quilt tops with blocks made by members in any — and they mean ANY — house theme imagined. When I heard this, I immediately flashed on a bright and bold, graphic birdhouse. As soon as I had finished the sewing and trimmed the block down to the required finished size, I felt as if I needed to make several more in the same style, but with different birdhouse designs, hence the “#1” in the title of this post!

I have a bit of a thing for birdhouses, and I can thank my dad for that. When my own kids were little, he took Samantha, Becca, and Robert out to his woodshop and helped them each build a birdhouse. It was an all-weekend project, and they had such fun with Grandpa Gordon! Those birdhouses we hauled from house to house through our AF moves came to represent that bond my dear dad created with his only grandchildren through that project.

I designed this block from the concept and sketch through the assembly technique and finished block. I originally had thought to do a crazy quilt style background, but then with my sewing area still compromised by my ~studio~ redo, I decided to keep it simple.

I used Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 fusible for the birdhouse (blue) piece. Strips of orange were folded and became the roof.

A couple years after their woodworking project, the craft stores started carrying those small unfinished birdhouses. I let my kids paint some, and I did a few of my own over the years. I have also picked up a couple (or 5) finished and fancy b-houses from various places. They live in my guest room which has a touch of a bird/nature theme.

Choosing the best shade of orange thread resulted in my having a line from Goldilocks and the Three Bears running through my head for the rest of the evening: “… but the middle one was juuuuuust right!”

It’s the little things that can make a difference, and I love having control over all the little things :) I figured out how to place and stitch the roof strips to have the edges finished just the way I envisioned. Engineering rocks! I was able to leave an unstitched, folded edge on the roof pieces, overhanging the house, which gives a feeling of depth and dimension.

My friend Cindy does a lot of raw-edge fusible applique. I like the way she uses a simple zigzag very near the edges of the fused pieces. I feel as if, if I hadn’t seen her technique, I might have come up with it on my own — it is that familiar-feeling and comfortable to me! Of course, I am sure many many people do it this way.

All of a sudden I realized I needed one more small piece of fabric — for the entrance to the birdhouse!

A large spool of thread for a template, a scrap of Steam-A-Seam, and the most matte-surface fabric I could find: the back of some black corduroy. Instant birdhouse entrance! Β It is stitched with a utility stitch on my very old basic machine.

The biggest “win” from this project? I put all the stuff away when I was done! :)

Done but untrimmed. See the finished and trimmed up block at the top of the post.

Happy spring, birdies!


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