Flying Birds Quilt, Takes 2 and 3

Crane blue top

Back in August of last year, I posted a piece titled “The Quilt I Might Take Apart.” I had made a quilt using some great fabrics, but I didn’t like the way the floral fabric repeated so often and regularly.

Flying birds 2

Well, after letting it sit for a few months, I did take it apart. And then I let it sit for a few months again. But this past weekend, its sitting time was over. Because I was going to finish this quilt top!

As I was taking apart the quilt, I decided to leave the block units (as I saw them, anyway) intact.

Crane block

My challenge was to come up with a setting for these blocks that would work, ideally with the fabrics I had left in my stash. After a good bit of thought, I came up with this sketch.

Flying Birds sketch

The green sashing lines would be the floral fabric that I didn’t like in Take 1. This time, it would be cut into small pieces, so the repeat wouldn’t be an issue. The pink sashing lines would be a pink stripe I had used in the quilt already. I liked this setting because the blocks weren’t placed statically in a row and had a bit of movement.

So I sewed the whole top together that way.

Crane pink top

And then I realized I didn’t like it . . . again. The pink was too dominant (I probably could have guessed that from my sketch). And it turns out I like that pink fabric only in small amounts.

After letting it sit for only a few hours this time, I started thinking about other fabric choices. Greg was a great help during this process. It’s so nice to have someone with whom to talk through these decisions. I can tell that being my quilt sounding board isn’t his favorite thing in the world, but he’s a good sport, and I trust his opinions. He didn’t like the pink either.

Crane sashing test

Back to the stash. I liked the idea of adding more blue to the quilt, so the blue fabric shown above had some appeal. But I thought using it for both the horizontal and vertical sashings would be too heavy, again. Then I found some blue fabric left over from my recent messenger bag project. So I took out all the pink sashing and added blue.

Crane blue top

This quilt top is done. Or at least I am done with this quilt top. I think I like this setting the best, but I may need a bit more distance before I make that determination. I like that the quilt reads as blue and teal, anyway.

I didn’t follow a pattern at all for this quilt, and I think that shows. Designing quilts is not as easy as it sounds. The top turned out looking much more chaotic than I would have liked; the small image of it on my camera looks like a jumbled mess. But I wouldn’t say this attempt was entirely unsuccessful. I certainly learned a lot from the experience. My top three lessons: don’t assume big chunks of fabric will read as resting areas—they won’t if it’s a busy pattern; make more detailed sketches to determine how busy a quilt will actually look; simplify, simplify, simplify.

I’m not sure yet if I will add borders to this one or just quilt it and bind it. It may have to sit for a bit before I figure that out.


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