Community quilting

Skill Builder post tomorrow, I promise!

In the meantime, this is the next project that Mom and I will be working on:

Birds in the Air

There’s a story behind this. It will almost certainly be a raffle prize in a fundraiser on behalf of my uncle, who is dealing with a rare form of cancer. He is a hunter who trains bird dogs, and is active in the local bird hunting community. Hunting friends approached him about doing a fundraiser hunt and he suggested that they raise money for a local cancer support organization instead, since he didn’t need the financial assistance. Mom and I volunteered to make a quilt for the raffle that will be part of the event, and this is what I came up with.

I knew from the beginning I was going to use the Birds in the Air block. What else could I use? I also wanted to use the Barn Raising setting, which is the diamonds formed by the gold blocks. A Barn Raising is a traditional event where a community comes together to build (or “raise”) a barn for one of its members. Community coming together to help? Most definitely. The Barn Raising portion is a little off center because, well, so is my uncle. The gold color represents the fields where they hunt. The blue section is the dogs and hunters approaching the hunt area, and the green, red and gold in the corners are the birds flying away as they’re flushed.

This is a generous bed sized quilt, about 85″ x 97″ (220 cm x 250 cm). It’s made entirely of half square triangles – 2,240 of them, to be exact. The small triangle units finish at 2″, and the block is 6″. That is 672 half square triangle units, plus 672 small half square triangles, plus 224 large half square triangles. But who’s counting.

We’ll use Triangle Papers to construct the HST units, but the rest of the triangles will have to be cut and sewn individually. I’ll be honest – most likely Mom will be doing the majority of the sewing on this. She is retired and has the free time, and I’m still (happily) working on the Double Wedding Ring. I have a goal to finish it before the next Stitch & Bitch on February 11, just two weeks away. The Birds in the Air quilt needs to be finished by early March, so we have some time.

I have to say one more time how much I love EQ7. As I mentioned, I knew it was going to be a Birds in the Air block, and I had the Barn Raising setting in mind. I started rotating blocks in EQ7, building the diamonds, and when I got through the fourth ring I thought, “I kind of like the way it looks with some of the blocks unrotated.” I looked at the space at the bottom left and wondered what other patterns would happen if I rotated blocks differently. After just a few minutes of playing around, the squares developed. I built a sort of fence around that section to define it further, then started playing with colors. All in all, even including changing the colors in each individual block (two clicks per block – one for the black prints, one for the color), it took me less than 30 minutes start to finish to design the quilt. I attribute the design partly to serendipity, partly to the pure dumb luck that I was able to recognize an interesting pattern when it appeared in front of me, and partly to the ease with which you can change things in EQ7.



  1. Looks scary to me! How good of your both to make something for such a worthy cause; I hope the fund-raiser goes well. My best wishes for your uncle.

  2. Wow!! Fantabulous! I love the design, and even more with its story. I love those HST papers. No other way to make this beauty! Let me pass on one tip somebody told me about in comments on a post of mine a week ago or so. (I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds like something that would really be great for you guys with this project.)

    Instead of printing the guides on paper, she irons the lighter fabric face-down onto freezer paper so that the guidelines are printed directly onto the back of the fabric. Peels off the freezer paper, stitches, and then when they’re cut apart, they’re finished – no paper to peel out of the stitching.

    • This is a fantastic design! I also love reading the though process behind each area of this quilt – just wonderful!

  3. Beautiful design! I love that you used so many shades of black too. The entire quilt will be rich with the variety you use for the blocks. For myself, I know I get bored doing the same block over and over even when the colours change. I have a Birds in the Air quilt started with the main colour being white-on-white, and a whole variety of pale greens. It should be pretty too, but now I will consider changing the setting to be more interesting. Thank you the inspiration.

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