Well, since I gave a sneak peek of this quilt yesterday on the design wall, I thought I'd go ahead and update it with the top finished. It still needs to be sandwiched, quilted and bound.
I'm throwing in a step by step for some of the process, as well.
I started out with a panel of bird pictures, all camped out in the branches of one tree. There are 12 bird pictures on the panel and duplicates on the other half of the fabric.
In deciding how to arrange these I remembered I had a paper-piecing pattern for three birdhouses. I checked and they were about the right size for interspersing with the birds.
This is the pattern cover (bad photo):
I made up four of each style with a consistent sky and a mix of siding and roofs. I had to make one extra for the final layout.
I didn't want to use buttons for the entrance holes like the pattern indicated, so I used a process that I had done on a birdhouse quilt several years ago. Here's the method I used.
I set my machine stitch short (2.0) and set needle down to 'on'. I used black thread throughout.
I started with a plain house:
Then I used black pen to draw a circle on the back of a square of black fabric.
This was centered on the front of the house, right sides together and pinned in place
I very carefully stitched on the lines around the circle
With tiny, sharp-point scissors I cut a whole through both layers leaving about 3/16 from the stitching line
From whichever side the stitching showed best I snipped right up to the stitching leaving very narrow fringes
You can see how finely cut the fringes are
Pushed all of the black fabric through the hole to the wrong side of the house
Used a wooden tool to smooth and press the opening round and flat
Took to the pressing surface and steam ironed completely flat
Cut a length of wooly or eyelash yarn in light tan (amout 3 inches)
Drape it on a second square of black mimicing the curve of the bottom of the hole
Lay the birdhouse on top of the yarn, allowing just a fringe to peek out
Carefully top-stitch around the hole very close to the edge to secure the yarn and the backing in place
Trim the two layers of black about 1/2 inch from the stitching
One house done
Return houses to the layout
Trim all the birds to a standard size (mine were cut at 5 x 6 inches) and cut the birdhouse blocks the same
Assemble the top
Borders of complementary fabric were added
After quilting I will finish this with a black binding.
The top measures 27 wide by 32 tall and will be a wall hanging for the fireplace.
I finished this off by quilting around one main bird in each panel and around each birdhouse:
I attached a hanging sleeve to the top border and bound it with black.
Here is the finish:
I like this very much!