Lana Bates Memorial Quilt Project: Birdhouses and Pinwheels Plan

The beginning of April is always the start of a new growth season here in the northeast. Along with the snowmelt and new growth comes a lot of wind and showers, hopefully leading to a May full of flowers. All of the birds begin to sing their uplifting songs throughout the day and especially in the dusk as they settle into bed. The next two quilts I am tackling as part of the Lana Bates Memorial Quilt Project remind me of both the colors of spring as well as the returning exuberance of my feathered neighbors.

For the first quilt, I will be finishing the bright pinwheel wall hanging. My aunt nearly completed this one. It measures 15 inches by 18 inches and has tiny 2-inch pinwheels in bright tropical colors. I am tempted to add a fun phrase around the top and bottom, but I don’t know if it would then cross into cheesy territory, or if I even care. I could also just leave it completely alone, quilt it, and bind it for hanging as is. I guess we’ll see how ambitious I feel as I work through the quarter two projects. What do you think?

The Birdhouses Quilt will be much trickier and much larger of the two projects. For this quilt, I will use the row of birdhouse blocks made by my aunt. The row of houses has me thinking I will make a modified row design with the rest of the blocks I intend to make to complete the quilt. Likely, I will make a few additional birdhouses to add to this row. To keep them from looking just tacked on at the end, I may separate the blocks my aunt made so I can intersperse any additional birdhouses within the original row. I will need to find a lavender-colored background fabric to use for those additional blocks so they tone in. When I went shopping for fabrics I really couldn’t find any fabrics that were very close to what she had used probably 20 ish years ago, so I am hoping I have something in my stash that is inspiring. I did select this one neutral speckle print background to accompany other blocks I plan to make.

Fabric matching on this quilt may be a sticking point….

Additional blocks for this quilt will be little sparrows for at least several rows. I purchased the “Pretty Bird” quilt block pattern from The Sewing Loft on Etsy to use to create my bird blocks. I like that the pattern comes in two different sizes so I can decide which one will work best for the quilt. Hey, I may even use both the smaller and larger block, wh knows?!

Image from The Sewing Loft Pattern Shop on Etsy

In addition to the birdhouses and bird blocks, I would also like to add in this large patchwork x block made by my aunt somewhere else in the quilt too.

Honestly, I am not really fond of this particular block. It is a bit fussier than what I would usually make and in fabrics and colors that are not speaking to me. I originally thought of making it into its own quilt, but since I wanted to complete just one large or one large and a small quilt each quarter I couldn’t make it work as a stand alone starter of another quilt. The reason I decided to include it with the birdhouses was more or less because it didn’t go with any of the other quilt tops. Also, I can imagine it as a garden path in the place where all of the birds and their houses live if we want to work the narrative. I had the idea to work it into the top of the quilt initially, but honestly now as I am writing this, I think I may just use it up on the back and ignore the original thought. Regardless, I did purchase a few fabrics to create a second one in a similar, yet slightly more modern color story. Even if I don’t use the purchase to create a sister block, I could use them as additional fabrics on the back of the quilt, in the bird blocks, or just add them to my stash.

In addition to the fabrics I bought locally to complete some of the specific blocks, I also made an online purchase from Stitch Central Shop on Etsy. I purchased a few more up-to-date floral and vine prints to use as well as a Tula Pink bundle that I hope will help tie all of the existing block colors together.

Tula Pink Bundle from Stitch Central Shop

The Tula Pink True Colors Bundle in Peacock has the right mix of aqua, blue and purple tones, as well as warm yellow and lime green tones my aunt originally used, but in a much more current set of prints. The bundle prints also include red, pink, green and peach which I couldn’t figure out how to incorporate with the other more dominant blocks. I think using the Tula fabrics with their little doses of these rainbow colors will bring everything together and not be too over the top colorful. I also love that some of the prints include little swooping birds, so it remains very on theme! I will probably use the majority of the Tula fabrics for the bodies of my pretty little bird blocks.

So, that is the plan so far. I have not begun working on any of it yet, but I have collected all of the materials I plan to use. Hopefully I will decide on a final size schematic and begin making additional blocks before the end of April. I will hopefully be mostly completed with the quilt top before school lets out in May or I will dread my early June trying to rush to finish in the quarter two window. Wish me luck, since I have also planned to release a new pattern and online class during this time, eekk!

Thanks for reading and stay creative friends! Janice

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