Feb 282014

Back in Part 2 I explained the initial creation of this top. I ended that post unhappy with the borders, but unsure how to deal with them. Last week I pulled the top out, put it back on the design wall, and cogitated for awhile. Trim the borders down to 2 inches? Maybe that would do. So I trimmed the top and right side to 2 inches, and cut the bottom up into the bottom row of blocks for a new 2 inch “border.”
Better, but not enough.






After more cogitation, and a bit of wine, I decided to rip the borders off completely. I left the bottom alone, and ripped the sides and top off. Okay, the birds stand out a little bit better now.  But it still needs something. Do I chop the whole thing up, add something to each block, and re-piece? Or would some simple strips to indicate branches do the job?

I was feeling lazy, and chopping the whole thing back into blocks sounded like too much work, so I grabbed some brown strips and laid them across the quilt here and there and stood back to see how it looked. Yeah, not bad. That will do, I think.

Somewhere between there and actually looking for fabric I thought, “the red and whites I used both have black prints, I ought to use black for the branches.” And I dug out about 5 choices, of which I chose one, black with a small green and red floral print on it.


Step one was to cut the top into basic sections, then I added branches one section at a time. I nearly ran out of the chosen black, had to piece some of the strips. The very last short strip ended up pieced from three scraps.

I cut the strips 1 1/4 inches. Any narrower gets hard to sew on, and wider would have created more distortion as they were inserted. I had to do a little trimming to put everything back together, but it’s an improv piece, so who cares? As long as I didn’t lose any birds I was happy.

And I added a few leaves, just to throw a little more color in, here and there. After slicing, I picked corners and replaced them with green before sewing the branches in place. That little bit of color livens it up, but I guess I can’t call it a red and white quilt any more.




Here’s the final top. The birds show up much better and the whole piece has more character.

I guess in the end I cut it up anyway, didn’t I? But this was more an “add sashing” exercise than redo each block. I could have done something like this with bias-type strips appliqued on top, but I felt like piecing it. I don’t know whether it was any faster this way, probably not.

 February 28, 2014  Posted by at 2:52 pm Quilt Alongs  Add comments

  6 Responses to “Tea Towel challenge update for February”

  1. The small patches of green look wonderful. This will be a lovely quilt.

  2. Love what you did with this! And piecing in the branches was a good choice. I think with this background that appliqued bias strips would have a “slapped on top” look. The little green leaves are just the right touch.

  3. wow-that is totally amazing-great call cutting up the TT! Very interesting look! LUV IT!
    the bits of green add sparkle!

  4. Oh, wow!!! I love what you did with the top!
    I actually liked the second version too… but the final version is just amazing!!!
    Did you cut the top “without any plan” or did you sketch it on paper or on a computer before?
    I wouldn’t be brave enough to try do what you did in a million years!! but the final effect is just wonderful!!

    • No prior sketching, but I did visualize where I might want lines, then the final placement was partly determined by the seam locations. I tried not to cut through intersections because you get lumpy seams when you sew the new seam.

      Try it with a quilt top you aren’t happy with – then you’ve got little to lose.

  5. Love it!!! Very creative. (I’m cutting mine up, too… almost done.)

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