Skip to main content

Hummingbird Applique Baby Quilt

Just on the other side of the window where I sit and sew is a hummingbird feeder. All year round, these graceful little birds entertain me with their lively dance and their energetic zeal for life. Aside from the reminder to take the time to enjoy the moment, these delicate creatures have provided me with plenty of inspiration for my quilting and boutis designs.

The inspiration for the image of this hummingbird comes from one of the many photos we have taken watching these birds just on the other side of the glass.. 

Back in November, when I was working on the star blocks for the baby quilt, (and the star blocks were not cooperating  I pushed them aside for a day or so and started another baby quilt. This time, I would pay tribute to these little hummingbirds and make them the focal point of the quilt.

As I was stitching away on the star blocks, my attention was often drawn to a neatly wrapped bundle of shot cottons on the side table. I loved the colours, but they were just not right for the star quilt. They would however, be perfect for a simple little hummingbird. And so, with hummingbirds dancing outside the window, and with these beautiful little cottons enticing me, this applique quilt was born.

In the wake of the hummingbirds tail feathers is a dusting of hearts and stars.

Using this fabric, I have discovered that shot cottons are perfect for hand applique. The lightness of the fabric and the pliable weave makes for an easy, smooth needle turn applique. It was hand applique that drew me to quilting in the first place, and this little diversion has reminded me of how much I love hand work.

This is the bundle of fat quarters that distracted me from the task at hand. Admittedly, it was a happy distraction.

Reluctantly I have to admit that neither quilt was ready for the arrival of our little Miss, but both will be keeping her warm and cozy any day now.


  1. This is such a lovely design, with your beautiful quilting as well it will be amazing.

    So interesting that you are enjoying your shot cottons. I was just looking at mine today with a sour expression, wondering when the heck I will ever use them! They did not do well in the wash. But they're certainly soft!

    Anyway, I know *your* quilt will be wonderful!

    1. Thanks Monica.

      I know what you mean about the durability of shot cottons. I have tried using them for piecing with unsuccessful results. The qualities that I like for applique, (like the softness and easy pliability) make them too weak and loosely woven to use for piecing. I am hoping that the strength and sturdiness of the white base cotton, that the pieces have been stitched onto quite closely, will give them durability. I hope that I don't regret the decision for a quilt that will be washed often.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Blocking and Squaring Boutis

The door of her cage has been opened. She is free to fly off and find her destiny.

After many months of hand stitching and then many more months of cording, my little "calibri" is ready to set off on her own. As this was my first attempt at designing so large a boutis piece, it has been a bit of a learning curve. All of the tight swirls, curls and circles are a great deal more difficult and time consuming to cord then are the longer more gentle channels. Maintaining an even tension is absolutely necessary throughout the process, so patience comes in very handy when doing the cording.

Once all of the stitching and cording is complete, the boutis must be washed and squared up. After it is soaked overnight in a basin of water with a mild detergent, it gets rinsed gently in several clear washes, then rolled in a towel to remove the excess water. 

The final step is the blocking process. There are a number of ways to block a boutis piece, but I have found that the easiest metho…

Amish Hand Quilting in France with Esther Miller

Esther Miller, was born into an Amish family in the U.S., and now lives in Germany where she has for many years taught the techniques and methods of Amish hand quilting to anyone interested in learning these skills. As a child, she would closely watch as the women of her community worked together on a quilt, and eventually she was rewarded with a needle of her own and encouraged to join the group. Through the years, she has mastered these skills and techniques and now generously shares them with anyone who has a genuine desire to learn.

Last week, at the "European Meeting of Patchwork" in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines, in Alsace France,, I had the privilege of taking a 2 day workshop with Esther. The Amish quilting method requires a free-standing simple wooden frame upon which the 3 layers of the quilt have been stretched. To accomodate the 18 women in the class, Esther set up 3 quilt frames, with 6 students at each frame. Because the quilt is on a large, unm…

Amazing Applique by Yoko Saito

The quilt exposition in Nantes "Pour L'amour du Fil" was filled with a number of highlights. Certainly one of the more memorable experiences was seeing the works of Yoko Saito in person.
"Elegant" is the word that best describes Yoko Saito's quilts. Although her palette is neutral, the lights and darks play very well together to create a perfect balance to the quilt. To say that the applique is amazing is an understatement. The perfectly formed 1/4" circles and the tiny leaves and stems are inspirational. And of course, the hand quilting is perfect. For the final touch, she uses embroidery as adornment in much the same way that the perfect pair of earrings complete the look of the little black dress. The opportunity to see her quilts in person has been truly inspirational.

The photos in order:
- Yoko Saito in her booth on the floor of the show
- "Pointsettia" - by Yoko Saito
- "Spring of Sweden" close -up - by Yoko Saito