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Life is all about learning. I enjoy the process of acquiring new skills and knowledge.

One place I felt the need to grow my skills and talents in was the art of sewing. Anything much past a straight line just felt a little out of my depth. Using my love of costuming and quilting, I embarked on an adventure that leads me to my latest endeavour.

My mother wanted to learn more about art quilting and asked if I held any interest in this. I will say that I admire art quilts, but I am not so sure if they are for me or not. What better way to find out than taking a class?  Our local store, Quilt and Sew, offers classes and this month they have one entitled “Bird Song”.

I’m not huge into birds. Birds are cool, don’t get me wrong, I’m just never going to be the avid bird aficionado or anything. Honestly if I could make my own pattern, it would most likely be a flying critter more magical. Think phoenix, dragon, wyvern, or the like. Fun. However, that might just be doing the usual Ozma thing – getting ahead of myself.

Joram, my budding sewing-dude, wanted in. Hello birthday gift from Grandma.

Thus you get three generations of one family entering a class.

Our teacher, Mary of “My Quilts Kick Ass“, runs a pretty wicked class. She talked to us about finding fabrics, colours, pattern creation, and the science of cloning generations. *Note: Her quilts do kick ass. I really like her fun coffin shaped ones!*

Step 1: Make a pattern. (She provided our pattern for us.)

Step 2: Trace your pattern onto freezer paper as seen below.

tracing pattern

Joram, hard at work, traces his pattern onto freezer paper.

3. You need fabric. If you had a project in mind from the start, you probably are well on your way. We headed into the shop and picked out 3/4ths of a yard for backing fabric and three fat quarters. Here’s what Joram and I picked out.

fabric selections

We chose black for the backing and some bright colours for our birds!

4. Cut out your pattern.

5. STABILIZER IS YOUR FRIEND! Get some iron on stabilizer. We used something like “steam and stitch”. You iron the bumpy side to the wrong side of your fabric.

6. Place your pattern pieces on top of your fabric and iron. Waxed paper is pretty nifty and this will actually hold it down. Who knew? Cool! *Note, it doesn’t hold it down well. So don’t let little people, critters, or time mess this up for you.*

7. Cut out your fabric.

8. Lay your pieces onto your backing fabric and align. You should have overlap for lining up purposes. Once you have it in place, you peel away the paper backing on the stabilizer and it will stick to your fabric.

my bird

Woah, check out my bird!

Joram's bird

Joram’s bird is on fire! Awesome!

We started with the wing tips. That went down first. For lining up and overlap, we used the main part of the wings. Then we placed the bird body on top of the wingtips and the backing fabric. Finally, we laid down our bird belly and beak and the eye. The bulk of the bird belly was our overlap for guiding.

We chose to make the eye match the wingtips, and that’s pretty cool.  You could always use a button or something else. My mum thought a yo-yo might be interesting!

9. Iron everything down. I guess this takes that sticky stabilizer and makes it more secure. Yay!

That is as far as we got in the class. I love the way the birds turned out! Far more interesting than I thought they might look. I love that Joram’s looks like it’s on fire! Mine feels a little whimsical or fantastical which I think suits me.

I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to photograph my mother’s design. I will attempt to rectify that in a future post.

Our next class is in two weeks. We will learn how to satin stitch so we can applique the birds down. Our homework – mark our stitching pattern on the beak and the feathers and also pick out threads for the stitching.

I don’t know if I will really have much to report from the next class as we will only practice the satin stitch. After that class, we have the third and final class in another two weeks to actually stitch the birds onto the backing and finish the wall hanging.

What a fun evening!

–Lady O