Charley Harper Birch Quilt for Mom

I fell in love with this Charley Harper for Birch fabric the first time I saw it. And I immediately thought it would be perfect for a quilt for my mom! She has lived in Australia since 1997, but she does miss Georgia. When she visits, she often talks about how she misses the wildlife here… squirrels, cardinals, deer, chipmunks. Not that the wildlife isn’t spectacular where she lives – it’s just different.

Anyway, this fabric was an inspiration to make an american creature quilt for my mother. My biggest challenge was deciding on a pattern or design. This fabric has such a beautiful grid, and it just seemed wrong to cut it up into small pieces. I wanted to figure out a way to still preserve and display the original fabric.

If I remember correctly, I bought some yardage of that original inspiration fabric, plus a selection of fat quarters from this collection. I cut the yardage down into pieces that preserved  small sections of the “grid blocks” (not really sure how to describe this), and then I made strips from the rest of the fabric that was the same height as the big pieces. One of the fabrics also had squirrel images that I wanted to preserve in the same way, but those “blocks” were a different size. I ended up using a ton of algebra to make the final design and layout.

quilt top

free motion quilting

I made the mistake of buying embroidery thread from my local fabric store for this project. I’d recently been working on a Craftsy class for free motion quilting that touted a preference for polyester thread. I should have ordered decent thread online, because this thread gave me so much trouble with frequent breakage. I’ve since used both cotton Aurifil and polyester Isacord, plus some other cotton brand I got from Missouri Star Quilt Company, and I’ve not had any issues with breakage. I’m still undecided about my personal preference for thread except to say I certainly don’t like cheap polyester thread from the local fabric shop!

I wanted this quilt to be soft and cuddly, so I tried to keep the quilting wide spaced. I’m not sure how much difference this really makes for free motion quilting, but it seemed like a decent idea at the time.

Cuddling and sewing the binding, my favorite part

I made a matching pillow case for the gift wrap.

Raoul helping with the pillow case

All wrapped up and ready to send to Australia!


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