Project Quilting 15.1: Bird House

It's Project Quilting Season 15 which kicked off with a fun new challenge theme: Bird House. I confess that I haven't had much of a sewjo lately, but was optimistic that a Project Quilting challenge week would help me find it. 

In past Project Quilting seasons, I've given myself an extra challenge such as wholecloth quilts, unconventional materials, and mark-making. This year I am hoping to incorporate more block printing and recycled fabrics sourced from Fabmo. Fabmo is a nonprofit organization that rescues designer materials such as upholstery fabric samples for creative reuse. I've been attending their shopping days every month or so where I usually spend $15-20 and bring home at least one if not two bags full of fabric and wall paper samples!

When the Bird House theme was announced on Sunday, I immediately thought of a few bird block prints recently carved as part of CarveDecember 2023 and 2022 including these two.

Early in the week, I gathered the bird blocks along with some commercial bird prints, and an assortment of Fabmo swatches that were either colorful and/or evoked a nest-like pattern/texture.. 

And these materials sat waiting for a game plan. Oh I had plenty of ideas swirling about my head but not clear vision. Time was running out, especially as I had a busy weekend of teaching including 2 lectures and 2 workshops! Saturday morning was an early start for an east coast morning lecture. In the hour between the lecture and workshop, I got started block printing the birds and nests onto some of the colorful silky swatches using inkpads. After the workshop concluded, I printed the eggs using acrylic paints. Layered prints were required to achieve the robin's egg blue.

After dinner I heat set all the printed swatches and tried to figure out how best to use them. Each motif was fused with Wonder Under before cutting away the background. I started to play with potential layout combinations...

I found a woven metallic background for the birds and started to improvisationally add strips of fabric in a log cabin design which seemed appropriate for the bird house theme.

I had recently organized my collection of Fabmo fabric into 3 wire baskets--but they quickly exploded in my search for fabrics with interesting patterns of textures to evoke bird nests. At one point my floor was covered in fabric swatches...below is everything piled on top of the baskets needing to be reorganized before I can return the baskets to the racks.

Swatch by swatch, my improv log cabin units started to come together before filling in the negative space with additonal patterns and textures. Once everything was pieced together, I fused the nests into the dark blue strips.

I finished most of the quilting close to midnight with just a bit more added here and there. By 1:30, my quilt was bound using a blue and lime green striped fabric that coordinated with the patterns and prints.
Block Nest Birds, Finishes 21" x 27"

This project is a success on 3 fronts:
  1. It features quite a bit of block printing
  2. The majority of fabrics used are sourced from Fabmo. While I absolutely love the patterns and textures, these fabrics do require a bit of extra care and wrangling, especially when one of the fabrics started to melt onto my hot dry iron! In fact, only 3 commercial fabrics were used in this project: the green print with white and blue eggs, the striped binding, and a Michael Miller Hash Dot for the backing (which is not shown). 
  3. I got my sewjo back!

Be sure to check out all the incredible Bird House quilts started and finished this past week! And as always, thanks to PQ hosts: Kim and Trisha for another fun challenge theme and week!


  1. You are amazing ! this is incredible! Way to walk the walk ;)

    1. Thank you--I am always amazed at how these challenge themes push me to explore and play! Thank you for being a fantastic challenge host!

  2. fabulous write up of your process and thoughts along the way. thanks!

    1. Thank you--I am so glad you enjoyed this whirlwind quilt and blog post!

  3. A fascinating little birdhouse quilt, indeed! Very nicely done! Glad you got your sewjo back, too.

    1. Awww...thank you! I really enjoy participating in Project Quilting 1-week challenges as they always stretch me to explore new sources of design inspiration and techniques--which all help with sewjo!


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