I can now reveal one of my secret sewing projects from the last few months.
This is my Night Owl quilt. It measures 75cm x 75cm and has been selected as one of twenty quilts to tour New Zealand as part of the Aotearoa Quilters Flight Challenge.
When Aotearoa Quilters announced that they were running a quilting challenge and that the theme was "Flight", I knew immediately that I had to enter. Not only that, but I knew the quilt that I wanted to design.
Last year when I was creating my In Flight quilt, I sewed the twelve birds and then realised that I didn't have enough birds for the large quilt that I wanted to create. I went back to the drawing board to design an extra four birds. At the time, I asked my instagram followers if there were any particular birds that they wanted to see.
There was a strong body of support for an owl pattern and I loved the idea.
Unfortunately, I couldn't get it to work.
You see, the In Flight Quilt featured silhouettes of birds in flight and an owl pattern needs to show the eyes. The silhouettes looked lumpy headed and wrong without them. I shelved the idea, but kept it at the back of my mind, ready.
I could picture the owl in my head, I just needed an excuse to design it and was thrilled when an excuse dropped at my feet.
I don't mind admitting that I spent many hours putting fabrics into my virtual shopping cart and taking them straight back out. It was tough to find something that suited, but finally I found a Cotton + Steal print called Hot Springs in Blue from Sarah Watts' Honeymoon Range. It was perfect!
I have to say that almost without exception, my friends who have seen this quilt comment on the background fabric and how perfect it is and I am convinced that it makes the quilt. I'm not sure if it comes across in the photo but it is a truly wonderful print (and I may have bought more yardage for a future project!)
The Owl itself was sewn completely from stash. It consists of Tula Pink, Alison Glass, Frances Newcombe, Lizzy House to name but a few.
I started by stitching the ditch around the owl and by adding feather detail where appropriate.
I wanted to give a subtle focal point for the quilting in the form of a moon and to spiral out from that. I kept up the parallel style quilting for the lower portion of the quilt and created undulating lines of the hozizon which gently followed the silhouette of the wing.
All the quilting was done using Aurifil 50 weight thread. The owl was quilted using aurifil #2150. The background was quilted using aurifil #2692.
I am so happy that I got the opportunity to create this quilt and I love the way it turned out. If you want to see the other flight challenge quilts you can see them at the Great New Zealand Quilt Show. The quilts will also travel around New Zealand in a travelling Exhibition. you can find details on the Aotearoa Quilters website.