Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bloggers Quilt Festival - Quilted Bird Pillows

Oh boy, Oh boy !  We can place two entries in Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festival.  So for the fun of it I thought I would share the "Quilted Bird Pillows" that I made for my sister and her DH for their 10th Wedding Anniversary this summer.

11/1 Update:  Voting is open -- you can see all the Home Machine Quilted entries here:  and vote for your favorite by clicking the heart in the upper right hand corner of the image.


Before I begin, Special Thanks to Amy at Amy's Creative Side, for hosting the semi-annual event.  What a great way for the online community to share their creations and find inspiration!  If you haven't done so you must jump over and check out the linked up talent.  It's amazing.  Thanks so much Amy!!

Meet "Nest" by Valorie Wells for Free Spirit!

When my sister saw these panels she fell in love with them -- and commented at how beautiful they would look in her living room.   How is that for a "hint".   I purchased them because of the birds and I really wanted to quilt them but I had no idea where to begin (or who's house they would go in).

Once I knew she wanted them I started by choosing thread colors:  Doesn't that Aurifil thread match perfectly ?  The panels are layered with Hobbs Poly and an inexpensive muslin fabric (it won't show once you've made the envelope back).

Panels off the bolt -- choosing thread color
 The next step seemed logical - with a neutral color, stitch around the beautifully printed birds and flowers.

 Oh my, I'm loving how these look!

At this point I was stuck -- where to go from here?  I considered stopping but was fearful that the pretty yellow fabric would get snagged, dirty or torn over the years, especially in the living room.   So I took a chance and emailed one of my favorite Free Motion Quilting Mentors, Wendy Sheppard. Check out Wendy's fantastic blog here: Ivory Spring and her free motion Thread Talk here.

It's my lucky day... Wendy writes and suggests a McTavishing approach to finish the pillows!  Really?  But...I've never done that!  Now the panic sets in.   Deep breaths... OK, following my own advice I jump over to Wendy's Thread Talk, find Wendy's Nifty Little S's tutorial.  I practice on paper and on sample fabric before I give it a try.

Here is the first panel after quilting (I used Aurifil Mako 50/2 for the FMQ).

And another view:

Here is the bluebird:
Oh my gosh at this time I was turning cartwheels!! What is apparent is that McTavishing is VERY forgiving.  This was the first time I had tried it, talk about inspiration.

Here are a few more pictures of the completed pillows:


My sister and I were both thrilled with the pillows!  I must say that if you're just learning to Free Motion Quilt choosing panels to "cut your threads" on is a great idea.  They allow you to practice without fear of hurting a pieced quilt AND you'll have something to use when you're finished.  I hope you give it a whirl!

If you would like to read the original tutorial and make an envelope pillow like these, the tutorial is found here or by clicking on the image below:

Oh, the details:

Entry Name:  Quilted Bird Pillows
Category: Home Machine Quilted Quilts
Creator: Karen Miller
Size: 10 x 14
Fabric: Nest by Valori Wells for Free Spirit
Thread: Aurifil Mako 50/2 
Machine: Quilted on my home Janome Horizon

For more pillow fun -- check out my Family Tree Quilted Envelope Pillows featured here and on the Moda Bake Shop!

Thanks again for stopping by!

Linking up to Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventure (3/2014) where she is hosting an awesome McTavishing Series


  1. Karen, your pillows are absolutely beautiful!!!

  2. Hello Karen, Your pillow is absolutely stunning. Love it. Hugs Judy

  3. Karen your enthusiasm with this post made my day!!! And....I love these pillows!!! With smiles! Val:)

  4. As I said before, Karen, these are just fabulous! You get my vote!

  5. wow! Way to turn the very 2D image into something dynamic and interesting. Good Luck!

  6. I love your McTavishing on the panel pillows .. I'll have to give that technique a try next. :-)

  7. I feel like I need to learn Free Motion Quilting. I was really impressed with the quilting you did on these birds! I can't believe it's your first time McTavishing! It really looks beautiful.

  8. Your quilting really transforms those panels - great work!

  9. What beautiful work! The quilting is fab!

  10. Lady, you make beautiful pillows. :)

  11. I am impressed, I am very impressed! Love the quilting!

  12. I love your birds and the way these are put together. And your quilting is stunning.

  13. These pillow are wonderful!!! You did great with your FMQ! Keep up the great work.
    Always, Queenie

  14. This is the first time I am visiting your so lovely blog and fell in love with those
    beautiful pillows :)

  15. Thanks for joining in the McTavishing Quilt-along! Love those bird panels and a nicely done bit of quilting! Very, very nice!

  16. Very very beautiful result ! Bravo.

  17. Wow, the McTavishing makes the panel design really pop. Who knew a panel could look so good. Great idea for practicing our FMQing.

  18. Beautiful! This McTavish QAL will be fun.

  19. OH MY WORD! this is a gorgeous pillow!!!
    I am in awe of your FMQ skills!
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com

  20. These pillows are lovely! Great quilting too! :)