My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Welcome Swallow Quilt

It's come to my attention that I've been remiss in not posting one of my quilts that I finished earlier this year (thanks Carol!).  It got lost amongst life I guess.

I love Welcome Swallows.  They are a small bird with a forked tail.  They make mud nests around human habitation and seem curious and lively.  I love the colour palette of their plumage too - indigo blue, grey, and burnt sienna.  I thought I might make a quilt using their colours and silhouettes of Swallows.

Here's how it started on my design wall.

I pieced a background using flying geese and half-square triangles and then began auditioning for hills as a foreground.

Eventually it morphed into this - dark indigo silhouettes of the Swallows, indigo and grey hills with touches of burnt sienna and mustard and burnt sienna barn.  I used discharge paste to create a line of trees that receded into the distance and this is about where I stalled.

I put it away for ages.  Eventually (and in a Spring kind of mood) I pulled it out, removed the hills, unpicked some of the sky to make it square and added grass and flowers to the foreground instead.  I added some colour to the bird silhouettes and added one larger fully coloured one in the foreground.

I free-motion quilted and appliquéd at the same time as I like to do and then free-motion quilted a flowing pattern in the sky using my domestic Bernina Aurora 400 QE.  I changed thread colours from  mid-blue at the top of the sky, light blue in the middle and cream near the grasses.

The grasses and flowers were free-motions appliquéd and quilted with matching thread colours.  I decided to bind it in similar colours to those in the quilt to have a border, but one that worked with the quilt.  You can see my scientific way of measuring those chunks of colour in the picture above.

And here's the finished quilt.  Once again my colours have been extra-saturated (I'm beginning to think it's the watermark program I'm using - time for an experiment I think).

Detail of the sky quilting.

Detail of the foreground Swallow.  He was done with coloured pencil and fabric medium on white fabric then cut out and appliquéd/quilted on.

And the pretty flowers, done in my hand-dyed fabrics.  I think the whole quilt has a completely different feel to it now - Spring rather than Autumn.  But I'm still interested in re-visiting my previous colour scheme.  However I won't be using those hills, I cut a few strips from them and used then in my Cerego 12 x 12 Purple Challenge quilt, the little pops of orange came from here!

And because I had to dig it out to photograph it, now I have this quilt hanging next to my sewing machine here on the boat.  Both Hubby and I love it, so I think it will stay for a while.


  1. I liked the hills, but the grass is nice too. They are cute wee birds. We have some that make a nest each year under the veranda at school. For small birds they make a surprising amount of poop.

  2. You are so talented! I love this quilt. I love both of them. I hope you decide to do the other color scheme too. @Tami in Denver

  3. I loved how it came together at the end. My grandparents had a wrap around porch on the front of their house and they had swallows all the time. We were always looking forward to seeing them in the Spring as they fly south for the winter. I miss them and it was so nice to see them on your quilt! Your flowers and colors are gorgeous!

  4. I love your quilt. Its beautiful both in colour and design! You are so clever and talented.

  5. I liked those hills but I think they needed a hawk or so. The flowers and grass are much better for the swallows :) Very nice!

    I am gearing up for that interview with the Art School on Wednesday. 5 tutors and me........!


  6. I like both, but do enjoy the flowers in your final quilt, it seems to make the quilt come to life.

  7. It would be a difficult job to decide between the two! The hills were great in your first version but I love flowers so the second also hit the spot! Swallows - Love them, they look so real.

  8. Oh my, this is wonderful. Beautiful job.

  9. Another lovely quilt Charlotte. We watch the swallows defending their nests. They are brave little birds and will take on others several times bigger than themselves. But what a messy lot they are....

  10. Charlotte, I love it. So much work has gone into it, fantastic. I love the fish one you did for me some years ago, it still takes pride of place on my wall. It always reminds me of your immense talent. Keep it up, special lady.

  11. Love this pattern. Would love to follow you with email, but I don't see a place to sign up. I don't use bloglovin, or what ever it is.

    1. Hi RoseMary, I've added an email subscription box to my left sidebar.

  12. Rather lovely! I like the way you have close up detail in the foreground in the final pic, it feels really balanced to me (is it a perspective thing?) Linda


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