Friday, July 6, 2012

Morning Glory Bluebirds

Following up on an earlier post, More Excuses to Buy Fabric (as if we need excuses), I suppose that post was a bit of a teaser, since I didn't show the whole quilt. So here is a picture of the whole quilt.

Morning Glory Bluebirds, 63"x63" made by Barbara M. Burnham

This quilt is one of my favorites, as I am a HUGE bluebird fan. We are so fortunate to have bluebirds raise their young in a nestbox in our backyard every summer.

The morning glory wreath block is from a series of applique patterns called "Joyce's Garden" in the 1980s. The first blue block turned out so pretty, I made a pink one. Those two blocks languished in a closet for years. Then one day, I decided to try designing some bluebirds on the blocks. They turned out pretty too, but then they sat in a closet for a few more years. Later, we moved to our current home and immediately put up a bluebird box. Within 15 minutes, we had bluebirds inspecting the box! Ever since then, we have had bluebirds nesting in our backyard.

To quote my friend, Wendell Long: "Nothing exceeds the wonder and magic of the first flight of a bluebird." You wait for hours to see each nestling take that first scary flight from the safety of their nest and head for the trees, or sometimes, land somewhere totally unintended. They are SO much fun to watch as they learn to hunt for bugs and chase one another around the gardens. That is what inspired me to design this quilt’s border with the fledglings hiding among the morning glories, begging for caterpillars.
For the hand quilting, I used a stencil with a woven trellis design (for the morning glory vines to climb on), and Quilter’s Dream Request Cotton. It was a challenge to keep the overs and unders of the trellis marked correctly!

This quilt has won some ribbons, some of them blue. One of the judge’s comments said the birds did not have enough contrast (blended in too much). They didn’t realize that my intent was to emulate nature’s camouflage – that was kind of the point of blending them in. You have to really look for them. I think judges often don’t have much time to enjoy the quilts.


  1. Love the bluebirds! We used to have them in our yard too when we lived on the prairie. Now we live in town and we don't have them or even see them. Maybe I'll make some bluebird blocks to remind me of them.

  2. WOW! this is one gorgeous quilt! I am always amazed at the beautiful applique of others. just beautiful :)

  3. Love this one, and I am with you about the bluebirds, I guess the judges may not have been lovers of nature. I also agree Bluebirds are a special find and we are fortunate to have a nesting box in our backyard also.

  4. Stunning!!! I LOVE double crosshatch. There is nothing like it! The bluebirds are perfect!

  5. Would you share with me the source of your trellis stencil? It is so nice! I'm doing a quilt with the 50 state flowers and it would be a really nice background to use. Like you--I love handquilting. This quilt is stunning! I love your birds too!

    1. Lynn, this stencil came from and I think it was called Basketweave. I like that one because it goes over and under each set of lines, and no worries with stitches making an obvious "X".
      Be careful when you do your marking as you move the stencil to the next section so that the "overs" and "unders" flow correctly. I got mine confused with when I skipped over the applique.

    2. Thanks ever so much Barbara for the tips!


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