I've just finished working on this quilt, which is the fourth in a series of blackbird quilts, though the third is still waiting for a few finishing touches.
Like my other blackbird pictures this has a curve-pieced background which is quilted before I start to lay on the applique.
Then, as usual I sketched out various elements on pieces of paper, and tinkered with the composition until I felt it was right. This part of the process takes ages.
I use Oakshott shot cottons a lot, as you can see if you look for the label in my side bar. The different warps and wefts create a feeling of dimension, and the colours are extremely beautiful, so they are ideal for applique.
Only the brown was difficult to get right and so I used a single French General fabric (front and reverse) for Mrs Blackbird. This turned out to be very fortuitous because I have run out of the second-hand black beads I used for the eyes of previous blackbirds and I couldn't believe my luck when I looked at the colour test circles on selvedge.
I added a shine to the eyes with a french knot.
This piece is a commission, and I wanted to give it a bit of clout so, rather than binding, I finished it by wrapping round a homemade wooden 'stretcher'.
Mr and Mrs Blackbird
Shot cotton and quilting cotton
Curve piecing, raw-edge applique, free-motion embroidery
38 x 38 cm