Playing with Urban Chickens

To celebrate this years Pacific North West MQG Meet up our fearless leader,  Michelle Freedman designed a fun modern block to celebrate… the Urban Chicken.  During the Meet Up we did a charity sew day where chickens ran wild.

Charity Sew Day Urban Chickens

This week I decided to dust off the pattern card and make my own Urban Chicken quilt… below is my plagiarized, annotated and updated version of Michelle’s original pattern.

For each block you need:

1.  Four (4) different shades of the same colour – I decided to stick to green, blue & yellow

2.  White or off white fabric – I pulled all my scrap bag of solid whites out.

Then it is off to work making a block….

1.   Cut one  3 ½ inches  x 14 ½  inches strip of each of your four coloured fabric.  I added an extra 1/2 inch to the strips from the original pattern to allow for some wiggle room (ie. mistakes).

layout strips

2.  From these strips cut one 3 ½ inches x 3 ½ inches  and set aside these squares.

cut square off strip

3.  Sew the four 10 ½ inch strips together using 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Press the seams to one side in the same direction.

sewing strips together

.4. Sew the long ends together to form a tube… these next steps are the same as you would do for a Trip Around quilt.

5.  Subcut the tube into three 3 ½ inch wide units… this is where the excess 1/2 inch of fabric on the strips comes in handy for me.

cut tube

5.  Carefully use the seam ripper to open each unit at a different place.  Arrange the three rows as you like, nesting the seam allows and sew together.  Press the seams open or to alternating sides.

strip blocks ready to go

Then to make the chickens….

1.  Using your white scraps or some generously cut white strips (no smaller than 2 ½ wide) and the four coloured squares you had set aside make some wonky triangles.

set aside squares

2.  Place the white fabric strip over the 3 ½ x 3 ½ inch square right sides together – angling the white fabric from just past center of the square to one corner of the square.  Repeat on the other side.  Do this for all four coloured squares.

chicken pieces for trimming

3.  Press seams on your chicken unit and square it up to the original 3 ½” x 3 ½” size.  When trimming make sure that the top of the triangle has a ¼ inch seam of white.  This will allow you triangles to come to a clean point (learnt this one the hard way).

trim chickens

4.  Arrange your chickens as you like and sew them together to form the fourth strip of the block.

urban chicken block

You can stitch your chickens to either side of your solid blocks.

Urban chicken block 4

5.  Make sure you square off your completed block ensuring it measures  12½”” by 12½”.

To add some variation to your Urban Chickiens, Michelle suggests doing some blocks up without the chickens… that is blocks of just 4 x 4 coloured squares.

I am now off to add some more chickens to my coup.  I am really having fun with this quilt and can not wait to have a finished quilt top to show.

Wonky Star Quilt finished

I finally finished my wonky star quilt. I had blogged about finishing the top a month or so ago and it has taken me a while to actually get it quilted.  I am really pleased with how it turned out.  It is a true scrap quilt using different colour bits and pieces for the stars as well as scraps of tone on tone whites for the background.

finished wonky star quilt

I  ummed and ahhed about how to quilt it.  I started doing a loopy quilting pattern but did not like it so unpicked it all and started again.  I ended up quilting stars all over – no set pattern just big and little stars all over.  I really do have to work on my quilting skills.  I get bored with this part of the process and I must admit I get a little sloppy.

wonky star quilt detail

I backed the quilt with a wonderful Alexander Henry fabric that just really worked with the colours I used.  I framed the fabric I had with a white border which I think works okay. I love the fabric but probably could have found another way to make it work.  I have just discovered Elizabeth Hartman’s FREE Craftsy course on quilt backs which has got me thinking about other ways to back my quilts.  It is a great course and you can find it here.

wonky star quilt back detail copy

I have now washed the quilt and it is ready for delivery to Project Linus.  I post wash all my quilts before I deliver them to PL. I do love the feel and look of the quilt when it has been washed, all soft and puckered. Are you a post or pre washer?

wonky star quilting detail