Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Design Decisions on A Bountiful Life

I am working on finishing up the Peacock block for the A Bountiful Life quilt.  I am moving onto more bird feet.  I should be getting pretty good at this by now, right?  Again I have chosen to use a batik fabric so it will not fray as badly as a regular cotton.
I think this guy needs an eye when I am finished appliqueing his body.
The full quilt from the book A Bountiful Life by Karen Mowery
Before I move on the the next block I need to make a decision on what my finished layout may look like.  I finally did make a decision (pondered this for months)  not to make all the blocks in this beautiful quilt.  Here is my reasoning: With all 20 blocks and the border, it makes a quilt much larger than I am able to display in my home.  I would prefer to hang this quilt and enjoy it each day rather than folding it and putting it away.  So, one decision made... Now, which blocks do I eliminate?
Here is a photo of the original Bird of Paradise quilt, circa 1858 - 1863
You can see it differs slightly to Karen Mowery's adaptation above.

I decided to keep the number of blocks at 16, with a 4 x 4 setting.  My blocks are slightly smaller at 12" finished. 
 Since I am partial to birds, despite the feet, I decided to keep almost all of the bird blocks.  And although I find the barnyard, racehorse, and circus animal blocks interesting, they really aren't relevant to me. Another design decision made!

So to better help me make a decision on the remaining 3 blocks to include in my quilt, I laid the blocks out to take a look.
Sorry for the shadowy pictures.  My living room is a little dark in the morning light... especially on a rainy day!
I quickly decided I needed to make the Robin and Nest of Eggs block.  They are the first sign of spring here in the Northeast.
I also would like to include the Assorted Bouquet block with its vase of flowers. I was moving right along in this process!

I continued to move the blocks around, checking the layout and the balance of color.  I moved the row of birds down to the bottom... hmmm... does that work?

I moved the Red Wing Blackbirds up to the next row, knowing the Robin and Nest of Eggs would be on the opposite side of the quilt.  And that I would probably add a nest of eggs in the bottom border.

Does the Grapevine and Swooping Bird block look better in the third row with the other fruit blocks?

But there is still that nagging question of what to put next to the Bride block. 
Karen Mowery added a Groom block to her adaptation of the original quilt.  There is so much mystery around the missing groom.  Speculation is that he may have been killed in the Civil War and the marriage never took place.  Original templates exist of a male figure but he is not included in the quilt. You will see in the original quilt above there is a block filled with flowers instead.  And why did the quilter choose white flowers?  White flowers usually represent innocence and purity.
Would you add the groom or the flowers?

For now let me get back to my bird feet and completing the Peacock block.
I won't show you how my two quilting assistants decided to rearrange my blocks for me. :-)

Happy Stitching!



  1. Hi Deb, I love what you are doing with this quilt and I think the swooping bird looks good with the other fruit blocks. The mystery behind the missing groom has me intrigued! I can't wait to see your finished quilt its going to be beautiful.

  2. Very fun to read about your process in deciding.:) It's looking absolutely beautiful already! Good luck figuring out the groom/white flowers etc. I'm sure you'll get it just right!

  3. What gorgeous blocks - isn't it fun to play around with placement and design, especially when you decide to edit down to a smaller number of blocks. Your swooping bird looks great in the third row. Incidentally I thought white flowers also symbolized death which might add a layer to the missing groom mystery.

  4. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous blocks!!! I can't wait to see it finished! I love this pattern and I really appreciated you letting us know your thought process with this beauty!

  5. Your applique blocks continue to be exquisite. The balancing process is a continuing process. Looking and considering all the little details is key. Interesting story about the groom.

  6. What a lovely quilt this is going to be whatever layout or block you use. I am intrigued though by the missing groom.

  7. Your blocks are lovely. I understand your dilemma as I am making the Civil War Bride version of this quilt and stopped at the last 2 blocks, the farm and circus blocks. Just recently decided that this is the next UFO is need to return to so am thinking about how to complete those blocks. Good luck, I can't wait to see what you come up with!

  8. It's such a gorgeous do lovely work ! I think I'd add the groom if his FEET were easy :)

  9. That really does look amazing all laid out. And I have to agree with Lucy that there should be no groom block if he's going to bring his stinky old dog with him. And yes, where is the cat block? Who is going to keep the woman company and keep a watch on all those birds?

  10. Love your choice in patterns, you know how to develop a picture into a beautiful work of art with your colour choices and rearrangements. I'd go for the groom to keep the bride company. Cant wait to see the finished quilt

  11. you are doing a lovely job with the pattern. I love your fabric choices and colors. What a good idea to lay out what you have and make decisions now. I should remember that!
    What a treasure you are creating


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