For the Watchers and Dreamers is my latest quilt for The Undercover Quilters Book Club. It's inspired by All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I am so pleased with how this one came out! It all started with one of the very last scenes in the book, when Frederick, a dreamer with a passion for birds, has an owl visit him. You can read the scene from the book on my label at the bottom of this post. I couldn't get that scene out of my head, but I also had been thinking about a quilt like this for a while. I wanted to do the close up of a bird's eye and owls have such magnificent eyes!
I started by drawing a sketch (about 5" square) in my sketchbook and drew a grid over it as a method to transfer it to the larger paper. This good old fashioned method worked just fine since the design is fairly simple.
Here you can see the full size design drawn out on craft paper. I had to tape the seams together. I needed it to finish about 40" square, so I went a couple of inches larger to allow for quilting and blocking.
Next came the fabric selection. I auditioned several things. I really love the yarn dyed plaid on the bird's forehead. The base fabric is Essex linen natural and the yellow and right side are chambrays. The black is a solid black. The problem with solid blacks is the way they attract lint, so next time I will use something else for the darkest dark.
All along I knew that I would hand applique the pieces down, but that can be tricky when they are so large. I worried that they might end up bunching and making pleats when I finally got around to machine quilting, so I pinned really well, and did some basting stitches too to keep it smooth.
I put off the machine quilting for longer than I should have. This often happens to me when I don't really know what approach to take. Then I usually just decide to do it and once I get started I speed on through because I just want it finished. In this case I wanted to get a feathered look, but didn't want it to be terribly time consuming or complicated. I really like the finished result. It's very hard to see the quilting in these photos, but maybe you can see it in person someday and you'll get a better look.
By the way, if you are in Bend, this quilt will be shown with the rest of the quilts in the exhibit at the Mt Bachelor Quilters Guild Quilt Show in the Park this Saturday (tomorrow) 10am-4pm in Pioneer Park. Hope to see you there!
Finished Quilt Close Ups