Pokey and Qulting Arts Staff,

I am almost ashamed to have uploaded three quilt tops, but I am a desperate woman!  My husband and I travel full time in a 36' motorhome and almost half of the storage space is used for my quilting addiction.  I have been sleeping with these three pieces (and many more UFO's) which have been lurking in the storage space under my bed for the last three years..  It seems as if all the wonderful fabrics, tools, techniques and all things quilting just keep calling to me and before I know it, I am off on another adventure without completing the project that I am working on!

I have a wonderful quilting friend, Joanne Baeth, who does the most beautiful,realistic, nature inspired quilts, a number of which feature birds.  I just love her style and covet her quilts, so I decided to do my own bird quilt.  Needless to say, I cannot do quilts in Joannes' style, mine seem to take on a life of their own becoming more playful and bold.  I love the colors in this quilt and even like the graphic checkerboard.  The heron is at a good starting point but needs to have the definition and fluff added to him, along with creating a somewhat realistic marsh/water background for him.  He is standing in water (brown batik) which has fish like forms (trapuntoed) swimming by his legs.  There is so much left to do and I don't know where to start. 

Please help me to finish some of  these projects and use the found space for more fabric, tools, books and all things quilt related!

Louise Page

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9 thoughts on “Heron

  1. Oh Louise, I hope they choose this.  I would like to see what comes of it; it is a great start.


    I had to laugh when you said that you get started on a piece and then another technique calls your name and the first one takes the back burner.  That is exactly what happened to my “River’s Bend.”  But in my case, I just tried too many techniques on one quilt.  Haven’t a clue how to undo some of them!


    This is a great piece; I’d love to see you finish it.

  2. I agree, I like your colors and the blue and graphic edges.  Not having seen our friends nature inspired quilts makes me just appreciate yours for what you have mostly finished.  

    My suggestion is do some thread painting on the bird to define more of it’s features.  Leave the rest of the background mostly as is so your eyes see the bird and the background doesn’t take your attention.


  3. I like the bright blue on the right, and I like the *idea* of the black and white, but the large checkerboard is, I think, too bold.  Even if you were to crop it to about an inch in width (same as the bright blue strip inset), the chunks of color seem large to me.  What would it look like if you make a stripe  but with smaller bits of fabric.  I think that either a regular or irregular stripe, perhaps (?) with a wider blue on the outside, would be interesting. On the right, I’m guessing the blue is not yet trimmed?  Its visual weight, also, overwhelms the heron.  You want the eye to focus on the bird, not the border.  I think the color is perfect…just not so much of it.  Try folding it under a bit at a time until it looks good!

    The heron himself and the whole center panel are fantabulous… don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with techniques and added “stuff”…sometimes just quilting it well is perfect.  Cheers, Sarah

  4. Hi Louise,  I have to agree with Sarah, the black and white blocks overwhelm the heron which should be the focus of the eye.   As with the border on the pelican quilt my eye is constantly pulled away from the heron.       I could see perhaps using the same fabrics as in the main piece and continuing them on the other side of the thin blue border on the left and top (continuing the curves) to give a feeling of a framed picture within a frame.  You could even set the stripped fabric at a 30 or 45o angle (might  need to play with that – it might look a bit weird).  I like the idea of thread play to outline feathers on the heron, maybe even a silver to give it some shimmer.  If you want some texture or grass / reeds maybe use some yarns, heavy threads or ribbons to couch down.  I envy your life style of vagabond!    I have spent much of this winter trying to finish UFO’s and am being somewhat successful.   I am getting some genuine satisfaction and pleasure at seeing an actual finished and useable item!   Good luck.

  5. I agree with Sarah and Louise that the borders are just too bold and take the eye away from the focal point, the heron.   That center motif is just so wonderful in every way that I would love to see it stay the focal point.  Just lose the borders and quilt the bird.  My own personal taste leans towards simplicity so if I were to do a black and white border I might do something very thin and perhaps use a fine stripe rather than squares.  But again, I think your heron is wonderful and he can stand on his own with just some quilting to add a little depth.  Good job!  

  6. Louise

    I like the idea of the black and whote border on the left. I do agree with the other comments, that the scale is a little large. I love the wide blue border on the right side, but feel it might benefit from being a tad narrower. I find the “fish” fabric a little distracting. Have you thought about adding more grasses, reeds starting at the bottom? I find that it is often helps to import the picture into a photo program and play with cropping there. It can give you more ideas about how to proceed. This is a lovely picture!!



  7. Hi Louise,  you said you uploaded three quilt tops but I’ve only seen this one (the heron).  I’m not sure what size it is but I love it just the way it is.  Yes, you could also thread paint more on the heron but if you didn’t it would still be a wonderful quilt.  If this is not a full quilt size I would make it a theme block, remove the check so near to the bird and maybe add other themed blocks and put a neutral divider between them.  You could then add squares of the black and white checks in the four corners of the quilt if you still want them in the quilt.  In the end it is your original art and everyone see’s colors differently so you must do what is pleasing to your personality or you will never get any of them done.  It’s okay to try to copy someone’s style for learning purposes but in the end it’s more satisfying to just go with your instints – they are usually the best one’s to follow for yourself.

  8. I realize I am very very late to this discussion and the project has already been most likely finished; but I would definitely leave the black and white checked border in the quilt.  If it were taken out it would allow the bird to become the only focal point instead of guiding the eye around the quilt to visit the other detail.  I believe it’s the blue stripe that is the distracting piece, but not because of the color or balance with size but because it’s too much vertical on the quilt.  I would take the green that is in the center and put a strip the same size as a row of checkerboard and add it to the outside of the checkerboard pattern, in order to balance the checkerboard into the piece.   In addition I think I would extend a green stitching horizontally off into the blue border (almost as a negative) but to balance the checkerboard and the other horizontals on the quilt.  I would also do that for the sand colored fabric at the bottom.  It might even be a good idea to take the plant that is on the left side and incorporate a plant that runs on the right side of the bird and have it angle off up toward the upper right hand corner.  What would really make that interesting if it were to run upward into the top border moving the checkerboard into the background. 

    I truly do think you need the checkerboard there as it adds contrast for the bird to blend it into the quilt.  However all checkerboard for the border would be too much around the complete quilt so the blue border is a good idea but by itself it swallows the quilt.  I love the colors, the patterns and the interest.  I think it just needs some tying together.  I would love to see the finished product.