Credit to the original Artist
Way back in early 2013, I came across some vector artwork from Cedric Kesteloot and fell in love. I knew it would make a fantastic quilt and set off to asking for permission to use it. He so kindly agreed and even modestly suggested it was “just a tinker” piece. His handle on the site we were using was Doxstar so the quilt and the quirky bird is named after him. Here is the art in it’s original format.
This piece really spoke to me. The crowd is pushing pushing pushing in one direction and Doxstar has decided to go his own way with little to no concern for what everyone else is doing. Sound like anyone you know? He seems so at peace with his decision and resulting flight rather than looking over his shoulder wondering if he is making some sort of mistake. I’d like to practice that a bit more myself.
Changes for a Quilt
I had to make a few changes to the layout to accommodate the shape of a quilt. I tried to stay true to the negative space and and the weight of the crowd, but knew it needed to be extended a bit for the twin size quilt ratio. I added a few birds at the top and bottom and made a few choices with their feet to keep from having any “walled off” sections of bird. This is the one and only quilt I put together in EQ7 (sorry, I no longer have the software so I can’t send you any useufl files). The layout in grid form looked like this.
You can see the first plan had flying geese pushing around the quilt. They were going to be dimensional with the colors from the birds. I decided to add that push with the quilting so I dumped the geese and used a more traditional matted picture frame style finish.
I did make each individual 4″ finished block, even in the large negative spaces. I thought it was important to maintain the grid and those lines came in very hand when I was quilting it.
The drunkards paths were a bit tricky. For the effect to work, they had to start and stop right at the edge of the 1/4″ seam allowance. There isn’t a lot of room for error and curves are error prone, so I made the blocks a little bit bigger than 4.5″ and trimmed them down putting the 1/4″ seam allowance right in line with the edge of the curve. I used my Creative Grids Circle Savvy ruler (no affiliation, just love my Creative Grids). This ruler is super cool because you make both sides of the drunkard’s paths like I did, you can make half circles, and you make whole circles in a wide variety of sizes by simply changing how you set up the fabric before you cut it. It is kind of genius really. Sadly, I can’t say for sure which measurement I used. I think it was 7.5 + seam allowance + a little extra to give me room to trim. If you’re thinking about making this, try one bird with scrap fabric and make sure I gave you the right numbers!
The Orange Peel wings were much easier to work with. I made a template using my Circle Savvy ruler. I laid my ruler on top of a piece of card stock paper. Using a mechanical pencil, I drew a line in the 7.5″ slot from the edge to edge (without seam allowance). I then turned my ruler 180 degrees, matched up the edges I had drawn with the edges on the ruler and drew the bottom line. I cut out the template then used it to cut fabric slightly larger than the template and turned the edges around the template.
There are places in this quilt where the seams get thick! Primarily in the large crowd of birds where four drunkards paths come together along with a turned orange peel. It was never an issue for my machine, but I think they would stand out if I had used a super lightweight batting. I dont think they are super obvious with the Quilter’s Dream Deluxe cotton batting (also not affiliated, I just love my Quilter’s Dream!)
Whoa nellie! Talk about putting my inner Doxstar to use. I quilted all of these lines free motion using the grid created by the piecing. I eyeballed it and it is all kinds of wonky. There are wobby lines, stitch length differences and several less than perfect starts and stops. Know what? I LOVE IT that way. I’m so glad I didn’t spend a zillion years worrying about everything being perfect and just went with it. Perfect lines and perfect stitches would have been great, but the organic look speaks to the quilt and the maker in a lovely way.
Let me tell you about the weight of this quilt. It is perfect. The density of quilting is apparently right on time for this particular batting. I am loving balling up with the quilt and will likely use it for many years to come.
See it in Person!
Doxstar’s Flight will be hanging with the Harry Potter quilt at the NC Quilt Symposium in June 2 – 5. at Peace college in Raleigh. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and say hello them and other really great quilts too!