Happy Birdie!

This project was sheer fun, and, occasionally terrifying. I signed up for Helen Godden‘s class during last year’s HandiQuilter Virtual Academy in June of 2020. Now, I did watch some of the videos at the time, but I knew this project required more time than I had then. So, in the summer of fewer obligations, I am loving catching up on things put aside for when there are fewer deadlines. Since this was a once-and-done event, you can’t sign up for this but you can sign up for Helen’s classes on her website.

Before the class was even held, prepped the pattern from Helen and readied the fabric. This was my first mistake. The class list says unbleached muslin, but I am on an island in Maine, so I improvised. It was the beginning of the pandemic. I followed her instructions and traced the pattern with a sharpie! To say it was a difficult thing to make myself do, that would be an understatement. Unfortunately, I think the starkness of the project and other things in the project queue caused me to stare for months at this prepped project. Finally, in the summer of fewer sewing commitments, I decided I would tackle this project.

Handi Quilter Simple Sixteen (mine has the Little Buddy)

Helen taught the class on a sit-down HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen, but I did mine on Tabitha, my HandiQuilter Simple Sixteen on a frame. Now, this is good practice on a large machine; but for the purpose of precision, quilting this project on a domestic machine may have been smarter. The areas were kind of small, and I struggled.

However, I persisted and then turned to the painting of the fabric. You can do this before, but mine was painted after.

I did not have the Derwent Inktense pencils until recently, which, was also another part of the procrastination. The painting did help me get past my foibles and I grew to really love this piece.

The colors bled a little, due to the fabric not being unwashed muslin. I have not tried that, but Helen says she has no problem when she uses it. As I looked at a few other videos after completion of the project (before would have been better), I realized I used too much water. This was the rabbit hole I fell down over the past two weeks and I am really rather thrilled.

But, all in all I love it. This little bird is happy, and I am too. I learned a few things and I have a fun piece. I am guessing this will be in my husband’s space. He loves it so it can be his if he likes! I can definitely see doing more with these.

“Happy Birdie”
18″ x 18″
Hobbs Tuscany Wool Batting*
Quilting Threads: Aurifil 40/3 Black, Superior Omni Thread #3003, Decobob Grey (bobbin)
Derwent Inktense Pencils*

Coming Up on the Blog:
Destination QAL – 7/20 and 7/27
Tips and Tutorials on the 22 – 7/22

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  1. July 16, 2021 / 5:05 PM

    I have used Island Batik fabric with Inktense and I found the secret to prevent colours bleeding was to press it with a pressing cloth shortly after spraying the water on.
    I LOVE your bird! So pretty!

  2. July 16, 2021 / 6:20 PM

    Such a bright and cheery quilt! It sounds like you learned a lot, and I love that you made do with what you had on hand. Do you think you will do more with this technique in the future?

  3. July 16, 2021 / 6:46 PM

    This is adorable, Kathleen! I’ve never tried Inktense pencils, but I think they need to go on my list.

  4. July 16, 2021 / 7:00 PM

    That is a really fun little quilt. Yay for following through and finishing it. I haven’t worked with InkTense pencils, but I might have to at some point. I hope this makes you smile each time you see it!

  5. July 16, 2021 / 7:29 PM

    This has got to be one of the happiest birdies I have ever seen! He just makes me smile! No wonder your Hubby wants it! 🙂

  6. Gene Black
    July 16, 2021 / 7:54 PM

    I love using the Inktense pencils on fabric. You got great results. I don’t see any “bleeds” -it looks like loose painterly painting. I love the effect you got. It is really artistic.

  7. July 17, 2021 / 9:04 AM

    It’s beautiful Kathleen! It has a watercolor effect, which I love, and the stitching you did on it just makes it stunning. How wonderful your husband wants it. Nothing makes me happier than when someone wants something I made.
    We are almost ready to purchase a Simply Sixteen! I am very nervous about the cost, but my husband wants me to do it. We get a “free” light bar and free shipping through a local shop, plus the setup and training of course. If we do it, I’ll probably be picking your brain about all sorts of things!

  8. Brenda @ Songbird Designs
    July 17, 2021 / 9:06 AM

    Kathleen, this is fantastic! One of our guild members taught Helen’s technique with this little birdie for members of our guild, but we used the paints that Helen also uses. But in this video of hers that we followed, you painted it first and then quilted. Ours was only about an 8″ block size. I think the larger one would have been much more easy to quilt for me. I did use my domestic to quilt mine but I’m not very good at quilting on it unless it’s straight lines!! I love that you did the quilting first. I may have to give that technique a try as I do have the Inktense pencils!! You did a great job!

  9. Sue MacLeod
    July 17, 2021 / 12:41 PM

    What a cheerful bird! I like your project, sure looks like fun.

  10. July 17, 2021 / 1:52 PM

    Kathleen your little birdie is so cute and I’m betting there will be more projects using this fun technique in your future. I think you just added a “Must Do” to my list of wants!

    July 17, 2021 / 8:11 PM

    A beautiful piece. I’ve used PFD fabric, painted first and quilted after wards. Used a matte medium instead of water. I love the inktense color pencils…so bright.

  12. July 17, 2021 / 9:43 PM

    WOW WOW! I am in LOVE!!! I want to DrEAMi right NOW!! Maybe I should go look at some of Helen’s YouTube stuff and take a class…. nope not for one more week, as I have one more commitment to meet on July 22. And then…. You did such a terrific job and you have intrigued me completely!

  13. July 18, 2021 / 11:14 AM

    What a fun little quilt, Kathleen! Kudos on completing this project.

  14. July 18, 2021 / 2:05 PM

    Oh Kathleen, this painted bird is so striking. She has so much sass…I love her. She definitely struts her stuff.

  15. Vicki in MN
    July 20, 2021 / 9:02 AM

    Yes you did a fantastic job, so fun! I have done about 5 minutes of inktense pencils and thought it was fun. I just need more time! So you are supposed to use unbleached and unwashed muslin? I remember reading and/or watching her videos but can’t remember what to do now.

    • July 20, 2021 / 9:04 AM

      Yes, that is what she suggests. I haven’t tried that. There are also those who iron pretty quickly to set it and prevent the run. I suggest getting one of the water filled brushes to use, more control over the water. I am going to do a test for colorfastness too with another little project….just to see how it works. Not sure they are for constant washing.

  16. Helen
    July 25, 2021 / 5:01 PM

    I absolutely love it! I have the Intense pencils for over a year and still frozen in my spot and have not tried it but I think I will be brave next week. I got nothing to loose and if comes out half as good as yours, I will be so happy! Thanks for sharing your beautiful work!

  17. lapaylor
    August 29, 2021 / 8:30 PM

    he’s so happy and the paint is more vibrant than mine was. Love the process and your quilting

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