Thursday, March 15, 2018

Postcards are from Sweden, chickens are from Key West

This week is the Step 3 check in on MMM Quilts for the Postcards from Sweden Quilt Along. We should have our triangles all sewn together and started piecing them into the top. Check and check. There is a possibility that more progress has happened, but that's neither here nor there. Although if a body just HAPPENED to be further along, a body need not feel guilty about that. As my friend Rose says, "Guilt and Quilt may rhyme but they don't go together!"

Oo, look! A stained glass shot! I like seeing how all the seams are pressed in opposite direction in this photo. Because I can't see the inside of the seams anymore, possibly because of further progress on this quilt that shall remain unmentioned.

Now here's a completely finished quilt that I don't feel guilty about at all. I pieced the top for this back in June of last year, so it was officially a UFO for quite a long time. When our visit to Key West was extended another few days, I figured I could quilt up one last top and ship it off the boat. I asked my husband which UFO I should work on, and he said, "The chicken one, of course!"

What makes a chicken quilt the obvious choice in Key West? Why, the Key West Chickens, of course! Feral fowl are everywhere in this town, and we heard roosters crowing every day. One saucy rooster tag teamed with a sparrow to steal food right out of my hand, too. That one thought he was some kind of feathered star, or something.

We both decided that getting photos with the quilt and the chickens would be fun, but the chickens weren't very cooperative. We couldn't find any until we were literally walking up to the post office front door to mail the quilt to Happy Chemo, a Hands2Help charity.

Feral chickens aren't afraid of much, but a big piece of cloth flapping in the wind, held by a man with suspicious intentions, is one of those things. Sean would sidle up to a few chickens and slowly unfurl the quilt, then they'd scatter. This group cackled and scolded and ran away into the shadows, leaving us with just a few bad photos. But the other tourists were amused, at least.

Key West Chickens was quilted with free motion orange peels in the focal blocks, and a four lobed design in the hour glass blocks. The yellow part of the hour glass is baby chicks, and the red is fried drumsticks. The full life cycle of a chicken. 

I used a 40 weight yellow thread which gave me fits by shredding and breaking. I changed everything: new needle, different tension, new bobbin, but no avail. After two rows, I gave up and tossed the spool in the trash and switched to a slightly different shade of yellow, which quilted the rest of the piece with zero trouble. Have you had that happen, where a particular color just won't work in your machine? It's happened to me three times. I'm wondering if the different dyes affect thread strength.

One of the "bad" colors in my thread stash is my only spool of black. I wanted to use black in the border of this piece, so I gritted my teeth and tried it again, hoping it would cooperate this time. Nope. Shred, shred, break, break. What to do?? The next closest color was navy blue, so I decided to try that. And you know what? It looks fine. If you reeeeeeealllllly look closely, you can see that it's blue, not black. But mostly it's just completely invisible. For the record, I did wishbones in the border (ha! like on a roast chicken!) and you can only see them here on the back. You can also see the binding, which is fried eggs on red. It's a very silly themed quilt, and I hope it will make someone smile.

Here's a parting shot of Key West Chickens with a bit of boaty flavor. We've left Key West now and will be crossing the Straights of Florida to the Bahamas tomorrow, hooray! Next time I post will be from the Islands.


  1. Your chicken quilt is cute and I love your chicken quips! You were on a roll when you wrote this post, thanks for the giggle. As for the thread breakage, the man who services my sewing machines once told me that dark dyes can make thread weaker. Wouldn't explain the yellow one, but maybe the black. My current machines seldom have thread issues, but I had one years ago that gave me fits! So glad to have moved on from that machine. Have a lovely trip!

  2. You have the cutest story for this one! Never knew of feral chickens, but in Key West anything goes. And if thread breaks or knots and acts bad....I toss it, as it is not worth keeping. Have a wonderful fair sail and will wave to you :) wishful thinking.

  3. Your postcard from Sweden is beautiful! I can't wait to see the further progress

  4. love your stained glass postcard from Sweden quilt... looks like a box of gem stones.... I would love to have been watching you two trying to get a picture of the chicken quilt with the chickens.... lovely giggle this morning thank you...

  5. Feral fowl ! How wonderful . I. Least liked chickens , can't imagine them just being , well , free range to the point they are just about the place . I love your stained glass window . Did you do your homework thr night it was set ? 😇

  6. Your Post Cards from Sweden is gorgeous! Sorry you couldn't find any photo bombing feral foul, that would have been a very fun shot. Congrats on another fun finish. Smooth sailing to you.

  7. Bon voyage, Louise! You spent your extra Key West time wisely! Love your Postcards from Sweden and got a real charge from your chicken quilt.

  8. Your stories make me laugh girl!! Wishbones are appropriate:0 Yes I do think the more dye the harder it is to quilt with it. I think that is why white and lighter colors always have a better stitch quality to them than do darker colors. Sweden is looking mighty fine!

  9. Y'know, as I was slowly plugging along at my Postcards, and thinking of all the nifty tips you had given, I was wondering just how far along you were. Hmm. Anyway, it's lovely. I just don't get tired of looking at those colors! As for the chickens, which gave me quite a chuckle, I'd scatter too if I saw a quilt with wishbones and drumsticks, and eggs! It's such a cute quilt and I love the fun theme. I haven't done much quilting with black yet, so I'll have to watch for that.

  10. I’m laughing my head off. Of course those chickens kept running away! I’m sure those drumsticks, fried eggs and wishbones were pretty scary for them. I’m sure you provided lots of amusement for anyone walking by. What a fun, quirky quilt! (And I can’t wait to see your overachieving PFS quilt.) I hope you have a beautiful sail to the islands.

  11. Oh my, you have outdone yourself on the clever phrases, my dear. Feral fowl, feathered star (ha! ha! I followed the link), wishbone quilting. You are having waaaay too much fun! Hee! Hee!

  12. The chicken quilt was the perfect choice! If I have problem threads I run beads of liquid silicone down the spool and give it a go. It works every time for me. I use the little bottles of "Sewers Aid".

    I just finished piecing the Postcards top too and loved hanging it for the stained glass look. Yours looks beautiful. Aren't the colors fun?

  13. Oh your chicken story started my day with a smile. I can just see you two "wrestling" with those chickens. :) :) I LOVE all the fabric in that one and it's sure to make a happy H2H quilt donation. I LOVE the picture of your postcards in the window.....Hope your day is great!!!

  14. Congratulations on finishing Key West Chickens!
    And your Postcard from Sweden quilt is gorgeous, great
    My daughter lived for a while in Key West, husband military,
    And we often saw chickens in the background as they face timed
    with us.
    When you get back I have some charm squares maybe you could
    use for some donation quilts? Let me know when you're back and
    if you're interested.

  15. You're in the great wide ocean I think as I type this...or maybe you've made landfall in the Bahamas. Glad you got the 'white' go-ahead. What a cackle (not a hoot, get it) of a quilt!! I know all too well the quirkiness of those Key West chickens, and I just love the life cycle you've displayed down to the wishbones, 'snort' of the quilting. I need to hop over to Sarah's H2H post, bye!

  16. Funny chicken story! Nice progress on your Postcards quilt!

  17. Quilt and Guilt don't go are an inspiration to me to keep going. Love the chickens.

  18. What a fun post! I wish you had a video of that photo shoot!


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