In case you didn’t know, Crows make me insane. They are loud and bossy, strident and demanding and can wake the dead on Saturday mornings when someone, who shall remain nameless, doesn’t refill the sunflower seeds in the wild bird feeder quick enough to suit them…and they are scary smart… Take my word for it, don’t do the research like I did or you will never again go your front door without fearing the day they rise up against us! Seriously folks, crows are smarter than your average bird and many of them are smarter than me on a typical Monday.
The crows that make me especially crazy are the two or three feathered fiends who swoop down onto our driveway, where puppy Théo likes to hang out to play with his squeaky toys. The role of Crow 1 is to distract him and get him barking like a mad thing, while Crow 2 and Crow 3 swagger about and sashay around, stomping madly on his squeaky toy until they find the sweet spot that makes the dang thing squawk. I AM NOT KIDDING. This really happens. I witnessed it almost every morning this week. Imagine the craziness if you can. A caw-cacophony (sigh…I cannnot help myself) of crows shrieking and flapping their wings chaotically, Théo yelping (or yodelling when he gets really worked up), Tigg, the older dog barreling around inside the house, throwing himself at the living room window all the while howling like he has come completely unhinged and a ridonculous sound that can only be described as “oinking” coming out of the squeaky toy. Whoever said retirement was boring certainly never stood outside my house in their pyjamas early on a Saturday morning, watching this madness ensue!
So to celebrate the looniness that is my life, I decided to make a “Crows” quilt. So far I’ve only got a few of the impish creatures made, but OMG they are all as cute as a button and I can already see the finished quilt clearly in my mind. (I love it when that happens). I confess I was inspired by a bird block that I saw on Pinterest, which I followed back to The Patchery Menagerie so I could give the designer credit. Her name is Lynne Tyler and she has a great website that you should definitely go visit. Her pattern for “Liberated Birds” is not a freebie, but it is available for sale at a very reasonable price on her Etsy Shop by clicking here, should you be so inclined.
Naturally I wanted to put my own spin on a “bird” block, so I gathered my trusty pencil and graph paper and drafted up a very simple 6 1/2″ square unfinished block segment. It takes 4 segments to make one 12″ finished block. The pieces go together super quick and they are a hoot to make. Here is my 1st finished block.
Did I mention that this quilt is gonna be scrappy. Oh and and not all crows are black in my world.
Here is the materials list and cutting instructions for one crow segment
Scrappy is better! Use lots of low volume scraps
- 1 rectangle – 1 1/2″ x 6 1/2″
- 2 rectangles – 3″ x 3 1/2″
- 1 rectangle – 3 x 1″
- 1 rectangle – 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
- 1 square -3 1/2″
For the Crows.
- 1 – 3 1/2″ square bright or dark (white on black or blackish) fabric for body
- 1 -1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ rectangle contrasting print or tone on tone fabric
- 2 – 1 1/2″ squares of same contrasting print or tone on tone.
- Beak – Bright scrap of any color
- Legs – 2 strips of any dark or bright fabric 3″ x 3/4″
Crow Body Construction
Draw a line diagonally on the wrong side of each of the 1 1/2″ coloured squares. Place one square on the top left corner of the 3 1/2″ body square. Sew on the diagonal line as shown in the picture below.
Repeat using the other 1 1/2″ square. It goes on the lower left corner. Trim away the excess fabric. Flip the corners and press to make one Body unit.
Next draw a line diagonally on the 3 1/2″ background fabric square from top left corner to bottom right corner. Put this right sides together with the Body unit you just made, making sure that the diagonal line goes from the upper left corner to the lower right corner.
Next sew the 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ body rectangle to the left side of the HST body unit.
Beak/Background Rectangle Construction
Place the coloured beak scrap on the 2 1/2″x 3 1/2″ background rectangle. I wanted the beaks to be long and skinny, so check the picture below to see the angle I chose.
You of course can make your beaks any size you like…just make sure that the scrap is large enough that when you flip it over, it covers the corner. Press, flip the rectangle over and trim it back to 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″, as shown in the picture below.
Sew one leg scrap to the right side of one of the 3″ x 3 1/2″ background rectangles. Sew the other leg scrap to the left side of the other 3″ x 3 1/2″ rectangle. Sew the scraps together with the 3″ x 1″ rectangle in the middle.
All that’s left to do is sew the 1 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ background rectangle to the top of the Body Unit and the legs to the bottom. The legs segment will be a bit oversized, so trim the leg unit as necessary to square up the block to 6 1/2″.
Yay, you did it. Here is my example of a delightfully quiet crow.
You made a crow block segment. And I betcha you made it in a shorter time than it took to read this tutorial. Now go…get back to your sewing machine and do it all over again 3 more times to make a block like I did, or perhaps just make a row of them.
BONUS FACT: A group of crows is called a “murder” and I guarantee you will not be tempted to wreck havoc on these little guys. I’ll have to get back to you on the fate of the crows in my driveway if they continue to make my puppies crazy.
PS If you make a crow or two, I’d love you to post pics in the comments.
PS2. If you are a member of my “Bee Inspired” group online…you may be getting up close and personal with these guys in June!