House Arrest Quilts: Day Two with Festive Chickadees

Today I want to feature an upcoming collection called Festive Chickadees by Jackie Robinson for Benartex Fabrics. I absolutely loved her previous collection called My Little Chickadee and used up just about every single piece of it. More on that later.

When I post with Benartex I call it Technique Tuesday. Here is the collection with one of the panels:

Festive Chickadees Fabrics
Here's a shot of the panel from the website. (I forgot to take a pic before I chopped it up).
Festive Chickadees panel
I had an idea. Then I changed my mind. Then I changed it again. I began by turning one of the 8 square motifs into a Cobblestone block. But I didn't like the two colors together.
Several of the small panels on my design board
I used my trusty seam ripper and started over. I decided I wanted a single color to surround four of the 8 square panels. I cut these squares to 6" x 6" (they will finish to 5-1/2" square). The outside strips were cut 2-1/4" x 6" and 2-1/4" x 9-1/2" for a 9" finished block.

Ripping out the dark strips
One important note about panels. The units are not square or perfect shaped rectangles. They are almost never printed accurately on the grain. That is just the nature of ANY fabric - it moves and is not perfect. You have to coax and tease the units to behave. You have to do some inventive stitching. Ask me how I know . . .

Then I brought in a portable design wall, moved all the blocks over, and played some more. Are you confused yet? But I'm getting closer!

You can see two of my eventual 9" blocks with the green and black strips. The rectangle panel (there are two) I cut to 7-1/2" x 12". You will see this later in this post with beautiful cream and gold strips.

Rearranging the panels; adding a birdhouse
I always knew I wanted to add a birdhouse or two so the chickadees could have someplace to take shelter in the cold weather. This is my Beginner's Birdhouse from my Big Birdhouse Bonanza Set. (There are 10 large paper pieced birdhouses in a 22 page pdf - in 10" and 12" heights).

Let's see a few steps on my birdhouse piecing. This is foundation pieced and there are 2 sections. I stitched the patches onto the paper for the main body of the birdhouse.

The back of the top of the birdhouse. Finishes to 6-1/2" x 10".
Patch #4 is the roof:

Stitched the roof on
Pressed roof up:
Roof pressed, ready for the two blue sky triangles
Have to trim the two red edges of the roof, leaving 1/4" for seam allowance.

Trimming red roof from the back side (written side of the pattern)
Now I'm ready for the sky triangles:
Sky triangles cut oversized, ready to be added
Pressed and ready to trim, using the pattern lines:
Trimming birdhouse, leaving 1/4" seams around all sides
Adding the bottom:
Two birdhouse parts
You can see what I did with another set of panels last year. They are the Benartex collection called Home Grown by Nancy Halverson. Check out the blog post to see four of my birdhouses. Or you can just look at the quilt here!

The Birds and the Bees at Home
And here is my final solution with these adorable Festive Chickadees panels and fabrics. Various sizes of blocks and I made them fit. Some normal math, a little irregular math. I've been doing this for 30 years and I'm not afraid. I honestly wasn't aiming for such a big quilt (43" x 48"), but some little child will be thrilled with this once I quilt it.

Festive Chickadees Quilt: 43" x 48"
I know I will be playing with this collection for a good while. It's just that it's so rich and beautiful and fun and Jackie's work is fabulous! Here is something I put together yesterday with that border print. A little Twisted Hexagon Chickadee. You've seen this block here several times in the past. I just couldn't resist. I have more in the works. This is a quick block to make (no y-seams).

Twisted Hexagon block
Hope you enjoyed the show. I'll be back with more, you can bet!

Don't forget to check out the 22 page pdf of my Birdhouse Bonanza pattern with 10 large birdhouse patterns for foundation piecing. Chickadees need a place to snooze!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you. We know that most of this is the beauty of the fabrics. They do all the work!

  2. Lovely fabric and love the ideas you put to use....thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks, Betty. Sometimes I struggle with my fabric and then stop and just listen to what they want. Then it all works out!

  4. Jackie R. always has such pretty prints and fabric themes. Your twisted hexagon block is perfect to show off a wonderful focus print.


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