Funny Traditions

Thanksgiving. 1970 something. Growing up in a family of nine children and two very creative parents, we used just about everything we could get our hands on to create art. On this special occasion, we collected a variety of bottles, newspaper, starch, paint and a few embellishments. I fondly remember my mom blowing out innards of countless chicken eggs we used for the head of each character.

We laughed, gafawwed and had an occasional, “Dad!” as our artistic father created a female using egg shells…well…you know where.





I decided to take part recently in a local quilt shop contest with a November theme. After trying different designs, it came to me. The turkey! I will recreate my silly turkey into a quilted wall art piece. And so the journey began. I pulled my tattered and worn turkey out of the November holiday box and took a photo of him sitting


 on our smoker. After much futzing to recreate this same image with fabric, I didn’t like how the design looked.  I added trees behind him instead of the smoker using several stacks of material from my “weird fabric” box. Desiring a more realistic effect because, you know, turkeys dressed in costume are realistic…I cut the maple leaf shapes on fall-colored batik fabric and chain stitched the leaves together. This not only saved time, but they naturally laid on top of each other making stitching on the image that much easier.


Once the background was done, it was time to sew the turkey. I wanted his face to be the focal point. I sketched part of a photograph that I found on a free photo site (#1), labeled and numbered each section (#2) and made several copies on my copier. Using labeled pieces that I cut from one of the copies, I placed, then traced them onto muslin in pencil (#2). Using another labeled copy of the turkey sketch, I cut each section and used them as the template for the fabric. I then began creating each section with light, medium and darker fabric (#3).

#1   #2 


Once each piece was cut, I placed it onto the muslin sketch (#4)


I sewed each similar color at the same time starting with the outside of the face and working my way inside until the face was complete (#5)


I cut out the image and machine appliquéd it to the rest of the turkey (#6).



The final product, “I am NOT a Turkey!”, turned out like this:

This guy was a blast to make. The voting is all of November. I hope I get a few votes. Better yet, lots of laughs.

Happy quilting!

Heidi (a.k.a. Sugarplum)

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