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The Tawny Frogmouth

How’s your week peeps? I’ve had a bit of a crazy one. There’s so much going on here that I’m having trouble keeping everything in my head. I’m always one for writing a list (how good are lists??) but the list was three pages long so I’ve had to make sub-lists. I’m sure at some point after all the Big Woods BOM development and pattern waiting is done, and Tula leaves, and the Stop, Thief! BOM is finished and the retreat is organised and fully booked - then I’ll have some time off. One does these things to oneself though so I don’t expect sympathy :D

I have had some exciting arrivals though!! All four of my new books are FINALLY here and ready to ship! They look great which is a huge relief as this time I have photographed them myself for the first time, which was nerve wracking to say the least. They are all available to order here at the website, and they all come with access to the video tutorials that go with the programs.

The other exciting thing is that the Liberty storage cubes are FINALLY back in stock!! They have been stuck on the docks due to a strike for weeks and weeks and doing my head in. If you’re waiting on one, just as soon as they’re all unpacked you are the first to have yours shipped I promise! And if you haven’t ordered one, please do that asap if you want one because once they’re gone, they’re gone and I don’t know if we will get them again. They are absolutely beautifully made, and each uses a different colour of Liberty of London fabric. They’re SO SO handy for your EPP or applique or whatever else you can think of to carry around in them. I use mine every day.

This week to take a moment away from the crazy, I carved out a moment to start something I’ve been planning for a while. Every once and a while, in the myriad of things I collect for design inspiration is something that just won’t go out of my head, and this project is exactly that.

We have a little local magazine here on our peninsula called The Tawny Frogmouth. 

Its kind of an indie situation, with local news, and surfing news, and articles from local groups and organisations. Every month they have a local artist design the cover.

The cover for November 2023 designed by an artist called Tristan Grindrod. You can find him on Instagram @houseoftryst. I was standing in the cafe down the road waiting for my latte one morning, and there it was, jumping off the cover of The Tawny Frogmouth. I grabbed a copy to take home with the intention of tearing the cover off and putting it in one of my scrap books, but somehow it needed more attention than that and after pondering it on the kitchen bench, the fridge and finally the design wall downstairs, I spent a few days getting my courage up to email Tristan and ask him if I could adapt his design for a quilt.

This is something that a lot of people don’t do. I’m not going to sell this quilt as a pattern (WAY too complicated) - its being made for my house, and if it works out how I want it to, I may well enter it in shows. I won’t make money out of it, but it isn’t entirely mine. Even though I am adapting the design to make it suitable to make from fabric, and changing the size, and changing the colours, its still Tristan’s design. I did not come up with the concept, nor the original artwork. And so I asked his permission, because good boys and girls were taught to ask before they take something that isn’t theirs.

Lucky for me Tristan was right into the idea of another artist playing with his work, he checked my quilts out and now we are Insta buddies and members of the mutual admiration society :D And I’ve spent a few months in between things, playing with his owl and how to make mine. 

I can hear a bunch of you saying in relief - so THAT’s what a Tawny Frogmouth is, an OWL! Well, not really. Most Aussies I think would refer to them as being an owl, but they aren’t, they’re actually more related to Nightjars. Tawnies are some of my favourite Australian birds. They are nocturnal, and incredibly difficult to spot in the wild as they camouflage to look like a tree branch while they roost. I have several Tawnies that live in the bush around my house, and one in particular who likes to sit on the branch right outside my bedroom window and call. They make a lovely low repeated hooting noise that means “I’m at home and safe in my bed” to me.

The quilt will end up at around 1m tall by 80cm wide, maybe a little larger. Not enormous, as I’m planning to hang it on a wall by our dining table. 

To begin designing the quilt version of this, I first used a light box to trace Tristan’s drawing with tracing paper. As his version isn’t intended to be stitched together, I then moved some lines and straightened and simplified some things. I moved some “seams” around so that things would match up when they were sewn together.

Once I had it the way I wanted it, I had the drawing blown up to the size of the actual quilt at a copy shop. That made the lines thick, but that is fine for the colour plan for the quilt. Im using different colour Frixon highlighters (so that I can erase them if I put something in the wrong place) to mark where the different tones of colour will go so that I have a reference when I start to piece. B stands for background.

I’ve sort of planned the colours out, but only loosely. I want to just work along with the quilt and see where it wants to go. I use the ReColor app (if you do my BOM programs you will be familiar with this!) to pop a few colours in and make sure I’m on the right track. 

I traced the design out again from the large version using a fine line pen, and that version is what I will make my templates from. The lines are fine