My dad is a nature man and an avid birder. Not only does he love bird watching, he's incredibly good at it. He can spot a bird - by sight or sound - in the midst of a dense forest as if all the birds were just sitting around on bare limbs at eye level just waiting to be found. He also catalogs the birds that he sees in notebooks and with gorgeous pictures. Each year I look forward to the calendar that he and his wife Miki put together, filled with his best bird photos from the year.
When I saw this project in Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts, I knew that I had to make it for my dad and Miki. From the beginning, I knew that I wouldn't be able to make the queen-sized quilt in the book. Because it required making 30 needlepoint birds, I thought that it would take me more than a year. So I planned to make a full-sized quilt.
And then I planned to make a throw with 20 birds. Then 18 birds. Then 12. Then 9. Finally, 6. I hope my dad and Miki don't feel jipped, but I just completely underestimated the amount of time that it would take to needlepoint each of those birds (and the intensity of the callous that would form on my finger - I now know why people use thimbles!).
I dream of one day redoing the whole business and making the full queen-sized quilt. Maybe for Christmas in 10-20 years.
Even though they didn't get the big quilt that I originally hoped to give them, I think the finished product is beautiful and comfy. It's backed with a soft flannel, and Miki was cozying up underneath it within an hour!
I must also note that today is a particularly important day for this post because my dad had back surgery this morning. He's doing well, but there's still the recovery process to work through. I'm sure he'd appreciate any good thoughts being sent his way.