Turkey Quilt: A 2019 100 Day Project

January 12, 2019

Last year was my first time attempting a 100 Day project, and I love the resulting quilt, Resonance.  This year I am doing another 100 Day Project, but I am going with something with a more specific design.  I have been wanting to make a turkey quilt for quite awhile now (keep reading to find out why), so the 100 day time frame seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a go.  This is the project design that I have been working on:

I like to start my 100 Day projects on January 1st because (except for leap years) my birthday falls on the 100th day of the year, and it feels perfect to sandwich this type of project between two key dates.  I have spent the first twelve days on the design process.  I will spare you every process photo, but here is an overview of the design process.

I wanted to give the turkey a certain amount of formality, so I spent a lot of time looking at art books, and ultimately decided to place the turkey in an archway with a checkerboard floor.  The inspiration for this design ranges from Renaissance paintings to 20th century Rock and Roll posters.  Most of the design process has taken place on AutoCad Lt.

After looking at a lot of turkey images, I sketched out a large wild turkey.

I took a photo of the hand drawn sketch and loaded it into AutoCad to trace over the main lines and insert the turkey into the archway.

For the semi circles surrounding the arch, I designed a bunch of somewhat formal designs to surround the turkey- I like to think that they all feel a bit feathery to coordinate with the turkey tail.

Once these designs were complete, I inserted them into the semi-circles around the arch.  Each these motifs are unique- there are no semicircle repeats in the quilt!  I then finished off the line drawing of the design.

By now, I’m sure you are all saying, “That’s nice, but why the turkey?”  There is actually a good answer to that.  When I was in the primary grades of elementary school, we colored what I am sure was at least 1,000 turkey coloring sheets throughout the month of November.  At one point there was a coloring sheet that had no specific directions, so I decided to take some artistic license.  I colored a gorgeous blue turkey with every shade of blue in my 64 color box of crayons.  As you may have guessed, this did not go over well.  I was informed in no uncertain terms that turkeys are brown, and apparently have tail feathers that alternate red, yellow, and orange.  From that point on, I never colored anything a color different than what it was “supposed” to be until I entered adulthood.  (Come to think about it, maybe my dislike of brown fabric stems from this incident!)  Since that time I have always had a nagging feeling that I am doing something wrong when I make recognizable objects an unrealistic color, even though I know logically that it’s really an ok thing to do.  My big hope is that the process of making this quilt will help to squelch those inner demons!

So here is the finished design again.  It will be constructed with a combination of traditional and foundation paper piecing along with a generous amount of appliqué.  The actual turkey will have a lot more detail once it goes into fabric.  I plan on using the turkey drawing as the general outline, and then getting creative from there.


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  • Reply
    Nikki DeRamus Moshier
    January 13, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Wow…..and I mean that in a wonderful way! Happy that your turkey is going to be Not Brown.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2019 at 12:20 pm

    This is a beautiful design. I love all the colors and the different shapes. The shape of the arch reminds me of an old-style juke box that was in a local restaurant when I was growing up. I can’t wait to see this when you unveil the final quilt.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    I hear you about how damaging thoughtless comments can be. No harm is intended, but it is lasting nonetheless. Kudos to you for working through the effects with this exercise, and thank you for the post. It will resonate with more than a few of your readers.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    I love the way your blue turkey is literally taking center stage!

  • Reply
    Shasta Matova
    March 12, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Oh that looks beautiful! Was it a child or an adult that told you that the colors were wrong?

    • Reply
      March 24, 2019 at 9:11 pm

      It was the teacher- I was never a kid to take my peers too seriously!

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