Modern Applique Illusions: Chicken Scratch

Hi everyone! I hope you are all settled in for relaxing weekends. I get to sew all day with my fellow St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild members, which I’ve been looking forward to tremendously. Today, head over to the Pellon blog–Erin Sampson interviewed me about the book and my history as a quilter. She also arranged for me to be able to give away packages of 805 Wonder Under, my favorite fusible web, throughout this tour–thanks, Erin!


Today’s quilt is Chicken Scratch. It features a more subtle use of one point perspective, relying solely on the fact that objects closer to a viewer appear to be larger than objects that are farther away. The appliqué chicken that seems “closest” to the front of the quilt is actually about seven times larger than the one that seems farthest away. Despite this, this is actually a simple quilt to tackle–only five appliqués makes for a relatively quick project, and they are perfect for my embroidery-finished appliqué technique!

11067, York, FA14

Chicken Scratch also features my “Receding Quilting” technique, which is a way of measuring and marking the horizontal lines of quilting so that they get steadily further and further apart as they approach the bottom of the quilt. Because forms also seem to get closer together as they recede, this creates the illusion of a receding ground plane that the chickens are standing on top of.

This quilt was born of my desire to make a modern quilt using reproduction fabrics. I have long had a soft spot for 1930s reproduction feed sack prints, but I tend to like my quilts more minimal that the types of quilts that usually feature them. Inspired by my grandma, who grew up during the Great Depression and whose family raised chickens, this quilt combines reproduction feed sacks of varying scales to enhance the illusion of depth.

I found the perfect chicken wire print to back the quilt.


Of course I needed to add a couple of large hexie flowers on the back in a nod to the classic Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilts that often feature these types of prints, and to my own grandma, of course.


Make sure to leave a comment below to be entered to win a package of scraps left over from making this quilt, as well as a package of Pellon 805 Wonder Under! I’ll draw a winner at random in three days (so, Nov. 18 at midnight). And congratulations to Pauline, who is the winner of the Grand Canal scrap bag giveaway! I’ll be emailing you soon, Pauline, with all of the details.

Remember to also head over to the Pellon blog to read even more about Modern Appliqué Illusions!

11/10: C&T Publishing
11/11: Jenifer Dick/42 Quilts 
11/12: Debbie Grifka/Esch House Quilts 
11/13: Kathy Mack/Pink Chalk Studio 
11/14: Shannon Brinkley/Bottle Tree
11/15:  Pellon 
11/16: Kevin Kosbab/Feed Dog Designs
11/17: Generation Q Magazine
11/18: Krista Robbins/Sew What’s Cooking?
11/19: Fat Quarter Shop/Jolly Jabber
11/20: Violet Craft 
11/21: Kristy Daum/St. Louis Folk Victorian
11/22: Cindy Lammon/Hyacinth Quilt Designs
11/23: Modern Quilts Unlimited

Thanks again for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!!


10 thoughts on “Modern Applique Illusions: Chicken Scratch

  1. Thanks for giving so much detail about Chicken Scratch – it really helped me understand your use of scale in the size of the appliqués and fabrics and also the receding quilting technique.
    This would be a wonderful book to have!

  2. Beautiful quilt! I love chickens and yours are fun! It’s been so interesting learning more about each of your quilts. Enjoy the hop!

    Thank you for a super giveaway and a chance to win.


  3. Love the chickens……….collect unusual “sculptures” of them. My favorite is one made from 30’s dress fabric that my Mom might have used. I think the great success, beyond the fun prints, is the quilting which gives this piece the perspective of the chickens walking around in the yard, pecking at the ground.

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