Two Crows on a Log Cabin

I love ravens and crows.

They are incredibly intelligent birds, forming close relationships within their flock (or “murder” as a flock of crows is called.) I made this quilt in 2004-2005 while living in Illinois. There was a West Nile Virus epidemic at the time in that region. I remember coming across a dying crow while out for a walk in my neighborhood. Although I got close to it it was too ill to try to fly away. (I knew better than to try to save it and didn’t try to touch it. West Nile also makes people ill.) Even though I was right there his buddy stayed close by. Crow populations were decimated during that epidemic because when one crow would become ill it’s family members would bring it food and try to feed it thus becoming infected themselves. Sad, but touching as well.

As I made this quilt I did a lot of reading about these often maligned birds. I found their sense of humor and the lengths they will go for a good practical joke amazing. I read a story of a rescued bird that was living with people amusing itself by mimicking the sound of the ice cream truck, causing all of the neighborhood children to come rushing out to the street. Or another that about ran some chickens to death by exhaustion by mimicking the sound of the farmer’s wife calling them to come get their feed over and over again. There were many more stories but these are the two I remember.

When we moved to California I was stunned by the numbers of crows here. Every evening  during certain seasons they stream by in huge masses that fill the sky in each direction as far as you can see. This continues on and off though out the evening until sunset. We’ve joked that there are multiple  murders in our neighborhood every evening!

Many crows in a dark tree at New Orleans Squar...

Image via Wikipedia

The silhouettes of crows and branches in this quilt were my first experiment with felted wool. I bought a long wool dress coat at the thrift store and shrunk it in the laundry. I embroidered some wing details and the feet clutching the branches, but in black on black it is a bit hard to see.

This was also my initiation into the world of the log cabin block. I spent hours experimenting with different layouts… so versatile. When I hit upon this arrangement it reminded me of a sunset and led me to the idea of the appliques of crows and branches.

This quilt has a permanent home on the wall above our bed. I think it is one of my all time favorite creations.

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  1. ReStitch Me said,

    February 8, 2012 at 11:26 am

    There was a crow in our neighborhood that a man had nursed back to health–I’m not sure what was originally wrong. The crow’s name was Corky and he got into all sorts of mischief!
    I love the idea of applique over quilt blocks–a beautiful job, as usual!

    • February 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      I would have loved to have met Corky! I’ve read about crows and seen some great nature shows on them, but never really got to interact with one. The ones in my neighborhood are just too wiley for that!

  2. Dawn said,

    February 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm


    • February 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      Thank you, Dawn! Thanks also for the Facebook plug you gave me. Most of my traffic yesterday came from there. 🙂

  3. February 8, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    You are truly amazing!

  4. Maysem said,

    February 8, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    That is an extremely beautiful quilt…the details of the crows are amazing! Love how you included embroidery in there…a very nice touch. Also thanks for sharing all that information about crows…I didn’t know they had a sense of humor..LOL! I do have a thing for crows but in primitive craft form. I’ve made a couple of primitive crafts involving crows (one you may have seen on my blog..crows with pumpkins).

    I do remember the West Nile epidemic…sadly my parents’ neighbor’s 5 year old daughter passed away because of it:( Every year that my parents’ cherry tree would bring in a new growth of cherries, my mom would always recall the little girl coming over to eat off of the cherry tree. It’s a sweet but also sad memory.

  5. Camille said,

    February 8, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    You MADE this?! And you’re afraid of a little yeast?! 🙂 This is incredible. I’m terrified of my bobbin, though, so I can relate.

    • February 9, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Camille. I was terrified of my bobbin for the longest time too. We’re still not always on the best of terms, but we manage to work it out.

  6. May said,

    February 9, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Your work is simply lovely. I admire the detail and care that went into this. As a slap-dash girl myself I am in awe.

  7. Melanie said,

    February 10, 2012 at 9:48 am

    How lovely! Thanks for linking to Things I’ve Done Thursday!

  8. February 10, 2012 at 10:51 am

    These are great! I’d love to try this pattern. (Be sure to link back to my party to participate . thank you!)

    • February 10, 2012 at 11:23 am

      I’m so sorry I didn’t get the link back in! It was on my list to of steps do but I got called away and then just plumb forgot. I’m doing it now and then it will be there so I don’t miss your party in the future either. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. 🙂

  9. February 15, 2012 at 7:41 am

    So amazing! I wish I could quilt. You are very talented:) Thank you so much for sharing at Taking A Timeout Thursday!

  10. Sherry said,

    February 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Great idea! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!

  11. February 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

    So talented! And very interesting design, I love the modern take on the log cabin pattern. The crow stories are fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. Thanks for linking up to Refresh Your Nest Friday over on Making Lemonade.

  12. February 16, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    So beautiful. I remember when the crows left Illinois. It was eery. There was a large population where I lived, and it was like the next day they were all gone. It was say. I never really knew anything about crows so it was great learning about them. Your attention to detail in your work is evident. Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration at Sunday’s Best Par.tay!

  13. six sisters said,

    February 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Great ideas! We loved having you link up to our “Strut Your Stuff Saturday!” We hope to see you back next Saturday with more fun ideas! -The Sisters

  14. Amy Clark said,

    February 17, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Your quilt is Sweet! Absolutely Gorgeous. And I just loved your post it was funny and informative. Crows are beautiful birds. I think the fact that they eat carrion is why they have such a bad rap.

    • February 17, 2012 at 8:10 am

      Thanks for the compliment, Amy! Yea, the carrion thing… But imagine a world where carrion wasn’t taken care of by other critters.

  15. Natasha said,

    February 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Thanks for linking up to Serenity Saturday
    Hope to can join us again tomorrow


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