The redwing blackbird from my photo was a fun project, it finished quickly, like I thought it would, and I did not get bogged down with any complications. After choosing the hand dye for the background, I use Bali batiks for the leaves, an assortment of greens, starting with darker ones in the back, and lighter and brighter ones in front. I placed the fabric strips onto the enlarged sketch to preview them, I had added colored pencil, so I could tell the sky from the leaves. When placing the leaves onto the background, I used a clear plastic sheet, with the enlarged sketch drawn on with Sharpie. See the shiny photograph.
I found a nice piece of black fabric with a charcoal gray print of cats, that was perfect for cutting the wing for contrast. The brown for the cattails was a pin dot, and a beige calico print. I use raw edge applique as my basic technique, and apply all the pieces in place with a glue stick. I use a toothpick to slip glue under all the edges, especially the points.
The free motion quilting/applique is all done with rayon thread, the shine of the thread makes it a design element, rather than just blending into the fabric and disappearing. I used about 8 shades of green, from pale green, yellow-green, teal, olive, grass green etc... The blackbird was very simply outlined, with a few stitches to give the wings feather lines. The background is quilted in a spiral/curly cue pattern, flowing across the fabric, I used white rayon in the lighter areas, making it appear as cloudy, and light blue in the remainder. I love the clean look of this quilt, and the texture on the sky, the blackbird is definitely the focal point.