This article was featured on Nora Murphy Country House on April 20th 2015.
The Country House lifestyle is all about comfort and joy, and one of the most comforting things I can imagine is a beautifully handmade quilt made up of something very personal – your child’s favorite tees. The idea of their life up to now documented in a blanket is an amazing thing. One look at Barb’s inspired handiwork and you can’t help but smile (followed closely by the feeling of joy!).
Barb Patrick is the founder and designer of Bitty Birdie Design, in Newtown, Connecticut. The name, ‘Bitty Birdie’ comes from Barb’s love of birds, and envisioning a bird motif as part of her logo. And having a name that starts with the letter ‘B’ made it a done deal.
Barb’s quilting business/obsession started quite simply – thanks to her mom. About fifteen years ago, as a stay-at-home mom with 2 small boys at the time (born 21 months apart), Barb was pretty much “bored out of her mind” (as she honestly puts it) and knew she needed a hobby. Never having sewn a thing in her life, she turned to her mom who simply said, “I will show you how to sew a straight line.” So, Barb purchased her first sewing machine – a basic Sears model – and knew that she would either never touch it or become completely obsessed! (Thank goodness it ended up being the latter.)
A hobby started by exclusively making baby quilts, has grown to a beloved business that now includes: baby quilts (still admittedly her favorite), appliquéd onesies, T-shirt quilts, clothing memory quilts, pillows, and pennant banners. Barb’s studio is nestled into her gorgeous 18th-century Connecticut country house, complete with a creamy whitewashed paneled fireplace, built-in shelving, and plenty of light streaming in through multiple windows. The minute I stepped into Barb’s house, and then into her studio, I could see why her work is just so “happy”.
Barb’s love of whimsy comes through in the colorful and graphic fabrics that are either stacked or heaped in her space. She loves bold colors in general, but sticks with a softer palette for baby quilts. The balance of color and varied scale combinations are of utmost importance to her.
Just as Barb’s love of quilts came to her when she naturally needed them for her babies, my love of quilts is renewed with a very special T-shirt quilt Barb will create for my son Conor as he graduates from high school and leaves for college in a matter of months. I can’t think of a more heartfelt gift a mom can give to her son.