Island Batik Ambassador Spotlight: Brenda Alburl, Songbird Designs

It’s time to introduce another wonderful member of the Island Batik Ambassador family! Brenda Alburl, the creative mind behind Songbird Designs, has been quilting and sewing most of her life. She discovered quilting and sewing as a child, being taught by her grandmother to enjoy needlework. She would watch and help her grandmother draft patterns on cardboard boxes from her grandparents’ country store and stitch up quilts using feed sack fabrics from livestock feed! When her daughter was young, Brenda took a “real” quilting class and was hooked again! She continues to try new techniques to hone her quilting skills and enjoys designing her own quilts using the Electric Quilt software.

We asked Brenda a few questions about her creative background. Let’s see what she said!

Island Batik: What was the driving force behind your decision to start blogging or engaging on social media?

Brenda: I’ve had a website for my embroidery designs since 2009, which was initially set up as a way to sell those. When I retired I became more interested in quilting and followed a few bloggers in the beginning and decided it was something I would enjoy. I love sharing with others on social media and hopefully inspire someone to try something new.

What inspires your design process?

Mostly the fabric and the purpose of the project I’m making, but also learning from others.

What were your beginner mistakes in quilting?

What were your beginner mistakes in quilting? Oh, where do I begin?! Of course, the ¼ inch seam, cutting fabric with scissors until I learned of the rotary cutter and mat, trying to do it all in one day!

Triangle Illusion, May 2022. Made with Island Batik Wondrous collection. Read more about the quilt here.

What do you love most about quilting, and why? What’s your least favorite part of the process?  

I love most all parts of the quilting process except making binding and stitching it down, though I’m enjoying it more than I used to. If I had a least favorite, I think it would be making pieced backing.

Is there a block or pattern you find yourself making over and over again? 

Any star block!

What do you do that you hope the “quilt police” never find out about?  

Sometimes I glue my bindings in place until I have time to stitch them down!

Pink Fans Forever, January 2022. Made with Island Batik Precious Pink Basics. Read more about the quilt here.

Do you have any creative organization tips?  

I think I need my hubby to build me a 60 x 60 building with LOTS of cabinets! I do have a metal cart with a wooden top and wire shelves underneath that we cut down. It is handy to roll up next to my machine with my iron and pressing mat on it. It also has hooks to hang my embroidery hoops.

What is your sewing peeve?

UNsewing!

Amalfi Coast, 2022. Thread-painted art quilt, made with the Amalfi Purple Aurifil color builder set. Read more about the quilt here.

Do you have a favorite quilt that you have made? Why is it your favorite? 

Besides the Lone Star from our December blog hop, my favorite is Spring Awakening, a quilt I made for our guild fundraiser a few years back. It is a favorite because I incorporated my digitized embroidery designs (butterflies) and added crystals as well.

What is your favorite notion or gadget that you use every time you sew?

My Alpaca wool pressing mat – love that thing!

Window to My Quilting World, Island Batik Ambassador New York Beauty Blog Hop, 2022. Made with the fabric from Island Batik Woodcut Blossoms collection.
Read more about the quilt here.

Do you have a pet that “helps” you sew?  

Yes, my 70 lb part-Aussie rescue dog often lies in the studio or the quilt cave with me as I work.

If you could choose an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I would love to travel the US in a very comfortable RV and visit every quilt shop along the way!

Be sure to follow Brenda on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to her blog to see what she makes with Island Batik fabric this year!

To see the whole 2023 Island Batik Ambassador team, please visit: https://islandbatik.com/2023-ambassadors/

Stay tuned as we introduce you to more talented Island Batik Ambassadors and let us know in the comments below what else you want to ask Brenda!

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