Piecing a Turkey

I have been wanting to start something new in the studio but trying not to – – – I do have a lot of UFO’s. Then I came across this turkey pattern that I have had forever. This certainly is turkey season and an appropriate time to work on him.

Turkey pattern

The photograph of the completed project (as the title says!) shows a wild turkey, who has some black and white areas and some browns. I have a lot of browns left over from various Colorado quilts and really wanted to use them. So I started a little online research pertaining to turkey breeds. It turns out that there are some spectacularly colored birds. Along the way I discovered that the story of Benjamin Franklin wanting the National Bird to be a turkey is a myth. Here is quite a fun article about the topic with an excerpt from Ben himself weighing in on the “character” of a bald eagle!!!

But getting back to the turkey breeds, I think my favorite is the White Holland, but I don’t want to try to piece him…so I have chosen the Bourbon Red. He is a lovely guy with lots of brown in his body and white tips on his wings and tail fan. We’ll see how that looks. {Perhaps this turkey will end up being a special breed only found on the shores of Lake Robinson.}

This is a turkey I saw when I was at Sauder Village some years ago. He is a black turkey but that name does not do him justice. The many colors in his feathers were absolutely iridescent in the hot Summer sun. When I went over to the enclosure, all the turkeys were inside. I was disappointed, but then they started coming out. This guy walked over to me and fanned out his tail. Puffing up all those feathers makes a noise {!!!) perhaps like a feather fan opening, a p-f-f-f-f. Those guys absolutely knew how amazing they were.

Sauder Village turkey

This guy walked by me and swung his head. Look at his snood! Did you know that thing is called a snood? Here’s a guide to the parts of a turkey. I discovered that the red stuff is called caruncle, not the wattle. The wattle is right underneath the chin. {There will be a test on this next Thursday.}


Back to the task at hand. The packet includes a paper piecing pattern and the directions indicate that I was to use the thick white paper to piece on. That will be unpleasant to do, so I am transferring the pattern on to freezer paper, as I piece each area.

Freezer paper pattern


I wanted to start piecing the head and caruncle, but decided to “back into” the design and work on the feet. I thought they might be red or orange, but they are a beige color. Unlike the pattern shown, I want to have grass and sky and picked out some fabrics that might work. I have also sub divided some of the background areas so that I can use more fabrics.

And here are his feet and some grass! This is so fun.

Turkey feet


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