Orizuru – An Origami Crane Mini Quilt

Talking with my friends recently at lunch at my house, I was showing them my Sakura Tsuki Art Quilt saying I made it during my ‘Japanese phase’.  I did a whole month of Japanese Inspired posts last February, including quilting, gardening, tablescapes and recipes with a Japanese inspired theme.  Carin started laughing and said “aren’t you STILL in a Japanese phase?”  I had to laugh too, as I realized she was right. I still crave Japanese food.  I got all those Asian fabrics, and started the Teacups Quilt Along just so I could use them.  Then I ran across a charming paper pieced block.  Alyce (pronounced Ah-lease) at Blossom Heart Quilts did a paper pieced quilt block of an origami crane that I just fell in love with.  The price is really inexpensive, just $3 for the pattern that includes cranes looking both left and right.  Click on Tsuru Crane Paper Piece Pattern to get it from Craftsy.  I ordered it and got out some Asian fabrics.  I colored in the pattern and the fabric key too. The pattern has squares and rectangles to cut to make it easy to do several at a time.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

Since this isn’t my pattern, I won’t show the step by step, but I have done a post on Basic Paper Piecing that will show you how.  The first one done, I thought the value of the background was too similar to the crane fabric.  But I was impressed with the crispness of the design, and the accuracy on how it went together.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

So I started over and made another one with a white background.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

I really liked it, so I made a second one facing the other way.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

Then like eating potato chips, I couldn’t stop.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

Three wasn’t enough for a wall hanging, so I made one more.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

I love these!!  With the darker second fabric, the contrast and shading is perfect.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

So now, how to arrange the cranes?  Top row facing left and bottom facing right?

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

Or both rows facing each other?

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

Or top row facing right and bottom row facing left?

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

Or maybe all facing the outer edge?

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

Ultimately, after playing with even more arrangements, I decided on top row facing each other and bottom facing away.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

I put the first border on one side, then immediately had to rip it out as I hadn’t paid enough attention and clipped a corner off one wing.  I really wanted this little quilt to have my very best effort.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

Looking at the fabric for the outer border, I liked the lighter motif better than the darker.  This was two sections of the same fabric, which meant fussy cutting the borders.  OK, I can do that.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

I arranged each border so the flowers were in the center of the strip.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

Tsuru is the word for crane, and putting Ori in front means folded, like Origami means folded paper.  Orizuru is the Japanese word for origami cranes, so that is what I will call the wall hanging as it reminds me of the Japanese legend of making 1000 origami cranes to receive a wish from the gods or happiness and eternal good luck.  The quilting plan I had in mind was quite extensive.  I’ll show you that soon.

Paper Pieced Cranes Orizuru at From My Carolina Home

If you are a beginner at paper piecing, the book Show Me How To Paper Piece by Carol Doak is a great resource to add to your library.  For the foundation paper, you can use lightweight newsprint papers, June Taylor Perfect Foundation Papers, or  Carol Doak’s Foundation Papers. Thank you for using my affiliate links when you can.  If you are more of a video learner, Craftsy has some good classes and patterns on sale now – Paper Piecing on Craftsy. Check out the Carol Doak video Mastering Foundation Piecing that includes 8 video lessons plus an ebook of 50 blocks!

See the next part of this project – Starting the Quilting of Orizuru

What do you think of this little project so far?

19 thoughts on “Orizuru – An Origami Crane Mini Quilt

  1. Brenda Ackerman

    Hello Carole; Your quilt is absolutely stunning! You made the right choice in changing the background fabric to the white. It definitely does make the crane fabrics just come to attention and elevates their beauty. Plus, doing the borders in the way that you did was another fabulous and creative choice. Are you going to enter this quilt in a certain specific category at the fair? It is certain to win a major ribbon, just like everything you enter! Thank you for sharing with us! Have a splendid day!!

  2. Elaine Nemeth

    Wonderful blog. Hawaiian quilters made a quilt of 1000 cranes to present to the New York fire department after 9-11.
    ready for your fall spectacular projects.

  3. dezertsuz

    That’s a beauty, Carole. My son would wish me to make one, if he saw it. Don’t show him, okay? =) I don’t think I could do this one with templates, and I don’t enjoy paper piecing, as many people do. There’s too much else I want to do to suffer through it! It’s a beautiful quilt, and I really like what you did with the border, too. I look forward to seeing what you do with quilting it.

  4. kathyinozarks

    Really beautiful and a great way to show off those lovely fabrics. I really liked how you did the borders too-very special-

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