Diary of a Cuckoo Clock Designer 20

Diary of a Cuckoo Clock Designer


Diary of a Cuckoo Clock Designer: My Dream Come True!

A Cuckoo Clock Designer? Now that’s a claim to fame! In high school, when the guidance counselor asked me what I wanted to study at college, Cuckoo Clock Designer certainly wasn’t on the list of choices. Nor Rubber Duckie Designer, nor Quilting TV Show Host for that matter. Had I stuck with  electrical engineering people who know me wouldn’t, as is often the case,  have to ask me to explain to others what it is I do. What would be the fun in that?

The first time I remember seeing a cuckoo clock I was well into the adult stage of life.  A fancy Swiss clock complete with music and dancers and dogs –oh my! – cast the cuckoo clock spell upon me. Between rubber duckies and cuckoo clocks my eBay rating skyrocketed. As is always the case with me, soon I was struck with the make-my-own-bug: I wanted to design my own.

 Realizing the Quilt Shop Cuckoo Clock Dream



Back in– gosh, 2006 was it? — the opportunity arose. I headed off to the Bernina Sewing Machine Company in Switzerland with a producer and cameraman to shoot several episodes of a TV series for quilters I was hosting at the time. “So, let’s see… That’s real close to Germany… How do I knit together quilting and cuckoo clocks and turn it into a show? Design a cuckoo clock for quilters of course!”

There was one itsy bitsy problem. My German distributor contact here in the States didn’t think the folks at the factory would get as excited as I over the idea. Regardless, off we went, an American TV show wanting to do a story on the making of cuckoo clocks seemed to be enough for the Schneider Cuckoo Clock  factory to put out the welcome mat.


Schneider Cuckoo Clock


Upon our arrival in Schonach we toured the factory to plan our shoot. As we geared up for taping in the sales room, I pitched the idea of designing a quilt-inspired clock for viewers. And held my breathe. The response wasn’t cold, it was even better than tepid. Wow!

Brainstorming the possibilities, we found a clock there in the salesroom as a starting point. We wanted animation, which this one had. But it had a long way to go before being our clock! You see, our modern pretty lady was an old hag on the original clock. Rolling pin in hand no less. And where the kitty jumps on a pile of bolts of fabric on our clock, two men sat on benches at a table and quaffed beer when the cuckoo sounded. That’s when the old lady smacked one of them over the head with her rolling pin. Gotta love it! (In fact, a German born friend said, when I described the original clock to her, “I’ve seen that exact scene for real and more than once!”)

The clock in this catalog page is similar to that original clock, which has apparently been



Custom Cuckoo ClockDesigning the Quilt Shop Cuckoo Clock



Changing the old woman to a contemporary quilter was simple to do. And since the woman was already animated, adding a table for her to cut on was no problem. But what about that rotary cutter she needed in her hand? The German-speaking wood carver had no idea what a rotary cutter is, and I hadn’t a clue as to how to tranCustom Cuckoo Clockslate it, until one of us said, “pizza cutter!” He disappeared and reappeared a few moments later having carved a cutter that needed just a few tweaks to go from pizza- to fabric-ready. What language barrier?





With limited time, we finished taping the show with a cobbled together first rendition of the clock for our “ta da” moment of the episode. That night in the picture-perfect alpine cross country ski lodge, snuggled in a bed that looked like one from my dollhouse, I could hardly believe what had transpired that day.


Custom Cuckoo Clock



Back at home the work began to produce the clock for real.  I set about creating detailed drawings for what would be the real clock.

I sent photos of cutting mats, bolts of fabric, and a rotary cutter to help them get everything quilterly accurate.


 A Quilt Shop Cuckoo Clock Needs Quilts!

What would a quilt shop be without quilts? The spaces to the left and right of the cuckoo door provided the perfect spots for two quilts. And an excuse to play around in Electric Quilt to design them.

It’s amazing to look back at this and see how much the clock really does look like the drawings I sent!

Diary of a Cuckoo Clock Designer

It’s a Quilt Shop, It’s a Cuckoo Clock, It’s a Quilt Shop Cuckoo Clock!

With all the details set I awaited the arrival of the sample clock. It knocked my socks off! With a few tiny changes we pushed the go button on production, ordering 125 of them. As they were manufactured and shipped, I wrote checks and held my breathe that other quilters would be nutty enough to think the combination of a quilt shop and a cuckoo clock was enchanting. Turns out they did and in time all 125 clocks found homes.

Birds Cuckoo Clock




Fittingly enough, as I am signing off on this I hear my Quilt Shop Cuckoo Clock and my second design, the Backyard Birds Cuckoo Clock singing to me from the living room.


Dreams do come true!

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20 thoughts on “Diary of a Cuckoo Clock Designer

  • Kathy

    Hi Jodie, I am bummed that this did not go thru! Keep me posted, as I will purchase/fund again — I really want one of these way cool clocks! I know it will go thru next time! Kathy

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Kathy,
      I learned that I can split batches, so do more than one design to meet the minimum factory order. So I’m working on at least one new design. That will help make an order, I’d think. Surprising as it sounds, I suppose not everyone wants a Quilt Shop Cuckoo Clock!
      You’re support means more than you know,


  • Ginny Munson

    I love my Quilt Shop Cuckoo Clock! I have the greatest daughter and son-in-law (Sue and Victor) who gifted me with one this Christmas. Setup was very easy (thanks to Victor) and it keeps perfect time. I smile every time I hear it cuckoo!

    • JOdieRD Post author

      It looks as though it could be sooner than we expected! The clocks were picked up a day early which isn’t much, but it’s the eta for arrival in Atlanta that is exciting: April 23. Supposedly since I’ve imported before they will fly right through Customs, so if all goes well I could be sending them to you this month! Thanks so much for ordering one Cindy. Can’t wait for it to be on your wall making you smile!
      ~ Jodie

  • Candy Gillespie

    I just saw your Quilt Shop Cuckoo clock in American Patchwork &Quilting. Went right to your web site only to find it is no longer available ☹️ Please put me on the list of quilters who would order this clock in an instant!

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Chris,

      Yes, I can do that. Go ahead and order it if you’d like. I’ll remember you want brown hair, but just in case when I send you the email conforming your order remind me. I’ll photograph yours and add it as an orderable option to make it easier for the next person who wants brown hair.

      Thanks for your interest!


  • Mary Ellen Nelson

    I bought a cuckoo clock in weisbaden germany.my husband pull the cone all the way to top. But it wont cuckoo. Where can i get it fix in mn usa. Please call me back 952 215 4793.no

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Mary Ellen,

      Is this a brand new out of the box clock? Is the clock running and keeping time, but the cuckoo won’t come out? Is the cuckoo door latched? Is there a lever on the side of the clock or bottom that silences it? I’ll give you a call.


  • Carol Lehr

    I really like the idea of a quilt shop cuckoo clock. Then, when I saw the video of the actual clock, I was blown away. If they are still available, I plan to get one for my new quilting room.

    • JOdieRD Post author

      Hi Carol,

      The animation is fun!

      Yes, they are available now. I expect to sell out or get close to itthis Christmas and may be without them for awhile in 2018.

      Thanks for your kind words,