What, you may ask, is a Modern Quilt Cuckoo Clock?

A Modern Quilt Cuckoo Clock is a clock that is a quilt. A quilt that is a clock. A clock whose front is a wooden quilt. And the Modern part? One with a daring dash of patchwork that punctuates lots of white space. Which means there’s an emphasis on the quilting.

The Modern Quilt Cuckoo Clock Muse Strikes

The concept for the clock popped into my head out of nowhere. The front of the clock is a quilt. Plain and simple. With a dash of patchwork. set to dancing at cuckoo time. Then quilt the white space with a contemporary flair. Digitally, with a CNC machine.

The idea of creating the clock front here for this clock and the Mid-Century Modern Cuckoo Clock I will tackle next came when I wanted to speed up the design process between here and Germany and have some flexibility in testing out designs. I ordered a plain cuckoo case from the factory in Germany to use for developing designs. Once the designs are worked out and working prototypes made here with my cuckoo doc and woodworker friends, I’ll place an order for clocks from Schneider as complete clocks with functioning innards in plain cases and finish them here.

First Attempt at the Design

Modern Quilt Cuckoo ClockWood was not the first material I considered for the clock. Casting the fronts was my initial trial. I made a quilt sandwich to see how that would cast. Not what I wanted.

Next up I applied shapes to clay to see if I could get the stitching and patches looking right. The result was the same as when I tried to sculpt my Quiltingquilting rubber duckie Rubber Duckie. I’d need lots of time to develop my sculpting skills to achieve the results I was after. (A professional duckie sculptor took my drawings and created the sculpt amazingly true to my concept.)

That’s when I turned to wood.

A Wooden Quilt

fraser smith wooden quiltHave you seen the breathtaking carved quilts made by Fraser Smith? My wooden quilt will be nowhere near in the ballpark of Fraser’s exquisite work, but his work shows that a quilt of wood is absolutely doable.

Having met with Keith the Cuckoo Doc, we’ve determined that the pinwheel blocks can twirl 360 degrees or thereabouts if powered by music. There are two of these blocks: bottom left and mid-right. The pinwheel in the center top-ish is the cuckoo door.

Then Dr. Phil the Woodworking Wizard and I sat down and worked out the pinwheels in Sketchup, so we know that can work. He actually made them rotate on his screen. What a thrill to see the animation in action!

Now to Quilt the Clock

Modern Quilt Cuckoo ClockNow we’re on to the quilting. I’ve started playing with it. Am liking the arcs in the corners. It occurred to me that I know a world full of extremely creative quilters who might find it fun to play with this and share their thoughts. Heavens, in the seven years I have hosted Quit It! The Longarm Quilting Show I’ve met dozens — nearly seven dozen to be exact! — so I know how much amazing talent there is out there, discovered or not.

The quilting effect will be created by a router bit (CNC machine FYI) so it will be a grooved channel. We have an idea as to how we’ll get thread in the channel, but I don’t think we’ve quite hit on the winner yet.

So, please take a whack at your ideas for quilting the clock. You can download a large plain clock face here, print it out, and draw and then scan or photograph it and post it or send it to me: [email protected] You just may see your quilting design in wood!

The Next Step

Once the quilting is literally mapped out, the three of us will get a working prototype together here and send it to Schneider to get pricing for the clock. Hopefully the numbers will work (music is a bit pricey) and I’ll be placing an order. While the team at the factory makes the clocks we’ll get busy on this side of the pond making the fronts to be ready for final assembly once the clocks arrived. Then — the best part — I will send the Modern Quilt Cuckoo Clcoks off to their new homes where they’ll spread smiles!