You have to see this!

How do you find the words to describe this kind of talent and workmanship?  You tell me!  Last night I picked up my “Friends of Baltimore” from Ruth at Stitching Impressions.  As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to take out all my hand-quilting stitches and have Ruth machine quilt it.  This could very well be one of the best decision I have ever made!  Take a look at what Ruth did.  I am only going to show you a few blocks at a time, just so you do not get overwhelmed.  Ruth wrote a blog post describing her different techniques and terminology.  You can check it out here.

If you are thinking about making this quilt I recommend you jump in with both feet.  Have fun and enjoy the journey.  I did!  The pattern is available on my website Simple Bird Studio.

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Til next time….

Kerry

So much creativity! So much fun!

I believe that everyone is capable of creating beautiful things.  But how often do we just allow ourselves to be creative, for the sake of being creative?

About 15 years ago, I discovered the quilts of Paula Nadelstern and I haven’t looked at fabric the same way since. This is a quilt I made using her technique and I can’t remember when I felt so creative.

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If you look really closely at this section, you will the the centre is made up of polar bear faces.  Does it get any better than that?IMG_1673

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I also came to appreciate all fabrics, especially ones that are truly symmetrical.  There are many fabrics that may look symmetrical, but are not.  So don’t be fooled!  This is a classic example of a symmetrical fabric brimming with possibilities.

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Although beautiful, this is not a symmetrical shape.  Symmetrical simply means that you can cut the motif right down the middle and end up with mirror images.

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Truly symmetrical fabrics are very rare, and so you should pick them up whenever you find them.

Joan, at Vibes and Scribes (in Ireland!) very graciously sent me two fabulous fabrics that just happen to be truly symmetrical.  Let me show you what I did with the first one….

First, I laid it on the table and drooled.  Who wouldn’t?

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I knew that I wanted to make a vase from this fabric.  I found a shape in the fabric which I thought to be very vase-like and traced the shape onto a piece of template plastic.  Next, I used that piece of plastic to make a freezer paper template and ironed it onto the back of the fabric and prepped the piece the way I normally do.

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Here is the beginning of my vase.  I could have easily left off the outside gold trim, but I just love the effect it has.

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…and of course, every vase should have a base.

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So far, so good!

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The creative wheels starting turning and I wondered if I could make a few of the flowers from this same fabric?  Of course I can!  I cut a few simple shapes and starting playing.  I think the key is to keep the shapes simple and let this stunning piece of fabric speak for itself!  I added a dark chocolate brown piece which I used in the flower on the far right.  I added this fabric to help define the shapes and so that the flowers do not look so smooshy.

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Of course, when you are being truly creative, you are in total control of the situation.  Just do what you want to and remember…changing your mind is certainly an option.

This piece is made of 3 simple leaf shapes.  But look what happens when you flip them around and change the placement just a smidge.  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

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Speaking of changing my mind…..do you remember this picture?  And have you noticed there has been no further progress?  That is because I changed my mind and decided to have this quilt machine quilted by Ruth at Stitching Impressions.  So I spent an afternoon or two ripping out all of my hand-quilting stitches, knowing I was making the right decision.  (Anyone who thinks that hand-quilting stitches are not very strong should spend a day or two ripping them out.  Yikes!)

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Ruth contacted me earlier this week and said my quilt will be ready to pick up next week.  Here is a sneak peak. Major goosebumps!!!

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And last, but not least, I am working away on Block 4 of Bed of Roses.  Scrumptuous!

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Til next time…

Kerry

A Few Helpful Hints!

A few of you asked if I could do a little tutorial on how I prepped that centre piece in the third block of “Bed of Roses”.  As always,  I am happy to share this with you!

First, I always use 2 layers of freezer paper to make my templates and I iron it to the wrong side of the fabric.

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I trim the seam allowance to less than 1/4″, even in the inside curves.

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Now I need to clip the inside curves.  By the way, I never clip an outside curve.  Never!

I have drawn lines where I will clip.  (I don’t really draw the lines before I clip them, I am just showing the position of the lines.)  Notice that the lines are always perpendicular to the freezer paper.

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It is very important not to clip right to the freezer paper.  I like to leave about 1/8″.

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So now, starting at an inside curve,  I apply liquid starch to the seam allowance and pull back the seam allowance with my left hand….

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…..then I pick up my mini-iron and iron the seam allowance.

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And now, if I did not have the camera in my left hand, I would pick up my stiletto and pick up the mini-iron with my right hand and start to press the seam allowance over the freezer paper.

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If really just takes a bit of practice!  Here is what it should start to look like.

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Once the piece is completely prepped, I add a tiny dot of glue to each outside curve.

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And now I am ready to stitch the piece in place!

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Til next time….

Kerry

 

 

 

Bed of Roses – Block 3

When I begin a new quilting project, I soon form an impression or a feeling about the quilt.  The impression I have about Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses” is that it is a perfect example of the quote by Aristotle: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.  The part (or pieces) of this quilt are actually quite simple….bias strips, circles and very simple shapes.  Put them altogether and you end up with an awesome and very complex looking block.  This block (and Blocks 1 & 2) are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  You can order just the patterns, or you can order each pattern with the same fabrics I am using.

If you would like a few simple tips on how to make bias strips, circles and other common shapes, you can watch my youtube videos.  Always entertaining!

So, let’s start with the bias.  These pieces get glued in place first because they will go under the next piece.  Notice that I have trimmed these bias strips on an angle where they meet and will be covered.

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Next, I added the flowers, which are made up some very simple pieces.

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The next shape is very unassuming (and not very exciting!).  But just you wait!

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Add some more simple pieces and look what you end up with.  I can’t be the only one getting goosebumps!

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Now this next piece might look a little overwhelming, but just clip the curves and away you go!

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Believe it or not, it just gets easier from here!  Add some leaves….

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…and some circles……

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…and you have just completed a very easy (but most complex looking!) block!!  How easy was that?

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Til next time…

Kerry

A Very Busy Summer!

It’s been a very busy summer for us this year.  We arrived home from Ottawa late last night where we proudly watched my step-daughter, Alanna, perform on Parliament Hill as part of the Ceremonial Guard.  (She is the one in the red jacket and black furry hat!!)

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Everyday the band congregates at Drill Hall and marches on to Parliament Hill to perform during the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at 10 am sharp!

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Alanna plays alto sax and is living proof that music programs in high school really are extremely important!  Here  she is with her very proud dad.

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As we waited for the band to start marching, I noticed that the Drill Hall has some pretty cute quilty details!

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Today, we are off to an all day barbecue and pool party for my niece, Olivia, who is going to school in Italy for 6 months.  Oh!  To be young again.  So, I woke up early this morning so I get get some serious prepping time in.

I am thoroughly enjoying working on the first border of Sue Garman’s “Ladies of the Sea”, a quilt I am making for my son Chad.  The pattern for this quilt (and a few others!) are available in my website, Simple Bird Studio.

The pieces are a little larger than Friends of Baltimore, so it doesn’t take that long to feel a real sense of  accomplishment.  As soon as we get back from the barbecue, I will stitch what I have spent the morning prepping!

First, I started with a few bias strips.

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Next, I added some leaves and what I believe to be plums…

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Next, I added various leaves, flowers, stars and berries.

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Not to mention some delightful Lily of the Valley.  Dainty!

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So far, so good!

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Til next time…

Kerry

 

Steady Progress!

I have been making pretty steady progress on the first border of my “Ladies of the Sea”.  This quilt is intended for my son, so I am trying to keep the colours “manly”.

I love making bunches of grapes!  I used 3 shades of purple.  First I started with the dark grapes….

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…then the medium grapes (although in the picture they look pretty dark!)…

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…and next, the light grapes.  Aren’t those little red stars adorable!  I haven’t stitched them yet, so those pesky points are still sticking out.  I think they look like little sea creatures.  You can read about how I handle those pesky points here.

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Next, I added a few more leaves and vines.  I am not sure if you can tell from the picture, but some of my shapes are stitched in place, and some are not.  That is how I work.  I like to prep for a while (maybe an hour or so) and then I stitch for a while, usually in the evening in front of the TV.

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So when it came time to stitch the maple leaves in the border, I decided to do needleturn.  Yes, needleturn!  When I made the first block of this quilt, I prepped all the pieces in the usual way, but decided to needleturn the maple leaves.  You can see that post here.

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Like most quilters, I have a scrap collection that just keeps growing.  I decided to go through all my scraps and make as many diamonds as I can.  I am using the 45 degree diamond from the Free Shape Collection from Inklingo.

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Because I am using all different shapes and sizes of scraps, I am ending up with different amount of diamonds, so in order to stay super-organized, I drew some lines at 45 degree angles to give me a “map” of what my diamonds would look like once stitched together.  So now, I can count up exactly how many diamonds of each fabric I need for a complete star.  Oh!  I almost forgot…I drew the lines to include the seam allowance.  And, I used double sided tape to hold the diamonds on the paper, so they don’t fall off.

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It is Saturday morning and I am still in my jammies, sipping my coffee and hand stitching my diamonds together. Can life get any better??  I think not!

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Love it!

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Til next time….

Kerry