Surrounded by Inspiration!

Today Hubby and I spent a bit of time picking out some porcelain tile that is to be installed at our front door and mudroom.  No matter where I go, I seem to always see quilts designs….I have always loved clamshell quilts and one day I will make one!

tile 3

How impressed would your quilting friends be if they came over and saw this  floor in your sewing room?  (Answer:  Very Impressed!)

tile 1

If this were my backsplash, I would be reminded of how much I love hexies while I am doing the dishes!

tile 4

And, finally, isn’t this the perfect pattern for an appliqued quilt?  Inspiration is everywhere!!

tile 2

Last week, I started the final (!) border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  I would love to have this border finished by the end of the year.  We will see….First I picked out the fabric for the vase.  I like to start with the vase because it just feels like such an accomplishment once it is completed! This is one of my favorite fabrics. Do you recognize it?

DSCN6420

I used it for a vase in my Civil War Bride Quilt.  Notice the pattern is running up and down.

DSCN6427

I used the same fabric for the vase in my “Bouquets For A New Day”.  In this vase the pattern is running sideways.

DSCN6424

And here is the fabric for the third time!

DSCN6374

Now on to the fun part.  All those curved pieces at the bottom of the vase need to line up properly.  I did the same thing I did in my last post about lining up the pieces of the pine cones.  First, I removed the freezer paper template from the prepped pieces. Next, I placed the template shiny side up on top of the prepped piece. Then I used a sharp white marking pencil and drew the seam allowance on the pieces. Can you see the white line?  This just makes it so much easier to place the pieces in the correct spot.

DSCN6375

 

DSCN6376

It’s such a nice feeling when things line up properly!

DSCN6377

Next, I added the top of the vase and the curvy section on top of it.  Then I started to add the stems, leaves and flowers!

DSCN6380

DSCN6381

DSCN6421

Til next time…
Kerry

 

Building a Better Pine Cone

When I mentioned in my last post about “off-block construction” a few of you asked if I would do a tutorial on that subject.  So…here it is!!

I would normally use my Applique Pressing sheet for this tutorial, but, sadly I cannot find it.  A few  weeks ago, I spent a couple of hours organizing my quilting stuff.  I guess I have put my pressing sheet away in a really secure spot.  I am sure I will some across it one day!  But that’s ok….because maybe you don’t own a pressing sheet.  So, let me show you what you can use instead of an Applique Pressing Sheet.

I used a piece of freezer paper (shiny side up).  First I traced the pine cone on the shiny side of the freezer paper with a Sharpie marker.  I have found that a Sharpie marker is about the only thing that leaves a permanent mark of the shiny surface.

DSCN6382

Note:  If I was using my Applique Pressing Sheet, I would simply pin it to the pattern, and build the pine cone on it, like I did with these flowers.

First, I made my templates using 2 layers of freezer paper.  Yes, they are a little on the small side!

DSCN6384

Then I chose my fabrics…light, medium and dark brown.

DSCN6385

Whenever I have a unit that has a lot of pieces in it (and those pieces need to line up) I take the time and do this next step.  Once the piece is prepped, I take out the template and place it on top of the finished piece.  The template has to have the shiny side up.  Next, I take a very sharp marking pen (I like to use a Clover water soluble fine marker for light fabrics and a white chalk marker for dark fabrics) and mark the remaining seam allowance.  You will be very happy you did this!!

DSCN6412

So….next, I start to glue the pieces in place.  The glue will not stick permanently to the shiny surface of the freezer paper (or the pressing sheet), but it will hold temporarily.

DSCN6413

DSCN6401

DSCN6402

DSCN6404

DSCN6405

DSCN6406

Once all of the pieces are glued in place (and you have made peace with the fact you will have to make 7 more pine cones) you can lift the entire piece off the the freezer paper (or applique pressing sheet) and simply put it in place on the background.  If you are working on a unit that has fewer pieces (or larger pieces) you can actually stitch it before you place it on the background.  I thought this piece would be easier to stitch while it is on the background.  Lots of options!

Til next time….

Kerry

 

To Everything There Is A Season…Block 9

It’s that time again!  Time to post the next block of “To Everything There Is A Season”, a BOM I launched back in April.  It’s hard to believe this is the 9th block…3 more to go!  This month’s block (and the previous 8) are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.

This block looks intimidating, but do not be fooled!  It is an easy block, with lots of pieces.  How many pieces you ask?  There are 320 pieces in this block.  I counted them myself!

I started in the center with the holly leaves.

DSCN6290

Then I added some berries.

DSCN6291

I am stitching as I go…prep a bit…stitch a bit…

DSCN6293

Next, I started to add the pine boughs.  This is where the fun begins!  For the pine needles, I used my bias bars to make strips and then cut the strips into shorter pieces.  The ends of each of these pieces are turned under and stitched.

DSCN6316

DSCN6318

DSCN6319

Let me tell you about the pine cones.  I constructed them off-block and then stitched them in place.  Not just one pine cone….

DSCN6320

…not just 4 pine cones….

DSCN6323

Eight pine cones and some frosty snowflakes!  Chilly!

for blog

 

Til next time…

Kerry

Special Fabric….Part 2

So, the “special fabric” has shown up again!  This time, on a label.  First, I found a font that looked a lot like my handwriting (if I had really neat handwriting!) and printed it out on a sheet of paper.

DSCN6314

Next, I ironed a sheet of freezer paper to the back of the white fabric that I am going to use for the label.  Adding freezer paper to the back just makes it so much easier to trace the lettering, which I did with a Clover water soluble marker.  Then I put the kettle on and made a pot of tea.

DSCN6313

And then I sat and stitched….and drank a lot of tea.

DSCN6315

DSCN6317

Once the lettering was  finished, I stitched the bird.  That is where the fabric shows up!

label

So, which quilt is this label for? And who is the quilt for?  The label is for my Grandmother’s Flower Garden.

DSCN6353

I finished stitching the binding on November 10th, and our precious granddaughter, Grace, was born November 11!!  How is that for timing?  I started this quilt back in the spring when my son and daughter-in-law announced their happy news.  They chose not to find out if they were having a girl or boy, so making a quilt to celebrate the birth of our first grandchild was easy.  I just chose fabrics that said “happy” and “cheerful” and started stitching!

And here is Grace and her quilt.  Sweet!

DSCN6327

Til next time….

Kerry

 

 

Ah…Memories

It’s been 9 years years (to the day) that my Mom passed away.  Not a day goes by that I don’t think about her.  Although she did not quilt, she was always very interested in whatever quilt I was working on.  My Mom did a fair amount of travelling and she always returned home with quilting fabric of some sort for me.  Ah, memories!

This is the quilt that I made for my Mom.

irish chain

It brings back some lovely memories for me and for that reason, I cherish it.  I started this quilt about three years before she passed.  I chose a pattern that I could stitch together fairly quickly and I assumed I would just have it machine quilted and that would be that!  But no, my Mom insisted that I hand-quilt her quilt.  I put up a bit of a fuss…I was working full time and my three teenage kids always seemed to have to be driven somewhere.  I just didn’t think I had the time to hand-quilt a queen sized quilt at that stage in my life.   But, there was no arguing with her.  Long story short, I set aside 1 hour every evening to hand-quilt her quilt.  Those small chunks of time added up and before I knew it, the quilt was finished!  Not long after I finished the quilt, my Mom was diagnosed with cancer and a year later, she passed away.

I had some of the navy blue fabric left over and I have used it in a few special quilts.  I used the fabric on my “Bouquet For A New Day”….

vase

….and I used it in my daughter’s Christmas quilt……

i believe 3

…and, I also used it for one of the birds in my Civil War Bride quilt.  Where will the special fabric show up next?

DSCN4137

Till next time….

Kerry

Ruching My Flower

My Beginner Baltimore Class meets next week and I am busy getting the second block ready.  First, I traced the pattern onto the background with a blue Clover Water Soluble Marker.  (I like the thick ones.)  Then I glued the bias stems in place.

DSCN6244

Then I prepped and added a few leaves…and a few more leaves!

DSCN6245

DSCN6246

Now comes the fun part!  Ruching!  But before I begin, let me show you the fabric I chose for my ruched flower.

DSCN6247

I love all fabrics (really I do!) but I especially love fabrics that go from light to dark across the width.  I’ll buy a shaded fabric whenever I see it, even if I don’t know what I will do with it! They are perfect for shading flowers….and for making ruched flowers.  Here is what I did…

I cut  a strip of fabric 1 1/4″ wide by the width of the fabric.  Next, I pressed the edges into the middle on the wrong side.

DSCN6251

Next, I threaded up a needle with thread that matches the fabric.  Since this fabric has both very light pink and very dark burgundy, I chose to go middle-of-the-road and used a medium pink thread.  If you look closely you can see that I have made little ticks along the top and bottom edges with a marking pencil. I spaced the marks 1 1/2″ apart.  The marks along the top and bottom are off-set by 3/4″ to form a zig zag pattern.

DSCN6254

I started stitching (really just a running stitch) at the first mark on the bottom side and worked toward the first mark on the top.  The key to this method is to make sure that the  last stitch ends with the thread on the front side…

DSCN6256

….and then I insert the needle in the back of the fabric (very important!)  and I simply continue stitching toward the next mark.  How easy is that?

DSCN6258

This is what it should look like….

DSCN6259

So after I stitched a few zig-zags, I gathered the fabric on the thread and voila!  Make sure you double your thread if using a regular sewing thread or you can also use a strong handquilting thread like Dual Duty.  There is a lot of tension on the thread and it would be a shame if the thread broke and you had to start all over again.  Ask me how I know!

DSCN6263

Here is a fun fact…a 42″ strip of fabric gathers up to about 12″ when this ruching method is used.

DSCN6267

I started at the light end of the strip, and carefully curled the ruched strip around the centre, tacking it in place as I went.

DSCN6268

And finally….here is my block.  Sweet!

DSCN6275

Don’t forget to head on over to Stitching Impressions on Monday to see what Ruth is up to as we continue on the  “Around The World Quilt Blog Tour”.  Also, did you get goosebumps when you saw Rebecca’s Pineapple quilt at Cheeky Cognoscenti?  I knew you would!!

Til next time….

Kerry

Around the World Quilt Blog Tour

Thanks to Rebecca at Cheeky Cognoscenti for tagging me in the “Around the World Quilt Blog Tour”.   I am so flattered!!  Before you read any further, make sure you check out Rebecca’s blog and see if her Pineapple Quilt doesn’t give you goosebumps!  It gives me wild goosebumps every time I see it!!  The idea  of the “Around the World Quilt Blog Tour” is to answer 4 question and then tag another quilter to keeps things rolling.  So….here goes!

Question 1.  What am I working on?

Oh!  I am so glad you asked!!  As with most quilters, I like to work on more than one quilt at a time.  I think this keeps things fresh and exciting.  If you have read my blog before now, you  probably know that I am obsessed with hand-applique and hand-quilting….and hexies!   To be honest, obsessed is putting it mildly!  I made my first quilt when I was 15 and I have been quilting in one form or another since then.  I have made more than my share of machine-pieced quilts, but it is hand-applique that has captured my heart.

I discovered the world of hexies earlier this year.  It is an addictive world!  The binding is almost stitched on my Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  I used the English Paper Piecing method to make this quilt and I hand quilted it.  I decided long ago that if I am going to quilt by hand, I really want the quilting to show up, which is why I chose to use a Baptist Fan pattern.

DSCN6196

Here are some more hexies that I have played around with and some that are ready to be stitched.  There are definitely more hexie quilts in my future!

DSCN6286

Next,  is “To Everything There Is A Season“,  my own Block-of-the-Month that I had designed by Marilyn at MTDesigns, a talented artist who takes my unorganized, vague ideas and turns them into awesome quilts!  The patterns for these blocks are also available on my website.  Along with the 12 blocks, there is also a centre medallion, which would also make a lovely stand-alone wallhanging.  There will also be borders surrounding the entire quilt.  Each time I complete a block, it my “new favourite”!

DSCN6283

This is Peggy’s Puzzle (also designed by Marilyn at MT Desisgns) and it is almost finished!  Some of you have been making these free blocks that are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  I had this quilt designed with beginners in mind and even made some Youtube videos to go along with each block.  This will be my next hand quilting project.  Can’t wait to start!

DSCN6287

DSCN6288

This is my “Friends of Baltimore” which I have been working on longer that I have been blogging.  These are the blocks I had completed when I wrote my first blog post.

friends-of-baltimore-copy

And this is where I am now!

DSCN6206

So many people have contacted me and said that I have inspired them to begin this “once-in-a-lifetime” quilt.  That is so nice to hear!  Believe it or not, these blocks are not difficult.  Time consuming?  Oh yes!  Lots of pieces in each block?  You bet.  But they certainly are not difficult if you have experience in whichever method you choose to hand-applique.

This year I completed my Civil War Bride Quilt, which is hanging in our living room.  I look at it and wonder when the heck I had all that time to make a quilt like that.  I tend to work in smaller chunks of time, as opposed to larger spans of time.  All of those smaller chunks of time add up.  Like most quilters I know, I go to work, make dinner, do laundry and so on and so on.  But I make the time to quilt every single day!  I also have been trying to get in 10,000 steps each day.  If I could figure out a way to stitch and walk at the same time, I would be all set!

DSCN6141

Last year I taught a Beginner Class (we used the Peggy’s Puzzle pattern) and this year I am teaching them the skills to make a Baltimore quilt!  Here is the first block.  I am using pinks, burgundy’s, reds greens and maybe a touch of blue and gold.

DSCN6280

I wondered what the same block would look like if I made it in totally different fabrics.  This is what I came up with.  I think it is really important for new quilters to see different versions of the same quilt in different colours so that they can find their unique style or look.  I love to teach and am always thinking “I would just love to show someone how to do this!”

DSCN6281

I am also working on Sue Garman’s “Ladies of the Sea”.  I have 3 blocks completed and I am going to start one of the borders next, just so that when the blocks are all done I won’t get overwhelmed with the borders.  I saw “Ladies of the Sea”  in a magazine a few years back and my jaw dropped to the floor.  I knew I had to make it for my son, Chad, and I ordered the patterns right away.

DSCN6284

I also just finished hand-quilting “Circle of Tulips” (another free pattern on my website).  I made these blocks around 15 years ago when I was teaching myself  various hand-applique methods.  I kept these blocks around with the thought that one day I would do something with them.  So last year I stitched the blocks together and quilted it by hand.  I knew exactly how I wanted it to look.  I wanted it to look antique and dainty with a scalloped border.  Mission accomplished!

DSCN5927

This quilt (a pattern in Quiltmania 100) caught my eye and I have been slowly collecting fabrics for it.  I am anxious to get started!  These are my blues (so far) and the background.

DSCN6282

2nd Question:  How does my work differ from others?   I would love to teach everyone how to hand-applique.  I secretly believe that if everyone knew how to hand-applique, the world would be a better place!  True story.  So not only do I love to show the techniques I use, I also love to show  how I work through my blunders, whether it is switching out a fabric that I thought would work, but sadly, did not.  You can see that I started out with a red cat and a blue bird…

2 (1)

…and ended up with a black cat and a red bird.

9

I also don’t mind showing you how I was getting ready to stitch my bias stem, only to realize I glued it in place, wrong side up!

DSCN4725

Or washed my block without first making sure that everything was stitched in place.  I want everyone to know that hand-applique is very doable, you just need to learn a few skills and practice those skills!

oops-21.jpg

3rd Question:  Why do I create?  I think that eveyone is capable of creating beautiful works of art, whether it is a quilt or a symphony or a painting or  wonderful meal.  I feel so fortunate that I have found an outlet to express myself in a way that I love.  I am creating a legacy of quilts that I hope my family will cherish for many years.  Hopefully, they will realize there was more to my life than the cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry!

4th Question:  How do I work?  The more quilts on the go, the happier (and more productive!) I am.  I think that creativity breeds creativity and a wheel in motion says in motion.  I have taken over the spare bedroom so all of my fabric, books, patterns etc. are in the same spot, which is handy.  I must confess, the room is in a constant state of chaos, but I like it that way!

I am very aware of how valuable time is and how easily it can be wasted.  So I try to make the most of every moment that I can find to sit down and stitch.  I only work on quilts that excite me and (more importantly) challenge me.  When I first saw the picture of “Friends of Baltimore”, I never thought in a million years I would be able to make the quilt.  Seriously…it looks so daunting and overwhelming.  That is, until I started to break it down into blocks.  And then I started to look at the pieces in each block and say: “Gee….I think I can do that!”

Okay…enough about me!!  Let me introduce you to Ruth Quinn at Stitching Impressions.  Ruth (a fellow Canadian!) will write her post on Monday November 17.   She is a quilter who also loves to hand applique. and has actually completed Lily Rosenberry! Ruth is a talented longarm quilter who spends most of her waking hours machine quilting for others, including Patti Carey from Northcott Fabrics.  But as you will see, she is talented in many other ways!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

+++