Bed of Roses – Block 9

Block 9 already!  Where has the time gone?

Each time I start a new block of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses”, I am pleasantly surprised at how easy they are.  I encourage all appliquers (especially beginner appliquers) to give these blocks a try.  Block 9 (along with all previous 8 blocks) are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  You can choose to order just the patterns (some of them or all of them) or you can choose to do this quilt as a Block of the Month which includes the pattern and the same fabrics that I am using.

I started this block like all the others.  I traced the pattern onto the background with a Clover water soluble marker. This marker comes available with a thick tip or a thin tip.  For tracing onto the background, I prefer the thick tip because it is a lot easier to see!

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Next, I use a Clover 1/4″ bias maker to make the stems.  I glue the stems in place with Roxanne’s Glue Baste it.  The marker, the bias maker and the glue are all available on my website.

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So now let me show you how I make all those templates.  I must confess, I really hate tracing my templates by hand and I will avoid doing it whenever possible!  First, I photocopy the pattern onto freezer paper and then I iron that piece of freezer paper onto another one to make two layers of freezer paper.

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Whenever I have a unit that has many layers, I could make multiple copies of each unit so I have a separate template for each section (but you know me well enough by now to know I am not going to do that!)  Here is what I am going to do instead…

I leave the entire unit intact and prep the piece as I normally would.  Because I am making the outer section, I am using R3 fabric.

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I iron the template onto the back of the fabric…

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…and I cut it out leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This piece has fairly gently curves, so I clip just once.  Notice I don’t clip all the way to the freezer paper.

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I prep the pieces using a stiletto, a mini iron and liquid starch.

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So, now it is time to remove the freezer paper.

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Now, I take that same template that I just removed, and cut the first section off.

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Next, I am going to repeat everything I just did, except on a different fabric…

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I should mention that there are two identical units on this block and I am making both at the same time using just this one template.

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I just keep cutting the outer section off and reusing the same template….

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So here we have 10 separate sections I prepped using just one template.  Sweet!

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Here is another layering tip that I am happy to share with you.  It will make your life a whole lot easier!  When you place one piece on top of another, you need to leave that part of the seam allowance un-prepped.  I take my template and draw the seam allowance on with my marking pencil.

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When I place each piece on the background, the line I have drawn replaces the line on the background that I have just covered up.

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Now its time to start adding the leaves……

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……and berries.  Lots of berries!

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And finally, a funky little vase!  Love it!!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Third block of “Love Is In the Air”

Yesterday afternoon I started to prep the third block in “Love Is In The Air” a pattern designed by Lori Smith.  I thought the blocks were a tad small (8 1/2″), so I enlarged them 125%.  I cut my background blocks 15″ square and I will trim them down slightly when I decide what kind of sashing to make.  I love working on a quilt this way.  So many unknowns and so many possibilities!!

I am using a fat quarter bundle of shirtings for the backgrounds (each square will have a different background).  And I am trying really hard to make this quilt as scrappy as possible.  Very liberating!

Like most blocks, it all started with the stems and leaves…..

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…..and then a pretty flower!

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I love using as many greens as I possibly can for the leaves.  I try to include as many different patterns and textures as I can.

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The whole time I was prepping all the leaves and buds, I was worrying (yes worrying!) about what kind of fabric I should use for the vase.   The vase fabric shouldn’t be the focal point of the block, but it shouldn’t disappear into the background, either.  I searched until I found a fabric that I think fit the bill.

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And here is the prepped block waiting to be stitched!

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So far, so good!

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I have been making some pretty steady progress on my hexie quilt.  I am hand quilting it with the Baptist fan design.  So relaxing!!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Everything I Know About Making Bias Strips!

I love (love!) when people ask me questions about something I post on my blog.  For that reason, I am going to show you how I make my bias strips, which I use for stems.  First, let’s start with my pressing board…..it is a wooden board approximately 18″ x 18″ x 1″ that I have covered with a few layers of cotton fabric, so that the surface it still hard.  I have tried making bias strips on my ironing board (it has a very soft, thick pad on it) and it does not work at all.

When I use my 1/4″ bias maker, I cut my strips 1/2″ wide.  If you cut your strips even a 1/16th of an inch narrower, the strip will not go through the bias maker properly.

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Next, I spray the strip with starch.  I like to do one strip at a time because the starch dries fairly fast and you do not want the strips to be dry. Your strips  should be very damp when you put them through the bias maker.

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Using my stiletto, I guide the strip into the bias maker.

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Next, I turn the bias maker over and continue to guide the strip so that the end comes out the other side.

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Now I lay everything on my pressing board and place a pin through the bias and into the board.  You will be glad you did this!

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I take my iron in my right hand and slowly move the bias maker with my left hand and press along the folded bias strip.  Important note:  I don’t leave any space at all between the bias maker and the iron.   Also, I use the flat edge of the iron, rather that the tip of the iron.

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It’s as easy as that!!

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This is a post you might be interested it.  It shows how to use up your short pieces of bias so that no one will be the wiser!!

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Til next time…..

Kerry

Bed of Roses – Block 8

My husband, Paul and I arrived home today after being away at “The Farm” for the past week.  “The Farm” is lovely piece of rural property belonging to Paul’s brother and sister-in-law situated right in the heart of Craighurst, Ontario.  It was an awesome place to ring in the new year!IMG_1962

Of course, I packed every quilt-related thing I could think of….my sewing machine, iron and ironing board, so I could work on Trail Mix.  I managed to get 2 complete rows sewn together.

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I also brought along my hand quilting supplies (including my hexi quilt top, batting and backing, every quilting needle I own, 3 different thimbles, my small hoop etc.) just in case I had time to baste my layers together.  Not only did I find the time, I found the perfect space to baste!  I started this quilt about a year ago when I first discovered Inklingo. You can read about that post here.  Spoiler Alert:  Stitching hexies using the Inklingo method is addictive.  Very addictive.

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Each day I set myself up in front of the window and quilted for an hour or two.  Heaven!

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And, (of course!), I brought along Block 8 of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses.  So, if you have been following along, you already know what I do first.  First, I trace the pattern onto the background with a Clover water soluble marker.  Block 8 (along with Blocks 1-7) are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.

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Next, I made my bias stems using a 1/4″ bias maker.  I like to put my stems in a plastic container (this particular container used to hold mushrooms!) and then I spray the starch into the container.  That way I am not wasting any starch and the spray is contained to one area.

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Once I glue all of the stems onto the background, I stitch them in place before I add any more pieces.

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These next little flowers were easy to do.  Notice I drew the seam allowance on the pieces before I placed them on the background.  I find this such a simple way to make sure that all of the layers line up.

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Next, I added a few leaves…..

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….and a few more flowers!  Now it’s starting to look like something!!!

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This next piece has a pretty deep curve in it.  Yikes.  Just take a deep breath and go for it!

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Now for the fun part.  Circles.  Lots of circles!!

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And, to top it all off, a cute little vase!

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And here is the completed block.  Lovely!

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So far, so good!!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Bed of Roses – Block 7

Simple.  Easy.  That is how I am going to describe Block 7 of “Bed of Roses”.  Seriously.  Take a good look at the shapes and I think you will agree!

Let’s get started!  First, I traced the block onto the background with a water soluble marker.

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Next, I used a 1/4″ bias maker to make all of the stems.

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After I finished stitching the bias stems in place, I went along my merry way prepping the many pieces.  Instead of tracing my templates, I simply photocopied the pattern onto freezer paper.  All of the pieces in this block are symmetrical, which means you do now have to worry about making mirror images.

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So now its time to start gluing the pieces in place.  I started with the small flowers and leaves.

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Next, I added the pretty pink flowers.

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I love these dark pink centers!

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Looking good!

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Now I started on the larger flowers.

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The excitement is definitely mounting!

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Now I am going to show you how I tackled the center section.  The center consists of 5 separate pieces, which if layered one on top of the other, would be very bulky.  So this is how I eliminated the bulk.

I prepped all of the pieces in the usual way.

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Next,  I glued one section on top of the other…

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…and stitched it in place.

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Once I finished stitching the piece in place, I very (very!) carefully trimmed away the first layer, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Okay, now I repeated those same steps with each new layer.  I glued the yellow piece in place….

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….and stitched it in place.

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And I trimmed out the second layer.

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And here is the second last piece stitched in place.

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And, finally, the last piece!

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The rest of the leaves and……Voila!

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You can find Block 7 (along with the 6 previous blocks) of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses” on my website Simple Bird Studio.

Til next time….

Kerry

Save those scraps!

I have been working away on the second block of “Love is in the Air” a pattern designed by Lori Smith.  I purchased this pattern a couple of years ago and put it away with the rest of my patterns.  Honestly, I forgot all about it.  About a month ago,  I went through my patterns and books in search of a simple applique pattern that would lend itself to a really scrappy feel.  As soon as I “found” this pattern in my box of (far too many) patterns, I knew “Love is in the Air” was exactly what I was looking for!  For those of you who may want to stitch these blocks along with me, the pattern is available here.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am using a collection of shirting for the backgrounds, so that means that each background square will be different, which I am not going to lie has me a little unsettled.  But I do love a challenge!

Also, I enlarged the patterns by 125%.  I cut my background squares 16″ x 16″, but I am not sure right now what size they will end up.  I never have all the details figured out before I start a quilt….what fun would that be?   Sometimes you have to listen to the quilt!

I started this block by tracing the pattern onto the background with a water soluble marker.  Next, I made a bunch of leaves, using many different fabrics, just for the fun of it and then I auditioned them.  Some I like.  Some I don’t.  Some of the leaves are competing with the background, so I will save those leaves for another project!

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OK, next I added my stems.  Notice I used the same fabric for all of the stems, just to give a bit of consistency.

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Next, I went searching through my scraps and I found this piece of fabric I have had for about 8 years.  I love this fabric!  So I decided to use it for the 4 main flowers.

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Then I went through my scraps and found a fabric that went with the flower fabric.

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Next, I went through my blues and golds and chose a few fabrics that played nicely with the main flower fabric.   So far, so good!

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This patterns has a circle in the centre that I could make with a piece of bias and  a 1/4 bias maker, but I chose to make a template instead and prep it in the way I prep all of my templates.  So much easier!  Instead of tracing the circle from the pattern, I used a compass to get a more accurate shape.
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I cut the circle out and ironed it to the wrong side of the fabric.  I decided not to cut the centre of the fabric out just yet, to keep it more stable.

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Using starch, a stiletto and a mini-iron, I prepped the outside edge.

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Next, I trimmed out the centre and prepped the inside edge.

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Taking the freezer paper out is always fun (and kind of scary!) but it works like a charm every time!

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Once it is glued in place, it looks very neat and tidy.  Whew!!

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So, I auditioned several fabrics for the centres of the main flowers…brown, black, burgundy, blue…nothing appealed to me.  Then I tried gold.  Gold it is!!  But wait….

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I thought the gold circles were a tad too big, so I made them a shade smaller.

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Ahhhh.  That’s much better!

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Here’s a fun fact… I used three different golds in this block.  After all, it is a scrappy quilt!

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And here are both blocks.  Sweet!

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Keeping with the scrappy theme, I am working away on Trail Mix, a quilt designed by Laundry Basket Quilts.  I chuckled when I saw this block.DSCN7451

In this block alone, there is a scrap from my hexie quilt I worked on last winter,

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…a scrap of the background of my Civil War Bride Quilt….

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….and a piece of the background of my Reminescence.  Memories!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Trail Mix Progress and a new project!

I have been making steady progress on my Trail Mix quilt, designed by Laundry Basket Quilts. I must say it is rather addictive cutting and stitching all those tiny little pieces.   Sometimes when I start a new quilt, I set up some rules or guidelines for that quilt.  The rule for this quilt is that I can only use fabrics I have on hand.  It certainly is a nice feeling to use the last bits of some of the fabrics I have had for…well, a really, really long time!!!

Ok, so, you make 4 of these units….

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…..and stitch them onto these scrappy blocks.

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Here is the first one which fit like a glove!

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Here are the second and third units….

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I was absolutely delighted when the fourth unit actually fit where it was supposed to without any puckers or pleats!  One down, eight more to go.  Yikes!

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So, keeping that scrappy theme, I have started a new applique project that will also have a scrappy feel.  The pattern I am using is “Love is in the Air” by Lori Smith.   I enlarged the patterns by 125% to make the blocks bigger than the original size (8 1/2″).  I am also going to make a scrappy sashing, but more about that later!

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For my background fabrics, I am also going with a scrappy look.  I have had this collection of shirtings long enough.  It is now time to use them up!  I’m going to use a different background for each block.  Can’t wait to see what that looks like!!

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I started this block like I start all of my applique blocks, I traced the pattern with a blue Clover water soluble marker.  Then I made some bias for the stems (using my 1/4″ bias maker) and I started to make some leaves.  When I do go fabric shopping, I am always on the look out for green fabrics (especially olive greens) that would make awesome leaves.

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Next, I chose the fabrics for my flowers.

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Each flower has a “bud” and so I chose this darker purple (on the right) as the bud.  I thought there was enough contrast….

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…but, as you can see, there really isn’t much contrast.  Unfortunately, the bud gets lost.

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So, I opted for a darker, more tone-on-tone bud for both of the flowers.  So far, so good!

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Next came the tail feathers for the bird.

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And finally, the rest of the bird!  Do you recognize the blue fabric I used for the bird body?  It is the same fabric I used in my Mom’s quilt.  You can read that post here.

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Til next time……

Kerry