I Turned A Corner!

When I stitched the first border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”, I did what I do to all my blocks and borders.  I washed the border.  (I should mention that I pre-wash all of my fabrics in Synthrapol before I cut into them.)  Something odd happened.  For the very first time one of my red fabrics ran. Yikes!  You can read more about that post here.  If you remember, I Googled “what do I do when my fabrics run” and did exactly what I was told!  I went to the store and purchased Oxi-Clean and some colour magnet sheets so I could re-wash the border and (hopefully!) remove the spots of red.  The article I read also said to dry the fabric as soon as possible so, once the border was re-washed, I put it in the dryer and all was good.  The red marks disappeared!

When I put the border on the paper pattern to trim it to the correct size, I noticed that the the appliques didn’t exactly match what was on the paper pattern.  It looked like the area that was appliqued had shrunk in length.   I know that a certain amount of shrinkage happens because of all the stitching.  And the dryer would have caused a certain amount of shrinkage, also.  Certainly not the end of the world!  This is what I did to correct the (minor) problem…..

Just to give you an idea of  how much shrinkage there was, the bud is supposed to be where my finger is.  Just so you are not confused, you can only applique so far to the edge of the border, then the overlappping pieces can be glued and stitched in place once the corner block is added.

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I moved the bud to where it was “supposed” to be.  (Luckily, I had not stitched it in place yet!)

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Next, I cut the bias stem.  Notice I cut it under a piece of bias that crossed over it, so I could hide the join.

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I just added a longer piece of bias.

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Then  I added a leaf  to fill in the space.  Looks good to me!

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So once I shifted a few more pieces (and added 3 extra leaves) to fill in the space, the corner is finally complete!

I decided not to wash the corner block until it was part of the border.  That way, I could also wash the pieces that overlapped the borders and the block.  I filled the bathtub with just a few inches of water and placed the body of the quilt on the edge of the tub.  I may not sound like it, but I was starting to get a little stressed!!

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Once all the glue and starch was washed out, I pressed the water out and laid it out on a couple of thick towels to dry.   All is good!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Third Finish of the Year!

For some reason this post from yesterday disappeared:(  So I am re-posting it.  Thank you, technology, for keeping me on my toes…

We have had a couple of cool evenings lately, so it seemed like a good time to stitch the binding on Circle of Tulips.  So this is my third (!) finish of 2014!   My first finish was Owen’s quilt…

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…and my second finish was Civil War Bride..

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So, once I finished the binding, it was time to wash the quilt.  I didn’t have the heart to put this quilt in the washing machine, so I decided on the bathtub instead.  First, I filled the tub with cool water…

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…and added half a scoop of Oxi-Clean.

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I let the quilt soak for about an hour, swishing it around with my hands now and then.  I used a wool batt so once the quilt was wet, it smelled very much like a wet dog!

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I let the water drain out, rinsed the quilt under the tap (the quilt was very, very heavy) and pressed out as much of the water as I could.  I carried it downstairs where I had laid out a thick, clean blanket.  I placed the quilt on the blanket and smoothed it out, making the edges as square as I could.

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Even though I squeezed out a lot of water, within minutes the water was starting to be absorbed by the thick blanket.  I could have used towels, but I didn’t have enough clean towels at the time!  As you can see, even after soaking for an hour, the marks left behind from the Frixion marker did not come out, but I had a plan for that!

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Once the quilt was completely dry, I used my steam iron to remove the pen marks.  I never touched the quilt with the iron, I just held the iron 1/2″ or so away from the quilt and let the steam do the work.  So this picture is before I steamed it…

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…and after I steamed it.  Magical!

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Til next time…

Kerry

 

 

Moving right along…

I have  gone as far as I can go stitching the pieces on this block.  The remaining pieces will cover the seam that joins the block and the border, so those pieces cannot be stitched until the block and border are sewn together.  This presents a bit of a problem…..I am not going to wash the block before I stitch it to the border, because some of the pieces are just glued (and not stitched).  The reason for that is some of the vines from the border tuck under some of the pieces on the block.  My idea is to wash the block once it attached to the quilt.  I picture just dipping the 4 corners in the sink, one at a time.  This first block will be an experiment to see if that will work.  Keep your fingers crossed!

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When I first marked the block, I also marked the seam line and the cutting line.  That way when it comes time to trim the excess off, I don’t have to wonder “Is that the seam line or the cutting line?”  I know it is only a 1/4″, but it would truly be a disaster if I cut on the seam line!  The solid line is the seam line and the dotted line is the cutting line.

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Next, I lined up the border and the block and stitched them together.  Notice I didn’t trim the 3 remaining sides of the block, just the one I am stitching right now.

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So now, I can prep and stitch the remaining pieces in place…and do some embroidery!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Block #4 The Summer Vase

It’s that time again!  Time to post the next block of  “To Everything There Is A Season”, a block-of-the-month I launched in April.  The first 4  blocks are available on my website.  There will be 12 blocks in total and a centre medallion and borders.  You have your choice of a paper pattern mailed to you, or a digital copy that I will email to you.

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This block was an absolute delight to make!  I am going to show you a few tricks to make this block go really smoothly.  First, this is how I make my really skinny bias stems.  I make a piece of bias using my 1/4″ bias maker.

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Next, I iron it half lenthwise to set the fold.  I run a line of glue down the centre of the strip…

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…and finger press it in half.  As you can see, it really is skinny compared to a “regular” 1/4″ stem.  It also has some “dimension”.

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It really is a lot easier to construct these flowers “off block”.  To do that, I build the flowers on my applique pressing sheet.  I actually glue the pieces to the appliue pressing sheet and wait for the glue to dry.  Then I just peel the flowers off…..admire it….and then pop it in place!

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So, next I added the dainty little blue and pink flowers and some purple berries…

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The tiny pink buds just made my heart sing!

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And, of course, no summer bouquet is complete without a bee….bzzzzzz!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Ice cream and stitching go together!!

Canada Day is always a busy weekend for us because it is also our wedding anniversary. So, there is always  lots to celebrate….and lots of cake and Canadian ice cream!

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Even though it was a busy weekend, I still found some time to do a bit of stitching.  When I finished the second border of Friends of Baltimore, I decided to take a bit of time and  do some catch-up on a few projects.  This is my second block of the Value Proposition Quilt Along, which you can find on a wonderful blog called Faeries and Fibres.   Just click on the button at the top of the page called Quilt Alongs by Karen H.  Concentrating on value (rather than colour) is more challenging than you might think!

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I also took the time to stitch the first two rows of my hexagons together.  I really am loving this whole hexie thing…can you tell??

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So next, I decided to tackle the corner squares of Friends of Baltimore.  To account for shrinkage, (which does occur) the four borders on this quilt are all cut the same length….

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…..which means a corner block is needed. Some of the applique on the borders flows onto the corner square and cannot be stitched until the corner block is stitched to the border.  This will make more sense as we go along. Trust me!

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Now onto the corner block!   I always like to start with the vase or the basket.  I think it sets the tone of the block.  When I bought this gold fabric, I thought it would make a great vase.

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It also made a great butterfly on my Civil War Bride quilt!

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Now, I am just filling the vase with flowers.  Sweet!

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Til next time…

Kerry

A bit about shrinkage…and stitching a binding!

I let my border dry overnight and this is what I woke up to!  Oh well.  That is why I keep a lint brush handy!

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So once I removed the dog hair, I placed the border (wrong side up) on my ironing board (which has a really thick towel on it) so I could press the border nice and flat.  I used a dry iron and just a bit of Best Press.  I press the blocks and border on the wrong side so that I am actually pressing the background fabric, and not just the applique pieces.

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Next, it was time to trim the border down to the correct size.  I always cut my blocks 2″ larger than the finished size to allow for shrinkage during the applique process.  I actually cut these borders 2″ wider and 6″ longer than the finished size.  You may wonder exactly how much does a block (or border) shrink?  Well, my border shrunk about 2″ in length….yikes!  Which is why I am so happy that this pattern was designed with shrinkage in mind!  More about that in my next post.

Some of you asked if I could show how I stitched the binding on Circle of Tulips.  This is what I did…

First I made sure I could see the line that will eventually be the scallop because that is the line that the bias will be stitched along.

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Next, I started stitching the bias along the marked line.    It is important not to stretch the bias binding….trust me, it wants to stretch!  In fact, you need to ease a little more binding into the quilt.  I like to use my stitch ripper to ease the fabric in place.  Don’t try to ease too much fabric in….
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…..you will get a pucker!  Keep that stitch ripper handy!

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So, when it came to the spot where the scallops come together in a point, I just inserted a pin to let me know where the exact point is.

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I stitched up to the pin, then I pivoted, making sure not to catch the fabric that is bunched up under the presser foot.  (You are allowed to swear at this point.  I did.)

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Those inside points should look something like this.

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This technique works so much better if you lock the cat in the bedroom!  Where did I put that lint brush?

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Once the bias was stitched in place, it was time to trim off the excess fabric.

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But first, I checked the back to make sure there were no pleats or puckers.

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Now it was time to trim the excess fabric!  These are not magic scissors that cut all by themselves!!  It’s just that I can’t operate the scissors and the camera at the same time!!

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I recently  purchased some Wonder Clips designed specifically for binding a quilt.  I love them…love them!

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And, this is what that little pleat looks like.  Sweet!

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Yesterday was our last meeting of The Sunday Afternoon Applique Group until September.  We presented Kathy F. (on the left in the photo) with a quilt we made for her daughter, Karen, who is undergoing cancer treatments.  Each one of our members made a block.  We did not decide on any colour scheme, except the background.  It is lovely how it all came together!  Thanks to Colleen at Elite Quilting for doing such a lovely (and speedy!) job!

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And last, but certainly not least,  if you attended Quilt Canada this month, you will recognize Brenda’s quilt. (Brenda is on the left in the photo).  Brenda is an amazing applique artist (as well as an awesome quilter in general!).  This is Brenda’s version of Aunt Millie’s Garden, although the inner border is her own original design!  Congratulation, Brenda!

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Til next time….

Kerry

 

Finishing a border and starting a binding!

I spent yesterday putting the finishing touches on the second border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  All of the flowers and stems and leaves were finally stitched in place.  So, it was time to add the little red berries…..

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…and the embroidered stems.  I like to use 2 strands of embroidery thread for the stems.

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Each of the 13 roses has a (really tiny!) yellow center, so I prepped those, also.

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Once the yellow centers were stitched in place, I did some more embroidery.  Each of the roses and a few of the buds have these tiny little “hairs” stitched around them.  They are stitched with just one strand of embroidery floss.

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And now for the fun part!  When I am finished stitching a block or border, I wash it to remove the glue and starch and the marks from my water-soluble marker.  It is a simple process, really!  I fill the sink with hot water and add a bit of dish soap or Soak (if I happen to have some on hand).  Next, I just toss the block in and let it soak for about half an hour.

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Then, I  drain the water and rinse with tap water.

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I leave it fairly wet and lay it out on a couple of thick towels to dry.  Easy peasy!

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Next on my “To Do” list was “Put Binding on Circle of Tulips”.  To figure out how much binding I would need, I measured around each scallop and multiplied by the number of scallops.

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According to my calculations, I need approximately 308″ of binding.   I cut the bias strips 2 1/2″ wide and joined them all together in one long strip.  Next, I  pressed the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.

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And, I started stitching.  So far, so good!

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Til next time…

Kerry