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.

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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!

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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”!

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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!

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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.

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And this is where I am now!

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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!

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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…

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

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

My apologies for not including the information regarding my new hoop.  It is made in Canada by Quilters Woodwork in St. Mary’s, Ontario.  I purchased mine at a local quilt shop in Cookstown, Ontario called Country Concessions.

When I can get my hoop away from the cat, I love to sit and hand quilt in the evening.  Here is my Grandmother’s Flower Garden, which I am currently working on.  I am already thinking about my next hand-quilting project.  I don’t like too much time to slip by between projects, because the callouses on my fingers soften and then I have to go through the whole process again!

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Maybe I will take the time to put the rest of my Grandmother’s Choice blocks together so that I have something to hand-quilt.  These are the fabrics I am considering for the sashing and borders.  Pretty pink!

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I mentioned in an earlier post that my Civil War Bride Quilt won a ribbon at the local Ploughing Match.  The quilts were judged and awarded ribbons back in May and the ribbon winning quilts were kept until the Ploughing Match, which was held in Essa Township while we were in Barbados.  So, I just recently was re-united with my quilt.  Yippee!  I had no doubt that it would be kept safe and sound, but the fact that I had a more than one dream about my quilt disappearing made me think that maybe it was on my mind more than I realized.  I was pleasantly surprised when I came home from running errands yesterday to find that the my Hubby has taken the time to hang the quilt in the livingroom. What a lovely sight!

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Till 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

 

 

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

Prepping and prepping…..

I have been spending most of my spare time prepping the second border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  I must admit, it is a little tedious, however, I am sticking with it!!   It isn’t long before this…

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…and this…

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….becomes this!  For those people who have asked how I prep my pieces, you can see more here.

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Once the pieces are prepped, I use a dab of glue and attach them to the paper pattern.  I do this for a  few reasons…one is so I can make sure I prep all of the pieces and don’t forget any.  The second reason is so I do not lose any pieces (been there, done that!).  And I can preview my fabrics, which is especially useful when doing multi-couloured flowers.

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Once I get a section prepped, I am eager to glue it to the background and then I stitch it in place.  I find it easier to break the process down into smaller chunks rather than to try to do the prepping all at once, then all of the stitching at once.  That is just the way I work!

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Yes, I have been hexi-ing!  I have a special project in mind!

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And finally, I am in the process of turning the last(!) corner of Circle of Tulips.  So exciting!

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Speaking of excitement…my Civil War Bride Quilt received a ribbon at the Plowing Match Quilt Competition!  All quilts that received a ribbon will be exhibited in the Lifestyles Area at the 2014 Simcoe County International Plowing Match and Rural Expo September 16-20, 2014.  Sweet!

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Til next time….

Kerry

 

Obsession….

Obsession is defined as the act of letting a thought or action rule your thoughts or actions.  Ok, then, call me obsessed!  I have been spending my time making hexies….every waking moment.

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I have even graduated to Six Pointed Stars.  Yikes!  What next?

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My Sunday Afternoon Applique met on Sunday and we had some awesome Show and Tell.  Kathy F. stitched this gorgeous quilt, depicting a gazebo and some beautiful spring and summer flowers.

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Take a close look at the back.  Kathy F. in am impeccable stitcher!

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Next, is Dolores’s quilt made of Civil War fabrics.  Once it is quilted, it will hang in her front hall.  Wouldn’t that be a treat to see every time you walked in your front door?

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Helene’s block is beautiful!  The quilt Helene is making has 16 of this same block.  Can’t wait to see it finished! Check out the background. Spiffy!

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And finally, I showed the group my finished Civil War Bride.

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Til next time…

Kerry

 

No one, but TWO finishes!!

Oh my!  I am so excited!  Here it is just the end of March, and I already have two finishes!  First, Owen’s quilt.  Beautifully quilted by Colleen at Elite Quilting.

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And, here is the back.

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For the lettering, I just printed “Owen’s quilt”  in Illustrator and prepped the pieces just like I would prep any other shape. Remember this?

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And here is my Civil War Bride quilt breathtakingly machine quilted by Rose at Elite Quilting.  I wish you could see this in person!!

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Whenever I ask Colleen to machine quilt a quilt for me, she always asks me what design I have in mind.  This is the look I give her….

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…and then I say, “I don’t know…whatever you think”.  As you can see, my input is not needed at all!

Here are some more pics…

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This is the backing I chose…I found it on sale for $6 a yard.  I bought the whole bolt!!

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I am also very excited to announce I am just putting the finishing touches on the first block of my first Block-of-the-Month called “To Everything There is a Season”.  It is a quilt designed by MT Designs exclusively for Simple Bird Studio.  Would you like a hint or two?  Well, the quilt consists of twelve 18″ blocks.  And a center medallion.  There is a cardinal, a squirrel, a hummingbird, a basket of poinsettias and a wreath of roses…among other delights.  Look for it next week!

Til next time…

Kerry