Skinny Stems and Two-Tone Leaves

I hope that everyone who is participating in this new BOM has received their packages, complete with fabric and pattern.  I thoroughly enjoyed making this block and I hope you do too.  I prepped this entire block before I did any stitching on it. My husband was scheduled for surgery last week, and I knew I was going to need something to do while I waited.  Imagine….3 hours of (almost) un-interrupted stitching time!!

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OK…this block has a few two-tone leaves, which I love.  It gives the leaf a bit of dimension.  These leaves are not difficult to do, so do not let them intimidate you.  Be strong! In fact, you can make any leaf a two-tone leaf…just draw a line down the middle of it!

So, you cut the freezer paper template apart and prep them as you normally would…except that you leave one of the edges a raw edge.  It doesn’t matter which one is a raw edge and which one is turned under.

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The part of the leaf that has the raw edge gets glued to the background first.

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Then the piece with the edge turned under goes on top!

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As you can see, the tip of the half leaf with the raw edge sticks out from under the top half leaf.  This can be tucked under while stitching.

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For this next leaf, you may notice that there is not a lot of contrast between the two fabrics.  I mean if you are going to put the effort into a two-tone leaf, you want everyone to see the fruits of your labour!  In that case, simply switch one of the fabrics out.  There is enough fabric in your kit that you can do this.

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Remove the offending piece of fabric!

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Add a fabric with higher contrast.  Easy Peasy!

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For the smaller two-tone leaves, I made sure there was enough contrast.  For the large leaf in the centre of the block, I wanted it to be a little more subtle, so I used the fabrics that the pattern calls for.  It is your quilt and you know what you like!

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Let’s talk about stems.  For most of the stems, I used a Clover 1/4″ bias maker.  For the skinnier stems, I cut myself a piece of freezer paper the width of the stem (less than a quarter inch but bigger than an eighth). Then I simply prep the skinny stem as usual.  When I use the 1/4″  bias maker, I always make sure I am using a strip of fabric that has been cut on the bias.  For these skinny stems, I use the straight grain.  Don’t worry about how much bias to cut. I always cut a little extra.  If you don’t use it all in this block, you will use it in another block.

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When it comes to stems, you also want contrast, just like in your leaves.  So I changed the fabric for some of the stems, just so that they would stand out and not blend into the leaves underneath it.

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So as you can see, this block goes together like a puzzle.  One piece at a time.  One section at a time.  Just pay attention to what goes on top and what goes on the bottom….

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Once all the stitching was done, I did the little bit of embroidery, which I think adds so much to this block.  For the hairs around the rose buds, I used one strand of embroidery floss.  For the stems coming out of the purple flowers, I used two strands.

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So, once the block was absolutely finished (yippee!) I tossed it into a sink of hot, soapy water.  By doing this, it removes the blue marker, glue, and of course, cat hair!dscn8073

I usually let the block soak for half an hour or so.  Then I rinse the soap out and then gently squeeze the water out.  Next I lay the block on a towel to dry.  How lovely!!

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When I was making my Civil War Bride quilt a couple of years ago, I never dreamed my granddaughter Grace and I would spend so much time playing “I Spy”!!  I Spy an elephant, a dog, a cat and an ostrich!  Life is good!!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Just A Little Behind Schedule:)

Seriously!  I had huge quilting plans for August.  Huge plans.  But sometimes life gets in the way, which is why the first block of the new BOM is not quite ready to ship out.  My sincerest apologies:)  Next week I will have it all together (I hope!) and I’ll be shipping the blocks out.  I hope you are as excited as I am!  Also, because the summer did fly by and we were all busy doing summer stuff, I am extending the deadline for the sign-up for the new BOM.  I’ll take sign-ups until the middle of September.  You can sign up here in my website:)

Before I show you what I have accomplished for the first block, I want to urge everyone to check out the Academy of Applique website.  Registration starts Labor Day, September 5th…check your calendar because that is really soon!!  Did you know that 95% of students sign up on that day!!  And many classes fill that same day.  So check out the website and see if there is a class (or two!) that might excite you.  Here are a few sneak peaks of what I am teaching.  I’ll be teaching two separate classes.  To say I am excited to be teaching at the Academy is a major understatement!!

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I am also making very good progress on the borders of Bed of Roses.  I stitched the pink scallops in place.

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And then I added the green circles.  In order to make sure the circles were centred, I used the same plastic template and cut a hole in it exactly where the green circle would go.  Easy Peasy!

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Okay, so here is more of the first block. First, I wanted to finish the base of the woven basket.  I traced the “table” template and prepped the piece.  I am now in the habit of tracing the seam allowance on almost every piece I prep.  It is such am easy way to guarantee that things line up properly.

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Ok so now I started prepping the leaves that are on the outer edge of the design.  Do you see the beauty of having that seam allowance drawn on all the pieces?  Magical!!DSCN7998

And I started to add the top of the basket and some more leaves.

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I couldn’t wait to start adding some flowers!

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Bruin was sooooo impressed!DSCN8002

Before I forget, these are the fabrics you will receive in your kit.  I have also made a Colour Chart to show you where each fabric goes.  Handy!

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So this is what I have done so far!!

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Til next time….

Kerry

 

Getting It All Together!

It’s still really hot.  Really, really hot.  So I am spending as much time downstairs where it is very cool, which is good, because I am getting lots done!  I finished stitching all of my blocks together…I must say I am thrilled with how wonderful the assorted pinks and greens go together.  I mean, when you veer away from the original quilt (Sue Garman’s quilt is made up of various red and greens) you really never know what you are going to end up with!

For those of who who have inquired, yes you can still sign up for Bed of Roses.  In fact, you can order one block at a time and work at your own pace, or you can order a few blocks at a time, or you can even order the complete set (which is your best bet to save on all that shipping!)

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I mentioned a few posts ago that I will be teaching two(!) classes at Barbara Blanton’s Academy of Applique.  What an honour!!  The catalogue of classes is now online so you can check it out here.  Here are my class samples.  I urge everyone who is even remotely interested in applique to consider taking a class at the Academy.  Don’t worry if you don’t know too much about applique….that is why you are taking classes….to learn more!  And if you are worried about going alone and not knowing anyone, well, stop worrying about that!  The Academy of Applique is the place to be if you want to meet fellow appliquers and maybe even make some lifelong friends.

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I am gearing up for the new BOM which starts September 1.  You can check that post out here.  That means you have exactly 10 days left to order! So if you want in on this BOM, you’ll have to order soon.  We will be starting with The Woven Flower Basket.  You will receive the pattern, the same fabrics I am using, a Color Chart so you will know which fabrics go where (handy!) and I will be doing a very detailed blog post to share the tips and techniques I am using.  I hope you will join me in making this awesome (but very doable!) quilt.

I started working on the first block yesterday, so I just wanted you to get a sampling of what the detailed blog post will look like.

OK…here we go….First I started by taping the pattern together.  You can make a personal photocopy (for your use only) so that you have a master copy.  You never know, you want to make these blocks more than once.  Next, I traced the pattern onto the background with a clover Water Soluble Marker (the thick one).  Take note that I only trace the outlines of a design and I don’t trace the inside detail.  Once you place the first unit on the background, you will cover up the inside markings.  And you will say to yourself… “Well, I just wasted my time tracing things that didn’t need to be traced”.  Trust me.DSCN7964

So I was laying in bed the other night thinking about baskets.  Specifically, baskets that are made from strips of bias.  And the fact that they are usually appliqued right onto the background.  And I wondered…”Where are the stems?  If the basket shows the background, shouldn’t I see stems.”  So then I thought…”I wonder what it would look like if I  added a layer of fabric to the background, and then applique the bias strips on top of that.  And then the stems would be “in” the basket”.  So that is what I did.  Which is why I did not trace the stems onto the background (just in case you were wondering haha!).

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Maybe you have never made bias strips before.  You probably think it is really difficult.  Well, I am here to show you how easy it really is.  First, you lay your ruler on the edge of the fabric so that the 45 degree line is lined up with the edge of the fabric.  It should look like this.   Here is a post you can read about how I make my bias stems.

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By the way, we are cutting our bias strips on a 45 degree angle.  Each one of those lines on your ruler represents a different angle, so make sure you are using the correct line

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When I cut my freezer paper template for the light blue piece, I did not include any seam allowance along the sides, but I did include it on the top and bottom.DSCN7965

Next, I removed the freezer paper template and traced the stem lines from the paper pattern.

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Then I glued the light blue piece in place making sure the top and bottom were lined up properly.

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Now I am ready to glue the strips in place.  You will notice that there is a bit of “over and under” going on with the stems so you’ll have to pay attention.  Clearly I wasn’t  paying attention, so I had to loosen the glue a little, but now it’s all good!!

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Yes…..it’s all good!DSCN7977

Til next time….

Kerry

Cool Stitchings!

I have been excitedly stitching my “Bed of Roses” together in the basement where it is nice and cool.

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I am loving this quilt more with every row I add.  Speaking of adding rows, the pink cornerstones add a lovely touch, don’t you think.  They finish at just 1/2″ square.  Dainty!

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In my usual fashion, I stopped working on Bed of Roses for a day or two to start a new quilt.  I guess as I see the end in sight for one quilt, I have the need to start something new.  I honestly think it is fear of having absolutely nothing to do!  The new quilt is called “Love At First Sight” and it is from Edyta Sitar’s book Handfuls of Scraps. I am making it out of my “real scraps” not layer cakes or jelly rolls.  No no!  The fabrics I am using are scraps left over from finished projects.  So it takes a bit longer to do the cutting, but I am actually using up some leftover bits of fabric that have been kicking around for years!  I am sure you know the feeling.  Notice that I am keeping the blocks from Bed of Roses in my sight line just so I remember there really is a quilt to finish!

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In an earlier post, I showed you how to do the scallops on the borders of Bed of Roses according to the directions in the pattern. It really is a slick way to do those scallops.  You can see that post here.

But I was laying awake one night and came up with an alternate method to do the borders.  There is always more than one way to skin a cat.  Speaking of cats….have you ever tried to sew with a cat on your lap?  It is not easy.DSCN7926

Anyway,  here is an alternate way to do the borders.

First, cut a plastic template of the scallop provided in the pattern.  Then cut yourself some freezer paper templates.  I cut 6.  When you trace the template on the freezer paper, make sure you butt them up against each other.  Now, take a pencil and draw a line through both freezer paper templates at the exact point where they touch.  You can cut the templates out now.

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Ok, now you can take the plastic template and trace 15 scallops on the border fabric with a water soluble marker.  I drew the 1/4″ seam allowance along the edge because there is no seam allowance included in the template.  There is an odd number of scallops, so I found the centre point of the border and drew the first one in the middle, and then 7 scallops on each side of that one.

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So now I started to prep the scallops.  Here is the key…On 8 of the scallops, you will prep the entire piece (except the bottom seam allowance).  So far, so good!

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On the remaining 7 scallops, put a clip about 1/8″ below the pencil line you drew.

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Next you can prep the top section of the template.  I think this just might work!

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Once all the pieces were prepped, I took the plastic template and placed it on the top of the fabric and drew the remaing seam allowances.  You will be glad you did this!

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Now comes the moment of truth!  So glue the partially prepped pieces on the background on every other scallop, referring to the pattern for colour placement.

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Now you can glue the totally prepped piece in place.  Easy Peasy!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Now I Can Relax!!!

The contracts are signed.  The patterns are designed. I have stitched my class samples and submitted class descriptions and supply lists.  Now I can finally tell you my exciting news…..I will be teaching two classes at Barbara Blanton’s Academy of Applique!   Pinch me!  I must be dreaming, but the last time I checked, my photo is up there with some pretty amazing world-class teachers, so it must be true!

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As much as I would love to show you my class samples, the teachers have been asked to keep their samples under wraps until the catalogue is published.  Sorry, but this is all I can show you…

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Anyway, now that my samples are finished,  I can finally start to put my Bed of Roses together.  I must confess, I have not finished all of the side triangles (or borders).  But I do have enough that I can get going!  I also know that once I see a few blocks stitched together, I will be very motivated to get things finished.

Ok, so I want to show you how to trim the side triangles and corner triangles.  The instructions are written very clearly in the pattern, but I just wanted to give you a few pointers.

Cut 2 pieces of freezer paper 15″ square.  Cut one of the pieces on the diagonal to end up with 2 triangles.

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Next, cut the second piece of freezer paper on the diagonal twice to end up with 4 smaller triangles.  So far, so good!

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So let’s start with the smaller triangles.  Basically, we are going to iron a freezer paper triangle (FPT) on to the right side of the 4 corner triangles.  First, I placed the FPT on the paper pattern and traced a few leaves, just to make sure I could line the pattern up and everything would be centered.

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Next, I ironed the FPT on top of the stitched triangle, placing the drawn leaves directly over the stitched leaves.

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It should look something like this.  As you can see, I am doing both triangles at once.

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Now, we are going to machine stitch 1/8″ away from the FPT, just on the bias edge.

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This next part is super-important, so if you remember only one thing from this post, make sure it is this!  The FPT does not have any seam allowance included, so you must add 1/4″ seam allowance to the fabric.

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Once the triangle is trimmed, you can remove the FPT.

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So now you can repeat the same process  with the remaining 3 corner triangles.  Then you can trim down the 8 side triangles, but this time you will be using the larger FPT.   Sometimes it is hard to tell what Bruin is thinking, but I think he is pretty impressed!!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Finally! Details of New BOM!

I am very excited to announce my new Block of the Month!  With Sue Garman’s permission, I am combining two of her fabulous quilts, “Friends of Baltimore” and “Baltimore Squared”.  We will be stitching 9 of my favorite blocks from “Friends of Baltimore” and using the setting from”Baltimore Squared” to bring the blocks to life.  Of course, you can expect a step-by-step tutorial on my blog for each block and also any finishing techniques.  I can’t wait to begin and I hope that you will join me!  I truly believe that every appliquer has a Baltimore quilt in them and I hope this is it!

So this BOM is set up differently than the last two and  you will find it much more convenient.  When you sign up, you will enter in your credit card information, and your card will be automatically charged each month.  You won’t need to order each block individually.  Yippee!  You can sign up for “Friends of Baltimore/Baltimore Squared” on my website.  Sign-ups will begin today (Canada Day!) and continue until August 31.  When you sign up, you will be paying for Block 1.   On September 1, I will ship Block 1 to everyone that has signed up.  On October 1, your credit card will be charged for Block 2 and then I will ship them out the following day.  Much easier to you (and me!).

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when I found out my “Friends of Baltimore” was awarded the Excellence of Workmanship in Applique at Quilt Canada a couple of weeks ago.  Pinch me, I must be dreaming!!!  Since this is like the Academy Awards of Quilting, I would like to thank Sue Garman for creating such an awesome pattern and for being such an inspiration to me…..I would like to thank Ruth Quinn of Stitching Impressions  for the truly amazing machine quilting that she did.  I would especially like to thank Colleen Dadd who convinced me to “just throw the quilt in the washing machine” and who also took the time to re-wash the quilt so she could block it for me.  And I would like to thank everyone who commented on my blog posts and encouraged me to keep going on this quilt.  I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!!

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Moving right along….I finished the borders for my Trail Mix quilt.  How lucky was I to find the exact shade of brown I was looking for in my very own stash??  I love when that happens!!

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First border is on…and it fits perfectly!!!  Interesting…..I just noticed one of the blocks in the border is going the going the wrong way…..such is life!

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Finished!!!  OK, I just noticed that a lot of the blocks in the border are going the wrong way.  What else can you do but laugh???

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Til next time…..

Kerry

A Good Day to Stitch!

There is nothing I love doing more than quilting.  And by “quilting” I mean anything that has to do with making a quilt.  Obviously, my first choice is always to applique the day away, but today I am sitting at my sewing machine, sewing the borders for “Trail Mix”, a scrappy quilt I started a while back.  “Trail Mix” is a quilt designed by Edyta Sitar.  It is available on Craftsy and is one of the best classes I have taken.  So much useful information!

So, you may remember, I have stitched all of the blocks together.  It was a lot of stitching (and I do mean a lot), so I think I may have needed a bit of a break from it….I am sure you know the feeling!

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I am now ready to start the borders…so I spent most of yesterday sewing strips together and cutting the strips into triangles using an acrylic template.  Next, I stitched those triangles together in pairs.  So far so good!

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Next I took all of those half square triangles I made…

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…and stitched them together.  I must confess I have become very addicted to half square triangles.  Very addicted.

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So, next I took those sections and stitched them to the triangles made from strips.  Sweet!  Of course, I was simply thrilled that (almost!) every piece fit the way it was supposed to.  Thank You, Quilt Gods!!

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So now, I can start to put all the pieces together.  So excited!!

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As if that isn’t exciting enough, Quilt Canada is just around the corner!  I am so happy to  tell you my Friends of Baltimore designed by Sue Garman  and machine quilted by Ruth Quinn of Stitching Impressions was juried into the show.  Here is the label, which I was frantically stitching on the morning the quilt was to be dropped off, but that is another story.

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For those of you who have been wondering…Yes I will be doing another Block of the Month!  The patterns are picked, the fabrics are chosen and I am raring to go!!  I will have all the details in my next post!

Til next time….

Kerry