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.

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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”….

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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….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?

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This is what it should look like….

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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!

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

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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.

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And finally….here is my block.  Sweet!

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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.

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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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To Everything There Is A Season…Block 8

Where did October go?!?  It’s time for me post the 8th block of “To Everything There Is A Season”, a BOM I launched back in April.  If you are new to my blog and you haven’t seen the blocks yet, here they are!  All of the patterns are available for purchase on my website Simple Bird Studio.  The patterns are available either as a digital pattern (which I will email to you) or as a paper pattern (which I will mail to you).  The choice is yours.

Block 1

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Block 2

new hummingbird

Block 3

rose

Block 4

Summer vase photo for blog

Block 5

SUNFLOWER FOR BLOG

Block 6

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Block 7

Apple Basket

And here is Block 8, The Poinsettia, just in time for the upcoming festive season.  (It will be here before you know it!)

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Here are a few close-up photos. The yellow centres are made of Ultra Suede.  This is where I purchase  my Ultra Suede.  I love the little bit of texture that Ultra Suede adds!  I also stitched around each yellow centre with one strand of gold embroidery floss.  I added a few French knots to the flowers, but I used 2 strands of embroidery floss for those.

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I also used one strand of brown floss to embroider around each of the ovals on the vase and around the darker handle on the right side.  Fancy!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Filling a Vase and Binding My Grandmother’s Flower Garden

This past week I  have been working away on the corner block that finishes off the third border on Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  I get goosebumps just thinking about how close I am finishing this once-in-a-lifetime quilt!!

First, I traced the design on the background with a Clover water soluble blue marker.  I always like to start with the vase.

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Next,  I added the base.

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Next came the decorative oval and I knew I just had to use this gold swirly fabric.

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I used this fabric already on this vase and I loved the effect it gave.

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Something told me the red vase was lacking something, but what?  The two fabrics have a lot of motion going on and I needed to separate the red and the gold swirly fabric.   So I cut a freezer paper template just a little bigger than the gold swirly piece.  Using this new template, I cut an oval out of the same gold I used on the base, placed it underneath and voila!

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Once I was over that little hurdle, I was ready to start filling the vase!

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I stitched the block to the border so that I could continue adding the flowers and leaves.

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Since the right-hand side of the block is complete (and everything is stitched in place, I might add!), it is now time to add the border to the rest of the quilt. Now I can start to fill in  the left-hand side of the block.  So far, so good!

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Still here?  Good!  Since I already had my sewing machine out, I decided to put the binding on my Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt.  First, I carefully trimmed the quilt so I had straight edges to work with.  I am always a little nervous when putting my rotary cutter anywhere near my quilts!  I always mark the line I am going to cut with my blue marker, just as an extra safety precaution.

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I chose  a bright orange polka dot for the flange.  I cut the pieces 1″ wide and pressed them in half lengthwise.  Then I stitched them  to all 4 sides of the quilt.  The folded edge is towards the middle and the raw edges are lined up with the edge of the quilt.

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Next, I cut my binding strips, joined them into one long strip and pressed them in half lengthwise.  I stitched the binding on as usual, on top of the orange flange.

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So, now I am going to make a pot of tea and spend the afternoon hand stitching the binding.  Sweet!

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Til next time…

Kerry