Sunday Afternoon Applique Show and Tell

Our Sunday Afternoon Applique Group met this past Sunday and I thought I would share with you some of the projects that we are working on.  Kathy has been busy stitching, of all things, a bridal veil for a friend.  Kathy is the one modelling the veil and I am the bridesmaid, making sure that the veil is lying perfectly flat!

IMG_3111 (1)

In her spare time, Kathy has also managed to prep a few blocks of her “Aunt Millie’s Garden”.



Christie has been very busy stitching the Cardinal block of “To Everything There Is A Season”.  Lovely!


Lynn has been working away on her blocks of “To Everything…” and this is the beginning of the Summer Vase.


I have been working on the centre medallion of “To Everything..”  The pieces are bigger than the ones in the blocks, so it is working up quite quickly!


I am also working away on my hexie quilt, which is starting to take shape.


How Much Fabric Should I Buy??  This is a question that I am asked from time to time and I thought it would make a good blog post. First, let me take you on a bit of a tour of my sewing room where I keep all of my fabric.  I make no apologies for the size of my fabric collection.  A painter has to have her paints, right?

I have a stash of tone-on-tones in clear colours, which I used to make my Friends of Baltimore.  I also used these same fabrics for the blocks of “To Everything There Is A Season”, but I added a few batiks and a few fabrics with a bit more of a design on them.  I keep these fabrics in containers and  I keep telling myself that if I just folded each fabric after I used it, it wouldn’t be quite so messy!  It is always a good idea to have a good variety of colours in light, medium and dark.





I am always on the hunt for new fabrics and new colours.  I purchased these tone-on-tones recently, just to add a few more to the stash.  When I am purchasing tone-on-tones with applique in mind, I rarely buy more than a fat quarter.  Fat eighths are even better!  These tone-on-tones can range from looking almost like a solid, to having a bit of a swirl or even some dots!


If you are just starting to build an applique stash, I highly recommend purchasing layer cakes, which are 10″ squares of an entire collection.  Layer cakes also takes the pressure off of choosing fabrics that “go together”, and a 10″ square is the perfect amount!  You can also add tone-on-tones to these collections of fabrics.


For my Civil War Bride Quilt, I used a more muted pallete.  Since I didn’t have a lot of these muddy colours, I had to go on a few shopping trips to make sure I had a really good assortment.  Again, I purchased mainly fat quarters and fat eighths.  When I think that a fabric has a lot of potential for fussy cutting, I usually buy at least 1/2 a meter.  You can see that I used fabrics with a much larger print on them and very few tone-on-tones.  Most of the greens I used in this quilt came from a layer cake of Civil War greens.


When I made my Aunt Millie’s Garden, I used my collection of brights, which include stripes and polka dots.  I find these types of fabrics are easier to buy in a fat quarter bundle (or even better…a fat eighths bundle!) so you get a good assortment of fabrics with the same “feel”.





When it comes to backings, I always make sure the back matches the front!


Til next time…




Onward and Upward!

Since finishing my “Friends of Baltimore” last week, I have had a hard time getting back into my sewing room.  Well, that’s now exactly true.  On Monday, which was Family Day in Ontario, I spent the day organizing my sewing room, going through all my stuff and just looking for some inspiration.

On the one hand, I am thrilled to have such a huge quilt crossed off my bucket list.  On the other hand, there is definitely a void in my quilting life.  But as my Mother used to say…”there is already to much strife in the world, is that what you are going to complain about?”  In other words, “quit complaining”!  So, onward and upwards!

I am addicted to stitching my hexies using Inklingo.  If you haven’t tried it yet, just take some time and try it out.  Inklingo is just good clean fun!!


I just love the crisp corners and I find that hand stitching has the same calming effect as hand-quilting.  It is really just a running stitch.


I am trying to finish up some projects before I start anything new (what a concept!).  This is the centre medallion of “To Everything There Is A Season”, a BOM I launched last April.  You can check out the patterns on my website Simple Bird Studio.



Til next time….



Finally finished!  Here is the last HST border being stitched on…


And here is the finished top of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”!






I started this quilt about 3 1/2 years ago and loved every moment of it.  Now that I am finished, I have been walking around in a bit of a fog.  I miss working on it already!

I said it before and I’ll say it again….this quilt is not difficult.  Honestly!  When I first purchased the patterns, I really didn’t believe I would ever start it, let alone finish it.  But then I started looking at just the blocks by themselves, and I soon realized that the pieces (although there are lots of them!) are very manageable.  Just start with one piece, and then another and then another.  Before you know it, you will be on your way!!

Til next time….


To Everything There Is A Season Block 11

My apologies for posting this block so late.  I have had the block prepped for a couple of weeks, but wanted to make sure everything was stitched in place before I posted it.

This block comes at a good time.  It is a promise that spring is on the way.  Honestly!  So, here is Butterflies and Lilacs.

pic for blog

First, I started with the stems and pointy leaves and some cute little flowers…


Then I added the butterfly.



Next, I added the 2 shades of purple for the lilacs, but notice that only the outside edges are turned under and the edges that meet in the middle are left raw.


That is because all of these little lilac petals will cover the raw edges.


This block (along with the previous blocks) are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.

Til next time….


Very Slow Stitching Sunday

I have finally(!) finished all of the applique and embroidery on by Friends of Baltimore!  Yippee!


Today, I am stitching the 342 half-square triangles that will go all around the quilt.  Because I am so very close to a finish, it just seems to be taking forever to sew these triangles together.  If you would like to see how I stitch my triangles, you can look at this post.


I am linking up to Slow Stitching Sunday and also WIPs Be Gone.  Check out both sites and see some awesome stitching!

Til next time….


Inklingo 101-Update

In one of my recent posts, I mentioned my newest obsession….Inklingo.  Many readers commented or emailed me and said that they would love to try Inklingo, but just cannot get their head around the concept.  Some readers said they have already created an account, but even downloading the Free Shape Collection seemed very overwhelming.  That made me sad, because  I, too, was  overwhelmed when I first went on the Inklingo website.  I spent 3 days browsing the site, watching the videos, checking out the shapes, and all the different sizes of each shape. Each time I went on the website, I was getting more and more curious.  I was very intrigued with the concept, handpiecing verses EPP, not having to use paper templates anymore, even using Inklingo to stitch shapes on the sewing machine.  My head was spinning with ideas, but I was more than a little overwhelmed with all of the information. I honestly didn’t know where to begin.  I decided that the only way I was going to learn about Inklingo was to just start printing.  So I made a pot of tea and spent a couple of hours with my printer, some fabric and some freezer paper (and an open mind)  to see if I could figure this Inklingo thing out.  I am so glad I did…so glad…so glad!   The best part is…all of that information on the website and the videos started to make so much sense after I printed my very first set of shapes.  I would love to share my experience with you in the hopes that you will just give it a try.  You will be glad you did!  If you have any question at all, Linda is the one to ask.  Simply email her and she will get right back to you.

First, you will need to set up an account.  If you haven’t set up an account yet, check out this link  and just follow the easy steps.

Are you ready?  I am using the “Free Shape Collection” as my first example.  First, order the pattern (even though it is free) and you will immediately receive an email from Linda explaining how to download the pattern to your computer. Once you have downloaded the pattern, you will find it in your “Downloads”.  You now own that pattern forever!  If you scroll through all of the pages, you will see that there are pages and pages of every shape (diamond, triangle and square) in all of the 20 colours.  Bet you are wondering “oh my gosh…where do I start…what should I print?”  We aren’t going to print any of those pages, at least, not right now!   Those pages are for those of you who are going to become truly addicted (like me!) and want to make hundreds and hundreds of eight-pointed stars, or just want to print some triangles and start stitching them together. You can use any combination of those 3 shapes to make some pretty awesome designs.  Here are just a few…


Sally Post Floral medallion lonestar finished 10.2.2009 81 x 81

for tilde 75 x 75 inklingo lonestar

OK, so now we are going to go straight to Page 70, and you will see that Linda has designed a combination (Combo 2) of all the shapes.  That is the combo I used to make these stars.



We are going to print the combo, one on a light piece of fabric and one on a  dark of fabric. First question….what colour of ink are we going to use?  I did a colour sample and you can see that there is not just one “correct” answer.   Important note: Testing is important so you know the ink will not bleed or show on the front.  Make sure you read this article on testing the inks on your fabrics.


My Test Sample.


Take the time to print a few of these samples on the fabrics you are using and use them as a reference, just to see how the inks work with different colours of fabric.  Once you have tested your fabric, go to the corresponding page and print the combo.


Cut yourself 2 sheets of freezer paper 6 3/4″ x 9 3/4″.  Press each one to the right side of 2 different fabrics, preferably a light and a dark.  It is much easier to cut around the freezer paper, instead of cutting the fabric the same size as the freezer paper and trying to line them up…trust me!



Place the fabric/freezer paper (freezer paper side up) into the printer and click on the Print icon. Make sure you click on “current page” and “portrait”.  This is extremely important!


Ta-da!   You are a superstar!  Now, do it again with the other piece of fabric/freezer paper.  Too easy!  If you are wondering how to stitch this eight pointed star together, here is a great video, showing a Kaleidoscope Star, but it is the same idea!  P.S…..make sure you watch Part 2.


I have an HP printer and (as far as I know) I cannot print Custom Sizes.  That has not stopped me from printing my shapes. Once I became familiar with printing the free pattern, I thought I might as well jump in and buy the 1″ hexagon shape (and the 2″ hexagon and the 2″star point!).  Just like the free diamond shape, all of these shapes come with numerous layouts and each layout can be printed with all 20 colours of ink.  So there are lots (and lots!) of pages to scroll through.  If you click on Page 13….


…you will see different sizes of freezer paper with the number of hexies that you will get out of each sheet.  Make a couple of paper copies of this page.  You will want to refer to them from time to time.   I started off with just printing a 7.25″ x 11″ page just for the fun of it.  What did I have to lose?  Nothing!!


Then I thought that maybe I did not want 12 hexies from the same fabric and maybe I wanted a scrappier look.  Then I started cutting 5.75 x 7.5 pieces of freezer paper and lo and behold…..I ended up with just 6 hexies!  Everything was starting to make sense!


One of my many “aha moments” came when I thought…”I wonder if I can print on a 5″ square”.  So, I fed a 5″ x 5″ piece of fabric/freezer paper into the printer and this is what came out.  I used the same layout as the fabric above.


Then the creative wheels started spinning…I thought…oh wouldn’t it be cool if I could just fit another hexies in there, then I could get 3 hexies instead of 2.  I must admit, by this time my mind was racing and I could see why Linda offers so many different layouts.  When I first saw this layout (Page 75) and saw that it is intended to be cut with scissors and not a rotary cutter, I was really stumped…


…I wondered who in their right mind would want to cut all those hexies apart with scissors.  But if you had 5″ piece of fabric and wanted to get as many hexies out of it that you could, cutting them apart with scissors is an excellent idea!


Now I am on a roll!!


That is when I started to realize that the more I played around with Inklingo, the more I was learning and the more excited I was getting.  Here is another very useful bit of information. You may be wondering what the difference between “Portrait” and “Landscape” is, so I did sample of each.  Both are the same layout and I cut both pieces of fabric/freezer paper 8 1/4″ x 12″.  Can you see the difference?  The one on the right is printed “Landscape” and gives us 15 hexies and no waste at all.  The one of the left is printed “Portrait” and only gives us only 12 hexies with lots of wasted fabric.  See?  It is really all very useful information!


Hopefully, I have convinced you to give Inklingo a try.  It is actually very simple to use, once you spend a bit of time just printing for the fun of it!  This is what I am currently working on using the 1″ hexies.  I am hand-piecing them, which is done with a simple running stitch, very much the same as the handquilting stitch.  This video sums it all up!


And here is the back!


Once I started printing and stitching, I couldn’t stop!



Til next time….



Slow Stitching Sunday

Today I am on a mission….I am going to finish this last corner block of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  After that I will sew the remaining half-square triangles that will be stitched to the edge of the border.  I told my family that I am having a “me day” and if they need me, I’ll be in my sewing room…with the door shut!  I am linking up to Slow Stitching Sunday, so go on over and check it all out!!


Yesterday I stopped at a delightful quilt shop in Shelburne, Ontario called “Cobwebs and Caviar”.  I spotted this spectacular fabric and just had to have some.  I have no immediate plans for it, I just had to have some!  It is by French General.DSCN6641

And, my hexies are coming along quite nicely.  Edyta Sitar has a new book called “Handfuls of Scraps” and I am using her quilt on the cover as a bit of a road map.


Till next time….