Third block of “Love Is In the Air”

Yesterday afternoon I started to prep the third block in “Love Is In The Air” a pattern designed by Lori Smith.  I thought the blocks were a tad small (8 1/2″), so I enlarged them 125%.  I cut my background blocks 15″ square and I will trim them down slightly when I decide what kind of sashing to make.  I love working on a quilt this way.  So many unknowns and so many possibilities!!

I am using a fat quarter bundle of shirtings for the backgrounds (each square will have a different background).  And I am trying really hard to make this quilt as scrappy as possible.  Very liberating!

Like most blocks, it all started with the stems and leaves…..

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…..and then a pretty flower!

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I love using as many greens as I possibly can for the leaves.  I try to include as many different patterns and textures as I can.

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The whole time I was prepping all the leaves and buds, I was worrying (yes worrying!) about what kind of fabric I should use for the vase.   The vase fabric shouldn’t be the focal point of the block, but it shouldn’t disappear into the background, either.  I searched until I found a fabric that I think fit the bill.

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And here is the prepped block waiting to be stitched!

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So far, so good!

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I have been making some pretty steady progress on my hexie quilt.  I am hand quilting it with the Baptist fan design.  So relaxing!!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Everything I Know About Making Bias Strips!

I love (love!) when people ask me questions about something I post on my blog.  For that reason, I am going to show you how I make my bias strips, which I use for stems.  First, let’s start with my pressing board…..it is a wooden board approximately 18″ x 18″ x 1″ that I have covered with a few layers of cotton fabric, so that the surface it still hard.  I have tried making bias strips on my ironing board (it has a very soft, thick pad on it) and it does not work at all.

When I use my 1/4″ bias maker, I cut my strips 1/2″ wide.  If you cut your strips even a 1/16th of an inch narrower, the strip will not go through the bias maker properly.

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Next, I spray the strip with starch.  I like to do one strip at a time because the starch dries fairly fast and you do not want the strips to be dry. Your strips  should be very damp when you put them through the bias maker.

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Using my stiletto, I guide the strip into the bias maker.

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Next, I turn the bias maker over and continue to guide the strip so that the end comes out the other side.

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Now I lay everything on my pressing board and place a pin through the bias and into the board.  You will be glad you did this!

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I take my iron in my right hand and slowly move the bias maker with my left hand and press along the folded bias strip.  Important note:  I don’t leave any space at all between the bias maker and the iron.   Also, I use the flat edge of the iron, rather that the tip of the iron.

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It’s as easy as that!!

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This is a post you might be interested it.  It shows how to use up your short pieces of bias so that no one will be the wiser!!

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Til next time…..

Kerry

Bed of Roses – Block 8

My husband, Paul and I arrived home today after being away at “The Farm” for the past week.  “The Farm” is lovely piece of rural property belonging to Paul’s brother and sister-in-law situated right in the heart of Craighurst, Ontario.  It was an awesome place to ring in the new year!IMG_1962

Of course, I packed every quilt-related thing I could think of….my sewing machine, iron and ironing board, so I could work on Trail Mix.  I managed to get 2 complete rows sewn together.

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I also brought along my hand quilting supplies (including my hexi quilt top, batting and backing, every quilting needle I own, 3 different thimbles, my small hoop etc.) just in case I had time to baste my layers together.  Not only did I find the time, I found the perfect space to baste!  I started this quilt about a year ago when I first discovered Inklingo. You can read about that post here.  Spoiler Alert:  Stitching hexies using the Inklingo method is addictive.  Very addictive.

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Each day I set myself up in front of the window and quilted for an hour or two.  Heaven!

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And, (of course!), I brought along Block 8 of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses.  So, if you have been following along, you already know what I do first.  First, I trace the pattern onto the background with a Clover water soluble marker.  Block 8 (along with Blocks 1-7) are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.

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Next, I made my bias stems using a 1/4″ bias maker.  I like to put my stems in a plastic container (this particular container used to hold mushrooms!) and then I spray the starch into the container.  That way I am not wasting any starch and the spray is contained to one area.

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Once I glue all of the stems onto the background, I stitch them in place before I add any more pieces.

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These next little flowers were easy to do.  Notice I drew the seam allowance on the pieces before I placed them on the background.  I find this such a simple way to make sure that all of the layers line up.

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Next, I added a few leaves…..

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….and a few more flowers!  Now it’s starting to look like something!!!

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This next piece has a pretty deep curve in it.  Yikes.  Just take a deep breath and go for it!

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Now for the fun part.  Circles.  Lots of circles!!

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And, to top it all off, a cute little vase!

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And here is the completed block.  Lovely!

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So far, so good!!

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Til next time…

Kerry