Great Time Had By All!

If you attended this years Academy of Applique, held at Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia (February 27-March 4, 2017), I think you will agree with me when I say that an absolutely amazing time was had by all!  I was fortunate enough to have a great bunch of eager students in both of my classes, so, of course, the days flew by.  A few of the students almost finished their project by the time the class was over!  If you dream of stitching all day long (who doesn’t?), being fed the most satisfying breakfasts and lunches, and getting to know some fellow hand-appliquers, then please consider attending next year’s Academy.  Seriously, it is the place to be!  Class schedule is available August 5, 2017 and Registration begins on September 4, 2017.  It is never to early to start planning 🙂

You are now able to purchase the patterns and/or kits for both of the projects I taught at The Academy.  You can check them out on my website Simple Bird Studio. These 18″ x 36″ wallhangings are the first two in a 12 part series that celebrates my love of lovely flowers and fancy vases.  The remaining 10 patterns will be released every couple of months on my website.

A Taste Of Lilies….

Crazy For Callas…..

Also, some of you have been asking if Bed of Roses will be available again as a BOM.  The answer is yes.  Yes!  You have from now until June 15, 2017 to sign up for this BOM on my website.  Block 1 will ship out on July 1, 2017.  The fabrics will be the very same ones that I used in my quilt below.  I still cannot get over the machine quilting that Rose Bell from Fancy Feathers did.  Check it out!

And here is the entire quilt before it was quilted.  Yummy!

Also….I am temporarily taking down the patterns for “To Everything There Is A Season”.  I would like to tweak the patterns a little before I add them back to the website.  I promise, it won’t take long 🙂  I will let you know as soon as they are available for purchase.

And last, but not least, I am almost finished Block 7 of the current BOM (I must confess I am running a little behind schedule). We are stitching 9 blocks from Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” and putting those blocks together using the setting for Baltimore Squared.  I cannot wait to see this quilt finished!

I will post a picture of the finished block in a day or two (probably two!), but for now, I will leave you with this photo:)

Til next time…..

Kerry

Block 3 – Part 2 and Borders for Bed of Roses

Well…I can be quite the procrastinator.  I have been wanting to put the borders on “Bed of Roses”, designed by Sue Garman and the quilt I chose for my last BOM.  I think I really just hated finishing this quilt because I have enjoyed every moment, every stitch.  I am sorry to see it go:)  But time does march on!

So, first I stitched the inner border.  Be careful with those little pink cornerstones.  They can be tricky.

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Next, I measured the sides of my quilt and cut the borders to that exact measurement.  That’s right, you are going to slice right through that last scallop.  Yikes!

I folded my border in half lengthwise and measured from the centre to make sure I had the equal amount of the scallop on each end.

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First border is on and looking good!

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Repeat with the remaining borders and don’t forget to add the green cornerstones:)  Voila!

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So now I will show you how I finished the 3rd block of my new BOM.  When I make my templates, I like to use 2 layers of freezer of freezer paper.  I trace my pattern onto the shiny side of the freezer paper.  I use a fine Sharpie because it doesn’t smudge.  I also label all the pieces.

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Next, I take another piece of freezer paper  (with the paper side up) and place the traced sheet of freezer paper on top of it.

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Then I iron both sheets with a hot iron.

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Now I can cut out my templates!

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Now I am ready to prepare the pieces.

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After I prepared all of the pieces, I took the time to draw on the seam allowance.  This is a step I will not skip.  I place the template shiny side up on the fabric and draw the remaining seam allowance.

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Ok, the tail feathers are all prepared and the seam allowance is drawn on.  Before I can glue them on to the background, I need to add the stem, leaves and rosebuds.

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Now we can add the first feather.  I used a pin and stabbed through the feather to make sure it was in the correct spot.  As you can see, the seam allowance actually covers a good part of the next feather.

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Now I can add the next piece.  It is fiddly, so thank goodness I had help!

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Can you see the beauty of drawing on the seam alowance?  It is like having a road map!

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The last piece to go on is the only piece in the tail section that is completey prepped (except for the very top, of course!).

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The rest of the block is a walk in the park…I finished the bird body using the same techniques as the tail feathers.  I prepared the pieces and drew on the seam allowance.

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So, now I am ready to finish the head and neck section.  I traced the neck section and labelled the pieces.  The hash marks mean that I am going to leave that edge raw.

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Same technique for the head feathers…

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The bird’s head….dscn8224

And finally, the collar!

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You  may have noticed I forgot the bird’s feet, so I prepared them and glued them in place.  They’re kind of tiny:)

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I stitched the feet in place and then tossed the block into a sink full of hot, soapy water.

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I left the block to air dry and wouldn’t you know it?  I forgot to stitch one of the feathers in place.  Always make me giggle!

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Til next time……

Kerry

Bed of Roses – Month 12

We made it!  Can you believe a whole year has come and gone since we started Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses”?

In this month’s package, you will receive the fabric for the last border and the remaining fabric for the scallops.  I must confess, I am behind on my borders so I better get stitching!  You will also receive enough fabric for the sashing cornerstones, floater and sashing strips, outer border cornerstones and the binding.  Have you thought about which fabric you will use for the backing? You have a choice of 4 backings and they are available on my website.

I am so eager to start stitching the blocks together, but first I need to wash (yes, wash!)  and trim the blocks to the correct size.

If you have been following my blog you know I like to wash my blocks when I am finished the applique.  I do this so I can remove the blue water soluble marker that I use to trace the pattern onto the background fabric.  And I need to remove the glue.  I just fill the sink with hot, soapy water and toss the block in.  Really, it’s that simple!  For more details, watch the Youtube video here.

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I usually let it soak for about an hour so.  Next, I rinse the block under running water and then lay it out on a towel.  Don’t wring the block out!  If you leave the block fairly wet, it will dry without too many wrinkles.

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Once the block is completely dry, I iron if from the wrong side.

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Now it’s time to trim the blocks to the proper size (15 1/2″).  Instead of measuring each block (way too fiddly) I cut a 15 1/2″ square in a piece of corrugated plastic and used it as a “window template”.  I used this  same method  to measure the blocks for my Friends of Baltimore quilt.  You can see that post here.  Since the blocks in both quilts are the same size, I was able to use this template for both sets of blocks.

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Once my blocks are all trimmed I will start sewing them together, and of course I will share my progress with you.

Very often I am asked how I choose my fabrics.  I love tone-on-tone in clear colours that have a little something going on, but not too much going on (if that makes sense!).  I have put together a collection of 13 delicious tone-on-tones that I cannot live without!  I have these fabrics available on my website in Fat Eighths Bundles (an ideal amount for hand-applique) and, also Fat Quarter Bundles.

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Later this month I am heading off to The Wiltwyck Quilt Guild in Kingston, New York to teach 2 workshops and to do a Trunk Show.  I couldn’t be more excited!!  Here is a sneak peek of one of the blocks we will be doing.  I can’t wait!!

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Bruin always likes to give me  his input when it comes to which colour of thread I should use:)  Speaking of thread, I will be adding my favourite hand-applique thread,  Mettler 60, to my website in the very near future.  I will keep you posted!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Bed of Roses – Block 11

Did you enjoy stitching last month’s 2 blocks?  I hope so because this month’s blocks are the exact same 2 blocks!  That means you will be making a total of 4 Rose Tree Blocks.

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So, if you have been stitching along with me, here are the blocks you will have completed (plus the 2 from this month).  Block 11 is available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  I still have a few of the side setting triangles to complete, but they are prepped and ready to stitch.

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Three more sleeps and we are off to the International Quilt Festival, which is being held in Chicago. I am so excited to be going!  Colleen (from Elite Quilting) and I are driving to Chicago (about a 8 or 9 hour trip), so I am hoping to come back with lots of goodies and (more importantly) lots of inspiration.   Perhaps I will take those side triangles with me just in case I need something to stitch:)  As soon as I get back from Chicago, I am going to start sewing the blocks together.  I can’t wait to get this quilt finished!

I have picked the pattern for the next BOM (to start in June) and I am in the process of choosing the fabrics.  I think it is going to be another winner!

My Hazel is coming along quite nicely.  I can’t tell you how  relieved I was when I added the outer rings and they actually fit.  And the points ended up exactly where they are supposed to be.  Life is good!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Bed of Roses – Block 10

March 1st is still a few days away, but I want to post Block 10 before the beginning of the month. My husband, Paul,  and I are off to England and Amsterdam on March 3 for 10 days, so I am eager to ship Block 10 out before we leave.  All orders received after March 3 will be shipped when I get back home.  All 10 blocks of “Bed of Roses” are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  

This month’s block consists of 2 identical blocks, which are fairly easy.  I haven’t stitched my blocks yet (the pieces are glued in place).  I am going to take these blocks with me on our trip. It’s not that I think I will have lots of free time to stitch.  Quite the contrary!   Its just that I get really antsy when I do not have a needle and thread in my hand. I am sure most of you can relate!!

It made sense to prep both blocks at the same time, so that is what I did.  First, I marked the pattern onto the background with a water soluble marker.  Then I made some 1/4″ bias for the stems and glued them in place.  You can see how I make my bias strips here.

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Next, I added the leaves. Because all of the shapes in this block are symmetrical, I photocopied the pattern pieces onto freezer paper to make my templates.

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So, next I added this cute little flower.  I find it very helpful to draw the seam allowance onto the piece of fabric.  It just makes it so much easier to line up multiple pieces.  You can read more about this technique here.

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Notice when I clip the inside curve I don’t clip all the way to the freezer paper.

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Looking good!

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As I mentioned, both blocks are the same, but the pink fabrics are not the same, so read the pattern carefully!

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The way this next centre part is put together is very slick!  First, cut the entire freezer paper template out, but keep it as one piece.

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Since the outer ring is pink (R1) I will prep it first.  I iron it onto the back of the fabric and use liquid starch and a mini iron to press the seam allowance over the template.

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Ok, once I prepped the pink section, I removed the freezer paper template and cut the first section off.  I am using this same template for all the pieces in this section, just like I did in my last post.

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Next, I prepped the yellow section (Y1).

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I traced the 4 leaf shapes onto the yellow fabric and then glued the yellow section on top of the pink section.

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Next, I prepped the 4 leaf shapes, but, as you can see, I only prepped one side of the leaf, and left the other side a raw edge. I also drew the seam allowance on.  See how easy it is to line the pieces up?

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Hang in there….we are almost finished!  I cut the next section from the freezer paper template and prepped it.

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First, I prepped the outside edge.

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Then I trimmed the middle section out and prepped it.

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I removed the freezer paper, which was not nearly as scary as you might think….
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…and voila!

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Slick!

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I am happy to report I have all 9 blocks of Trail Mix finished and stitched together.

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I still can’t believe how nicely everything matched up!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Bed of Roses – Block 9

Block 9 already!  Where has the time gone?

Each time I start a new block of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses”, I am pleasantly surprised at how easy they are.  I encourage all appliquers (especially beginner appliquers) to give these blocks a try.  Block 9 (along with all previous 8 blocks) are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  You can choose to order just the patterns (some of them or all of them) or you can choose to do this quilt as a Block of the Month which includes the pattern and the same fabrics that I am using.

I started this block like all the others.  I traced the pattern onto the background with a Clover water soluble marker. This marker comes available with a thick tip or a thin tip.  For tracing onto the background, I prefer the thick tip because it is a lot easier to see!

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Next, I use a Clover 1/4″ bias maker to make the stems.  I glue the stems in place with Roxanne’s Glue Baste it.  The marker, the bias maker and the glue are all available on my website.

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So now let me show you how I make all those templates.  I must confess, I really hate tracing my templates by hand and I will avoid doing it whenever possible!  First, I photocopy the pattern onto freezer paper and then I iron that piece of freezer paper onto another one to make two layers of freezer paper.

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Whenever I have a unit that has many layers, I could make multiple copies of each unit so I have a separate template for each section (but you know me well enough by now to know I am not going to do that!)  Here is what I am going to do instead…

I leave the entire unit intact and prep the piece as I normally would.  Because I am making the outer section, I am using R3 fabric.

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I iron the template onto the back of the fabric…

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…and I cut it out leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This piece has fairly gently curves, so I clip just once.  Notice I don’t clip all the way to the freezer paper.

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I prep the pieces using a stiletto, a mini iron and liquid starch.

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So, now it is time to remove the freezer paper.

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Now, I take that same template that I just removed, and cut the first section off.

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Next, I am going to repeat everything I just did, except on a different fabric…

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I should mention that there are two identical units on this block and I am making both at the same time using just this one template.

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I just keep cutting the outer section off and reusing the same template….

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So here we have 10 separate sections I prepped using just one template.  Sweet!

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Here is another layering tip that I am happy to share with you.  It will make your life a whole lot easier!  When you place one piece on top of another, you need to leave that part of the seam allowance un-prepped.  I take my template and draw the seam allowance on with my marking pencil.

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When I place each piece on the background, the line I have drawn replaces the line on the background that I have just covered up.

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Now its time to start adding the leaves……

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……and berries.  Lots of berries!

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And finally, a funky little vase!  Love it!!

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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