A Challenge…or is it?

As I was getting ready to start the next (and last!!) block of Civil War Bride, I noticed the horse shapes looked a little challenging.  If I were to cut in between the horse’s legs, there would not be much of a seam allowance.

horse 1

Don’t get me wrong, I am always up for a challenge!  But it just takes a few simple steps to turn a challenging shape into something very do-able.  So here is what I did…

First, I added a few lines.

horse 2

So, now I have 3 very simple shapes!

horse 3

I prepped the legs and glued them in place…

horse 4

I started to prep the body, but I thought the ears looked a little dicey.  So I drew a line…

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…..and I made another simple shape.

horse 8

I glued the ear in place…

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And, finally…a very easy to stitch horse!  And I didn’t even break a sweat!

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With this cooler than normal weather, I am able to hand-quilt most nights.  The borders are coming along very nicely.  I am finished the bottom border and I have passed the half-way mark of the side border.

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Finally, here is the last completed block of Civil War Bride!

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Til next time….

Kerry

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An Epiphany!

I must say I am pleasantly surprised at how quickly I am quilting the borders of “Bouquet For A New Day”.  The bottom border is finished and I have now marked the side borders.  As I was marking the borders, my mind wandered and I had an epiphany!  ( a sudden realization–a flash of recognition in which someone or something is seen in a new light).

I thought…it is all well and good that the borders match up in the center of the border.  But…wouldn’t it be interesting to put a design or something at the center and have the borders flow out from the design?? I thought it would be fun to incorporate 2013 in the top border (the year this quilt better be finished!)  So here is what I did…

First, I found a font in Illustrator that suited the quilt.  Then I drew an oval around it and printed it out.  The borders are only 5″ wide so the design could only be around 4″ tall.  Next, I drew some  lines on the pattern to help center it on the border fabric.

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I put the quilt on my light box and placed the pattern just under the top layer.  I used the lines on the pattern to make sure everything was nicely centered.

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Next, I drew the lines with a Frixion marker.

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Then, using the stencil I continued drawing the border, until I reached the oval.

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I flipped the stencil over and continued on my merry way.  Easy peasy!

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In the meantime, I have been working away on the next Civil War Bride block.  This block consists of a lot of layering.  For instance…first the leaves, then the stem and then the feet!

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This is the block so far!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Turning a Corner

Finally!  I have finished hand-quilting all 12 blocks of Sue Garman’s “Bouquet For A New Day”.

all blocks quilted 1

Now I can start the border!  I had my stencil picked out for the outer border and I was raring to go.  I must admit, the half-square triangles had me a bit stumped.  I know I could just quilt in the ditch, but I know myself well enough to know that boredom would quickly set in!  So I decided on circles.  Lots of circles!

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The stencil I chose for the outer border did not fit the border exactly so here is what I did to make it fit.  The stencil does have a nicely turned corner so I didn’t have to figure that out!  First, I drew a line at the centre point of the border.

border 1

Next, I started tracing the stencil at the corner, and continued until I reached the centre mark.

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border 2

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Then, I flipped the stencil over and continued tracing.

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And this is the nifty little design I ended up with at the centre of the border!  Spiffy!

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And guess what?  When I got to the next corner, it fit perfectly!!

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Til next time…

Kerry

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New legs for a peacock!

If  you have some time on your hands on Saturday, June 15 at 10 am, come on down to Elite Quilting in Barrie, Ontario where I will be doing a demo of the starch and freezer paper method of hand-applique.  The cost is $10.00.   Colleen will also have all the supplies on hand for you purchase so you can go home and practice this method.  Hope to see you there!

Back to the block!  I must admit, I was a little alarmed how freakishly out of proportion the birds legs looks!  So I gave the peacock some new legs.  I like to use Ultra-Suede for the birds legs and beaks when they are just too darn tiny to applique!

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Once the legs were stitched in place, I used a Micron marker on the edge of the Ultra-Suede to hide the stitches and add a bit of definition.

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Once I felt better about his legs, I added the stems.

stems

Next, some leaves and a bud.

stems leaves and bud

And, finally, the rest of the leaves and the flowers!  Spiffy!

finished block

I finished hand-quilting another block from Sue Garman’s “Bouquets for a New Day”.  (Only 3 more blocks to go!  Yippee!)  The vase was very baggy!

baggy vase

So, just like the vase in the last block, I needed to add some quilting to the vase to make it…un-baggy!  After much debate, I decided to do the same cross-hatching as in the background of the block, except I did the stitching in red thread.  Voila!

cross-hatched vase

Til next time…

Kerry

Echo Quilting

Every night around 9 pm, I stop whatever I am doing and take my usual place on the couch and hand-quilt for an hour or two.  It isn’t a lot of time, but it sure adds up and I am making some  steady progress on Sue Garman’s “Bouquets for a New Day”.

The block I am working on needed a bit of extra-special quilting.  The  cross-hatching in the background causes anything that isn’t quilted to puff out and look baggy…like the vase.

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I am using beige quilting thread for the background.  When I am quilting on top of a shape, I like to match the color of the thread to the color of the fabric.  If I can’t find the color I am looking for in  Dual-Duty quilt thread or YLI quilt thread, I use Mettler 40 weight, which is a machine quilting or hand-quilting weight thread.  Mettler 40 weight does not have a coating on it like true hand-quilting thread.  So, to make the thread glide through the fabric easier and to protect it from knotting and shredding, I use Thread Heaven.

thread and thread heaven

First I quilted around each point of the star, and then surrounded it with Echo Quilting.

echo quilting

And here is the finished block!

quilted block

Til next time…

Kerry

A Productive Day!

It is not very often that I sit at my sewing machine and stitch the day away, but that is what I did yesterday!  I cut out and stitched…get ready….12 blocks from Grandmother’s Choice Block of the Week!  My plan is to make 3 quilts using these 8″ blocks, so I am stitching 3 variations of the same block.  I love to see how different fabric placement can drastically change the look of the block.  Here are the blocks:

This block is called “I Am An Anti”.  Honestly, I did not fussy cut the pink squares on purpose.  It just happened!

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Next on the runway is “Carrie Nation”.

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Followed by “Mr. Roosevelt’s Necktie”.

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And, last but not least, is “Jack’s Delight”.

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Jenny and Bruin like to keep me company when I sew.  They are kind of  famous!  Check out their youtube video here.

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jenny and bruin

This is my latest finished block from “Bouquets For a New Day”. 5 more blocks to go!

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The navy blue fabric in the vase is left over from an Irish Chain quilt I made for my Mom.

irish chain

Most of this block from “Civil War Bride” is stitched in place.  I started to think that maybe the table that the vase is sitting on is too dark for the overall look of the block.  So I cut out another table piece and auditioned it.  I do like it better.

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My #1 rule in applique (and life) is this….fix something while it’s in the block stage, rather than finish the whole quilt and kick yourself because you were too busy…or too tired…or too lazy to fix it!  I have been guilty of all 3!

Til next time…

Kerry

Stitching the Night Away

Most evenings you will find me on the couch, hand-quilting the night away.  Once my needle hits the fabric, all the stress and tension of the day just seems to melt away.  Here is the latest block of Sue Garman’s “Bouquets For A New Day”.  So, now  I have 6 blocks quilted, and 6 more to go…oh… and a border.  (Heavy Sigh)

hand quilting

I have started working on the next block of Civil War Bride.  It can be tricky to figure out what order to place the stems on the background.  If the raw edge of “Stem A” is going to be covered with “Stem B”, then “Stem A” needs to be glued in place first.  (It’s easier than it sounds!!)

First, I put a few dabs of glue along the traced line, rather than putting glue on the actual stems. This will be “Stem A”. You can see that this stem will be covered by another stem.

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Next, I carefully placed the stem on the line.  Because the stems are cut on the bias, they are easy to curve along the line.

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Then,  I used the line that the next bias strip will be placed on as a guide to trim the stem to the correct length.  I have added a few dabs of glue to hold the next stem in place.

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Now, another stem is in place….This is also a “Stem A”.

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And, finally, the longer stem that covers these shorter stems is glued in place.  This is “Stem B”.

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So…here are a bunch of “Stem A’s”, waiting to be covered by one long “Stem B”.

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large stem

And, finally…all the stems are in place!

all stems in place

I thought this block needed a really special vase!   So I fussy-cut this fabric…

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…and ended up with this vase!  Spiffy!

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Next, I added some buds….

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…and leaves and flowers!

buds leaves and flowers

Til next time…

Kerry