New Block-of-the-Month!

I’m so excited!  I will be launching a new BOM that will start in January, 2018. “Hugs and Kisses”, designed by Sue Garman, is a quilt that I have been on my mind for a while.  Here are a few of the 12″ blocks.  This quilt is a perfect project for beginners and experienced stitchers alike.  I cannot wait to finish it:). You have until December 15 to sign up on the website.  The fabrics you will receive are exactly as shown below.

If you are interested in signing up for Friends of Baltimore/Baltimore Squared Block-of-the-Month, you still have time.  Registration closes November 1.  You can check out the details on the website.

In my spare time, I am hand-piecing my “Smitten” quilt.  Here are the first 3 blocks.  My plan is to make this  “eye-spy” type of quilt for my granddaughter, Gracie.

Of course, once I started hand-piecing, I got a little sidetracked with my Inklingo shapes and decided I needed to start working a quilt made entirely of 60 degree diamonds.  Honestly, I can’t stop myself!

Til next time….

Kerry

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Two Borders On…Looking Good!

This past weekend was crazy busy while we celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday.  It was wonderful to be part of the excitement.  Paul and I took the Go-Train to Toronto and we handed out 250 Canadian flags to anyone who wanted one.  He is the one in the Canadian flag shirt, carrying a Canadian flag, with a bag full of Canadian flags.  I wish we had more!  Also, we saw the big duck.  Yes, it was really big!

So much fun!  So today I decided to sew the 2 borders on my Friends of Baltimore/Baltimore Squared quilt.  I must confess, I am loving how this quilt is looking:)  Measuring borders can be daunting at the best of times.  It is twice as daunting when you have spent a good amount of time appliqueing swags on the border.  Here is what I did to make the process as stress free as possible…

First, I folded the quilt in half and measured it…a few times.  Sometimes I get different measurements, so I just keep measuring until I get the same measurement twice.  There it is….30 1/2″ which means my quilt measures 61″.

Next, I pressed the borders nice and flat.  Bruin seems to be able to predict when I need the ironing board.

So I always iron my blocks and borders on the wrong side, that way I can get the background nice and crisp.

Next I folded the border in half lengthwise and measured 30 1/2″ (the same as the quilt).  And I marked it with a pencil.

I took a second glance just to make sure everything was lined up evenly.  Yes, it was.

Then I took a deep breath and I trimmed of the excess.  Easy Peasy!

The borders are cut a little wide, so I trimmed them down according to the paper pattern.  I just measured 3/4″ from the top of the pink circle and trimmed the extra bit off.  I didn’t trim the bottom of the border because I like to trim the entire quilt up after it is quilted.  A little extra is always handy.  Deep breath……


Now I could finally sew the borders on.  Sweet!

Til next time….

Kerry

Putting It All Together!

I am really happy with the steady progress I am making on this quilt.  All of the 9 blocks are stitched and washed.  Now I am going to show you how I trim the blocks to the correct size.  I always cut my backgrounds at least 2″ larger to allow for shrinkage due to all of those tiny stitches.  Before I trim the blocks, I press them really, really flat.  I place the square upside down on the ironing board and iron with steam.  My ironing board is very cushy, otherwise I would iron the blocks on a thick towel.

This is the block after it’s been pressed.  It’s a little flatter and crisper!

I use a window template to trim the blocks, rather than measuring with a ruler.  I used a heavy plastic for the template and cut a square in the middle the size of the unfinished blocks (15 1/2″).  I used to draw a complete square, but now I just mark the corners.  It is so easy just to “eyeball” each block:)

Now I take my long ruler and line up the dots and trim away.  Easy Peasy!

All of the blocks are ready to be stitched together.  Major Goosebumps!

There are only 5 spots left in the Bed of Roses BOM that starts July 1, so if you are thinking of signing up,  don’t wait too much longer:)  Details on the website.

Til next time….

Kerry

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

2017 Already! and Block 5

Is it just my imagination or did December fly by unusually fast?  I can’t believe it is 2017 already and 2016 is a distant, fond memory.  I did, however, manage to find some spare time to work on Block 5.  I’ll be honest, taking time to stitch saves my sanity (and my family’s sanity).  Along with the usual things to do in December, cooking, baking and entertaining, Paul and I have been doing quite a bit of snowmobiling.  Yesterday was a beautiful day to be out in the fresh air!  We hit the trails around lunch time and came back at dinner time.

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I ran into a bit of a glitch with this block.  I traced, I cut, I prepped and glued most of the pieces onto the background, hoping that I would find those rare pockets of time to stitch.  And stitch I did.  Almost everything was stitched in place before I realized I had grabbed the wrong background.  What to do….what to do?  I swore.  Then I un-stitched every little leaf, every little strawberry, every little piece.  Then I carefully pulled each piece away from the background, traced the right background and glued everything in piece again(!).  Now I can sit and stitch and chuckle:)

Block 5 is another one of those blocks that go together like a jigsaw puzzle.  Also, this blocks consists of a few layers, which means that some pieces get placed on the background first, and then pieces get placed on top of those pieces.  Believe it or not, there is a very logical sequence to this block!

First, I traced the block on the background (the right background!) with a Clover Watersoluble Marker.  I like the “thick” one for tracing the pattern on the background.  I traced all my pieces on one layer of freezer paper and then ironed that piece to another piece so my templates are 2 thicknesses of freezer paper.  I started to build the epergne.

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Next, I started to add the leaves and the fruit.

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You can see in the top right corner there are some 2-tone leaves.  They are easy to make.  Completely prep one side of the leaf, and leave the other side with the seam allowance un-prepped.

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So, I just kept adding each piece, paying attention if it went underneath or on top of the next piece.  Love the pineapple!

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Now it is time to add the watermelon!

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Next, I added the strawberries, blueberries and grapes.  I still need to add the green little thingies that connect the blueberries and strawberries to the branches.  I’ll do that after lunch:)

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Here are the first 5 blocks in this BOM I launched back in September.  If you are new to my blog, you can find the details of this BOM here.  If you would be interested in stitching along with me, you can still sign up on my website, Simple Bird Studio.  We have added another option for you to consider.  You can sign up for the pattern and fabric, or you can sign up for just the fabric, for those that already have the patterns.  You have until January 15 to sign up:)

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Til next time…..

Kerry

Block 4 – Part 2

As it turns out, I did not get much time to stitch while on holidays.  There was just way too much to do!  I am always on the lookout for designs that remind me of quilts.  We stayed at the Boulderado Hotel, in Boulder, Colorado, which was built in 1908 and rich with history.  These tile floor are from the hotel and they are everywhere…the foyer, the restaurants and they even continue outside.  Very inspiring!

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This is the Christmas tree that was in the foyer.  It is 28′ tall and very festive.

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OK.  Let’s get started. This block is the 4th block in my new BOM, which I launched in September.  If you didn’t get a chance to sign up, you can do that now(!) on my website.  You have from now until January 15 to sign up.  We will be making 9 blocks from Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” and using the setting from “Baltimore Squared” (another awesome pattern designed by Sue Garman).  Some of you have contacted me and asked if this BOM is available as fabric only (because you already own both patterns).  That option is now on the website.

Block 4 is a perfect example of a block with lots of layering.  If you tackle this block like you would a jigsaw puzzle, you will sail through it without any stress.  You will notice that I started filling in the pieces around the outside edge…just like a jigsaw puzzle.

I started with the delicate purple and yellow flowers.  See how easy it is to place the pieces on the background when you draw that seam allowance on? Magical!

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Now you can start adding some leaves and more purple flowers.

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Notice that the purple flower sits on top of the stem of the pink rosebud.

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And this purple flower sits on top of the pink rose and part of the leaf.

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So you can see I have completed the outer edge and now I can start filling in the rest of the flowers and leaves.

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It’s time to add some stems.

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There are so many pieces in this block that look the same.  To keep myself organized, as I placed each piece on the background, I kept track by scribbling on each piece on the paper pattern.  The little red dot means that I made the freezer paper template and the check mark means I prepared the piece.  Just trying to stay organized!

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Didn’t I say there was lots of layering?

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So far, so good!!

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Next, I started gluing the stems in place.

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Once all the stems were in place, I added a few more leaves and the ribbon.  The ribbon is easy to do, just really skinny.

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As I was placing the ribbon on, I noticed something didn’t look quite right.  I used the wrong green for one of the leaves.  So much for trying to be organized!

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Thank goodness it was an easy fix.

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Next I added the sweet little bluebird and Voila!!

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Here are all four blocks.  Goosebumps!

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Tile next time…..

Kerry

You can still sign up for the new BOM!!

My husband, Paul and I are off to Boulder, Colorado for a little vacation.  So, with that in mind, I have been busily working away on the next block of my new BOM, Friends of Baltimore/Baltimore Squared.  I started this BOM back in September and was overwhelmed with the response.  If you didn’t get a chance to sign up, don’t despair.  You can now sign up on the website!  You have from now until January 15th to enroll.  When you sign up, you will be charged for Block 1, which will be shipped out on January 15th.  You will then receive a new block for the next 9 months, and your credit card will be billed monthly.  In case you haven’t seen the first three blocks, here they are.  Be sure to check out this post for details of this BOM.

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First, I started tracing my pieces.  In my last post I showed you how I trace my pieces onto a single sheet of freezer paper.  I trace on the shiny side from the right side of the pattern.

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As I have mentioned in the past, I find tracing to be a little boring.  So I make a pot of tea and listen to my audiobooks.  Also, I have an entertaining cat to keep me company.

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Next, I decided to make the bias strips needed for this block.  Normally, I use a Clover 1/4″ bias maker for stems, but these stems are a smidge skinnier.  So I dug out my metal bias bars and used the 3/16″ bar.  I always use a contrasting thread when stitching these stems on my machine, so that when I trim the excess fabric away, I can see the stitching.  That way, I do not cut into the stitching.  I discovered that little trick the hard way!

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Next step is to slide the bias strip around the bias bar so the seam is on the flat side.

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Then I give the whole thing a shot of spray starch and heat it up with a really hot iron.  Beware!  The metal bias bar will be really hot.  Really hot.  So let it cool down before you try to take it out.  Learned that little trick the hard way!

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So once I made some bias stems, I made the little purple flowers and started on the leaves.  There are a fair amount of leaves in this block.  Way more leaves than flowers.

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Normally when I begin a block,  I prepare a few pieces and then I glue them onto the background.  But this block is a little different because almost every piece either goes over or under another piece.  So, as I prepared each piece, I placed them onto the paper pattern, so I could get an idea of which pieces should go on the background first.

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As you can see, the pieces themselves are pretty simple.  The stems with the leaves attached are fairly easy to do and should not give you any problems.dscn8280

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When I prepared the larger stem and leaf section, I prepped one side at a time.

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I am going to try to get as many pieces glued to the background before we leave tomorrow (at 4 am), so I have something to stitch while we are away.   I know I should be packing my warm clothes and maybe some hats, mitts and scarves, but that can wait til tonight. Priorities!

I am always on the lookout for notions that will make life easier for us appliquers.  I have found what I believe is the best glue bottle.  First, the nozzle is short so it does not seem to clog up and (the best part) the lid is attached.  That means no more scouring my sewing room floor on my hands and knees looking for the lid to the glue bottle.  Life is good:)  This glue bottle, along with all the other notion I use, is available on my website.

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Just take the lid off, add your favorite glue, put the lid back on and you are good to go!

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Til next time……

Kerry