Washing my Hugs and Kisses blocks

My goal was to have this quilt, Hugs and Kisses, finished by the end of the year.  I am trying my best, really I am.  I have finished stitching all 12 blocks.  Yipee!  Now it’s time to wash my blocks.  For those of you who have been following my blog, you will already know the routine.  For those of you who are new to the blog, this post is for you.  After I finish each block, I toss it into a sink filled with hot water and a bit of soap.  This step will remove the glue, the blue marking pencil and anything else that might be on your block.  Cat hair, maybe?  You will be amazed at how yucky the water looks once your block has soaked for a while.  But before you toss your block into the sink, take a really good look at it and make sure every itty bitty piece is stitched in place.  Trust me, this is an important step:)

Once  the blocks have soaked for about half an hour, it’s time to rinse them under the tap to remove the suds.  Then gently squeeze the block  to remove the excess water.  Your block should be fairly wet, but not dripping.

Next, lay the block out on a thick towel to air dry.  Easy Peasy!

Hugs and Kisses (designed by Sue Garman) is a Block of the Month that will start in January.  The blocks are fairly simple so this is a good quilt for a beginner.  I think this quilt is an excellent example of a quilt made up of simple blocks, but looks rather stunning when all the blocks are assembled.  Mind you, there are appliqued cornerstones and a swag border to follow.  Yes, stunning is a good word to describe this quilt.

 

Til next time….

Kerry

Dates for Second Applique Retreat!

Thanks to everyone who signed up for my first Applique Retreat which will be held in March at Fireside Retreat in Orillia.  The response was so positive that I have booked a second Retreat!  The dates for the second Retreat are April 20-22 (Friday-Sunday).  All meals will be included, starting with dinner on Friday night.  This Retreat is a perfect opportunity to learn the method I use for all of my applique projects.  It is also a perfect time to catch up on your own applique projects and to be inspired by other students. Your fee of $400.00 includes your accommodation, all meals, your project kit and pattern and class notes.  What is the project you ask?  I am having a block designed specifically for this Retreat and it is still in the works:)  I know you will love it!  I am limiting this class to 6, so if you are interested please contact me at burke.kerry@ymail.com

Today is the last day to sign up for Friends of Baltimore/Baltimore Squared.  If this quilt is on your To-Do List, then it’s time to get started.  Details are on the website.

I have been stitching away on my 60 degree diamonds (and loving every minute)!  There is something so addictive about hand-piecing, isn’t there?  If you haven’t tried Inklingo yet, give it a go.  You will be impressed.  In a nutshell, Inklingo allows you to print the cutting lines and the stitching lines on the back of the fabric.  Easy Peasy!

Too much fun!

I am making really good progress on Hugs and Kisses,  a new BOM designed by Sue Garman that I am launching in January.  My goal is to have my quilt top finished by January.  I love a challenge:)  I have 5 and a half blocks finished.  Sweet!  The details are 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

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

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

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

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

Bed of Roses – Block 7

Simple.  Easy.  That is how I am going to describe Block 7 of “Bed of Roses”.  Seriously.  Take a good look at the shapes and I think you will agree!

Let’s get started!  First, I traced the block onto the background with a water soluble marker.

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Next, I used a 1/4″ bias maker to make all of the stems.

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After I finished stitching the bias stems in place, I went along my merry way prepping the many pieces.  Instead of tracing my templates, I simply photocopied the pattern onto freezer paper.  All of the pieces in this block are symmetrical, which means you do now have to worry about making mirror images.

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So now its time to start gluing the pieces in place.  I started with the small flowers and leaves.

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Next, I added the pretty pink flowers.

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I love these dark pink centers!

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Looking good!

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Now I started on the larger flowers.

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The excitement is definitely mounting!

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Now I am going to show you how I tackled the center section.  The center consists of 5 separate pieces, which if layered one on top of the other, would be very bulky.  So this is how I eliminated the bulk.

I prepped all of the pieces in the usual way.

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Next,  I glued one section on top of the other…

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…and stitched it in place.

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Once I finished stitching the piece in place, I very (very!) carefully trimmed away the first layer, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Okay, now I repeated those same steps with each new layer.  I glued the yellow piece in place….

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….and stitched it in place.

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And I trimmed out the second layer.

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And here is the second last piece stitched in place.

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And trimmed.DSCN7522
And, finally, the last piece!

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The rest of the leaves and……Voila!

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You can find Block 7 (along with the 6 previous blocks) of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses” on my website Simple Bird Studio.

Til next time….

Kerry

Save those scraps!

I have been working away on the second block of “Love is in the Air” a pattern designed by Lori Smith.  I purchased this pattern a couple of years ago and put it away with the rest of my patterns.  Honestly, I forgot all about it.  About a month ago,  I went through my patterns and books in search of a simple applique pattern that would lend itself to a really scrappy feel.  As soon as I “found” this pattern in my box of (far too many) patterns, I knew “Love is in the Air” was exactly what I was looking for!  For those of you who may want to stitch these blocks along with me, the pattern is available here.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am using a collection of shirting for the backgrounds, so that means that each background square will be different, which I am not going to lie has me a little unsettled.  But I do love a challenge!

Also, I enlarged the patterns by 125%.  I cut my background squares 16″ x 16″, but I am not sure right now what size they will end up.  I never have all the details figured out before I start a quilt….what fun would that be?   Sometimes you have to listen to the quilt!

I started this block by tracing the pattern onto the background with a water soluble marker.  Next, I made a bunch of leaves, using many different fabrics, just for the fun of it and then I auditioned them.  Some I like.  Some I don’t.  Some of the leaves are competing with the background, so I will save those leaves for another project!

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OK, next I added my stems.  Notice I used the same fabric for all of the stems, just to give a bit of consistency.

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Next, I went searching through my scraps and I found this piece of fabric I have had for about 8 years.  I love this fabric!  So I decided to use it for the 4 main flowers.

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Then I went through my scraps and found a fabric that went with the flower fabric.

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Next, I went through my blues and golds and chose a few fabrics that played nicely with the main flower fabric.   So far, so good!

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This patterns has a circle in the centre that I could make with a piece of bias and  a 1/4 bias maker, but I chose to make a template instead and prep it in the way I prep all of my templates.  So much easier!  Instead of tracing the circle from the pattern, I used a compass to get a more accurate shape.
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I cut the circle out and ironed it to the wrong side of the fabric.  I decided not to cut the centre of the fabric out just yet, to keep it more stable.

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Using starch, a stiletto and a mini-iron, I prepped the outside edge.

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Next, I trimmed out the centre and prepped the inside edge.

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Taking the freezer paper out is always fun (and kind of scary!) but it works like a charm every time!

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Once it is glued in place, it looks very neat and tidy.  Whew!!

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So, I auditioned several fabrics for the centres of the main flowers…brown, black, burgundy, blue…nothing appealed to me.  Then I tried gold.  Gold it is!!  But wait….

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I thought the gold circles were a tad too big, so I made them a shade smaller.

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Ahhhh.  That’s much better!

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Here’s a fun fact… I used three different golds in this block.  After all, it is a scrappy quilt!

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And here are both blocks.  Sweet!

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Keeping with the scrappy theme, I am working away on Trail Mix, a quilt designed by Laundry Basket Quilts.  I chuckled when I saw this block.DSCN7451

In this block alone, there is a scrap from my hexie quilt I worked on last winter,

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…a scrap of the background of my Civil War Bride Quilt….

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….and a piece of the background of my Reminescence.  Memories!

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Til next time….

Kerry