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

First border of Ladies of the Sea

I don’t think I am that different than anyone else when it comes to finding time to quilt.  Lately, we have had our fair share of family barbecues, a couple of baptisms, weekends away and on and on and on!!  I am trying my very best to squeeze in a few stolen moments here and there to work on my quilts.  Here is what I have been working on….

Ladies of the Sea, a pattern by Sue Garman, caught my eye a while ago and I started working on the blocks last year.  I decided to start one of the borders before I continued on with any more blocks, just to switch things up a bit!

I use the starch, stiletto and mini-iron method.  This involves flipping the pattern over on to my light box and tracing the shapes.  I don’t have the attention span to do all of my tracing at once, so I am constantly flipping my pattern over which is kind of annoying (and not an efficient way to work!).  So I thought…Why can’t I just flip my freezer paper over instead of the pattern?  So I traced the shapes onto the shiny side of the freezer paper using a Sharpie marker.  (A Sharpie is the only thing I found that would leave a permanent mark and not smudge.)

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Since I use 2 layers of freezer paper ironed together, I experimented and found if you place the shiny side with the markings on it on top of another sheet of freezer paper (paper side up, not shiny side up) the liquid starch will not make the Sharpie marks bleed all over your fabric!  The traced lines are actually “captured” between 2 layers of freezer paper.  Sweet!

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Anyway, here is what I have accomplished so far.  This pattern is available on my website Simple Bird Studio.

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Last year, I discovered the joys of hand piecing using Inklingo.  This is a hexie quilt I made earlier this year using Inklingo…DSCN6995

…and these are the leftover scraps, which I stitched into some log cabins blocks that will become part of the backing.  I cut just cut and stitched, not worrying at all about matching colours or even the width of the strips. Very therapeutic!

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I love entire Inklingo process and spent a couple of hours yesterday printing the 45 degree diamonds from the free collection. Lots and lots of them.

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I have a quilt in mind and will show more when I have a bit more to show!

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Til next time….

Kerry

A Happy Quilt!

How much time and energy do you put into a quilt?  Well, this past week I was absolutely consumed by my hexie quilt.  I hit a bit of a snag…I ran out of background fabric and didn’t have enough fabric to fill in the top corner.  What to do…..what to do?

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Like most quilters, I have a stash that I am trying to work through.  So when I first started my hexie quilt I challenged myself to use up every inch of the beige background (about 4.5 meters) I purchased long ago.  I started in the middle and worked my way to  the top half of the quilt.  I wanted the bottom half of the quilt to be an exact mirror image of the top half.  Notice there are 3 complete rows of hexies at the very top of the quilt.

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When I started to work the exact same design on the bottom half of the quilt, I started to get this nagging feeling that I didn’t have enough background fabric to finish it.  So instead of adding those three rows of hexies to the bottom, I decided to add some rosettes, so that would free up quite a few biege hexies.  (I still had a lot of filling in to do.)

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However, I still ran out of fabric (I was so darn close!)  So I started looking at those top three rows of hexies and went to find my stitch ripper.  Yes, I could have just ripped off one complete row and filled in the corner, but I had another idea!  (And to be perfectly honest, it was not sitting well with me that the top and bottom were different.  I didn’t think it looked balanced.)  I ripped out the hexies in the shape of a rosette and reinforced some of the stitching that had come undone in this process.

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Next, I transplanted some new rosettes.  Best of all, I could now go back and finish that top corner!!

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My plan was to finish the brown border I had started and to keep adding hexies.  But I changed my mind!  I trimmed of the excess of the hexies…….

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….added an inner border….

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…and an outer border.  Both the inner border and outer border are from my stash and I used up every inch of them!  The quilt is happy and so am I!!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Slow progress, but still progress!

The definition of “progress” is: the development, advancement, or improvement, as toward a goal.  If that is the case, then I guess I am making progress on my next journey…handquilting Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  I am  echo quilting and I must say, I love how it looks.  Although, I also must say that I start hyper-ventilating every time I start to think about how long this is going to take!  I am not doing any marking on the background, just eye-balling it.  On some of the blocks, which have a bit more space, I will add some motifs, maybe some feathers, my initials and the date.  Who knows?

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Thanks goodness I have someone to keep me company.  That just makes the time go so much quicker!  I started out using a hoop, but I am experimenting with quilting without a hoop and it seems to be working….for now.  I will keep you posted on the slow, but steady, progress!

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Last night I finished stitching the top half of my hexie quilt, because what kind of quilter would I be if I didn’t have more that a few intense projects on the go?  Every time I sit and stitch these hexies, I am amazed at how quickly they are going together.  And how easily!  I am using Inklingo to print my shapes.  I have already started printing the next set of shapes for my next hand-piecing project, but I have vowed (definition of vow: to promise solemnly; pledge) to myself that I will only have one hand-piecing project on the go at any given time!!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Stitching the blocks together!

Yesterday, I cleared off the dining room table, set up the ironing board and dusted off my sewing machine. Excitement was in the air….I was ready to start to stitch together “To Everything There Is A Season”!  First I stitched a couple of blocks together…

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Next, I added those blocks to the top of the wreath.

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Then, I added the next two blocks together and added them to the bottom of the wreath.  So far, so good!

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I stitched another four blocks together…

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….and added those blocks to the side.  I can’t wait to see the finished quilt…but now, dinner is ready and we need a place to eat.

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I am working away on my hexie quilt I started not that long ago.  I am using Inklingo to print the hexies and then stitching together by hand with a simple running stitch.  So easy and so relaxing!  I stitch my hexies for an hour or so every evening, which is usually when I handquilt and that explains why I am making very slow progress on my Friends of Baltimore.  But that’s OK.  After all, there are only so many hours in the day!

I am linking up to Slow Stitching Sunday and WIPs  Be Gone.  Check out both sites and see what stitchers are up to!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Sunday Afternoon Applique Show and Tell

Our Sunday Afternoon Applique Group met this past Sunday and I thought I would share with you some of the projects that we are working on.  Kathy has been busy stitching, of all things, a bridal veil for a friend.  Kathy is the one modelling the veil and I am the bridesmaid, making sure that the veil is lying perfectly flat!

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In her spare time, Kathy has also managed to prep a few blocks of her “Aunt Millie’s Garden”.

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Christie has been very busy stitching the Cardinal block of “To Everything There Is A Season”.  Lovely!

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Lynn has been working away on her blocks of “To Everything…” and this is the beginning of the Summer Vase.

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I have been working on the centre medallion of “To Everything..”  The pieces are bigger than the ones in the blocks, so it is working up quite quickly!

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I am also working away on my hexie quilt, which is starting to take shape.

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How Much Fabric Should I Buy??  This is a question that I am asked from time to time and I thought it would make a good blog post. First, let me take you on a bit of a tour of my sewing room where I keep all of my fabric.  I make no apologies for the size of my fabric collection.  A painter has to have her paints, right?

I have a stash of tone-on-tones in clear colours, which I used to make my Friends of Baltimore.  I also used these same fabrics for the blocks of “To Everything There Is A Season”, but I added a few batiks and a few fabrics with a bit more of a design on them.  I keep these fabrics in containers and  I keep telling myself that if I just folded each fabric after I used it, it wouldn’t be quite so messy!  It is always a good idea to have a good variety of colours in light, medium and dark.

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I am always on the hunt for new fabrics and new colours.  I purchased these tone-on-tones recently, just to add a few more to the stash.  When I am purchasing tone-on-tones with applique in mind, I rarely buy more than a fat quarter.  Fat eighths are even better!  These tone-on-tones can range from looking almost like a solid, to having a bit of a swirl or even some dots!

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If you are just starting to build an applique stash, I highly recommend purchasing layer cakes, which are 10″ squares of an entire collection.  Layer cakes also takes the pressure off of choosing fabrics that “go together”, and a 10″ square is the perfect amount!  You can also add tone-on-tones to these collections of fabrics.

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For my Civil War Bride Quilt, I used a more muted pallete.  Since I didn’t have a lot of these muddy colours, I had to go on a few shopping trips to make sure I had a really good assortment.  Again, I purchased mainly fat quarters and fat eighths.  When I think that a fabric has a lot of potential for fussy cutting, I usually buy at least 1/2 a meter.  You can see that I used fabrics with a much larger print on them and very few tone-on-tones.  Most of the greens I used in this quilt came from a layer cake of Civil War greens.

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When I made my Aunt Millie’s Garden, I used my collection of brights, which include stripes and polka dots.  I find these types of fabrics are easier to buy in a fat quarter bundle (or even better…a fat eighths bundle!) so you get a good assortment of fabrics with the same “feel”.

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When it comes to backings, I always make sure the back matches the front!

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Til next time…

Kerry

 

Onward and Upward!

Since finishing my “Friends of Baltimore” last week, I have had a hard time getting back into my sewing room.  Well, that’s now exactly true.  On Monday, which was Family Day in Ontario, I spent the day organizing my sewing room, going through all my stuff and just looking for some inspiration.

On the one hand, I am thrilled to have such a huge quilt crossed off my bucket list.  On the other hand, there is definitely a void in my quilting life.  But as my Mother used to say…”there is already to much strife in the world, is that what you are going to complain about?”  In other words, “quit complaining”!  So, onward and upwards!

I am addicted to stitching my hexies using Inklingo.  If you haven’t tried it yet, just take some time and try it out.  Inklingo is just good clean fun!!

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I just love the crisp corners and I find that hand stitching has the same calming effect as hand-quilting.  It is really just a running stitch.

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I am trying to finish up some projects before I start anything new (what a concept!).  This is the centre medallion of “To Everything There Is A Season”, a BOM I launched last April.  You can check out the patterns on my website Simple Bird Studio.

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Til next time….

Kerry

Inklingo 101-Update

In one of my recent posts, I mentioned my newest obsession….Inklingo.  Many readers commented or emailed me and said that they would love to try Inklingo, but just cannot get their head around the concept.  Some readers said they have already created an account, but even downloading the Free Shape Collection seemed very overwhelming.  That made me sad, because  I, too, was  overwhelmed when I first went on the Inklingo website.  I spent 3 days browsing the site, watching the videos, checking out the shapes, and all the different sizes of each shape. Each time I went on the website, I was getting more and more curious.  I was very intrigued with the concept, handpiecing verses EPP, not having to use paper templates anymore, even using Inklingo to stitch shapes on the sewing machine.  My head was spinning with ideas, but I was more than a little overwhelmed with all of the information. I honestly didn’t know where to begin.  I decided that the only way I was going to learn about Inklingo was to just start printing.  So I made a pot of tea and spent a couple of hours with my printer, some fabric and some freezer paper (and an open mind)  to see if I could figure this Inklingo thing out.  I am so glad I did…so glad…so glad!   The best part is…all of that information on the website and the videos started to make so much sense after I printed my very first set of shapes.  I would love to share my experience with you in the hopes that you will just give it a try.  You will be glad you did!  If you have any question at all, Linda is the one to ask.  Simply email her and she will get right back to you.

First, you will need to set up an account.  If you haven’t set up an account yet, check out this link  and just follow the easy steps.

Are you ready?  I am using the “Free Shape Collection” as my first example.  First, order the pattern (even though it is free) and you will immediately receive an email from Linda explaining how to download the pattern to your computer. Once you have downloaded the pattern, you will find it in your “Downloads”.  You now own that pattern forever!  If you scroll through all of the pages, you will see that there are pages and pages of every shape (diamond, triangle and square) in all of the 20 colours.  Bet you are wondering “oh my gosh…where do I start…what should I print?”  We aren’t going to print any of those pages, at least, not right now!   Those pages are for those of you who are going to become truly addicted (like me!) and want to make hundreds and hundreds of eight-pointed stars, or just want to print some triangles and start stitching them together. You can use any combination of those 3 shapes to make some pretty awesome designs.  Here are just a few…

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Sally Post Floral medallion lonestar finished 10.2.2009 81 x 81

for tilde 75 x 75 inklingo lonestar

OK, so now we are going to go straight to Page 70, and you will see that Linda has designed a combination (Combo 2) of all the shapes.  That is the combo I used to make these stars.

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We are going to print the combo, one on a light piece of fabric and one on a  dark of fabric. First question….what colour of ink are we going to use?  I did a colour sample and you can see that there is not just one “correct” answer.   Important note: Testing is important so you know the ink will not bleed or show on the front.  Make sure you read this article on testing the inks on your fabrics.  http://www.inklingo.com/blog/how-to-test-inkjet-ink-on-fabric/

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My Test Sample.

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Take the time to print a few of these samples on the fabrics you are using and use them as a reference, just to see how the inks work with different colours of fabric.  Once you have tested your fabric, go to the corresponding page and print the combo.

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Cut yourself 2 sheets of freezer paper 6 3/4″ x 9 3/4″.  Press each one to the right side of 2 different fabrics, preferably a light and a dark.  It is much easier to cut around the freezer paper, instead of cutting the fabric the same size as the freezer paper and trying to line them up…trust me!

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Place the fabric/freezer paper (freezer paper side up) into the printer and click on the Print icon. Make sure you click on “current page” and “portrait”.  This is extremely important!

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Ta-da!   You are a superstar!  Now, do it again with the other piece of fabric/freezer paper.  Too easy!  If you are wondering how to stitch this eight pointed star together, here is a great video, showing a Kaleidoscope Star, but it is the same idea!  P.S…..make sure you watch Part 2.

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I have an HP printer and (as far as I know) I cannot print Custom Sizes.  That has not stopped me from printing my shapes. Once I became familiar with printing the free pattern, I thought I might as well jump in and buy the 1″ hexagon shape (and the 2″ hexagon and the 2″star point!).  Just like the free diamond shape, all of these shapes come with numerous layouts and each layout can be printed with all 20 colours of ink.  So there are lots (and lots!) of pages to scroll through.  If you click on Page 13….

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…you will see different sizes of freezer paper with the number of hexies that you will get out of each sheet.  Make a couple of paper copies of this page.  You will want to refer to them from time to time.   I started off with just printing a 7.25″ x 11″ page just for the fun of it.  What did I have to lose?  Nothing!!

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Then I thought that maybe I did not want 12 hexies from the same fabric and maybe I wanted a scrappier look.  Then I started cutting 5.75 x 7.5 pieces of freezer paper and lo and behold…..I ended up with just 6 hexies!  Everything was starting to make sense!

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One of my many “aha moments” came when I thought…”I wonder if I can print on a 5″ square”.  So, I fed a 5″ x 5″ piece of fabric/freezer paper into the printer and this is what came out.  I used the same layout as the fabric above.

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Then the creative wheels started spinning…I thought…oh wouldn’t it be cool if I could just fit another hexies in there, then I could get 3 hexies instead of 2.  I must admit, by this time my mind was racing and I could see why Linda offers so many different layouts.  When I first saw this layout (Page 75) and saw that it is intended to be cut with scissors and not a rotary cutter, I was really stumped…

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…I wondered who in their right mind would want to cut all those hexies apart with scissors.  But if you had 5″ piece of fabric and wanted to get as many hexies out of it that you could, cutting them apart with scissors is an excellent idea!

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Now I am on a roll!!

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That is when I started to realize that the more I played around with Inklingo, the more I was learning and the more excited I was getting.  Here is another very useful bit of information. You may be wondering what the difference between “Portrait” and “Landscape” is, so I did sample of each.  Both are the same layout and I cut both pieces of fabric/freezer paper 8 1/4″ x 12″.  Can you see the difference?  The one on the right is printed “Landscape” and gives us 15 hexies and no waste at all.  The one of the left is printed “Portrait” and only gives us only 12 hexies with lots of wasted fabric.  See?  It is really all very useful information!

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Hopefully, I have convinced you to give Inklingo a try.  It is actually very simple to use, once you spend a bit of time just printing for the fun of it!  This is what I am currently working on using the 1″ hexies.  I am hand-piecing them, which is done with a simple running stitch, very much the same as the handquilting stitch.  This video sums it all up!

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And here is the back!

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Once I started printing and stitching, I couldn’t stop!

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Til next time….

Kerry

 

Slow Stitching Sunday

Today I am on a mission….I am going to finish this last corner block of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  After that I will sew the remaining half-square triangles that will be stitched to the edge of the border.  I told my family that I am having a “me day” and if they need me, I’ll be in my sewing room…with the door shut!  I am linking up to Slow Stitching Sunday, so go on over and check it all out!!

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Yesterday I stopped at a delightful quilt shop in Shelburne, Ontario called “Cobwebs and Caviar”.  I spotted this spectacular fabric and just had to have some.  I have no immediate plans for it, I just had to have some!  It is by French General.DSCN6641

And, my hexies are coming along quite nicely.  Edyta Sitar has a new book called “Handfuls of Scraps” and I am using her quilt on the cover as a bit of a road map.

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Till next time….

Kerry

“A Dog’s Breakfast”

My favourite teacher in high school had an interesting saying.  If something was gross or disgusting to him, he used to say “It looks like a dog’s breakfast.”  I have been thinking of him a lot lately, because when I look at the back of my hand-piecing, I think “it looks like a dog’s breakfast…how am I going to iron that flat??”  So, here are a few simple pressing tips that everyone who hand-pieces needs to know.

First, go put the kettle on and make a pot of tea.  Everything is easier to do when you are drinking tea.  Speaking of tea, my friend Kathy (an awesome and way-out-there quilter) gave me this tea pot for Christmas, along with an assortment of tea.

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My daughter gave me a Downton Abbey mug and Marilyn (a talented artist who designed my BOM “To Everything There Is a Season”) gave me a Downton Abbey tea towel, so I am all set!

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Now that I think about it, Marilyn gave me a Downton Abbey teapot last year for Christmas.  Hmmm…. I see a pattern here!

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Ok, so here we go.  We want the seam allowances to swirl in the same direction (either clockwise or counter-clockwise), to reduce bulk.  Here are just 3 hexies and I have swirled the seam allowances.  First, I just picked one of the seam allowances and pressed it to the right.  (It’s under the iron.)

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Next, I take my left hand and position my fingers on the connecting seam allowances, folding them in the same direction as the first one.  Notice that all 3 seams are going counter-clockwise.  That is about as complicated as it is going to get.  Seriously!  So, just  remember this, we are only swirling 3 connecting seam allowances at a time.  Do you notice what shape appears in the very centre when swirled correctly?  It is a quilt block called “Building Blocks”. Magical!  I am using Inklingo to make my hexies.  It’s as easy as stitching on the line!

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In this next example, I have stitched these hexies together and am now ready to start pressing.  “Looks like a dog’s breakfast.”

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I am going to do exactly what I did when I only had 3 hexies…press the first seam to the right…the one under the tip of the iron.

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Next, I position my left hand and guide the seam allowances in the same direction as the first one…

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So now I can see that the orange seam allowance is heading in a clockwise direction, so the connecting seam allowance have to follow in the same direction.  Notice my index finger and my thumb are holding the seam allowances in place.  Then I just pick up the iron and press.

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Here is the finished block from the back….

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…and the front.  Fancy!

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I finished stitching the corner block of Friends of Baltimore and dipped it in the sink to wash all of the ink and glue out.  Now, I am finishing the next corner block.  Cannot wait to finish this quilt!

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Once it is dry, I will trim it to the proper size.

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Til next time….

Kerry