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.

Very often I am asked about thread.  I stitch with Mettler 60 weight.  It is 100% cotton and I use it because I love it.  It’s that simple.  I think everyone should at least give it a try (that is, if you haven’t tried it already).  I am including 5 spools of Mettler 60 in the colours you need to stitch the blocks.  Free.  No charge.  My gift to you:)

I think you will love it as much as I do.  You can sign up for Hugs and Kisses on the website.

 

Til next time….

Kerry

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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

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

A Very Busy Summer!

It’s been a very busy summer for us this year.  We arrived home from Ottawa late last night where we proudly watched my step-daughter, Alanna, perform on Parliament Hill as part of the Ceremonial Guard.  (She is the one in the red jacket and black furry hat!!)

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Everyday the band congregates at Drill Hall and marches on to Parliament Hill to perform during the Changing of the Guard Ceremony at 10 am sharp!

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Alanna plays alto sax and is living proof that music programs in high school really are extremely important!  Here  she is with her very proud dad.

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As we waited for the band to start marching, I noticed that the Drill Hall has some pretty cute quilty details!

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Today, we are off to an all day barbecue and pool party for my niece, Olivia, who is going to school in Italy for 6 months.  Oh!  To be young again.  So, I woke up early this morning so I get get some serious prepping time in.

I am thoroughly enjoying working on the first border of Sue Garman’s “Ladies of the Sea”, a quilt I am making for my son Chad.  The pattern for this quilt (and a few others!) are available in my website, Simple Bird Studio.

The pieces are a little larger than Friends of Baltimore, so it doesn’t take that long to feel a real sense of  accomplishment.  As soon as we get back from the barbecue, I will stitch what I have spent the morning prepping!

First, I started with a few bias strips.

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Next, I added some leaves and what I believe to be plums…

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Next, I added various leaves, flowers, stars and berries.

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Not to mention some delightful Lily of the Valley.  Dainty!

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So far, so good!

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Til next time…

Kerry

 

Bed of Roses – Block 2

Today I spent some time in my sewing room putting the final touches on the second block of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses”, a block-of-the-month I started just last month.  This block (and the first block) is available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  Block #2 was fairly easy, with just a few deep curves, but I will show you how I handled them!

This block started with bias strips.  Lots of bias strips!

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Next, a few simple flowers which are actually squared off and not round.  Nice for a change!

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Now I am ready to start those deep curves…take a deep breath!  First, I ironed the freezer paper template onto the wrong side of the fabric and I trimmed the fabric, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Using a paint brush, I paint liquid starch on the seam allowance and turn the edge over the freezer paper template.  Note:  I iron 2 layers of freezer paper together to make a template that is stiffer than just one layer of freezer paper.  I clip into the curve (about 1/8″ away from the template) and prep as usual.

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As you can see, there is not much of a seam allowance at the deepest part of the curve.  I just dab a bit of Fray Check to that dicey area and remove the template.

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Here is the piece ready to stitch onto the background.  Just 3 more to go!

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The green section is basically the same as the pink section.  Some deep curves, but now you have some practice. They aren’t so bad, are they?

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Now for the last section… Of course you can trace the template as one piece, but I decided to cut this shape into 3 easy shapes.  (Easy is good!)  This is one of my favourite techniques.  You can see how I used the same technique on a horse’s legs here.

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So now, I just glued these pieces in place.  Sweet!

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And here is the complete block!

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And here is Block 1 and Block 2.  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

Stippling and other fun stuff!

I really wish I had more to show!  I have been working away on my hexie quilt and loving every moment of it.  The top left corner is almost complete, then I will continue the dark brown border and then…well who knows?  This quilt seems to be designing itself!  My only goal was to use up all 5 meters of the beige background, which I have had in my stash for 8 years…8 years!   Seriously, it’s time to let go!!

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I have finished all of the background stippling on the eagle block of my “Friends of Baltimore”.  Turns out stippling is very relaxing, soothing and almost hypnotic.  Time stands still when I work on this block.  Still not sure what I am going to do with those triangles…..

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Because the background is so heavily quilted, everything pops out, like the flowers and leaves, which I love because it almost looks dimensional!  The eagle is a little baggy and needs some quilting.  So, this is the “before” picture and in my next post you will see the “after” picture.

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Life is short and we are not supposed to sweat the “small stuff”.  So, I am not going to worry about the cat hair anymore.  I just purchased a bulk package of lint rollers and I am making really good use of them!

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My new and improved website is still under construction and hopefully will be ready to launch the end of next week.  You have probably figured out by now that I am a huge fan of Sue Garman and her wonderful applique patterns.  So, I will be selling some of her patterns on my website.  And, I will be doing one of her patterns, Bed of Roses, as a Quilt-Along, complete with fabric kits!  Last night I prewashed the fabrics so I could get started on the first block.  So exciting!

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Til next time….

Kerry