Skinny Stems and Scrappy Blocks

In my last post, I showed you how I made the roses in The Rose Kaleidoscope.  In this post I will show you how I made the skinny stems.  First, I traced the block onto the background with a Clover Water Soluble Marker.  I constructed the roses “off-block” which means I put the roses together on a sheet of freezer paper (shiny side up).  For that reason, I did not trace any of the inside detail of the roses, just the outside edge.

Next, I prepped all of my stem pieces and the thorns.  Normally, I use a 1/4″ bias maker for my stems, but these stems are a little skinnier.

Once I have prepped the pieces, I removed all of the freezer paper.  This is a question I am frequently asked…Yes, I remove all freezer paper before I glue the piece onto the background.

The first pieces on the background never look that exciting.  But keep watching!

I just realized I didn’t take any pictures of how I prepped the leaves.  But there they are!

Now I am ready to place the roses onto the background.  I haven’t stitched the leaves or stems in place yet.  I might go and do that now before I place the roses.  I’ll keep you posted:)  This pattern is available on my website.  It is one of the blocks in “To Everything There Is A Season”.  You can purchase the complete paper pattern set, or each pattern individually.  I am going to be stitching each block again and I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

I have been merrily stitching away (on my machine!).  I started out just making a few of these Monkey Wrench blocks and I got a little addicted!  Now I am putting my sections together.  I made 81 blocks, so I made 9 sections of 9 blocks.  I tried very hard to arrange the fabrics so that like fabrics didn’t end up together.  I numbered each piece so I wouldn’t get confused…that is an important step!

I prefer to put quilts like this together in sections, rather than rows.  It just seems like less work!  I have yet to figure out a border for this quilt and I must confess, it is keeping me up at night.  I am thinking swags (as usual)!

The orange cornerstone fabric is the same fabric I used for the flange on my granddaughters hexie quilt.  Funny how a piece of fabric can take you back in time:)

Speaking of hexies, I am still hand-quilting my hexie quilt.  The cooler nights lend themselves to being wrapped up in a quilt.  Speaking of weather, my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who is experiencing extreme weather conditions.

Til next time….

Kerry

Paper Pattern for “To Everything There Is A Season” now available!

As promised, the paper patterns for “To Everything There Is A Season” are back on the website!  I tweaked the patterns a little, and now every pattern piece is labelled for easy colour selection.  The pattern is available on my website.  Here I am (proud as punch) after my quilt received an award of Excellence in Applique at Quilt Canada in June.  You can order the complete set, but each pattern is also available as an individual pattern.

This is not a difficult quilt to make (I wouldn’t lie to you!).  If I could give you one tip, this would be it…when you prep your pieces, lay the freezer paper template on top of the prepped piece (shiny side up) and trace the remaining seam allowances.  Here is a blog post showing this technique.  You will thank yourself when it is time to put the pieces altogether because they will actually fit!  Also, I found these roses easier to construct “off block”.  I use a piece of freezer paper (shiny side up) which I have taped onto the pattern.  Then I build the roses on top of the freezer paper.

Ta Da!  Both easy and stress-free!

Easy Peasy!

When I chose my fabrics for this quilt, I went with the thought that “More is Better”.  That is, when the pattern called for light pink, I used many light pinks, not just one.  As long as there was contrast between the fabrics, I was good with that.  Also, I used many, many different shades of green.  Feel free to switch up the colours (like I did on the Hummingbird block).  The flowers are “supposed” to be pink, but I had a piece of purple fabric in my stash that was calling my name.  Remember, it is your quilt and do what makes you happy.

Speaking of fabric stashes, I started a quilt in the hopes of using some of my scraps.  Some of these scraps are 10 years.  Time to let go! I stitched a couple of blocks, just for the fun of it.  I liked what I saw and so I continued cutting and sewing.  Notice there is no applique…yet!

Have you had a chance to look at the Catalogue of Classes for The Academy of Applique?  Registration opens Labour Day Weekend.  The majority of classes fill on that weekend.  These are the class samples that I will be teaching.  I can’t say enough about The Academy.  The food.  The venue.  The classes.  The best part is being surrounded by people that “get” your passion for hand-applique, because they have the same passion.  It is so inspiring to see what everyone is stitching.  I hope to see you there!

Til next time…..

Kerry

So excited!

So excited to announce my quilt, To Everything There Is A Season, has won the Award of Excellence in Applique at Quilt Canada 2017!  This quilt is superbly machine quilted by Rose Bell of Fancy Feathers.

It was a thrill just to have my quilt juried in, but to win an award is definitely the icing on the cake.  For those that have asked, the complete pattern for this quilt will be available on the website mid-July.  We are fine-tuning a few of the blocks, so sit tight!

Meanwhile, I am busy getting my borders ready for the current BOM, a combination of 2 patterns designed by Sue Garman.  I love a border with swags on it (especially on an appliqued quilt).  I just think it has such a classy look:)

First, I taped 6 copies of the swags together (each border has 6 swags on it).  Then I placed the border fabric on top of the paper pattern and traced the swags.  I used plastic to make a template of the swag to make tracing much easier and so much faster.

I prepped all the pieces and glued everything in place…

 

…and Ta Da!  Let the stitching begin!

Til next time…..

Kerry

Finished…..Hooray!

The last piece has been prepped and now the last stitch has been taken!  I am so thrilled to say I am finished this quilt.  I won’t be shy….I think this is a beautiful quilt.  It was designed by Marilyn at MTDesigns, an amazing artist who can take my fuzzy, vague ideas and put them into amazing drawings, which I can then applique. Thanks, Marilyn!!

So, here is the Winter Border.

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And, the Fall Border.

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And here is the finished quilt.  (Happy dance!!)

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The patterns for the blocks and the Centre Wreath are available on my new website.  The borders are not on the website yet, but they soon will be!  The patterns for each block are sold individually, so if you do not want to make the entire quilt, you can make a wallhanging (or two!) or some pillows.  The choice is yours!

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

To Everything There Is A Season – Centre Wreath

Yesterday, I finally(!) finished stitching the Centre Wreath of “To Everything There Is A Season”, a BOM I launched last April.  You can see all 12 blocks and the Centre Wreath on my website Simple Bird Studio. The Centre Wreath is 36″ x 36″, so it will only be available as a paper pattern, which I will mail out.  The cost will be $18.00, and will include shipping to Canada and the US.

Once the stitching was completed,  I washed the block to remove all the glue and starch.

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After the block was completely dry, I trimmed it to the correct size (I always cut my background much larger than necessary to account for shrinkage).

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And, here we go!!  Hope you like it!

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Speaking of websites….I am in the process of setting up a new website, which will be so much more user friendly than my current one.  Anyone who has set up a website knows how much time it takes to get up and running, time that I would rather spend stitching…trust me!!

Til next time….

Kerry

To Everything There Is A Season…Block 12

Here is the final block of a block-of-the-month I launched last April.  This block has everything I love about Spring…butterflies and baby chicks!  You can order this block (and the previous blocks) on my website Simple Bird Studio.for blog

Next month, I will have the center medallion  completed.  Here is another sneak peak.

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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

To Everything There Is A Season Block 11

My apologies for posting this block so late.  I have had the block prepped for a couple of weeks, but wanted to make sure everything was stitched in place before I posted it.

This block comes at a good time.  It is a promise that spring is on the way.  Honestly!  So, here is Butterflies and Lilacs.

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First, I started with the stems and pointy leaves and some cute little flowers…

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Then I added the butterfly.

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Next, I added the 2 shades of purple for the lilacs, but notice that only the outside edges are turned under and the edges that meet in the middle are left raw.

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That is because all of these little lilac petals will cover the raw edges.

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This block (along with the previous blocks) are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.

Til next time….

Kerry