So Close to a Finish!

I am in the process of finishing  the fourth and final (!) border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  Once the flowers, vines and leaves were finished, I appliqued all of the tiny details, like the red berries, the yellow centers of the roses.  The embroidery is done with just one strand of floss.

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Once that was finally finished, I did what I did to all of my blocks and borders once I am finished stitching them….I poured a warm bath, added some suds….and tossed the border in!

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Why do I do this?  I do this because I use glue, starch and marking pens on my quilt blocks, so I want all of that to be removed before I stitch the blocks together.  If you want, you can watch my Youtube video on Washing Blocks and you can also check out this post.

After the border was dry, I auditioned it along side the rest of the quilt.  I think Jenny and Bruin are pleased with the results!

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As you can see, I am not finished yet!  I still have the remaining 2 corner blocks to do.  Wanting to keep the momentum going, I started with the vase, an easy place to start.

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Next, I started to add some leaves to the vase.  I have found this little tip to be very helpful when lining up mulitple pieces.  I prep the piece as usual and then remove the freezer paper template.  I flip the template over and place it on top of the prepped piece.  Then I draw on the remaining seam allowance.

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As you start to glue the pieces in place, you can also see the emerging shape that will cover all of those raw edges (in this case, the rose).DSCN6548

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And now I can start to fill in the rest of the vase.  Lovely!

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Til next time….

Kerry

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Building a Better Pine Cone

When I mentioned in my last post about “off-block construction” a few of you asked if I would do a tutorial on that subject.  So…here it is!!

I would normally use my Applique Pressing sheet for this tutorial, but, sadly I cannot find it.  A few  weeks ago, I spent a couple of hours organizing my quilting stuff.  I guess I have put my pressing sheet away in a really secure spot.  I am sure I will some across it one day!  But that’s ok….because maybe you don’t own a pressing sheet.  So, let me show you what you can use instead of an Applique Pressing Sheet.

I used a piece of freezer paper (shiny side up).  First I traced the pine cone on the shiny side of the freezer paper with a Sharpie marker.  I have found that a Sharpie marker is about the only thing that leaves a permanent mark of the shiny surface.

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Note:  If I was using my Applique Pressing Sheet, I would simply pin it to the pattern, and build the pine cone on it, like I did with these flowers.

First, I made my templates using 2 layers of freezer paper.  Yes, they are a little on the small side!

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Then I chose my fabrics…light, medium and dark brown.

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Whenever I have a unit that has a lot of pieces in it (and those pieces need to line up) I take the time and do this next step.  Once the piece is prepped, I take out the template and place it on top of the finished piece.  The template has to have the shiny side up.  Next, I take a very sharp marking pen (I like to use a Clover water soluble fine marker for light fabrics and a white chalk marker for dark fabrics) and mark the remaining seam allowance.  You will be very happy you did this!!

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So….next, I start to glue the pieces in place.  The glue will not stick permanently to the shiny surface of the freezer paper (or the pressing sheet), but it will hold temporarily.

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Once all of the pieces are glued in place (and you have made peace with the fact you will have to make 7 more pine cones) you can lift the entire piece off the the freezer paper (or applique pressing sheet) and simply put it in place on the background.  If you are working on a unit that has fewer pieces (or larger pieces) you can actually stitch it before you place it on the background.  I thought this piece would be easier to stitch while it is on the background.  Lots of options!

Til next time….

Kerry

 

Almost Finished is Good!

To me, applique is about the journey, not about the destination.  With the kind of applique I do, there are 2 parts to the journey.  First, there is the prep work, which consists of ironing the seam allowance over a freezer paper template.  You can see how I prep my pieces in this blog post. If I had my way, I would prep all day long…literally!  I think it has something to do with “instant gratification”.  When I prep, I can see the design coming alive before my very eyes.  Very rewarding!

The second part of the applique journey is the stitching, which is my least favourite part.  I must confess, I find it terribly boring, so thank goodness for audio books!

So, my usual way of working is to prep a bit, then stitch a bit, just to keep the momentum going.  But, I didn’t do that when I started working on the left side of the third border on Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  I prepped the entire left side without stopping to stitch anything in place. Remind me never to do that again!

After a weekend marathon of stitching (and listining to “The Deep Blue Good-by, written by John D. MacDonald) I am almost finished stitching the border.  I just need to add the red berries, just like I did on the right hand side.

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Also, I am almost finished hand-quilting my Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt.  Sweet!

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Of course, I had a bit of time to start a new-ish project!  This is the beginning of the centre medallion of my block-of-the -month “To Everything There Is A Season”.  So far, so good!   (Note to Self….stitch everything in place before you prep one more piece!)

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Til next time…

Kerry

Inking a Goose…

Just when I thought I was almost finished the first border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”, I realized I still had some circles to do and a bit of embroidery.  A couple of years ago, I took a class from Pearl Pereira, and I learned this nifty way of making circles is that class.

First, I ironed 3 sheets of freezer paper together.  Next, I used a 1/2″ punch used for scrapbooking.

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I cut out out a bunch of perfectly shaped circles in no time!  Then, I prepped them just like I would prep any other piece.

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Slick!

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So, once I stitched all the circles in place, I embroidered the stems using 2 strands of embroidery floss.  Sweet!

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I finally worked up enough courage to do the inking on the goose.  This is the block I worked on in Rita’s class at TESAA.  One of the many skills that Rita teaches is how to ink fine details with a Micron pen and then smudge the lines with a  Clover eraser pen.  Here is a pic of the goose before inking…

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Til next time….

Kerry

Points….and a new label for an old quilt!

Have you ever wondered how I tackle those pesky points that stick out of my prepped pieces?  Well, go make a cup of tea or coffee because there are lots (I mean lots!) of photos.  Hopefully you can stay awake!  Oh!  Before, I forget, almost all of the products I use are available for purchase on my website!

I am going to start right at the beginning.  I use two layers of freezer paper to make my templates.  I iron the template on to the wrong side of the fabric and cut the template out, leaving 1/4″ seam allowance.  Next, I use starch and a paintbrush to apply starch to the seam allowance.

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Then I use my Petite Press Mini Iron and my Stiletto and press the seam allowance over  the freezer paper.  Once the whole shape is prepped, I pop the freezer paper out.

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These are the pesky points I am talking about!

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Next, I use just a few dots of Roxanne’s Glue and place the prepped piece on the background that I have marked with a Clover Water Soluble Marker.  Sometimes, I place all the pieces on the background and then start stitching.  Other times I just place a few and stitch.  If it is a really complicated design with lots of layered pieces, I just do a few at a time.

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I thread my applique needle with matching thread.  I use 60 weight Mettler thread.  It is the one with the green lettering on the spool.

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Still awake? Good!   Ok, next I scrunch the background in my left hand and start stitching.  The very first stitch I take is in the very tip of the point.  Notice the pesky point is at the bottom, and I am stitching on top of the piece.

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I start stitching, from right to left, until I get to the other point.  I take my last stitch in the very tip of that point.

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So now we are going to trim that point a little.  I hold my scissors parallel to the folded edge and trim off just a tiny bit.  Keep your thread out of the way!

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Then I turn the angle of my scissors and trim off that other little point.  The tip of the scissors should be underneath the piece.

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It should look something like this!

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Next, I take my Perfect Scissors and tuck the trimmed point under the piece.  These scissors work perfectly for this because they are blunt at the end.

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So, I just continue on my merry way, until I get to the point at the other end.

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I trim the point and tuck the point under in the same way as before.

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Finally, I just stitch to the end.  Voila!

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Today is my daughters 27th birthday.  Yikes!  Where did the time go?  I made this quilt for her and gave it to her on her 10th birthday.  The inspiration for the appliqued circles on the border came from the opening credits of my favorite TV show, “3rd Rock from the Sun”!

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For some reason, I still have the quilt, but I think it’s time to give it back to her.   I noticed the writing on the old label has faded over time.

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So, I had a new label made for the back of the quilt. Happy Birthday, Kelly!

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Til next time…

Kerry

I See Table Legs!

Every quilter looks at fabric differently.  Some see color, some see patten and some see possibilities!

When I started thinking about choosing fabrics for the next block of Civil War Bride, I wanted to do something really special for the table legs.  I searched high and low through my stash and this is what I found!  Do you see the table legs?

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First, I measured the width of the stripe I wanted to use.

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Then I measured the pattern.  Pretty close!

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So I cut the freezer paper templates out and placed them very carefully on the wrong side of the fabric.

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Since I will be using one of Karen Kay Buckley’s “Perfect Circles” for the round part, I am just cutting straight pieces for the legs.

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Here are the legs.

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Moving right along to the table cloth!  This is how I traced the tablecloth.  First I traced just half of the pattern on the freezer paper.

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I folded it in half and cut along the line.  Call me crazy, but I like when both halves of a pattern are exactly the same!

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Next, I ironed the pattern on the back of the fabric making sure that the pattern was centered.  I wanted the red stripes to be at each end of the table.

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…and here we go!  There is still a piece that goes under the tablecloth, I just have to choose a matching fabric!

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Til next time….

Kerry

New legs for a peacock!

If  you have some time on your hands on Saturday, June 15 at 10 am, come on down to Elite Quilting in Barrie, Ontario where I will be doing a demo of the starch and freezer paper method of hand-applique.  The cost is $10.00.   Colleen will also have all the supplies on hand for you purchase so you can go home and practice this method.  Hope to see you there!

Back to the block!  I must admit, I was a little alarmed how freakishly out of proportion the birds legs looks!  So I gave the peacock some new legs.  I like to use Ultra-Suede for the birds legs and beaks when they are just too darn tiny to applique!

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Once the legs were stitched in place, I used a Micron marker on the edge of the Ultra-Suede to hide the stitches and add a bit of definition.

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Once I felt better about his legs, I added the stems.

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Next, some leaves and a bud.

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And, finally, the rest of the leaves and the flowers!  Spiffy!

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I finished hand-quilting another block from Sue Garman’s “Bouquets for a New Day”.  (Only 3 more blocks to go!  Yippee!)  The vase was very baggy!

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So, just like the vase in the last block, I needed to add some quilting to the vase to make it…un-baggy!  After much debate, I decided to do the same cross-hatching as in the background of the block, except I did the stitching in red thread.  Voila!

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Til next time…

Kerry