Around the World Quilt Blog Tour

Thanks to Rebecca at Cheeky Cognoscenti for tagging me in the “Around the World Quilt Blog Tour”.   I am so flattered!!  Before you read any further, make sure you check out Rebecca’s blog and see if her Pineapple Quilt doesn’t give you goosebumps!  It gives me wild goosebumps every time I see it!!  The idea  of the “Around the World Quilt Blog Tour” is to answer 4 question and then tag another quilter to keeps things rolling.  So….here goes!

Question 1.  What am I working on?

Oh!  I am so glad you asked!!  As with most quilters, I like to work on more than one quilt at a time.  I think this keeps things fresh and exciting.  If you have read my blog before now, you  probably know that I am obsessed with hand-applique and hand-quilting….and hexies!   To be honest, obsessed is putting it mildly!  I made my first quilt when I was 15 and I have been quilting in one form or another since then.  I have made more than my share of machine-pieced quilts, but it is hand-applique that has captured my heart.

I discovered the world of hexies earlier this year.  It is an addictive world!  The binding is almost stitched on my Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  I used the English Paper Piecing method to make this quilt and I hand quilted it.  I decided long ago that if I am going to quilt by hand, I really want the quilting to show up, which is why I chose to use a Baptist Fan pattern.

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Here are some more hexies that I have played around with and some that are ready to be stitched.  There are definitely more hexie quilts in my future!

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Next,  is “To Everything There Is A Season“,  my own Block-of-the-Month that I had designed by Marilyn at MTDesigns, a talented artist who takes my unorganized, vague ideas and turns them into awesome quilts!  The patterns for these blocks are also available on my website.  Along with the 12 blocks, there is also a centre medallion, which would also make a lovely stand-alone wallhanging.  There will also be borders surrounding the entire quilt.  Each time I complete a block, it my “new favourite”!

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This is Peggy’s Puzzle (also designed by Marilyn at MT Desisgns) and it is almost finished!  Some of you have been making these free blocks that are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  I had this quilt designed with beginners in mind and even made some Youtube videos to go along with each block.  This will be my next hand quilting project.  Can’t wait to start!

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This is my “Friends of Baltimore” which I have been working on longer that I have been blogging.  These are the blocks I had completed when I wrote my first blog post.

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And this is where I am now!

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So many people have contacted me and said that I have inspired them to begin this “once-in-a-lifetime” quilt.  That is so nice to hear!  Believe it or not, these blocks are not difficult.  Time consuming?  Oh yes!  Lots of pieces in each block?  You bet.  But they certainly are not difficult if you have experience in whichever method you choose to hand-applique.

This year I completed my Civil War Bride Quilt, which is hanging in our living room.  I look at it and wonder when the heck I had all that time to make a quilt like that.  I tend to work in smaller chunks of time, as opposed to larger spans of time.  All of those smaller chunks of time add up.  Like most quilters I know, I go to work, make dinner, do laundry and so on and so on.  But I make the time to quilt every single day!  I also have been trying to get in 10,000 steps each day.  If I could figure out a way to stitch and walk at the same time, I would be all set!

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Last year I taught a Beginner Class (we used the Peggy’s Puzzle pattern) and this year I am teaching them the skills to make a Baltimore quilt!  Here is the first block.  I am using pinks, burgundy’s, reds greens and maybe a touch of blue and gold.

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I wondered what the same block would look like if I made it in totally different fabrics.  This is what I came up with.  I think it is really important for new quilters to see different versions of the same quilt in different colours so that they can find their unique style or look.  I love to teach and am always thinking “I would just love to show someone how to do this!”

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I am also working on Sue Garman’s “Ladies of the Sea”.  I have 3 blocks completed and I am going to start one of the borders next, just so that when the blocks are all done I won’t get overwhelmed with the borders.  I saw “Ladies of the Sea”  in a magazine a few years back and my jaw dropped to the floor.  I knew I had to make it for my son, Chad, and I ordered the patterns right away.

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I also just finished hand-quilting “Circle of Tulips” (another free pattern on my website).  I made these blocks around 15 years ago when I was teaching myself  various hand-applique methods.  I kept these blocks around with the thought that one day I would do something with them.  So last year I stitched the blocks together and quilted it by hand.  I knew exactly how I wanted it to look.  I wanted it to look antique and dainty with a scalloped border.  Mission accomplished!

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This quilt (a pattern in Quiltmania 100) caught my eye and I have been slowly collecting fabrics for it.  I am anxious to get started!  These are my blues (so far) and the background.

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2nd Question:  How does my work differ from others?   I would love to teach everyone how to hand-applique.  I secretly believe that if everyone knew how to hand-applique, the world would be a better place!  True story.  So not only do I love to show the techniques I use, I also love to show  how I work through my blunders, whether it is switching out a fabric that I thought would work, but sadly, did not.  You can see that I started out with a red cat and a blue bird…

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…and ended up with a black cat and a red bird.

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I also don’t mind showing you how I was getting ready to stitch my bias stem, only to realize I glued it in place, wrong side up!

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Or washed my block without first making sure that everything was stitched in place.  I want everyone to know that hand-applique is very doable, you just need to learn a few skills and practice those skills!

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3rd Question:  Why do I create?  I think that eveyone is capable of creating beautiful works of art, whether it is a quilt or a symphony or a painting or  wonderful meal.  I feel so fortunate that I have found an outlet to express myself in a way that I love.  I am creating a legacy of quilts that I hope my family will cherish for many years.  Hopefully, they will realize there was more to my life than the cooking and cleaning and doing the laundry!

4th Question:  How do I work?  The more quilts on the go, the happier (and more productive!) I am.  I think that creativity breeds creativity and a wheel in motion says in motion.  I have taken over the spare bedroom so all of my fabric, books, patterns etc. are in the same spot, which is handy.  I must confess, the room is in a constant state of chaos, but I like it that way!

I am very aware of how valuable time is and how easily it can be wasted.  So I try to make the most of every moment that I can find to sit down and stitch.  I only work on quilts that excite me and (more importantly) challenge me.  When I first saw the picture of “Friends of Baltimore”, I never thought in a million years I would be able to make the quilt.  Seriously…it looks so daunting and overwhelming.  That is, until I started to break it down into blocks.  And then I started to look at the pieces in each block and say: “Gee….I think I can do that!”

Okay…enough about me!!  Let me introduce you to Ruth Quinn at Stitching Impressions.  Ruth (a fellow Canadian!) will write her post on Monday November 17.   She is a quilter who also loves to hand applique. and has actually completed Lily Rosenberry! Ruth is a talented longarm quilter who spends most of her waking hours machine quilting for others, including Patti Carey from Northcott Fabrics.  But as you will see, she is talented in many other ways!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filling a Vase and Binding My Grandmother’s Flower Garden

This past week I  have been working away on the corner block that finishes off the third border on Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  I get goosebumps just thinking about how close I am finishing this once-in-a-lifetime quilt!!

First, I traced the design on the background with a Clover water soluble blue marker.  I always like to start with the vase.

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Next,  I added the base.

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Next came the decorative oval and I knew I just had to use this gold swirly fabric.

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I used this fabric already on this vase and I loved the effect it gave.

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Something told me the red vase was lacking something, but what?  The two fabrics have a lot of motion going on and I needed to separate the red and the gold swirly fabric.   So I cut a freezer paper template just a little bigger than the gold swirly piece.  Using this new template, I cut an oval out of the same gold I used on the base, placed it underneath and voila!

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Once I was over that little hurdle, I was ready to start filling the vase!

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I stitched the block to the border so that I could continue adding the flowers and leaves.

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Since the right-hand side of the block is complete (and everything is stitched in place, I might add!), it is now time to add the border to the rest of the quilt. Now I can start to fill in  the left-hand side of the block.  So far, so good!

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Still here?  Good!  Since I already had my sewing machine out, I decided to put the binding on my Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt.  First, I carefully trimmed the quilt so I had straight edges to work with.  I am always a little nervous when putting my rotary cutter anywhere near my quilts!  I always mark the line I am going to cut with my blue marker, just as an extra safety precaution.

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I chose  a bright orange polka dot for the flange.  I cut the pieces 1″ wide and pressed them in half lengthwise.  Then I stitched them  to all 4 sides of the quilt.  The folded edge is towards the middle and the raw edges are lined up with the edge of the quilt.

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Next, I cut my binding strips, joined them into one long strip and pressed them in half lengthwise.  I stitched the binding on as usual, on top of the orange flange.

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So, now I am going to make a pot of tea and spend the afternoon hand stitching the binding.  Sweet!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Stitching the weekend away….

Last night I put the last quilting stitch in my Grandmother’s Flower Garden.  I started this quilt soon after visiting “The City Quilter” in New York, where I innocently purchased a few packages of paper hexies.  You can see that post here.  I am toying with the idea of doing a binding with an added flange, just for something different!

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I spent Friday evening adding the red berries and embroidering the stems to the border of Friends of Baltimore.  I used 2 strands of embroidery thread for  the stems and one strand for the tendrils around each rose.

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Once the yellow centers were added to each rose…

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…..I filled the bathtub with hot, soapy water and tossed the border into the tub.  You can read this post and see why I do this!

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So, this morning, I was ready to trim the border to the proper size (I always cut my blocks and borders larger that required to allow for shrinkage). The border was a little wrinkled after it dried and so I placed it right side down on a thick towel and pressed it.

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Then I placed the border on the paper pattern and pinned it in place matching the leaves and flowers.

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I marked the finished line on the border with a washable blue marker and then unpinned it from the paper pattern.  Next, I took my rotary cutter and a long ruler and trimmed 1/4″ away from the blue mark.  Not going to lie, this is always a little nerve-racking.  A lot could go wrong at this point!

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So…this is what the border will look like once it is stitched to the rest of the quilt, but I can’t add the border until the corner block is finished.

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Til next time….

Kerry

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

My apologies for not including the information regarding my new hoop.  It is made in Canada by Quilters Woodwork in St. Mary’s, Ontario.  I purchased mine at a local quilt shop in Cookstown, Ontario called Country Concessions.

When I can get my hoop away from the cat, I love to sit and hand quilt in the evening.  Here is my Grandmother’s Flower Garden, which I am currently working on.  I am already thinking about my next hand-quilting project.  I don’t like too much time to slip by between projects, because the callouses on my fingers soften and then I have to go through the whole process again!

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Maybe I will take the time to put the rest of my Grandmother’s Choice blocks together so that I have something to hand-quilt.  These are the fabrics I am considering for the sashing and borders.  Pretty pink!

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I mentioned in an earlier post that my Civil War Bride Quilt won a ribbon at the local Ploughing Match.  The quilts were judged and awarded ribbons back in May and the ribbon winning quilts were kept until the Ploughing Match, which was held in Essa Township while we were in Barbados.  So, I just recently was re-united with my quilt.  Yippee!  I had no doubt that it would be kept safe and sound, but the fact that I had a more than one dream about my quilt disappearing made me think that maybe it was on my mind more than I realized.  I was pleasantly surprised when I came home from running errands yesterday to find that the my Hubby has taken the time to hang the quilt in the livingroom. What a lovely sight!

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Till next time…

Kerry

Not bad for a rainy day!

I love to have lots of projects on the go.  It keeps things interesting.  I am in the process of putting the finishing touches on my Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt.  So…here are all the flowers stitched together.  And I have started to fill in the side sections.  I must admit it is a little awkward stitching with a cat lying on my lap, but somehow I manage!

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Next, I started filling in the top and bottom sections.  Just one more row to add on the left side and I will be finally ready to start hand-quilting.  I have been without a hand-quilting project for some time and I am can’t wait to start!

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It rained all day Monday, so I decided that would be a good day to spend on the third border Friends of Baltimore.  First, I added the stems and leaves, and then added the flowers…DSCN6026

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I just kept adding more stems and leaves and flowers…

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Not bad for a rainy day!

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Til next time…

Kerry

 

Talking to myself and other fun stuff!

I made a deal with myself…I couldn’t start the third border of “Friends of Baltimore” until I completed The Elissa block from Sue Garman’s “Ladies of the Sea”.

Oddly enough, I make deals with myself all the time……clean the bathroom and then you can sit and stitch…start dinner and while the pasta is cooking you can sit and stitch….get up a little earlier and you can sit and stitch.  You get the picture!

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So, here we go!  I decided to start with the vines coming out of the bouquet.  I should mention that I have traced the design on the background with a Clover water soluble marker.

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I was just itching to start the vase…so that is what I did!  I used the same blues as I did for the flowers in The Elissa block.

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I am not going to be shy…I love the way this vase turned out!!

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Next, I added a few more leaves and tiny stems.

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And a few purple flowers….

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Next, I added some pretty posies!

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When I filled the vase with all of the flowers, something started to niggle at me. The light pink rose gets lost in the boquet.

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So then, I started a conversation with myself.  I guess by now you have figured out that I talk to myself…a lot!!  I started to think that in real life, someone may have put a pale pink rose into a vase with brightly coloured flowers and it might look just fine.  Someone else might look at the block and think it looks just fine.  Maybe I am just being too critical of my work.  But the reality is, I know that if it bugs me now, it is going to bug me even more once it is quilted.  So I replaced the flower with one that has just a little more oomph!

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I have  added a few more rows onto my Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt.  Only two more rows to go…yippee!  I have already decided (after many converastions with myself!) about how I am going to hand-quilt it.  I will keep you posted!

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Til next time…

Kerry