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

Slow Stitching Sunday, Indeed!

Yes, indeed, it has been a Slow Stitching Sunday!  I am finally recovering from a nasty case of strep throat that left me feeling so drained that all I could do was sleep for the last 3 days, so I didn’t get much stitching done this past week.  However, I thought a lot about stitching!  I thought about how I wanted to quilt FOB.  Sometimes it’s easier to figure out what you don’t want to do, rather than what you want to do.  A process of elimination, of sorts.  I knew I didn’t want to cross-hatch this quilt.  Yes, it would be lovely, for sure, but I cross-hatched the last 2 quilts and I am desperate for a change.

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I have decided to do a combination of echo quilting and stippling in the background and just some simple quilting on the applique sections.  On some of the blocks, where space permits, I would like to quilt some small motifs, like a feather or a heart.  For the quilting on the applique sections, I will match the color of quilting thread to the fabric (red thread on a red rose etc).

I am not sure what I will do when I come to all of those navy blue triangles… I might quilt small circles in them like I did for my Bouquet For A New Day.

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Hmmm….I will figure it our when I get there!  So here is what I have done so far.

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It took me a while to find the perfect needle for this quilt (Clover Gold Eye #10).  Again…process of elimination!!

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I am still loving my Inklingo experience!  Here is my hexie quilt that I started not that long ago using hexies that I printed on fabric and I am hand-stitching.    This quilt just seems to grow bit by bit every day.  I am not sure how large it will end up.  As soon as the beige background runs out, I will be finished!! (I have 4 meters so I am not worried….yet!)

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I am linking up to Slow Stitching Sunday and, also, Wips Be Gone.  Check them both out and see what everyone is up to!

Til next time….

Kerry

 

Getting Ready For A Vacation!

Hubby and I and 2 other couples are leaving on Sunday for a week in the sunny south.  We have had this holiday planned for a while now and we are all very, very excited.  Who wouldn’t be?  We are going to Barbados!  The other 2 wives are busy planning where we will be eating, daily excursions to must-see tourist areas and flight schedules.  Not me.  I am too busy prepping my applique so I can do some serious stitching!  My biggest fear is that when I travel, I will have absolutely nothing to do.  True story.  So I always take my applique with me wherever I go.  I have stitched in Nova Scotia….

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…at the cottage….

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…The Royal York in Toronto.  We actually missed our flight to Nova Scotia so I had lots of time to stitch while we waited for the next flight.

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…on the Amoeba in Antigua…..

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…and in Florida.

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Wherever I go with my stitching, I take my bag with me.  I pack this bag before I pack my suitcase.  Again…true story!  My bag has everything in it that I will need….thread, a package of needles, a few pins, scissosrs, close-up glasses, Thread Heaven and ThimblePads.

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So…on to the border.  I love fabrics that go from light to dark across the width, like this purple one.

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I needed some purple berries to finish off the bouquet in the vase and I thought this might be the perfect fabric.  I cut a few dark berries, a few medium ones and a couple light ones.

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I just kept adding flowers, buds, leaves and stems, until the right side was complete.  Voila!

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Finally, I have something to hand-quilt!  I spent the weekend marking and basting my Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt.   I decided to quilt a Baptist fan design.  So far, so good!

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Til next time….

Kerry

 

So many blocks!

Finally!   Owen’s quilt top  finished.  Notice the stars in the border actually look like stars?  Yipee!  These 16 blocks came from last year’s Barbara Brackman’s block-of-the-week, Grandmother’s Choice.  I actually made 3 blocks every week, so let’s do the math…3 blocks for 52 weeks is 156 blocks…that’s a lot of blocks!  I see a few more quilts on the horizon made from the remaining blocks.

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I am busy getting the backing ready for Owen’s quilt so I can take it to Colleen at Elite Quilting before I leave on Sunday for TESAA.  3 more sleeps!!  I have appliqued something special on the back, but you will have to wait patiently until the quilt is back from Colleen’s to see it.  Just a hint…

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As I was standing in line at the grocery store, I finally figured out how to tackle the border on my Circle of Tulips quilt.  (I should mention that I am always thinking about quilting.  Every waking moment.)  I purchased a stencil a while back and wanted to use it on the borders.

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My only problem was that the stencil did not fit the length of the border evenly and I didn’t want to fudge it, like I fudged the border of  “Bouquet for a New Day”.  You can see that here.  So I had a bit of problem solving to do.  First, I thought about how I wanted the finished border to look like.  I wanted the swags to fit directly under each wreath of tulips, so I drew a line that extended from the seam into the border.  That gave me a visual idea of the space I had to work with.  I am using a Clover water soluble marker, so these marks will wash out!

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Next, I centred the swag between the lines.  As you can see, I have some space to fill.  Hmmmm…

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The heart in the stencil seemed to suit the space.  It was a tiny bit narrow, so I made a template to round out the design.  So far, so good!DSCN5307

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Next, I decided that I would like some quilted lines to fill the space above and below the swags.  Since I am a sucker  for punishment, I spaced them 1/2″ apart.  I must admit, it looks smashing!

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So, before I mark the whole entire border, I am quilting a small section just to see if I like it.  What’s not to like??

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Here is the first block of Barbara Brackman’s new block-of-the-month, Threads of Memory.  I am using a line of fabrics designed by Jo Morton called Amelia.  Lovely!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Life Is Good!

My Hubby and I are going on a little holiday.  We are leaving for Florida on Thursday, and, of course, I am busy packing!  But, I am even busier prepping the final borders of my Civil War Bride quilt.  I like to take my stitching with me wherever I go.  Heaven forbid I be on vacation with nothing to do!

So here is the bottom border.

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Next I started on the top (and final!) border.  First I glued all the bias stems in place.

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Then I glued all the leaves in place.  My bias strips were not long enough to do the whole vine, so I overlapped them and  placed a leaf on top to hide  the join.

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Next I added the flowers, flower centers and a couple of love birds.

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I wasn’t really happy with the leaves that covered the joins of the bias strips.  I thought it looked like I was trying to cover something up…..hmmm….I was trying to cover something up!  So I decided to add a couple of butterflies instead!  Now I am ready for a vacation!

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Believe it or not, I think I might just be getting the hang of hand-quilting on a frame.  I no longer want to pick the frame up and heave it across the room!  Life is good!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Finally! Something in my hoop!

I casually mentioned to my husband that I would be on my hands and knees later that evening and he was free to join me!  He could even take photos!  Finally….I had his attention.  He asked me what I had in mind.  I told him I needed help basting my quilt together, of course!

First, we pinned the backing to the carpet.  I use large safety pins and pin directly into the under padding.  In a couple of weeks, we will be replacing the carpets with hardwood floor.  Not sure where I will be basting my quilts, but I will figure that out when the time comes!  I make sure the backing is smooth and fairly taut and free of cat hair!

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Next, I lay the batting on the backing and smooth any wrinkles there may be.  I am using wool batting for this quilt.  If you haven’t tried wool batting yet, what are you waiting for?  It needles like a dream!

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Then, I put the quilt top on the batting and, starting at the very center, I smooth it out nice and flat. The top is already marked!   I spent the last couple of evenings marking the quilt top with feathered wreaths and 3/4″ cross-hatching.  I didn’t mark the outer borders because I am not sure what I want to do, yet.  I have time to think about it!

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Now comes the fun part.   I start at the centre and baste the three layers together.  The trick is not to stitch into the carpet, and to actually stitch all the layers!  I use an embroidery needle with a large eye and cotton thread.  I baste in a grid, with my basting stitches going both horizontal and vertical.

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I like to keep my lines of basting about 4″-5″ apart.

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The best part…..something to stitch!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Measure twice, maybe three times!

Our local quilt show  was a great success!  The quilts were awesome and very inspiring!  I volunteered to demonstrate hand-quilting, which meant I had to stop working on “Bouquet for a New Day” for a week or so, just so I would actually have something to  hand-quilt!  I was definitely going through some sort of withdrawal, and so I was happy to begin working on it again.  Here I am at the museum with my friend, Janet.

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Since I was not hand-quilting in the evenings, I needed something else to do.  So I finished stitching the first border of “Civil War Bride”.  I started thinking that if I only worked on one quilt at a time, I could accomplish more in a shorter amount of time, but who has that kind of attention span?  (Not me…the more ongoing projects, the happier I am!)

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So I did the same thing to the border that I did to all of the blocks.  I filled the sink with hot, soapy water, took a deep breath and threw the block in the water!  I let it soak for an hour or so.

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Then I put it flat on a towel to dry.

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Once it was dry, it was time to trim the border to the correct size.  Here is what I did.  First I taped the paper pattern together.  DSCN4454

Then I measured the pattern to make sure it was the correct size according to the directions (56″).  The line I measured represents the finished size, and does not include the seam allowance.  So I will trim the border to 56 1/2″ long.

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I thought it might be a good idea to measure the quilt, just to make sure that it was the correct size. (56 1/2″)  So far, so good!

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Next, using my light box, I pinned the border on the pattern and lined up all the leaves and birds and flowers, to make sure the everything was centred properly.

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Then I used a water soluble marker and marked the line.  Remember, the line on the pattern represents the finished size, so I need to cut 1/4″ away from the drawn line.  So now my border measures 56 1/2″.

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So after all of that measuring and re-measuring, cutting and stitching, here we go!

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Til next time…

Kerry