Something not quite right…..

You know that feeling when you look at the quilt you are working on and you know there is something not quite right, but you don’t know what it is??  Well, that is the feeling I had every time I looked at the vase  I am working on.  I finally put my finger on it yesterday.  The fern and the leaf  are not only the same colour, they are the exact same value!  All I see is a glob of light green, not two distinct leaves.  Drat!

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So this is what I did.  I un-stitched what I had to so I could remove the offending leaf.  The yellow circle is also stitched through the leaf so I had to remove it, too.   Double-drat!

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Next, I cut out a new and improved leaf.  This time I checked to see that the leaves have some contrast.  They do!  And, then, I stitched everything back in place.  Much better. (sigh of relief!)

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Speaking of leaves, I have just posted another Youtube video on how to tackle those deep inner curves on the fern in this vase.  You can see it here.

And, my Sunday Afternoon Applique Group met yesterday and had just a bit of Show and Tell.  This is Lynn’s “Stitcher’s Garden” from a class she is taking at Country Concession, one of our local quilt shops.  As you can see in my recent posts about our group, Lynn is one talented (and productive!) quilter!

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The daughter of one of our members in the group is going through a round of cancer treatments.  So we are doing what all quilters do when we want to show we care…we are making a quilt for her.  Here are some of the blocks, and I am expecting more to be handed in by the end of the week.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the quilt…

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Til next time…

Kerry

Filling a Vase One Flower At A Time

The first border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” is not nearly as daunting as I thought it would be.  No really!  If you take a good look at the pieces, you will see that most of them are very simple shapes and easy to do.  There is just lots of them!!

I have most of the leaves prepped and glued onto my paper pattern.  This is proving to be a really effecient method because I have not lost a single piece!  DSCN5169

Once a few of the leaves were in place, I started to add the buds and flowers.

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These flowers are so dainty and super-simple.  I love them!

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Now, it’s time to add the teensy, tiny yellow centre.

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Very dainty!

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So, now it’s just a matter of adding each flower…one at a time…until you have a vase full of lovely flowers!

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I am now going to make a pot of tea.  I have lots of stitching to do!

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Til next time….

Kerry

OK…where was I?

Now that I have finished Civil War Bride, I have some spare time on my hands.  What will I do?  Will I work on finishing some neglected UFO’s or start something totally brand new?  Well…since I like to work on a number of projects at once, the answer is…both!  I am going to work on finishing up Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore” and I am going to start Sue Garman’s “Ladies of the Sea” tomorrow.  I have been wanting to start this quilt for a while now.  I showed the pattern to my son a couple of years ago and told him I would like to make it for him.  He said “Sweet”.  A couple of months ago, he actually asked me if I had started it yet.  I said I hadn’t.  Last week he asked me again if I had started it and I told him I was getting ready organizing my fabrics and I would start it soon.  He said  “Sweet.  Make sure you make it long enough to cover me”.
(He is 6′ 5″.)  I was torn between mortified and ecstatic.  Mortified because he wants to use the quilt.  Ecstatic because he wants to use the quilt!

I try to keep all of my unfinished projects organized in clear containers.  That way, when I am ready to pick up where I left off, I know exactly where everything is.  How is that for organized? This is “Friends of Baltimore”.  I have just 2 blocks left, then I can start the borders.  (Have you seen the borders? Yikes!)

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So, the fern block is finished, but still needed a bath.  You can read more about “Washing My Blocks”   here.

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While that block was soaking, I started the next block, the fruit bowl.  First, I traced the pattern on to my background with a Clover water soluble marker.  I used my light box to do all of my tracing.

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I started with the base of the bowl.  All I can think about is how nice it would be to go whale watching right about now!

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Next, I added some circles.

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Now I was ready to add some leaves.  I have been thinking about leaves lately.  Probably because we have been raking them up before the snow falls.  Leaves come in more colours than just shades of green.

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I have been keeping my eyes open for some really different leaf fabrics to add to my stash of applique fabrics.  Check these out!  I especially like the second one from the left and decided to use that one in this block.

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Here it is….DSCN4848

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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

It’s a Deal!

My goal last week was to stitch the last block of Civil War Bride and take a wee break before starting the borders.  I hadn’t worked on “Friend’s of Baltimore” in a while and I was suffering from “separation anxiety”.  So, I started to work on the next block of “Friend’s of Baltimore”, which I must admit, had me very intimidated!  The ferns have super-intense inner curves and I have been dreading doing them ever since I started this quilt.  True story!

A running dialogue started in my head and it went something like this…”Yikes!  Look at those ferns.  There isn’t just one, there are four!  How in the world am I ever going to do those ferns.  I’ll just leave this block and start another one.  Maybe I’ll just substitute some easier leaves.  Oh sure!  Take the easy way out!  OK…here is what I will do.  I will make just one of the ferns!  And, after doing just one, if I still think they are way too difficult, I will just do some easier leaves.  But here is the deal.  I have to make one fern before I can start any other part of the block.  Okay…..deal!”

And that is what I did.  I trimmed a small section of the seam allowance and prepped it.

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Then I trimmed a bit more.  And prepped a bit more.

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I am not saying it happened in the blink of an eye, but before I knew it, I finished one (!) fern!

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I stitched it in place and then I added a few leaves and some stems.

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I added a lovely flower…and another fern!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Setting the Table

For some reason, this block seemed to be taking a long time!  Finally, it’s finished!

The first thing I did was change the carpet.  I wanted the tablecloth to be the focus of this block.  The first fabric I used for the carpet fought with the fabric for the tablecloth, so I changed it.  Maybe it’s because they both read as “mediums” or maybe it’s because they are both “busy”.  Either way, it just wasn’t working!   I prefer to audition a few (or more!) fabrics until I find the one that screams “I am the one!”

Out with the old…

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…in with the new!

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Next, I  added the bottom layer of the tablecloth.  I did not need to make another template, I just used the one from the original tablecloth.  Of course, it didn’t have to be the full size, so I just used what I needed.

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Then, I added the vase, some vines and a couple of apple stems.  The fabric for the vase is from a line called “Maid of Honor” by Bonnie Sullivan and Maywood Studios.  It actually looks like cracked pottery!

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Lots of leaves followed, along with a couple of apples. Or are they peaches?

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This morning I embroidered the cherry stems…

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…and yippee!  This block has just had a bubble bath and is resting comfortably!!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Getting Ready to Start

I am eager to start the next block of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  But, before I can start cutting and stitching, there are a few things that need to be done. First, I pre-washed the fabrics for the block, including the background, in Synthrapol.  This stops the colours from running.

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So, while the fabrics were soaking, I decided to start making my freezer paper templates.  I took a good look at the pattern.  I only had one thought:  that is a whole lot of templates, and a whole lot of tracing!  (Between you and I, tracing is the part I dislike the most!)  So this is how I avoid tracing…

This particular pattern is larger than an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper, so it has been divided in four parts.

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I scan each individual sheet and import the images to my computer.

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Next I open up Adobe Illustrator…

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…and I scroll down and click on PLACE.

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The image then pops up on the screen like magic!

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This is the really cool part!  I hit REFLECT and the image….well, it reflects!  (If you use the needleturn method and trace your patterns on the right side of fabric, you do not need to reflect the pattern.)

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You know you have done this properly if the writing on the pattern is backwards!  I place a piece of freezer paper in the printer, click on print…

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…. and voila!

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Now, I am going to make one big pattern out of the 4 sections.  I trim the patterns on the dotted lines.

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I like my freezer paper templates to be double thickness.  So, I iron each section to a big piece of freezer paper and match all the dotted lines…like I am wallpapering…only better!

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Now I get to cut out every one of those itty bitty pieces!

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Here is a little something I want to share!

I use my light box all the time.  I love it…because I don’t have to trace the pattern on the background fabric.  Do you see a theme here?  Sometimes when there are multiple layers, it is hard to see what is underneath the pieces I have already glued in place. By gluing the leaves in place, I have covered up the flower that will sit on top of the leaves.  Confusing!   So here is what I do to make life easier.

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I use my applique pressing sheet and build the flower on it, rather than on the block.  This is also called “off-block construction”.

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I put just a dab of glue on each petal, and slowly add each piece, until I have a flower.

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I very carefully lift the flower off the applique pressing sheet…

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…and place it on the background.  Easy Peasy!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Stitching the Night Away

Most evenings you will find me on the couch, hand-quilting the night away.  Once my needle hits the fabric, all the stress and tension of the day just seems to melt away.  Here is the latest block of Sue Garman’s “Bouquets For A New Day”.  So, now  I have 6 blocks quilted, and 6 more to go…oh… and a border.  (Heavy Sigh)

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I have started working on the next block of Civil War Bride.  It can be tricky to figure out what order to place the stems on the background.  If the raw edge of “Stem A” is going to be covered with “Stem B”, then “Stem A” needs to be glued in place first.  (It’s easier than it sounds!!)

First, I put a few dabs of glue along the traced line, rather than putting glue on the actual stems. This will be “Stem A”. You can see that this stem will be covered by another stem.

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Next, I carefully placed the stem on the line.  Because the stems are cut on the bias, they are easy to curve along the line.

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Then,  I used the line that the next bias strip will be placed on as a guide to trim the stem to the correct length.  I have added a few dabs of glue to hold the next stem in place.

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Now, another stem is in place….This is also a “Stem A”.

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And, finally, the longer stem that covers these shorter stems is glued in place.  This is “Stem B”.

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So…here are a bunch of “Stem A’s”, waiting to be covered by one long “Stem B”.

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And, finally…all the stems are in place!

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I thought this block needed a really special vase!   So I fussy-cut this fabric…

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…and ended up with this vase!  Spiffy!

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Next, I added some buds….

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…and leaves and flowers!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Not so fast!

I was so excited!  My block was finally finished…or was it?  I must admit, all along I thought the vase was missing a little something.  And it was!  So…here is the “unfinished” block…

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….and here is the “finished” block!

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I thought I would take a break from the flowers, and leaves and vines.  The birds on the next block of the Civil War Bride Quilt were calling my name!

First, I started with some stems and beaks, and what I assume is some sort of fruit.  (So far I am not impressed!)

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Next, I added some branches and leaves.  (Still not impressed!)

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Okay, now I see it coming together!  All the birds need now are some tail feathers and they are ready for take-off!

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Til next time…

Kerry

So darn excited!

I am really excited to be working on the next block of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  When I finish this block, I will be able to stitch together another row, which I can then add to my first completed row!  I am going to start hyper-ventilating real soon!

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First I started with the vase.  The dark brown piece at the top was the first one to be stitched in place, and then the pieces below it followed.

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Next, the remaining dark brown pieces were stitched in place.  The long edges will be covered by the light brown sections, so the edges do not need to be turned under.

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And, finally, the last section is added.  The top edge looks odd, but will be covered with flowers and leaves.

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Next, the handles were added and some stems and leaves.  Please allow me to gush about these leaves! I fussy-cut  each leaf with the lighter green “veins” running lengthwise.  I am pleased as punch!

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Now that the berries are in place, I can start to fill the vase with many, many flowers!

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I can’t think of a better way to spend the cold winter evening than hand-quilting Sue Garman’s “Bouquets For A New Day”.  Here is another completed block!

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Til next time…

Kerry