Putting It All Together!

I am really happy with the steady progress I am making on this quilt.  All of the 9 blocks are stitched and washed.  Now I am going to show you how I trim the blocks to the correct size.  I always cut my backgrounds at least 2″ larger to allow for shrinkage due to all of those tiny stitches.  Before I trim the blocks, I press them really, really flat.  I place the square upside down on the ironing board and iron with steam.  My ironing board is very cushy, otherwise I would iron the blocks on a thick towel.

This is the block after it’s been pressed.  It’s a little flatter and crisper!

I use a window template to trim the blocks, rather than measuring with a ruler.  I used a heavy plastic for the template and cut a square in the middle the size of the unfinished blocks (15 1/2″).  I used to draw a complete square, but now I just mark the corners.  It is so easy just to “eyeball” each block:)

Now I take my long ruler and line up the dots and trim away.  Easy Peasy!

All of the blocks are ready to be stitched together.  Major Goosebumps!

There are only 5 spots left in the Bed of Roses BOM that starts July 1, so if you are thinking of signing up,  don’t wait too much longer:)  Details on the website.

Til next time….

Kerry

Block 8 – The Glorious Eagle

Have you ever had one of those weeks?  A week where everything and everyone else demands your undivided attention?  A week where you just cannot get to your quilting?  Yikes!  Well, that is the week  that I have been having.  Actually, it’s been more like 3 weeks, but who is counting?

Before I forget, I am thrilled to announce that I have been invited to teach at The Academy of Applique again. Pinch me!!

This is block 8 in the BOM I launched 8 months ago.  This is the third time I have made this block and I do love it.  It is not exactly finished, but the Easter long weekend is coming up and we are going away.  So, at least I have something to stitch while I am away and that is what is important!

I started this block like every other block.  I traced the pattern onto the background with a water soluble marker.

First, I started with the flag.  So the off-white part of the flag is one entire piece.  I prepped the end of the flag.  Notice that I trimmed about 1/4″ inch off the sides.  

Next, I traced the stripes and other details onto the this piece.

I prepped the red stripes and glued them in place along with the dark blue piece.  I’m going to embroider little white stars on the blue part…just not right now!

Then I added the pole and the star.

The leaves came next…..

Then the eagle….he really is glorious, isn’t he?  Of course, I forgot his feet.  I got a little excited!  Thank goodness everything is just glued in place at this point:)

The top section looks very overwhelming, doesn’t it?  Well, it’s not.  Just remember, one piece at a time.

And here is the not-exactly-finished block.

As I mentioned, this is the third time I have made this block.  Here is the original block from my Friends of Baltimore quilt.  I think I will leave off the Victory Hat, but I will add the arrows, and of course the tassels.

Here are all eight blocks.  So far, so good!

So, we have only(!) one block to go.  I have started it already….

Til next time…..and Happy Easter!

Kerry

Third block of “Love Is In the Air”

Yesterday afternoon I started to prep the third block in “Love Is In The Air” a pattern designed by Lori Smith.  I thought the blocks were a tad small (8 1/2″), so I enlarged them 125%.  I cut my background blocks 15″ square and I will trim them down slightly when I decide what kind of sashing to make.  I love working on a quilt this way.  So many unknowns and so many possibilities!!

I am using a fat quarter bundle of shirtings for the backgrounds (each square will have a different background).  And I am trying really hard to make this quilt as scrappy as possible.  Very liberating!

Like most blocks, it all started with the stems and leaves…..

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…..and then a pretty flower!

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I love using as many greens as I possibly can for the leaves.  I try to include as many different patterns and textures as I can.

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The whole time I was prepping all the leaves and buds, I was worrying (yes worrying!) about what kind of fabric I should use for the vase.   The vase fabric shouldn’t be the focal point of the block, but it shouldn’t disappear into the background, either.  I searched until I found a fabric that I think fit the bill.

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And here is the prepped block waiting to be stitched!

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So far, so good!

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I have been making some pretty steady progress on my hexie quilt.  I am hand quilting it with the Baptist fan design.  So relaxing!!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Bed of Roses – Block 7

Simple.  Easy.  That is how I am going to describe Block 7 of “Bed of Roses”.  Seriously.  Take a good look at the shapes and I think you will agree!

Let’s get started!  First, I traced the block onto the background with a water soluble marker.

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Next, I used a 1/4″ bias maker to make all of the stems.

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After I finished stitching the bias stems in place, I went along my merry way prepping the many pieces.  Instead of tracing my templates, I simply photocopied the pattern onto freezer paper.  All of the pieces in this block are symmetrical, which means you do now have to worry about making mirror images.

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So now its time to start gluing the pieces in place.  I started with the small flowers and leaves.

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Next, I added the pretty pink flowers.

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I love these dark pink centers!

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Looking good!

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Now I started on the larger flowers.

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The excitement is definitely mounting!

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Now I am going to show you how I tackled the center section.  The center consists of 5 separate pieces, which if layered one on top of the other, would be very bulky.  So this is how I eliminated the bulk.

I prepped all of the pieces in the usual way.

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Next,  I glued one section on top of the other…

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…and stitched it in place.

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Once I finished stitching the piece in place, I very (very!) carefully trimmed away the first layer, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Okay, now I repeated those same steps with each new layer.  I glued the yellow piece in place….

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….and stitched it in place.

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And I trimmed out the second layer.

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And here is the second last piece stitched in place.

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And, finally, the last piece!

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The rest of the leaves and……Voila!

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You can find Block 7 (along with the 6 previous blocks) of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses” on my website Simple Bird Studio.

Til next time….

Kerry

A Few Helpful Hints!

A few of you asked if I could do a little tutorial on how I prepped that centre piece in the third block of “Bed of Roses”.  As always,  I am happy to share this with you!

First, I always use 2 layers of freezer paper to make my templates and I iron it to the wrong side of the fabric.

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I trim the seam allowance to less than 1/4″, even in the inside curves.

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Now I need to clip the inside curves.  By the way, I never clip an outside curve.  Never!

I have drawn lines where I will clip.  (I don’t really draw the lines before I clip them, I am just showing the position of the lines.)  Notice that the lines are always perpendicular to the freezer paper.

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It is very important not to clip right to the freezer paper.  I like to leave about 1/8″.

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So now, starting at an inside curve,  I apply liquid starch to the seam allowance and pull back the seam allowance with my left hand….

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…..then I pick up my mini-iron and iron the seam allowance.

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And now, if I did not have the camera in my left hand, I would pick up my stiletto and pick up the mini-iron with my right hand and start to press the seam allowance over the freezer paper.

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If really just takes a bit of practice!  Here is what it should start to look like.

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Once the piece is completely prepped, I add a tiny dot of glue to each outside curve.

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And now I am ready to stitch the piece in place!

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Til next time….

Kerry

 

 

 

Bed of Roses…..Part 2!

Thanks to everyone for the overwhelming response to the first block of Bed of Roses!!  I quickly sold out of patterns and BOM kits, but don’t worry, I quickly placed another order for patterns and they are on the way.

So, here are a few details about the Bed of Roses BOM.  If you ordered Block 1 (pattern and fabric) I assume you are going to want all 12 blocks.  I have put aside a complete set of patterns (and fabric) with your name on it.  The fabric that you will receive in your kit is the exact same fabric as in mine!  At the beginning of each month, I will write a blog post outlining how I prepped and stitched each block.  That block will then be added to the website and you can order it at that time.  Note:  If for some reason (like maybe you are on vacation and quilting is the last thing on your mind!) you don’t order it at that time, that’s ok!!  I will ship your block to you whenever you order it.

Bed of Roses is broken down into 12 patterns, so I will do one a month.  However, you can start whenever you want. If you want to wait for a couple of months to see more of the finished blocks, you can order at that time.  Really, I just want to keep it simple!!

Speaking of “keeping it simple”, I just finished the second part of Block 1.  The first pattern consists of one block (which I showed in my last post) and 2 corner triangles.  If you check closely you can see that I modified the flower centers a little.  Feel free to do the same, or you can do the centers the way they are in the pattern.  Again….just trying to keep it simple!

So, I stitched both corner triangles at the same time on a background square (rather than cutting 2 triangles and stretching the bias edges), a tip provided by Sue in the directions.  You can see the diagonal centre crease.

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Next, I added the pretty pink flowers.

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Then I added the yellow centers and the green thingies.

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Pretty simple, eh?

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Til next time…

Kerry

Bed of Roses BOM

I decided a while ago that I would like to start a new quilt.  Something a little simpler (ok…a lot simpler!) than “Friends of Baltimore” and “To Everything There Is A Season”. But challenging enough to hold my interest.  After giving it a lot of thought, I have decided to start Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses”.  You may think I am crazy, but let me explain!  At first glance, it looks like a very complicated quilt, but it really isn’t.  In fact, I was blown away by how easy (yes…easy!) the first block was.

The patterns for Bed of Roses are available on my website.  You can order the complete set, or you can order a pattern or two a month.  The choice is yours.   I have added another exciting option….I am offering this quilt as a Block-of-the-Month, complete with the pattern and the exact same fabrics that I am using. I will post a detailed tutorial of each block from start to finish on my blog around the first on the month and you can stitch each block along with me.  Check out my website for the details!  Also, make sure you check out my Youtube videos where I show you how to make bias stems, circles and some other neat stuff!

Before I started to work on this block, I pre-washed all of my fabrics including the background.  The fabrics I have chosen for this quilt are Toscana and Shimmer, both are from Northcott.

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Ok, so here is Block 1.  If you can make bias strips, make circles and stitch some gentle curves, then you can do this block.  It has some very simple elements in it, but the arrangement of those simple elements makes it look like a very complex block.  Watch closely and you will  how easy this block is…

First, I made the bias strips and glued them in place.  It doesn’t look like much now, but keep reading!  By the way, I have traced the pattern onto the background using a Clover water soluble marker.  I am using a crisp white background, so I do not need a light box to trace my pattern.  I simply placed my background fabric on top of the pattern and traced away!

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Next, I added some more stems.  These stems will be covered up with another stem, so I like to trim the edge on an angle.DSCN6925

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So, here all the bias strips glued in place.  That wasn’t painful at all, was it?

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Next. I started to prep the pieces and put them into place.  I started with the centre pieces.  I prep my pieces using liquid starch and a mini-iron.  Once the piece is prepped, I remove the freezer paper template.  You can see that the seam allowance is ironed in place, so there is no need to turn the edge under as you are stitching.

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Next, I use Roxann’s glue (instead of pins) to hold the pieces in place until I can stitch them.

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Once I glued the centre pieces on, I came across my first “uh oh…now what do I do?”  I am not sure how well it shows in the photo below, but the yellow fabric is quite a bit lighter than the dark pink fabric it is on and the dark pink shows through.  So…..I went to put the kettle on and made myself a cup of tea.  Let’s be honest, you have a few options here. You can leave it alone and love your quilt just the way it is.  Or you can fix it and love your quilt.  Either way, you (and only you!) have to be happy with your results.  I knew I had to fix it.

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So this is what I did…I took the yellow pieces off and added another layer of yellow fabric to the existing piece (without the seam allowance).  I just tucked it inside the piece with the seam allowance.

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I glued everything in place again and look!….no shadowing!!

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So, now I just started to add all of the prepped pieces.  This is a very simple tip that I like to use whenever I have a few layers that need to line up.  Once I prep my piece, I remove the freezer paper template and place it on top (shiny side up) and draw on the seam allowance wherever there is a raw edge.  I do this to all of the pieces.

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So, now when I start to place the pieces on top of each other, I have a nice crisp line to use as a guide.  Very precise!

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Now I have a line so that I know exactly where to place the next piece.  Magical!

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I did the same thing with the smaller flowers…

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Here are most of the pieces glued in place and ready to stitch.  Depending on the number of pieces in a block, I like to prep some pieces and then go and stitch.  Some people like to prep the entire block before starting to stitch.  The choice is yours!

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Next, I added the leaves.

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It was when I was at this point in the block that I realized that there wasn’t anything that I would describe as “difficult”.  Quite the contrary…pretty simple.

Now onto the circles.  When I do my circles, I like to use Perfect Circles.  One afternoon I decided to go on a “Circle Marathon” and just do all 72 circles in this block…you know…get it over with!  I lined the completed circles up in rows so I could see my progress.  Thank goodness for audio books, that is all I can say!

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Once all the circles were ready, I glued them in place and started to stitch them.  I don’t recommend gluing all 72 circles in place before you start stitching.  The thread gets caught up in the circles and its annoying!

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And here we are.  Finished.  Yummy!

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Block 1 also comes with enough fabric to complete 2 of the side triangles.  I will do a separate blog post about those. Stay tuned!

Til next time…

Kerry