Thrilled to be Finished!

I’m so excited to have finished this quilt!  I wish you could see my face…I am beaming with pride:)  To say I am thrilled with the results would be an understatement….a major understatement!  I’m also very excited to announce that I am offering this quilt once again as a Block-of-the-Month.  If you didn’t get in on the first go-around, this is your lucky day.  The blocks are nine of my favourite blocks from Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  I used the setting from Sue Garman’s “Baltimore Squared” pattern.

Here is how it works, once a month for the first 9 months you will receive the pattern and fabrics to do all 9 blocks.  The fabrics will be exactly as shown below. Then the following 3 months you will receive the fabric and pattern for the paper-pieced stars, sashings, borders, swags and bindings.

You have until November 1, 2017 to sign up.  (Don’t fool yourself…November 1 is not that far away).  Details are on the website.

Very often people ask me which thread I use.  I have always used Mettler 60 weight and probably always will.  It’s the one with the green writing on the label.  From time to time I do purchase a spool of something  similar, but I always come back to Mettler.  It is a little hard to find in shops, so I carry it on my website, along with other hard-to-find applique notions and tools.

Til next time….

Kerry

Bed of Roses – Block 3

When I begin a new quilting project, I soon form an impression or a feeling about the quilt.  The impression I have about Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses” is that it is a perfect example of the quote by Aristotle: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.  The part (or pieces) of this quilt are actually quite simple….bias strips, circles and very simple shapes.  Put them altogether and you end up with an awesome and very complex looking block.  This block (and Blocks 1 & 2) are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  You can order just the patterns, or you can order each pattern with the same fabrics I am using.

If you would like a few simple tips on how to make bias strips, circles and other common shapes, you can watch my youtube videos.  Always entertaining!

So, let’s start with the bias.  These pieces get glued in place first because they will go under the next piece.  Notice that I have trimmed these bias strips on an angle where they meet and will be covered.

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Next, I added the flowers, which are made up some very simple pieces.

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The next shape is very unassuming (and not very exciting!).  But just you wait!

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Add some more simple pieces and look what you end up with.  I can’t be the only one getting goosebumps!

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Now this next piece might look a little overwhelming, but just clip the curves and away you go!

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Believe it or not, it just gets easier from here!  Add some leaves….

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…and some circles……

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…and you have just completed a very easy (but most complex looking!) block!!  How easy was that?

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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

Finishing a border and starting a binding!

I spent yesterday putting the finishing touches on the second border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  All of the flowers and stems and leaves were finally stitched in place.  So, it was time to add the little red berries…..

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…and the embroidered stems.  I like to use 2 strands of embroidery thread for the stems.

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Each of the 13 roses has a (really tiny!) yellow center, so I prepped those, also.

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Once the yellow centers were stitched in place, I did some more embroidery.  Each of the roses and a few of the buds have these tiny little “hairs” stitched around them.  They are stitched with just one strand of embroidery floss.

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And now for the fun part!  When I am finished stitching a block or border, I wash it to remove the glue and starch and the marks from my water-soluble marker.  It is a simple process, really!  I fill the sink with hot water and add a bit of dish soap or Soak (if I happen to have some on hand).  Next, I just toss the block in and let it soak for about half an hour.

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Then, I  drain the water and rinse with tap water.

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I leave it fairly wet and lay it out on a couple of thick towels to dry.  Easy peasy!

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Next on my “To Do” list was “Put Binding on Circle of Tulips”.  To figure out how much binding I would need, I measured around each scallop and multiplied by the number of scallops.

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According to my calculations, I need approximately 308″ of binding.   I cut the bias strips 2 1/2″ wide and joined them all together in one long strip.  Next, I  pressed the strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together.

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And, I started stitching.  So far, so good!

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Til next time…

Kerry

Back to the border…

Once I had the second border of Sue Garman’s “Friend’s of Baltimore” traced, I was raring to go!  (I really don’t like tracing, so I will put it off as long as possible.)

When I am filling a vase with flowers, I like to prep the pieces and place them onto my paper pattern before I glue them to the bacground fabric.  That way I can tweek anything that looks out of place.

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First, I added a few stems and buds.  But then I realized, I couldn’t go much further until the vase was in place.  (A few of the flowers and leaves overlapped the vase.)

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So I started to build the vase.  The edges of this piece will be totally covered by more pieces…keep watching!

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Then I added the base.

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Next came the second layer of the vase.

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…and finally, the very last piece of the vase!

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Well, except for all those circles!  Sweet!

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Some of you have asked me if the patterns for “To Everything There Is A Season” are available for download only or can I mail them out.  Yes, I can mail you a paper pattern instead of emailing you a link.  I have added this option to my website.  The cost is $10.00 and includes a color picture of the block and shipping anywhere in Canada or the U.S.  To have the patterns shipped to other countries, please contact me.

Til next time…

Kerry

Put the hexies down and walk away!!

Even though I am OHOH (Officially Hooked On Hexies), I still have some projects that are needing my attention.  As of this moment, I have 3 (how did that happen?) hexie projects on the go.  First, my brown-ish-neutralish kind of scrappy collection.

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Then, there is my bright-cutesy could be a baby quilt collection.

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And last, but certainly not least, it the first block of a Hexie Quilt Along (Value Proposition Quilt Along) that I found on an amazing blog by Karen at Faeries and Fibres.  If you want to know anything about hexies (I mean anything!) and English paper piecing in general, this is a blog you must visit!  But make yourself a cup of tea first, you may be there a while!

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Last night, I took the time to trace the second border of  Sue Garman’s Friends of Baltimore.  I would really (I mean, really!) like to have this quilt finished by the end of this year.  You know, one more thing to cross off the bucket list!   Yikes!  Do I see ferns??

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I thought I would show how I assembled the hummingbird block, the latest block of “To Everything There Is A Season”.  Looks complicated, but really it isn’t!

First, I traced the pattern on to my background.  Next, I added the leaves and the blue flowers.

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Now, I have a dilemma…the leaves have covered up some of the traced lines, and I cannot see where to put the flower petals.  Here is my solution.  I “build” the flowers on an applique pressing sheet.

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Then I pick the flower up in one piece and glue it in place.  Easy peasy!

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Here is how I stitched the hummingbird.  Don’t forget that the “underneath” wing goes on the background before the feathers. I forgot,  so I had to un-stitch the feathers and insert the wing underneath.

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Next, the head, the underbody and the tail feathers…

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…and the top body and a beak.  He just needs an eye!

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Til next time….

Kerry

 

 

First Border On!

Last Wednesday evening I finished stitching all I could on the first border of Sue Garman’s “Friends of Baltimore”.  I filled the sink with hot soapy water and let the border soak for a while.  I use hot water because I think the glue and starch soften quicker in hot water…maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t, but that is just what I do!  Next, I like to use Soak in the water, but if I don’t have any Soak on hand, I use dish soap.

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I normally let it soak for an hour or two.  When I went to take the border out of the water, I was mildly shocked to see that most of the red fabrics had run into the white background.  After doing a quick bit of research online, I jumped in the car and went shopping for some Oxy-Clean and some color magnet sheets.  Luckily, I found them, came home and threw the border into the washing machine with both products.  I am happy (and sooooo relieved) to tell you the border came out of the washing machine without a speck of red dye on it.  Thank you, Quilting Gods!

The following day, I laid the border out on a towel and let it dry.  Once it was dry, I placed the border  onto the pattern and marked the cutting lines with a water soluble marker.  I always cut my background pieces  larger than the pattern calls for, so they need to trimmed to the correct size.

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Next, I stitched the border on.

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When I went to press the seam flat, I noticed that some of the navy blue fabric had frayed, and it was sticking out past the seam allowance.  I very carefully trimmed off the navy blue bits.  I mean….very, very carefully!

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So here we are!

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I promised myself once I had the first border stitched on, I would start the next block of Ladies of the Sea, another Sue Garman pattern.  The ship on this block is called The Xebec Pirate Ship.  It looks very interesting with that skull and crossbones!  I used a gradient fabric for the bias stems.DSCN5454

If you look closely, you will see  the color goes from light to dark green.  Fun!

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One day (when I have time!) I am going to do some research on cats and quilts.  I had not seen Bruin all morning.  I placed my quilt on the floor so I could take a picture of it. I went to find my camera and this is what I returned to find.  Sheesh!

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Til next time…

Kerry