So excited!

So excited to announce my quilt, To Everything There Is A Season, has won the Award of Excellence in Applique at Quilt Canada 2017!  This quilt is superbly machine quilted by Rose Bell of Fancy Feathers.

It was a thrill just to have my quilt juried in, but to win an award is definitely the icing on the cake.  For those that have asked, the complete pattern for this quilt will be available on the website mid-July.  We are fine-tuning a few of the blocks, so sit tight!

Meanwhile, I am busy getting my borders ready for the current BOM, a combination of 2 patterns designed by Sue Garman.  I love a border with swags on it (especially on an appliqued quilt).  I just think it has such a classy look:)

First, I taped 6 copies of the swags together (each border has 6 swags on it).  Then I placed the border fabric on top of the paper pattern and traced the swags.  I used plastic to make a template of the swag to make tracing much easier and so much faster.

I prepped all the pieces and glued everything in place…

 

…and Ta Da!  Let the stitching begin!

Til next time…..

Kerry

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A Good Day to Stitch!

There is nothing I love doing more than quilting.  And by “quilting” I mean anything that has to do with making a quilt.  Obviously, my first choice is always to applique the day away, but today I am sitting at my sewing machine, sewing the borders for “Trail Mix”, a scrappy quilt I started a while back.  “Trail Mix” is a quilt designed by Edyta Sitar.  It is available on Craftsy and is one of the best classes I have taken.  So much useful information!

So, you may remember, I have stitched all of the blocks together.  It was a lot of stitching (and I do mean a lot), so I think I may have needed a bit of a break from it….I am sure you know the feeling!

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I am now ready to start the borders…so I spent most of yesterday sewing strips together and cutting the strips into triangles using an acrylic template.  Next, I stitched those triangles together in pairs.  So far so good!

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Next I took all of those half square triangles I made…

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…and stitched them together.  I must confess I have become very addicted to half square triangles.  Very addicted.

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So, next I took those sections and stitched them to the triangles made from strips.  Sweet!  Of course, I was simply thrilled that (almost!) every piece fit the way it was supposed to.  Thank You, Quilt Gods!!

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So now, I can start to put all the pieces together.  So excited!!

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As if that isn’t exciting enough, Quilt Canada is just around the corner!  I am so happy to  tell you my Friends of Baltimore designed by Sue Garman  and machine quilted by Ruth Quinn of Stitching Impressions was juried into the show.  Here is the label, which I was frantically stitching on the morning the quilt was to be dropped off, but that is another story.

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For those of you who have been wondering…Yes I will be doing another Block of the Month!  The patterns are picked, the fabrics are chosen and I am raring to go!!  I will have all the details in my next post!

Til next time….

Kerry

Bed of Roses – Month 12

We made it!  Can you believe a whole year has come and gone since we started Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses”?

In this month’s package, you will receive the fabric for the last border and the remaining fabric for the scallops.  I must confess, I am behind on my borders so I better get stitching!  You will also receive enough fabric for the sashing cornerstones, floater and sashing strips, outer border cornerstones and the binding.  Have you thought about which fabric you will use for the backing? You have a choice of 4 backings and they are available on my website.

I am so eager to start stitching the blocks together, but first I need to wash (yes, wash!)  and trim the blocks to the correct size.

If you have been following my blog you know I like to wash my blocks when I am finished the applique.  I do this so I can remove the blue water soluble marker that I use to trace the pattern onto the background fabric.  And I need to remove the glue.  I just fill the sink with hot, soapy water and toss the block in.  Really, it’s that simple!  For more details, watch the Youtube video here.

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I usually let it soak for about an hour so.  Next, I rinse the block under running water and then lay it out on a towel.  Don’t wring the block out!  If you leave the block fairly wet, it will dry without too many wrinkles.

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Once the block is completely dry, I iron if from the wrong side.

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Now it’s time to trim the blocks to the proper size (15 1/2″).  Instead of measuring each block (way too fiddly) I cut a 15 1/2″ square in a piece of corrugated plastic and used it as a “window template”.  I used this  same method  to measure the blocks for my Friends of Baltimore quilt.  You can see that post here.  Since the blocks in both quilts are the same size, I was able to use this template for both sets of blocks.

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Once my blocks are all trimmed I will start sewing them together, and of course I will share my progress with you.

Very often I am asked how I choose my fabrics.  I love tone-on-tone in clear colours that have a little something going on, but not too much going on (if that makes sense!).  I have put together a collection of 13 delicious tone-on-tones that I cannot live without!  I have these fabrics available on my website in Fat Eighths Bundles (an ideal amount for hand-applique) and, also Fat Quarter Bundles.

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Later this month I am heading off to The Wiltwyck Quilt Guild in Kingston, New York to teach 2 workshops and to do a Trunk Show.  I couldn’t be more excited!!  Here is a sneak peek of one of the blocks we will be doing.  I can’t wait!!

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Bruin always likes to give me  his input when it comes to which colour of thread I should use:)  Speaking of thread, I will be adding my favourite hand-applique thread,  Mettler 60, to my website in the very near future.  I will keep you posted!

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Til next time….

Kerry

Bed of Roses – Block 9

Block 9 already!  Where has the time gone?

Each time I start a new block of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses”, I am pleasantly surprised at how easy they are.  I encourage all appliquers (especially beginner appliquers) to give these blocks a try.  Block 9 (along with all previous 8 blocks) are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.  You can choose to order just the patterns (some of them or all of them) or you can choose to do this quilt as a Block of the Month which includes the pattern and the same fabrics that I am using.

I started this block like all the others.  I traced the pattern onto the background with a Clover water soluble marker. This marker comes available with a thick tip or a thin tip.  For tracing onto the background, I prefer the thick tip because it is a lot easier to see!

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Next, I use a Clover 1/4″ bias maker to make the stems.  I glue the stems in place with Roxanne’s Glue Baste it.  The marker, the bias maker and the glue are all available on my website.

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So now let me show you how I make all those templates.  I must confess, I really hate tracing my templates by hand and I will avoid doing it whenever possible!  First, I photocopy the pattern onto freezer paper and then I iron that piece of freezer paper onto another one to make two layers of freezer paper.

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Whenever I have a unit that has many layers, I could make multiple copies of each unit so I have a separate template for each section (but you know me well enough by now to know I am not going to do that!)  Here is what I am going to do instead…

I leave the entire unit intact and prep the piece as I normally would.  Because I am making the outer section, I am using R3 fabric.

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I iron the template onto the back of the fabric…

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…and I cut it out leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance.  This piece has fairly gently curves, so I clip just once.  Notice I don’t clip all the way to the freezer paper.

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I prep the pieces using a stiletto, a mini iron and liquid starch.

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So, now it is time to remove the freezer paper.

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Now, I take that same template that I just removed, and cut the first section off.

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Next, I am going to repeat everything I just did, except on a different fabric…

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I should mention that there are two identical units on this block and I am making both at the same time using just this one template.

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I just keep cutting the outer section off and reusing the same template….

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So here we have 10 separate sections I prepped using just one template.  Sweet!

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Here is another layering tip that I am happy to share with you.  It will make your life a whole lot easier!  When you place one piece on top of another, you need to leave that part of the seam allowance un-prepped.  I take my template and draw the seam allowance on with my marking pencil.

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When I place each piece on the background, the line I have drawn replaces the line on the background that I have just covered up.

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Now its time to start adding the leaves……

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……and berries.  Lots of berries!

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And finally, a funky little vase!  Love it!!

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Til next time….

Kerry

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

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

Bed of Roses – Block 5

My goodness!  I must say the 1st of the month seems to sneak up on me!  I am just putting the finishing stitches on the fifth block of Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses”, a BOM I started back in April.  I love this quilt because the blocks are actually easy (oh yes they are!) but the blocks don’t look easy.  I hope that makes sense!

Ok, so first I traced the block onto the background with a Clover water soluble marker.  Notice, I don’t trace what is inside the shapes, for example, the big flower.  The reason I don’t do this is because once the prepped piece  has been glued in place, it covers up all the inside markings and then you can’t see them.

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Next, I added all the bias strips.  I use a Clover 1/4″ bias maker to do all of my stems.  I glued them in place and then I stitched them before I added any more pieces.

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Next, I prepped the three pink flowers in the usual way.  I iron my freezer paper templates to the wrong side of the fabric and press the seam allowance over the templates with liquid starch and a mini-iron.  (Note to self…maybe its time to replace the fabric on my pressing board with something less grungy.)

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Once the piece is prepped, I take the freezer paper template out…

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…and then I place the template shiny side up on the prepped piece and mark any remaining seam allowances.  It makes lining up multiple pieces soooo easy.  Trust me!

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Next, I prepped the big flower that sits right in the middle of the block.

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Notice the marked seam allowances?  Now I know exactly where the next pieces go.  Easy Peasy!

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I prepped a bunch of the yellow doo-dads and glued them in place.  I even marked the seam allowances on them!

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Now I placed the green pieces in place.  See what I mean about being an easy block?

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So, now I added the tiny leaves and four smaller posies.

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Now it’s time to add some circles….

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Lots and lots of circles!

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And, to top it all off, a sparkly little vase.  I am giddy with excitement!

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Here are all 5 blocks so far.  All these blocks are available on my website Simple Bird Studio.

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Last weekend was the quilt show at the Simcoe County Museum.  Ruth, from Stitiching Impressions, kindly displayed my “Friends of Baltimore” quilt at her booth.

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My friend Kathy and I go to the show every year.  Not only do we love to see the awesome quilts, we love  to have a piece of Sugar Pie!  Of course, we did a bit of shopping at the Merchant Mall.  New fabric and pie….does it get any better?

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What else am I working on?  Oddly enough, I am enjoying sitting at my sewing machine working on a scrappy quilt called Trail Mix, designed by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts.  So much fun!

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Til next time….

Kerry