Sew Karen-ly Created...

If you have arrived here via a link (such as to a tutorial) click on "Sew Karen-ly Created" to return to the latest blog post. I invite you to my website to see a gallery of quilts and patterns available for purchase. The picture above shows "Global Warming".
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Only in Canada...

If you are looking to grow your thread stash, here's a great way to do so.  I am offering a limited number of Mark Lipinski "Basics" thread collections for $139.00, plus free shipping in Canada
The collection includes 2, 1300 m spools of finest quality 50 weight Aurifil cotton thread in basic colours (plus a reusable case):
#'s 2021, 2370,2310,2326,2000,2314,2325,2024,2610,2600, 2605, 2692

Click here to order. Quantities are limited (and they sold out quickly last time!)

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Midnight Magic

This fall at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival, I am presenting a new workshop on curved flying geese.  Although the technique is fun and fairly straightforward, it's a fair process to develop a consistent, professional looking pattern to use in the class.  I have tried drawing the geese on the computer and although the results look fabulous, it seems the curves, or the placement of the geese, are never QUITE what I was aiming for.  For me and these geese, hand-drawn is the way to go. Our class project is this one, which I have finally decided to name "Midnight Magic." (It's a catchier title than the previous "Santa-zooming-across-the-sky-thing".)
I drew out the pattern on a big sheet of newsprint and transferred it to freezer paper.
I copied and stitched it 4 times to make sure I liked how it looked.
 I did.
I liked the swoosh, but that pattern needed work. Patterning has been a trial-and-error learning process over the years, but I've finally figured out a method that works for me. The first stage is to digitize the design. The newsprint original would not fit on my 11 x 17 scanner glass, so I chopped it across the middle.
Once scanned, it looked like this...still a long way from a decent looking pattern.
I opened the jpg version in Windows Paint, and cleaned up the lines. Then I imported it into Word, and printed it out on all three of my wide-format printers to make sure that the size came out precisely the same as the original.  It did.  From Word, it was converted to a pdf file.
Opening the pdf in Adobe Acrobat allowed me to number the foundations, and add labels to the page.   You'll notice I did not add the outside seam allowance on the curved edge;  that's one of the easy tricks I will share in the classroom :).
This slow, methodical, process gobbled up more than a few hours, but I am pleased with the results.
Quite a change from my messy hand-drawn, Sharpie marker original! The magic of computers rivals that of Santa :)
I spent a few days last week helping out at the very busy Mrs Pugsley's Emporium, and of course I came home with fabric! This line from Hoffman called "Radiant Gradients" will look gorgeous in the geese units.  I actually have this collection in four colourways now, including a very pretty green.
Sprinkle some magic dust, Santa; I need time to sew!

Monday, 14 August 2017

Aurifil Special!

One of the new Aurifil thread collections which arrived last week is Angela Yosten's “Sew Modern Essentials”.  It’s a beautiful assortment of 50 weight threads, in colours which appeal to both modern and traditional quilters. 

The colours which Angela chose for the collection are:
2024 2606 2692 1243  2588 2250 2150 2135 5017 2865 1148 2783. The large spools contain 1300 m (1422 yards) of finely spun, extra long staple, Mako Egyptian cotton.

I have a *limited* number of these collections on sale for $139.00 + tax, which is a terrific price.  (This thread usually sells for $13.00/spool plus $11.95/case.)  If you order from this link, I will also ship it to you for free – anywhere in Canada! Act quickly - when they're gone, they're gone!
EDIT: Thanks for the terrific response - the thread is all sold out! Please watch for more specials coming soon.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A Fussy Beauty

I love seeing email with a paperclip icon arrive from Joanne Colleaux of Armstrong, B.C., as she always sends something special.  This time is no exception.
Awhile back, Joanne saw this fussy cut version of Maritime Beauty I had made from Hoffman batik snowflakes.
My original piece looked like this one below: fussy cutting the snowflakes certainly brought it to life!
Joanne decided to do the same, but with my Beauty of Christmas pattern. This pattern was written having the curved seams appliqued instead of pieced.
 Here's how Joanne's turned out - a far cry from the original!
 I *love* the warm coffee/mocha colours of the fabrics she has chosen, and the subtle arrangement of lights and darks, both in the spikes and the background wedges under the spikes. The arcs were foundation-pieced by machine, but the rest of the sewing was done by hand, Joanne's preferred method to ensure perfect placement of the motifs. ("fussy" indeed *-)
 Joanne writes, "I used gold thread for quilting within the batik motifs, which brightened them up considerably; just following the shapes seemed to be the only reasonable way for me to quilt within them...I am definitely pleased with the outcome"
 What a clever (and brave) way she has added her label, penned directly on the quilt back.
Thanks so much for sharing these pictures, Joanne - fabulous work as always.  You can see more of Joanne's magic at these links:
Farrago: http://sewkaren-lycreated.blogspot.ca/2011/08/pacific-west-quilt-show.html
Ostentation: http://sewkaren-lycreated.blogspot.ca/2015/05/joannes-ostentation.html

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Global Warming

If you've been reading along, I have been working on a quilt to use up some of my stash of Hoffman batiks using a pattern by Anthology Fabrics called Global Warming.. I finally finished and took it this morning for a photo shoot.  Shoot was a good word...
While I worked on this quilt, I was casting around in my mind for a good spot for the photography.  The massive wind mills on the Tantramar Marsh seemed an appropriate background, so hubby and I scoped it out earlier this week. 
The land is pretty flat, except for the dykes built by clever Acadians many, many years ago, so we decided to spread the quilt on a dyke, and shoot it with a windmill behind. Seemed simple enough...
It was anything but. The walls are deceptively steep, and it was not a good angle.
Also...there's a very good reason that a wind-farm was built on this marsh:  it's windy!!!
We did a lot of quilt-chasing.

Sadly, we did not get any good whole-quilt photos.
However, the light was just right to show off the quilting.
First, each of the 1600, 2" blocks was outlined in the ditch.  Then I did diagonal cross-hatching - with the walking foot - in the outside sections of the circle.
Inside the circle, continuous curves were worked free motion. The bottom triangle sections have solar flares, and the solid black border represents the ozone layer.  It features ozone molecules stitched in triads. This was the only marking I did, and I traced around an Aurifil thread base using a white Clover marker.
 I love how easy it is to remove the marks, even on a batik.  A shot of heat and they're gone.
I am pleased with the texture created by the quilting. Manipulating the fabric through the machine made the batiks butter soft, and the wool batting inside makes this a cuddly, puffy quilt.
It will have a male owner, and I have every confidence it will hold up well in the wash.

There is a lot of quilting on this piece, and I used a whack of thread, Aurifil all the way, of course. 50 weight was used for both for the piecing and the quilting.  I added a shadow around the outside of the centre "globe" with a 12 weight line of stitching in black.



This afternoon, I decided to lay the quilt in our backyard to get a shot of the whole, and of course that invited trouble. The dark blob in the upper left quadrant is not a shadow...it's a cat.  Polly. 
Amazing what a difference the light makes - this doesn't even look quilted!
I am pleased to have made this cleverly designed quilt which has been on my bucket list for several years.  I am sure if you Google "Global Warming" you can find some hits on how to make your own.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Bordering Global Warning

It's taken awhile to decide how to finish up the Global Warming quilt.  At 80" x 80", it's too large to be a wall quilt, so it's destined to be used on a bed. Lots of folks tell me they prefer square quilts, but I don't.  A bed is rectangular, so for a quilt to cover it properly, it needs to be rectangular too...right? This is one area where I think we should do what suits our purposes instead of sticking to a size set by a chart found on the internet.
My grandmother's beautiful quilts are all too short on our beds;  Gram didn't like the quilt to come up over the pillows.  I do.  But I also don't like the quilt dragging on the floor at the sides, so to make this one work, I am only adding borders to the top and bottom of the quilt.
Next was to decide what the border should be - plain? circles to echo the central one? stars for a sky? Hmmm...lots of options. I didn't want anything too cute, as this quilt will have a male owner. In the end, I decided on triangles, to complement the geometric squares and circles of the centre. They were cut from leftover fabrics used in the body of the quilt.
I sewed the triangles together in two long strips, and gave them a good spritzing with homemade starch. I also starched and pressed the quilt top well. You can't see it in this shot, but there is stay-stitching around the perimeter of the pieced top, 1/8" away from the edge.  The stitching and the starching make a big difference in having a nice, smooth border seam.
I added a 3" plain black strip before the pieced border, just to separate the patterns.  You can't see this in the black, but my method for joining the plain strips for length differs from the way most around here do it.  I butt the short ends together and sew a straight seam.  I press this seam open, and centre it on the quilt top. (If this were a print fabric, I would match the pattern.)  The joining seam disappears into the quilt. I never understand why folks use a diagonal seam to join a border strip, and then place it off-centre on the top.  It sticks out like a sore thumb.  :)
The pressing is done with a hot, dry iron, and you can see how nicely the fabrics have joined - no puckers in the seams.

The quilt top now measures 103-1/2" x 80" -longer than it needs to be, but it will take up a bit in the quilting, and all will be well...after the dreaded basting is done, that is... 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Another Free Motion Workshop Project

A lovely completed project from my "Free Motion Quilting For The Absolutely Terrified" workshop in Paradise, NS. This was stitched by Frances Veinot, who certainly added lots of artistic flair to her background. Way to go, Frances!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Learn to machine quilt



If you are looking to improve your machine quilting skills, check out this post from Linda Hubbard.

Linda is offering two different classes during this year's Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival, set to take place October 10-14, 2017.  Registration for all classes (including mine!) is now open.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

My First Tattoo! :)

Hubby and I are back from a mini-vacation to the South Shore of Nova Scotia. 
 We spent some time kicking around Lunenburg, including an interesting tour of the Academy.
 We stopped in at the Lunenburg Makery to purchase their Row By Row kit.
 It's a sweet pattern, which features the Bluenose II, which was built in Lunenburg.
This shot of the churches in Mahone Bay is de rigueur for visitors.

 For fun, we checked out Oak Island to see if anything was going on there.
 We did not cross the causeway :)
The water around the island is an amazing shade of dark blue.


The next day, it was time for the tattoo:  The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, that is!  It was our first time attending, and what a show. We had backstage passes and a guided tour of the whole operation.
The show lasted nearly 3 hours and the time flew by - precision defined.  In addition to being Canada's sesquicentennial anniversary, 2017 is also the 100 year anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, and the battle of Vimy Ridge, and the show included lots of history of these events.
Perfect weather, and a perfect trip...including having a bear safely cross highway 104 in front of us. That's a good omen, right?