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 "What A Ball" placemats, perfect for Canada Day! You can find the pattern link on my website.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Clare & Argyle Pattern

The pattern for Clare & Argyle is now ready!  You can download it here.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Row By Row

Tomorrow - June 21 - is the opening day for the 2016 Row By Row Experience.  For those of you unfamiliar with the program, you can find more information here. Basically, it's a shop hop where each participating store gives you a free pattern just for visiting their quilt shop, and offers a generous prize package to some very lucky quilters.  There's only one rule: you have to visit the shop to get the free pattern (none of this photocopying and sharing business is allowed!). Kits containing the pattern and fabric may be purchased mail-order from the shop WHEN THE PROGRAM ENDS (Oct 31) if you are unable to visit.
The theme for this year's program is "Home Sweet Home", where shops present what home means to them.  To Beth at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium, home base is the downtown clock tower building, synonymous with Amherst, Nova Scotia. It's got to be our country's most unique quilt shop! She asked me to create the clock tower in fabric for her row. As a pattern-maker, it did present a few challenges;  look at all those peaks...and windows!!

So many angles...
As always when patterning, my rule is "simplify, simplify, simplify." There is absolutely no point in creating a design too difficult for another to follow. I started with this photograph. (To further complicate things, Mrs P wanted the building shown from the angle most folks see it when coming down Victoria Street, or turning from Church Street, rather than straight on from the front.) The row could be either vertical or horizontal, and I chose the latter so that the building would dominate the space. The size presented another challenge, as the row needed to finish to an awkward 9" wide x 36" high.  
I traced the edges of the building and then began paring down to the bare elements. (or as Michelangelo said about his famous sculpture, "It's simple;  I just remove everything that doesn't look like David.")
Here's the result - a building with simple lines, yet immediately recognizable as the clock tower building. To make it look quilty, chequerboard patchwork defines blue sky and clouds, and 3-D mini quilts hang freely on the green space in front of the building.  The piece is finished top and bottom with a piano keyboard border. As there is a time element involved in the awarding of prizes, the construction of the quilt is kept very simple - fusible appliqué and strip-piecing for the patchwork.
A small flag flies from the spike on the tower, bearing the words "Mrs Pugsley's Emporium". This ribbon is included in the kits which are available for purchase.
 Here`s the quilt photographed against the stone on the back of the building.
You can check out Mrs Pugsley's blog here, or find her on Facebook
Good luck to all the "rowers"!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

A Taxing Surprise

We've had a rainy few days, which has been a much needed break from gardening. I took advantage of the weather to sew string blocks for the beginner workshop I will be presenting during this year's Fibre Arts Festival. 
I've mentioned before that I often use pages from old telephone books as foundations, as they are thin and tear away easily after piecing...(plus they please my frugal heart!)  However, in today's online world, telephone books are becoming smaller, and scarcer.  I've been canvassing my neighbours -unsuccessfully to date- for old Aliant books to make sure there are enough on hand for the fall workshop. (Someone must have a stash somewhere...?)
Imagine my delight when my very resourceful hubby plopped these down on my cutting table:
The tax forms from Revenue Canada are printed on newsprint!  I tore into them right away to see how they performed.
 (I even learned a thing or two as I worked!)
The pages came away very cleanly and easily after stitching.  The newsprint is actually a bit thicker than the phone book, and felt more stable when sewing.
There are 26 usable pages in the Forms booklet (the T1 itself is too thick to use, but the Schedules are great), and 40 pages in the General Income Tax and Benefit Guide.  Using both books, you have enough foundations for 66, 8" blocks, yielding a quilt 56" x 72". Who knew there was a good side to taxation?
We have 32 blue and white blocks completed so far, and Polly is anxious to do more.  
I hate to think I am now looking forward to when tax time rolls around again next year!!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Jeanne Kaye strikes again!

Jeanne Kaye Speight of Fredericton has done it again - another Quilt of Learning.  Using fruit fabric adds another element to the teaching aspect.  How clever!  (Nate seems to think so, too!)
Jeanne Kaye writes, "This quilt is for a friend who is an elementary school teacher for her classroom.  I used all fruit, and where possible, placed the fabric to match the letters, a for apples, b for bananas, c for cherries, etc. I love this pattern!  I already have my next one planned!"

Look how much Jeanne's grandson Nate has grown since his quilt was made (That's Nate on the left, and cousin Ryan on the right...who also got a quilt.)
You can find the mail-out pattern on my website here, and a pdf format for instant download at this link.   Thanks, Jeanne Kaye;  can't wait to see the next one!

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Diane's Joseph's Coat

I'm happy to share a picture of Diane Biscoe's "Joseph's Coat" quilt. Diane made this as a surprise for a Bible study leader, whose favourite story is that of Joseph.She really put a lot of thought into fabric choice, and colour placement. I love how she outlined the coat in red;  it really accentuates the shape of the patchwork.  Diane writes, "I did the border in blue stars to represent the dreams and then bound it in gold. The recipient loved it! So glad I found the pattern." 
It looks vastly different from my original!
As Diane had a very short time in which to complete her quilt, being able to download the pattern
 was a bonus.  You can find the pattern here, at Craftsy. 
Thank you, Diane, for sharing your talents!

Monday, 30 May 2016

Quilt Show Surprises

There were fun surprises at the Thistle Quilt Guild Show in Westville on Saturday. First was a huge surprise that all of this (4 tables worth!) fit in one not-so-huge car...
...which also contained 3 adults.  (Mrs Pugsley sure can pack!)
It was a surprise to walk into the tea room and see a couple of my designs, sewn by member Anne Mattie, decorating the room.  (Thank you, Anne, for your thoughtfulness.)
 The biggest surprise came from Karen Roy, who showed up with these sweet treats.
Beautiful!  As my boys reminded me, I have a lot of creative friends. Thank you, Karen.
It's hard not to love a surprise! ;)

Friday, 27 May 2016

Popping Up

A quick note...tomorrow I will be at the Thistle Guild Quilt Show,vending with Mrs Pugsley's Emporium. The ingenious Mrs P has found a way to put wheels under her shop, and will have a wide array of gorgeous fabrics and all the latest notions...I'll have patterns and Aurifil thread. See you there!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

String Tote

Instead of being home quilting this month, I have donned another hat which, for the most part, keeps me AFK (away from keyboard)...and AFSM (away from sewing machine!). I've been given the opportunity to act as photographer on a project that involves travelling around our province, visiting somewhat remote areas that I feel privileged to spots accessible sometimes only in a big 4 x 4 "dualy" truck. My rubber boots are getting lots of miles on them.
Since sewing time is sporadic and interrupted, it's a perfect time for working on string blocks. I had leftover strips of blue and green Hoffman 1895 watercolours in various widths lying around, so I put them to good use in this quick tote bag. Instead of thin paper for the foundation, I used a heavy weight canvas which gives good body to the bag. There was just enough of a coordinating floral blue/green batik in my stash for the lining.
A machine triple stitch gives a nice, professional looking finish along the edges of the strap, and is both functional and decorative. Using 40 weight Aurifil thread through the needle gives the stitch a bit more "umph"; it resembles the stitching on a man's belt. On my Bernina 440, this built-in triple stitch is # 157.
To make the tote, I used the measurements previously shared here on my blog, adding an inside pocket made from a leftover block.  The bag will be a sample for my String Quilting workshop in October...cos what's a workshop without a trunk show of inspiration!
Polly was on the job to help me photograph the bag this morning.  She loves to climb!

My fall workshops are filling up quickly, so please email if you would like your name added to the list for this beginner workshop.  

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Blue and White Happiness

We've been spinning around in a funnel-cloud of activities this past bit, and between work commitments, birthdays, home renovations, university graduation, and hubby's job change there has been little time for fun things.  Imagine my absolute delight to answer the doorbell and be handed a big, beautiful package.  I was floored when I opened the box and found... COOKIES!!
Lots and lots of BEAUTIFUL cookies, which could only have come from the talented hand of Cheryl Coville, aka Grandma Coco. 
The detail captured on the cookies is amazing, even down to the ribbons in St. F.X. colours. The generous number she sent has allowed us to share the cookies around with family and friends. Ironically, some even went back to Ontario with one of my son's roommates, not far from where Cheryl lives.
The edible art did double duty as both decor and dessert.
My sincerest thanks to Cheryl for her thoughtfulness.  It's a little mind-bending to realize that someone whom we've never met and lives so far away could be such a big part of our celebrations. Life is like that :)  The embroidered napkins and coasters, made by my friend Joan, are the perfect blue for the occasion.
Now we put away the party clothes and get down to the unpacking and the putting away until fall, when the next round of school begins. (I may just keep the shoes on a little bit longer though...*-)

Thursday, 28 April 2016

The X-odus Has Begun

Our youngest will be graduating from St F X this weekend, and we've made several trips already to bring his apartment contents home. His log cabin X quilt came in the last load.
 I made this quilt as a graduation gift for him from high school to take with him to university.  I fully expected it would not survive the ordeal well, but I am happy to say it looks as good now as it did then.

It was my first attempt at feathers on a bed-sized quilt and I recall how much I fussed about getting the plumes even, and the spine symmetrical. I have relaxed so much since then - there would be no stress to quilt this today.
Despite years of machine washing and drying, the stitches have held and the quilt looks great. He loved receiving this quilt at the beginning of his X journey, and I expect it means more to him now at the finish.

Monday, 18 April 2016

X and O by Diane

It was barely a week ago I showed you Diane Zdep's beautiful version of Florentine, and now she has finished up another from my Quilting Beauties book.  This time she chose "X and O". If you click the last link, you will see it doesn't much resemble my original.
I love all of Diane's work, but this is totally my favourite - blue/green with a touch of purple, and featuring a kitty - well, it doesn't get any better than that!  Diane's appliquéd kitty is from Lunch Box Quilts.I love those little paw prints!(They look like the ones Maddie and Polly add to the front of the book when they sign.)  Thank you for sharing this Diane - x's and o's to you! :)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

It's All The Buzz

We are delighted to find the bees in such good shape this spring.  Here's what greeted us today:
They were abuzz with activity, and many of the workers were returning with their leg pouches filled with pollen. They are anxious to get back to work!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Everybody Loves Quilts!

And everybody loves a good quilt show, too!  
The Shuswap Quilter's Guild will have over 400 quilts on display.  June 3-4, 2016 at the Shaw Centre Spectator's Arena,  2600- 10th Avenue NE, in Salmon Arm, B.C.  For more information, you can check out their FaceBook page:

Monday, 11 April 2016

Clutch Purse

Sometimes quilters are called upon to use their superpowers for other sewing a small clutch purse to match an outfit.  This one took almost twice as long as it would have to piece a king-sized quilt...and in the end, I'm not sure I even like it.  But it's a good size .  I used fabrics from Hoffman's "Clarabelle" collection, which I found at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium.  I also found the canvas and heavy-weight interfacing there that I needed to use for the base of the bag.
The pattern is a design by Amy Butler, and available as a free download on the Better Homes and Gardens website: