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.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Interlocking Herringbone

The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik.
I mentioned in a previous post that all Island Batik Ambassadors were challenged to try a new technique this month.  Over the past couple of years, I have been whittling away at my "some day I want to try..." list, so it took some thought. Many years ago, I saw an antique quilt made in a herringbone pattern where the strips interlocked and joined together like magic. That quilt stuck in my head like a herring bone would in my throat.
Technically, the piece "builds" like a braid quilt, and I've done several of those.  But with the braid method, the sides of each column are squared off, creating a straight seam line up the quilt. You can see what I mean on Bonnie Hunter's braid, where the seam between the blue and white in the second picture is quite distinct. Easy to do, but not as aesthetically pleasing for those of us who want the patchwork to flow uninterrupted across the face of the quilt. (I almost wrote, "to flow seamlessly..." but that would be silly! :) Obviously there was a way to do this, and it was fun figuring it out. The best part?  I used up nearly every little inch of my beautiful fabric, except this small pile of trimmings:
I started with some Island Batik "Stashbuster" rolls.  Love the colours! The piece with gold was chosen especially to match a favourite pitcher.
Then I started building my patchwork.  The colours were all added in a random, scrappy fashion.
Because I have a penchant for odd-shaped, pointy things, I didn't trim off the points on the ends.I let the shape of the patchwork naturally determine the shape of the finished piece.
I chose a 50 weight Aurifil 4644 - Smoke Blue - for both the piecing and quilting. It blended right in.
Because the patchwork is fairly busy, I chose to quilt simple, straight lines, 1/4" away from all seams. The batting used is Hobbs Thermore, which you can purchase locally at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium. It was very easy to work with, and gave just enough loft to each little pillow.

Here's the finished runner;  you can see the points left on both ends.
It's a perfect size for my table with the extension leaf in.
I thoroughly enjoyed learning this technique, and...well...actually have a queen sized quilt underway, using batik scraps.

You can download the pattern for the runner here.  In addition to instructions for the runner, I've also included cutting charts for Lap, Twin, Double, Queen and King sizes.
Thank you, Island Batik, not just for providing the fabrics for this challenge, but for the challenge itself.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning how to do this.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

Take A Walk On The Wild Side...

Are you feeling inspired by all the pictures from Quilt Con? We've got just the thread you need to get sewing: "Wild Side" by Libs Elliott. 

This beautiful Aurifil collection contains 12 large spools of gorgeous, rich shades.  
12 LARGE SPOOLS COTTON 50 Weight. Colours included are:
2600 – Dove
2410 – Pale Pink
4020 – Fuchsia
2535 – Magenta
2277 – Light Red Orange
5015 - Gold Yellow
1147 – Light Leaf Green
5023 – Medium Green
1148 – Light Jade
1200 – Blue Violet
2120 – Canary
1158 - Medium Grey

While quantities last, we are offering FREE SHIPPING anywhere in Canada.  That's a wild deal!  Click here to order.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Something New

As a new month begins, so does a new challenge as an Island Batik Ambassador.  This month we are are to try a technique we've never done before.  Yikes!
I've been quilting a really long time... a REALLY long time (!), and I've tried most everything.  This is taking some serious thought! With a germ of an idea, I've chosen the following fabrics from my "Stashbuilders" bundle, and am about to start slicing into them. Stay tuned!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Island Batik Mini Love: Circle of Friends

The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik.

Each month, Island Batik Ambassadors are given a project, and this month the theme is "Mini Love".  I *love* minis, so this is right up my alley!
When I first started designing professionally, it was clear to me that my piecing skills needed work, and miniature quilts were the answer. There is no room for error, as even an 1/8" out can ruin your quilt.  I made tons of them, from all disciplines, and even had several of them published in magazines.  This wee one appeared in an issue of "Miniature Quilts".  The log cabin blocks are only 1", making the finished piece 6".  I swear it took me as long to make this as it would have a full-sized quilt!  I still have it hanging in my kitchen, but I have since replaced that awful, square-cornered binding with tidy, sharp mitres. :)
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Here's another called "Teacher's Pet", which appeared in the "Miniature Wonders" column of Quick & Easy Quilting back in 2001. I hadn't as yet mastered machine quilting, as this one is hand-quilted.  What I remember most about this quilt was that it was mailed back to me by the magazine early on Sept. 11/2001.  Because of the chaos of that day, the quilt went on a bit of a wild ride.  When it finally arrived home a couple of months later, there were customs inspection stamps from all over the world, including Germany, France, and Scotland. It finished at 12" square
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This one, entitled "When A Tree Falls In The Forest", was a ribbon winner at Quilt Canada a few years' back. The pieces in those blocks were wicked tiny...
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One of my favourites is a miniature version of "Florentine" from my book Quilting Beauties, pieced from silk shirts purchased at Frenchy's.

Last year, I signed up for the International Miniature Quilt Exchange, and that big reveal is coming up very soon. (next month, I think!) Please watch for that.
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So...what to do for the batik mini-love challenge?  I decided not to go too tiny on this one, and to use up a packet of red,pink, and white F.Q.'s, sent by Island Batik in my box of goodies. I added a bit of purple for good measure. Since it's February, the month of love, the Friendship Star block seemed a good choice.
The block is pretty simple to make from HST's, and I set the stars to spin in a circle. These are 6" blocks.
 There are 9 stars in my friendship circle.
I traced a circle onto my patchwork with a disappearing marker, and cut it out with scissors.
It needed something fun and colourful for the border.  I went with the same purple used for the centre star, an Island Batik "Blender", in grape. 

For the batting, I chose a small piece of Hobbs Tuscany Silk. Aurifil 2311 was a perfect match to the background for quilting.
I didn't want anything too serious, so the background is done in playful loops, a swirly heart added to each star, and a small feather up the plain sections of the border.
The bias binding was pieced using all of the pinks and reds from the stars.  Don't you love binding circles? No corners to mitre!

 The project guidelines suggested no larger than 24", and it's bang on.
Technically, this is not a miniature quilt, it's more of a "small quilt".
With the addition of a hanging sleeve, it can go on a wall...
...but I like it on the table.  My Mini-Love Friendship Circle :)
Projects will be posted by all the Ambassadors throughout the month of February.  The links are all in my previous post, here.  It's fun to see the theme interpreted so many different ways!

Island Batik Ambassador Listings

Follow the links below to visit all the Island Batik Ambassadors for 2018:
Barbara at Bejeweled Quilts
Bea at BeaQuilter
Carole at Carole Lyles Shaw
Connie at Kauffman Designs
Dione at Clever Chameleon
Geraldine at Living Water Quilter
Janet at Whispers of Yore
Jeanette at Inchworm Fabrics
Jennifer at Curlicue Creations
Jennifer at Dizzy Quilter
Jennifer at Inquiring Quilter
Joyce at heARTs Creations
Karen at Sew Karen-ly Created  (me :)
Kathleen at Kathleen McMusing
Leanne at Devoted Quilter
Mania at Mania for Quilts
Maryellen at Mary Mack Made Mine
Michelle at Creative Blonde
Pamela at PamelaQuilts
Sally at Sally Manke
Sandra at MMM Quilts
Stephanie at Steph Jacobson

Thank you to Laura at Slice of Pi Quilts for compiling this list!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Island Batik Unboxing

It's finally here - the big box of goodies from Island Batik! 
 As one of their 2018 Ambassadors, I have been given the products featured in this post free of charge by Island Batik for use in my work. Since the company is based is California, it took a bit longer for my box to arrive than my U.S. counterparts.  I have been drooling over their pictures since last week when their boxes began to arrive.  I now get first-hand what all the excitement is about, as it's pretty amazing to open such a treasure chest. I got the email around 5:30 this morning that the box was out for delivery, so Polly and I were camped at the front door, waiting.  It was very icy this morning and I held my breath in case that delivery man fell on his way in, but he made it safely!

  The box had gone through a Canada Customs check in Montreal ...but I have no doubt at all that Polly gave it a much more stringent inspection than they did. :)
 22 lbs. of loveliness!
The first thing you notice is the big, wrapped parcel marked "surprise", and it will remain a surprise for now.  These are the new collections to be released at Spring Market and cannot be shown until then.
There was a stack of foundation colours,
 ...and a group of F.Q. for a Galentine's Day project which, with the box's late arrival, has already passed.  No worries, I have a project in mind which will be perfect for these.
 After snapping the first few photos, I wondered if I should stop and wait for better light.  6 am, on a winter day in Nova Scotia, isn't exactly the best time to take photographs, and I had all the lights on plus my flash.  The thought went through my head that a little sun would be nice, and then I reached in and pulled out this bundle.  Too funny!!  Morning Sunshine, indeed.
 It's a beautiful bundle of fabrics in happy, sunny colours. This collection is in stores now. I love it!
At this point, the Customs inspector was getting cheeky about letting me take anything more out of what was now her box.  She's pretty territorial. I had to proceed carefully, because...well, she bites. I had to get a bag of kitty treats out as distraction.
Island Batik also print rayon batiks, and they sent this beautiful scarf and 2 yards of a to-die-for peacock blue. The scarf looks purple in this picture, but it's really a rich dark burgundy.  I have sewn lots with rayon in the past and look forward to making something from this.  It drapes and washes beautifully.
 Here's a stack of "Paisley Dot", in earth tones, as well as coordinating yardage.

 These rolls are called "Stash Builders" and they are 5" x WOF rolls which contain a variety of colours.
 Here they are on the side;  lots of useful yardage here.
We all know how I feel about Aurifil thread :)  I ♥ Aurifil...and I am thrilled that they are an IB sponsor.  They sent a 5,900m cone of 50 weight white, as well as 6 large spools of colours to coordinate with the fabrics in the box.  The green spools are 40 weight, and the orange spools are 50 weight.  I am very pleased to receive some brochures, as I sell Aurifil thread and these will come in very handy with all the information they contain.
You may also have spotted some batting in the box, supplied by Hobbs Bonded Fibres. I am certainly no stranger to Hobbs batting, and have used them for years.  My two favourites are in the "Tuscany" line, the 100% wool, and the 100% silk - both are sheer delight to work with.  Polly especially enjoys curling up to nap on the wool batting scraps. We can purchase these locally at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium.  I am happy they sent along a sample card of their products.
They also sent a cotton batt, and "Thermore", which I have not yet tried.  I suspect it will be wonderful in placemats and table toppers as it is quite thin.
It was a veritable perfect storm of a box, with three heavy-hitters in the quilting industry contributing their products.  I can't wait to get sewing.  Not Polly though;  she was so wired from all of this excitement that she needed a nap.  (or a sedative...)
Thank you, Island Batik, Hobbs, and Aurifil, for this wonderful opportunity.