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 "Encompassing", pictured on the steps of the lighthouse in Five Islands, Nova Scotia. The pattern is available 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, 18 August 2014

Fibre Comes in Many Forms

I have a very cool, handmade bracelet fashioned by Diann McDonald.  Can you guess what the beads are made from?  Check it out here on the blog of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Why Not Y?

Some folks shy away from tackling Y (or inset) seams but in truth they are no more difficult than sewing a mitred corner.  In the picture below you can see the Y shape formed at the intersection of the three seams. 
Whether your angle is 45°, 60° or even 120°, the method for stitching the Y seam is the same.
At the intersection of the three seams, the stitching stops the distance of your seam allowance from the end, in this case 1/4". You can see X's marked 1/4" from the edge of each section to be joined. I don't usually mark the X's but just eyeball the distance, however if you are new to doing this a mark helps.
You sew the first piece to the correct side up to the marked X.
At the X, lock your stitches and clip your threads.
The seam allowance at the end is left free.
Repeat to sew the second piece in place, again stopping at the centre X.
Place the side pieces (which will join to form the tail of the Y) right sides together and stitch from the X. Press the centre seam open, and the side seams down over that centre seam.
Pressing the centre seam open reduces the bulk of the seam allowance at the intersection allowing your work to lay perfectly flat.
Voila!  A perfect Y seam.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Quilting Workshop

If you are looking to tune up your machine quilting skills before fall guild meetings resume, come join me in class to learn about free motion quilting.

Free Motion Quilting For The Absolutely Terrified

If you long to quilt your own quilt tops but are lacking in confidence or unsure how to get started in free motion quilting on your home sewing machine, this class is for you.
Learn how to:
  • · lower your feed dogs without raising your blood pressure
  • · adjust your top, bottom and shoulder tension simultaneously
  • · meander without losing your way
  • · Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo, Echo
The class  will cover the basics of free motion machine quilting including needle and thread selection, basting, batting, and machine tension. Sample squares will be stitched with various techniques including stippling, following a marked line, echo quilting, and freehand background fillers. We will then apply what we have learned to mark, baste, and free motion quilt the miniature whole cloth pictured in green above (fabric supplied in kit). Many quilts will be shown for inspiration, including the red bag at the top of the post.  It's the same motif we are quilting for our sampler, just made a little larger and stitched into a bag.
There is no pre-requisite for this beginner free-motion class, however you need to be comfortable with your sewing machine; this is beginner free-motion, not beginner quilting.
The class will be held Saturday September 13 from  9:00 am - 3:00 pm  at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium, 50 Victoria Street, Amherst, Nova Scotia.  The cost of the class is $70 which includes all handouts, pattern, fabric, and hanger for your sampler. Please email me to register. At that time a list of what to bring to class will be provided.  It will be a very small class so get your name in quickly if you are interested.  Samples may be seen in person at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Santa's Trip

I am always envious of people so organized that they stitch their Christmas quilts in advance...and not two days before the holidays! This Santa's Trip Around The World comes in from Jeanne Speight of Fredericton (formerly from Oxford, for the locals reading who may know Jeanne).
After Santa decided he would straighten up and fly the right way and not counter-clockwise (huh hmm...), Jeanne had no problems with her wallhanging.  She writes: "Thanks for a terrific pattern!  Your method of strip piecing the 'Around the World' background was so easy -- brilliant!
It turned out great, Jeanne.  The gold prints really add vibrancy to the traditional red and green. Thanks so much for sharing your talent.  The pattern for Santa's Trip Around The World is available here on my website if anyone would like to give it a go.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Welcome Aboard!

A big hello to all the new visitors who arrived over the weekend from a Facebook posting of Rhythmic, and a HUGE thank you for making the pattern the # 1 bestseller on the Craftsy site.  Some of those who downloaded the pattern have indicated they have already begun sewing!  For those who ordered print versions, they are on their way to you in today's mail.  Thank you!

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Why Quilts Matter

Pricing your work is never simple;  there is no black-and-white, one size fits all formula. The hours spent designing, sourcing out materials, piecing, basting, quilting, delivering, and installing all need to be considered, as well as the skill and reputation of the maker.
Recently I donated a quilt to be used as a fundraiser and was asked to give its value. I think the price - which in my opinion was kept very modest - rather surprised the non-quilters involved.  Here's a post of an interview with Caryl Bryer Fallert-Gentry on the same topic which I found interesting. This is from the Kentucky Quilt Project nine-part documentary series titled Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics. The series takes a look at the unique position quilts hold, ranging from women’s studies to the contemporary art market.

(Edit: On the "Why Quilts Matter" site it was cool to see a stack of reference books with America From The Heart where my e Pluribus Unity quilt is featured.)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Joanne's Selvedge Tote

More sew & tell, this one from Joanne Colleaux from Armstrong B.C.  Joanne is an award winning quilter who seems to share my love of blue- green fabrics.  Joanne writes, " One of my quilting friends made the tote in the spring, and seeing how great it looked was the motivation to get this onto the to-do list. It was a fun project for me... I’ve never paid a great deal of attention to what was on a selvage other than the dots, but if asked, I would have answered that the letters were all black and in the same font. What a surprise to discover the reality, and be able to play with all that colour and variety in the skinny strings. Although not all the related fabrics had meaningful connections for me, many did, and so it was also a nice trip down memory lane...thanks for your inspiration for yet another project."
Typical of Joanne , she has put a unique spin on the tote bag adding a centre square to the intersection of the selvedge blocks, which are then joined through partial seams.  From the picture, it looks like Mirror Ball Dot for the square and trim...? Joanne also used variegated thread in a zigzag stitch to anchor her selvedges, thus adding another bit of colour. 

It make my original version a bit pale by comparison :)
Thank you Joanne for sharing your beautiful bag.  The pattern for the Selvedge Tote is available from my website or an an instant download through Craftsy.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Blue Ocean, Blue Sky

Friday while I was at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium, a new shipment of fabric arrived.  There it was - right on top - the blue I had envisioned for my latest project.  It's Michael Miller's Fairy Frost by Mark Hordyszynski in a colourway named Ocean.  I was so excited to find it!
However, this very intense blue with it's black undertones is not destined for use in a marine themed quilt, but rather will be night sky among my stars.  Intriguing to think about how deep ocean and far away sky are imagined to be the same shade.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Diane's Woodland Tree Skirt

What a rush to open an email and find it contains a picture of a beautiful quilt - it's like opening an early Christmas gift.  This version of my Woodland Forest Tree Skirt was made by Diane in Oregon who has done a masterful job in choosing her fabrics. The secondary design of star points radiating from the centre really pops against her trees of complementary colours.

Dine writes this: "Originally, when I was sharing the pattern and the fabric I'd selected with my mother (83) she didn't "see" the trees, her focus was drawn to the secondary design... so interesting, as I totally saw the trees.  So, I decided to try doing the secondary design in all one fabric, instead of the three (light, medium, and dark cream/gold).  It's hard to see in the photo, but the fabric I used has a cream background with a gold scrolled/filigree type design; I was hoping that keeping it all the same would make the trees "pop" more."  Mission accomplished!
You can see my original blog post on Woodland Forest by clicking the link.  The pattern is available from my website, your local quilt shop (ask them to order it in), or as an instant download through Craftsy, which is where Diane purchased her pattern.  Thanks so much Diane for sharing your beautiful work - your sister is going to love having this under her tree for many Christmases to come.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

My sewing has been progressing at a very slow pace this summer...even though summer itself is moving along at breakneck speed.  I am still poking away at the little silk New York Beauty blocks. Despite the fact the blocks are only about 2" wide where they narrow, they take much longer to piece than a "normal" sized block...especially worked in silk.  This one is just for me though, so no deadline other than I would love to have it finished in time for my show at Fibre Arts Festival.

I also succumbed and bought some of the Hoffman "Narumi" which I have been ogling at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium.  
How best to use the border print puzzled me for a bit but I like how it is working up into the spaces between the gold spikes.  There are three different gold prints being used for those.
The colour for the centres is still undecided.  My plan is to piece the blocks but not join them, then take them to the quilt shop to audition different fabrics for that centre spot.  Sounds like fun, wouldn't you say? :)

Don't Forget!!

The quilt show in Saulnierville is now on!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Quoddy Loop

After leaving Grand Manan we headed to L'etete for a ferry across Passamaquoddy Bay, an arm of the Bay of Fundy.  Our destination was Deer Island.  As the trip is only 20 minutes long we had a much smaller ferry.This is a government run ferry and is free of charge to ride - amazing!
 We took our time exploring all the nooks and crannies of this peaceful island.

Then we headed to the terminal to catch the ferry to Campobello.
This ferry is privately owned and operates for a very reasonable fee.  For two people plus the car it was only $24.00;  again the ride was about 20 minutes long.
We sailed past the town of Eastport, Maine and although we had our passports with us in case we felt inclined to enter the U.S., we decided it was just easier to stay on the Canadian side.
We headed for FDR's cottage, which is an international historic site, funded and maintained by both the Canadian and U.S. governments.
Technically, Campobello is in New Brunswick, Canada but it's so close to Maine that many Americans have summer homes there.  (Spectacular summer homes, I might add.)  It's a beautiful island and no wonder Franklin Delano Roosevelt chose to vacation the humble cottage pictured below (18 rooms, 6 bedrooms, plus servants quarters on the third floor).

 Here's the view from the back porch.
 You can walk down to a lovely beach.
This is from the beach looking towards the house. I could picture Eleanor Roosevelt making this trek daily with her kids.
 Next door to the Roosevelt's is a cottage owned by their friends which is also part of this historic site.  (Have you visited here, Linda?)
 It's unbelievable.
 So much carved wood - chestnut, oak and maple.
It's an actual gingerbread house.
 The picture window in the dining room was custom made in England;  it's like capturing a piece of real life to hang on your wall, as the bay ebbs and flows and sailboats breeze past in the animated scene.  I was awestruck.

The upstairs was closed off to visitors but we were told it is used for conferences of Rhodes Scholars, politicians, etc.
 Imagine being under this covered verandah during a rain storm.
We went out the Friar's Bay Road where there is another lighthouse...
 ...and the FDR bridge which crosses to Lubec, Maine.
 At this point it was time for a feed of lobster :)
 This is East Quoddy Head Light Station.  It's a steep climb up to the lighthouse at low tide only.

We retraced our steps and took the ferry back to Deer Island.
 From Deer Island, we crossed back to the mainland.
Our souvenirs were plain and simple:  tons of pictures of all the beauty we saw, sardines from Black's Harbour for the kitties...
...and Grand Manan dulce for us!

 As it turns out...Polly preferred the dulce over the sardines - she won't leave it alone!!!