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 "Clare & Argyle" .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!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

AQS Quilt Week - Grand Rapids

AQS Quilt Week at Grand Rapids, MI, is now a sweet memory for Marilyn Eparvier, who was honoured to see her Florentine hang at the show. (You can see the complete list of semi-finalists here.) I just love how her quilt looks against the black curtains - it almost glows!
And speaking of's a shot of Marilyn with her quilt - tired, but happy, after her long week of volunteering.
Sincerest congratulations, Marilyn!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Smart (alec) Phones

As mentioned previously, I've been tripping around the province with hubby for the past 3 months, acting as photographer on his project. (I took well over 8,000 pictures!) We've made a lot of friends along the way, including this friendly, welcoming bunch:
We were like ships passing in the night with the rest of the family, so we kept in touch mostly via text. I've come to appreciate that the auto-correct function on a Smart phone is a bit of a curse...One day I texted eldest son about leftovers, typing: "there is a chicken breast in the fridge."  He responded immediately with, "Lol!  I sure hope not!!" Puzzled, I scrolled down to see the auto-correct had changed my words to, "there is a chicken breast-feeding in the fridge."
We're still laughing!! :)

Thursday, 21 July 2016


A full year after its release, it's heart-warming to see that Quilting Beauties is still going strong!  This greeted me yesterday when I logged onto the website of the Canadian distributor for the book.

It's been awesome to read reviews like this:
You know times are changing when a new book includes a CD-ROM of printable full-sized templates and foundations for making your sewing easier! Besides giving instructions for making nine quilts, several pages are devoted to explaining how to hang unusual-shaped quilts. Great photos help with that understanding. "Quilting Beauties" is a book for the confident beginner who wants to focus on foundation paper-piecing, and perhaps discover for the first time how quilters get those precise spiky points!

Receiving photos from readers of the finished quilts has been such fun. This is "Thistles In The Heather" by Kate Chamberlain:

This stunner is by Joanne Colleaux - "Ostentation":

Several versions have been entered into major quilt shows, like Florentine, by Marilyn Eparvier.

...and jazzed up with embroidery, as in this one by Diane Zdep.

A big thank you for your continued support.  If you have made a quilt from Quilting Beauties, please send along a picture.  You can purchase an autographed copy of the book from my website.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

String Workshop Sample X

I have been working steadily on samples for two new fall workshops. Earlier, I showed you these blue and white string blocks in progress.  I decided 48 of these 8" blocks would be enough for a lap quilt.
Polly and I pondered how to set them together, and it suddenly struck us that using the same layout as for my son's Log Cabin "X" quilt would be perfect. String blocks are SO much less work than log cabins, with no seam matching or need to keep the block true; the foundation paper does that for you.
When I opened the folder of pictures of the log cabin quilt, I had a smile over how much Polly has grown since we made that first X quilt.  She looks so scrawny!
Here's the log cabin version:
 Here are the string blocks in the same layout (although the quilt is turned sideways in the photo).
This is the string quilt on top of the log cabin.  The blocks for the latter were 12" instead of 8". 
I think this is a great way to show off the power of the lowly string block;  it imitates a log cabin nicely, and works beautifully in traditional settings such as barn raising, or straight furrows. There are a couple of spots left in this Beginner String Quilt Workshop to be held Wednesday October 12 during the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival. Just email if you would like a spot saved.
Although I am not big on plain borders, I may add one to this lap quilt, just to flesh it out a bit. It will be feather quilted, as per the original.

Monday, 11 July 2016


This is one of my favourite quilts;  I had fun drawing the block and devising the layout so that it appears complicated, but totally isn't.  Hubby and I took it to Five Islands on a very windy day (plus the tide was coming in!) and could barely keep the quilt on the ground.  It went airborne several times!

 This one was expertly long-arm quilted by Jacqueline Pohl of The Vintage Quiltery in Manitoba.
The pattern for Encompassing has been reformatted, and is now available as an instant download.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Apron Fun

We've had a lot of wet weather lately, and my niece and great-niece are having a grand time together in the kitchen.  Just for fun, I stitched them some chef aprons from a solid blue bottom-weight cotton canvas.  I typed their names in a Word document, choosing 250 as the size for the font.  I selected "mirror image" on my printer so that the letters would be reversed.  This makes tracing them onto fusible web so easy.
This was a quick project, and I didn't want to remove any marks afterwards, so simply placed a print- out of their names underneath the fabric letters. I removed the paper backing from the web before I started so that I wouldn't disturb them once they were straight.

After fusing them in place with a hot iron, I placed tear-away stabilizer underneath my work. It makes such a difference in the final appearance of the stitches.
In the top is 50 weight Autifil thread, and in the bobbin is 60 weight Aurifil. I did a simple satin stitch around the edges of the letters.

I always keep corsage pins in my pincushion, and find a gazillion uses for them!  They are a big help removing tear-away from inside the letters
Luckily, these were both short names and I was done in no time. I debated about making matching chef's hats, and in the end wimped out and went with $ store versions...since I figured they wouldn't actually wear the hats anyhow.
My great-niece was excited to get a surprise parcel in the mail addressed to her, and was a good sport about wearing the silly hat.  It was a total guess as to the size, but I'd say there are a couple years of cookie-making in this apron for her.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Not Going Postal

Slowly but surely, my patterns are being reformatted for instant download.  I've added four this week, including Charm School:
and Oriental Beauty:

Should Canada Post carry through with their strike threat, we are all set with an alternate way to deliver patterns.  You can find the links to all the patterns available for download here.  

Thursday, 7 July 2016

All That Glitters

It was SO hard to get a picture that did this fabric justice.  It's amazing.It's from Timeless Treasures, and features gold embossed Eiffel Towers on solid black.  Wow!
I decided a zippered pouch was a good use for this gorgeous fabric.  There may be enough to make one more, and I will take them along to the Zonta Bazaar at Fibre Arts Festival.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Tea Cozy

Last week, on a visit to Mrs Pugsley's Emporium,some glittery gold fabric caught my magpie eye.There were three pieces, actually, that I couldn't leave the store without, even though I had no immediate plans - or vision - for their use.  Though these two are from different manufacturers, they coordinate beautifully.  The purple leaf is "Dynasty"by Timesless Treasures, and the to-die-for print is Robert Kaufman's "Holiday Flourish".Purple doesn't exactly define the holidays for me, it was the richness of the print I couldn't resist. I don't think it looks Christmassy at all.
It paired beautifully with Aurifil 2582 which I had on hand, so it was time to start the fun.
Because it reminded me of china, I decided to make a tea cozy. (Not everyone makes their tea in a mug :))
It`s a very feminine cozy, with ruffles and ribbon bows.

It`s completely reversible to the purple side.
The cozy slips easily on and off the teapot, and the ribbon snugs it up around the rim to hold the lid on while you pour.
To be honest, before I cut into that gorgeous fabric, I did a test run to make sure this was going to turn out the way I pictured..
It`s cute too!
I love stripes and florals together!
I will be vending at the Zonta Bazaar again during Fibre Ars Festival this year, and I expect a couple of these will make their way to my booth.  In the next post, I`ll show you the third piece of glittery fabric, and what it turned into.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Betsy's NY Roundabout

This picture was sent in by Betsy Dunphy, who stitched a New York Roundabout in Kaffe Fassett and black/white prints.  What a fabulous palette! I do love the movement in this design, and never tire of seeing how different it looks each time it is sewn.
With talk of a postal strike imminent in Canada, I have been busy figuring out alternative ways to ship merchandise.  Certainly a courier is not cost effective for a pattern, so I have been busy converting some of the more popular ones to digital files so they can be downloaded.  New York Roundabout Again has just been added to Craftsy, so if you have been waiting to download this pattern you can find it here. (you do not have to join Craftsy, you can log in with your Facebook info).
Thanks, Betsy for sending along the picture of your beautiful work!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Expo-Couvertes 2016

Now that we are into July, it's time to make plans to head to Saulnierville, Nova Scotia, for their annual spectacular quilt show.  Expo-Couvertes 2016 runs from July 25 to 29.
If you need further information, or directions, check out the website, or email Joan.

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 former 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"!