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 "Meadow Song"; you can download the pattern here.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Learning By Teaching

Although the days fly by, sometimes there isn't a lot to show at the end of each.  I've been working on stitch samples for an upcoming free motion quilting workshop.  Even though I have taught this class many times before, each one is new and different;  you can't just dial it in. You learn as you go what works and what doesn't...or as Bob Seger sings in Against the Wind, "what to leave in, what to leave out." I have one more filler stitch to settle on...and it may be just an echo. Or a scroll.  Or S lines...
For sure, we will be doing continuous curve quilting;  it's my favourite go-to stitch as it's so versatile. Whether you use it to quickly quilt squares, or as a background pumpkin-seed filler, it's a stitch every free-motion quilter should have in their repertoire. I piece scraps, and dig out orphan blocks, as I've learned that demos done on actual patchwork, not just plain cotton, give a more concrete understanding of the application.
I've decided to do clam shells, even though I usually avoid them in my own work.  (Imagine a gal from Five Islands not being a fan of clam shells! :)
This is my arsenal of feet, amassed over years of quilting, progressing from left to right.  When I started doing free motion on my old Kenmore, there was no foot available.  I used a spring needle (shown on the left). I was delighted to finally find a short-shank foot that fit my machine. Bernina has lots of fabulous feet for their machines. My newest acquisition - the ruler foot - is on the far right. See how thick it is?  That's so it won't slip under the ruler and damage your machine. It's made curved cross-hatching very doable on my domestic machine. I hope to be able to show you some of that soon.
For now, it's back to deciding on that final stitch to fill the last square on my sampler.  What would you choose?

Friday, 21 April 2017

Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival Workshops - Friday

On Friday, October the 13th (!) I will be presenting a new workshop on free-form curved flying geese as part of the 10th Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival.
In this workshop, we will learn to draft and sew a free-form curved flying geese unit which will then be added to a project. The technique used will be paperless paper-piecing (also known as freezer paper piecing) which results in perfect points but no messy paper to remove afterwards. Class project is this Christmas wallhanging shown above, however you are welcome to work on a project of your own choosing.  You may want to construct bands to add to different project, such as this:
This is an all day workshop, and the cost is $65.00 plus tax.  This class is almost full, so if you are interested, please email at once to secure your spot.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival Workshops - Thursday

Even though October seems like a long way off, it really isn't when there's lots to be put in place before then.  For this year's festival, I will be offering two different workshops.  The first - on Thursday Oct. 12 - is on free-form curved strip piecing.  It's back by popular demand, as there was a long waiting list for this one last time.

We spend the day cutting free form curves and sewing them back together to create a new piece of fabric which may then be used in a variety of projects.
The class project is a cushion with a piped edge.  I'll offer tips on how to add a hidden zipper to the back for easy insertion of the pillow form.
Here are a few of the finished pieces from the last workshop, the first from Sandy W:
I love this one by Donna G (and the handsome kitty too :))
 Glenda MacD made a very soft, feminine version:
Karen R. made several, for Christmas gifts:
It's always great to see projects finished up.  I will share more for inspiration as we get closer to the workshop.
Cost of the full day class is $65.00 + tax. Registration for both workshops (I'll tell you about the Friday class in the next post)  is underway, just email me if you would like you name added to the list.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

I Got The Blues...

No, not that kind of "blues" - the good kind.  The Aurifil thread kind!
So many shades of blue are now in stock, including # 1320 which is the signature Aurifil blue, used in their logo and packaging.
I also have 3 different weights (50, 28, and 12) of the shade of blue used in the Canada 150 logo, for those stitching sesquicentennial projects. (and by the way...did you know that "Canada 150" is part of the logo and needs to be included every time?)
The 28 weight is great for satin stitching:
The 12 weight can be used for either hand or machine embroidery.  You can find these threads here.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Aurifil Thread

Last year I decided to become a retailer for Aurifil threads. This was something I had dreamt of for some time as this very fine, long-staple, Egyptian cotton is not widely available in my area and I knew if I was having trouble finding it, others were too.  That first order was pretty small.
  I started out with a few different spools in various sizes, and weights. 
As the support for my venture slowly grew, so did my thread stock. I added cones...
and metallics, in gold and silver:
Last fall, I had a request for a collection, so I brought in a few "Basics" (as in Mark Lipinski Basics)

These collections offer a great selection of colours at a fabulous saving over individual spools, so I ordered in a bunch more.  You can see them all in my thread store.  

I also carry empty cases to store your spools.

Primarily, the thread is available for purchase on my website, but I also have it with me at shows and workshops.  If you are local or passing through the area, we can arrange for a pick-up to save on postage.  Mrs Pugsley's Emporium very kindly allows me to leave ordered thread at her quilt shop for pick up there.  Because I am a home-based business, my prices are very competitive (less than the online giant that begins with "C" - no $ exchange or import taxes to pay to get it across the border.  That's all been done. :)  Thank you for your support which allows my store - and my dream - to grow.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Sisterly Love

We hear the term "brotherly love" fairly often, but the sibling counterpart also exists.  Last year, my always-thoughtful sister Nancy saw a picture of a cake on the internet that looked like a sewing machine.  She immediately thought, "Karen would love that!" and she duly set about finding someone to make it.
It took her 6 months to find the right person - Janet Wilmot, of Janet's Custom Cakery in Truro, N.S. A beaming Nancy and my B-I-L Ralph arrived one day, and held out the cake to me.
The details are incredible; pins, scissors, pincushion, and stitching on the "quilt".  There is even Aurifil-blue thread on the machine! What does one say to something like that? There were no words.
 There were, however, lots of tears.  :)  I am still bowled over by it.
And no - no one was allowed to eat the cake!  It's holding up well, as part of the decor.  Thanks, Nancy and Ralph. xxxxx

Wednesday, 12 April 2017


We actually took the snow tires off today!!

Thanks So Much!

Really appreciate the response I received to my last post.  Several folks responded that they took pictures for me; you can see the first of them here on Bonni's blog:
Thanks so much, Bonni!

This week I am packing workshop kits, and choosing quilts for a trunk show in Paradise, N.S., in May.  I have a lot of quilts to choose from, and I try to take different ones along each time I present.
 There are some favourites, though, that have to come each time.
The trunk show will be May 5th at 6:30 pm at the Paradise Community Hall, 10300 Highway #1 in Paradise, and is open to the public.  Who wouldn't like to spend an evening in Paradise? :)

Monday, 3 April 2017

Spread The Word!

International Quilt Festival opens in Chicago on Thursday.  Are you going?  I'm not...but my Rhythmic quilt is in the "Hands All Around" exhibit, representing modern quilt-making in Canada. 

If you are there, I'd love to have a picture of the quilt in the show. (photos are permitted,)   IQF runs from April 6 to 8, 2017, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Illinois. Please pass this along to any friends who may be going. Thank you!!!

Friday, 31 March 2017

A Kid In A (Canadian) Candy Store!

I've been steadily working away on a commissioned piece and I am almost finished.  I like to reward myself at the end of each big project, so today I tooled off to Mrs Pugsley's Emporium.  I've been watching their Facebook page and knew they had lots of new fabrics in this week...lots of Canadian themed fabrics, as we are celebrating our sesquicentennial this year.
I bought a nice selection because this opportunity to purchase Canadiana doesn't often exist. Naturally I started with hockey fabric:)  It was fun to read the jersey numbers and connect them to the players' names.
 This panel has the coat of arms of Canada, as well as the flag of Nova Scotia.  Had to have that!
 There was a print with the flags of all the provinces and territories. Nova Scotia is right in the middle.
Another panel, looking very flag like, printed on top of the words to O Canada. Beautiful. These are Robert Kaufman fabrics, designed by Harper's, and will coordinate with Kona solids.

This is my favourite; I hope to use some of it this afternoon.

There were also new pins and charms, and a couple of those came home with me too: this Featherweight pin is appropriate (I own 4 Featherweights!).
The little charm is a hand-crank machine (I have one of those, too!)  Not sure if it will go on a chain, or on a bracelet.

Do you reward yourself at the end of each project?  It's my solution to UFO's!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Satin Stitching

Heavier thread weights can sure work to advantage when doing satin stitch!  I've been adding lettering to some quilt blocks, and practicing on scraps using different fonts.  I print out the size I want from WORD and then trace the letters onto fabric.  Putting two layers of tear-away stabilizer underneath my work means I don't need to use a hoop. Originally, I started with 50 weight thread going over the stitching twice.  Then I switched to a 28 weight thread and found it fills in the space between the stitches really nicely with just one pass. This is Aurifil colour 2725, a pretty soft blue. The needle is a size 90/14 metallic, which has an extra large eye.  50 weight thread in a matching colour is used in the bobbin.
Now I will gather my courage and stitch the letters on the top of the actual quilt.  Wish me luck! :)

Monday, 27 March 2017

Quilt Atlantic

If you are looking for a wonderful, quilty get-away this spring in a spectacular setting, take a look at what the Quilt Atlantic Retreat has to offer:

White Point, Nova Scotia - Now entering its 4th year, Quilt Atlantic Retreat is a tradition for fabric artists from all over Atlantic Canada. The 8 workshops offered this year, led by award winning instructors, include everything from quilting to miniatures and hooking. As in the past, but with a Canada 150th twist, participants will sew up as many new friends and memories as they do tips and techniques they’ll use in their future projects as they gather at White Point Beach Resort April 7 – 9, 2017.
Stitching together the perfect balance, the 2 night 3 day retreat combines half day and full day workshops amidst the schedule which also includes a Pop-Up Shop, Meet the Instructors Show and Share, and bonfires of course. Bev Crouse, the Retreat Coordinator and Host says the format continues to foster sharing of knowledge in a relaxed and welcoming setting. “Opening with a Meet & Greet really sets the tone for the weekend, and while the workshops are important, so too is the down time where experienced and beginner fabric artists mix, mingle and share their passion, even collaborate on new works. The energy and synergy is inspiring, it’s such a pleasure to curate” says Crouse.
The Retreat, guided by the Queens Quilt Guild, has stitched together a dynamic program. On opening day, Friday April 7th, participants choose from three half- day sessions. Miniature Landscape with Juliet Nolan, Stained Glass with Brenda Dunsmore and Wool Applique with Sue McEachern make for an all New Brunswick Instructor line-up. On Saturday the program evolves into a more intensive full-day workshop with a choice between Top Stitched Applique with Juliet Nowlan, Traditional Hand-Applique & Hand Quilting with Sue McEachern and Tiny Treasureswith Linda Hubbard (Part 1). Sunday wraps-up with workshops in the morning featuring Part II of Tiny Treasurer with Linda Hubbard as well as half-day sessions with Fabric Jewelry with Brenda Dunsmore Hooking-up Canada with Jane Steele.
Annually the sessions are selected based on feedback and trends. Juliet Nolan is a veteran fabric artist whose work in miniatures drew accolades from students at last year’s Retreat. Nolan says she’s honoured to be invited back. “I had a wonderful time teaching at Quilt Atlantic last year. The students were enthusiastic and their creations spectacular. It’s rewarding to see the craft so alive and celebrated” says Nowlan. Always a student, she too enjoyed taking in workshops by fellow instructors within the setting created by White Point.
It was following the completion of “Stitching White Pointers Together” that Quilt Atlantic was birthed. Donna Hatt, Marketing Manager for White Point Beach Resort, says it was the journey of creating, stitching and revealing the quilt that now hangs in the new Main Lodge that impressed upon her how meaningful handmade quilts really are. “We’d lost a 30 year old quilt made by a local quilt guild in the fire that took our Main Lodge. In an effort to replace it, we embarked on a Quilt Project with our good friend and fabric artist, Bev Crouse. Over 12 months we stitched our Story Quilt together with the help of more than 500 people.” Hatt says she and Crouse had been invited to show the quilt in progress at Quilt Canada in 2012 and it was there they’d gained inspiration for the Retreat.
With a goal to celebrate fabric artists, their craftsmanship and encourage its continuation within Atlantic Canada, annually the Retreat has kept to its promise to bring experienced and beginners together once a year to gain tips, techniques and create shared memories.
The ‘Pop Up Shop’ hosted Saturday April 8, is open to Retreaters and the public from 10am – 4pm. Participants this year include Lynns Quilting StudioRiver House Rug HookingBrother Sewing MachinesA Needle Pulling ThreadBriar Wood Farms and Atlantic Fabrics.
With a few spots still available, there are two options for quilters and fabric artists wanting to attend the Retreat. For those living in the area, the Day Guest Package for three workshops and events is $125, while overnight packages are also available.
Quilt Atlantic promises to wrap Retreaters in the timeless warmth and love that has been synonymous with quilts for generations. For more information and to register for the Retreat, visit

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Thanks For Noticing :)

Oh my...where has the time gone?  I confess I have been AWOL from blogging...but I'm back :) Thank you for all the emails, phone calls, and notes in the mail asking if all is well.  It is. I've been busily and happily quilting away, and getting ready for spring and fall workshops.  I do appreciate that my absence was noted. Thank you.
So...for a quick catch up, here's a few things which have been on my machine.  This queen sized scrap quilt was finished up a couple of weeks ago.  We found a perfect fence in Five Islands to photograph it.
It's a big quilt, and I did have concerns about doing it on my domestic Bernina, but honestly it was no problem at all.  I used Legacy wool batting, which scrunches up nicely on the machine bed.
Much of the quilting was simply stitch-in-the-ditch with the walking foot, as I wanted it "puffy", but I did work in a free motion feather in the inner border.
I used my favourite Aurifil 50 weight tan thread both top and bottom, and it showed up nicely on the backing.
I've also been playing with geese - both in structured blocks, and free form.  The blocks below are for a secret project, but I'll show you soon.  It's rather exciting :) Since these blocks are small with lots of pieces, I switched to a finer 60 weight Aurifil so there was as little bulk as possible in the seams.
The free form geese are a blast to sew .  I made several "swooshes" before deciding where they would work in a project.
This red, glittery one made me think of Santa blazing across the night sky, with a trail of exhaust billowing behind him!
It ended up as this wallhanging, which I will teach at a workshop during our Fibre Arts Festival this fall.  
I can't wait to get the red one finished up;  I've been looking for the perfect background fabric, and think I've found it.  These "goosey" inserts add a nice bit of pizzazz to a project, and are surprisingly simple to stitch.
Since there was a waiting list for the free-form curved seaming class at last year's festival, I will be re-offering that as well.  You can find more information on both classes here:
(Just know that these workshops are filling quickly, so if you want to join us, please contact me soon to get your name on the list.)

Now I am piddling away at 16 patch blocks to use up some batik from my stash.

Thanks for reading, and for your patience.  Don't forget, you can always catch me on Facebook: