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 New York, New York which was featured on the cover of Quilter's Connection magazine. Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Rainbow Heaven

A new selection of Hoffman 1895 watercolours - 22 luscious shades! They have the most intriguing names too: Cobalt, Waikiki, Lapis, Blue Jay, Atlantic, Azure, Election Day, Peacock, Earth Day, Betta fish (I had to Google that one!), Sea Salt, Belize, Stove Green, Jade, Chameleon, French Lime, Gecko, Citrine, Buttercup,The OC (?), Pumpkin, Halloween,and Flame.  I wonder who gets to name them?
The only thing more fun than playing with these fabrics, is matching them up to thread colours.
Off to iron, and dream - heaven!

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Busy Bees

May is one of those months where quilting and bee-keeping collide, as it's always the busiest time of year for both ventures. Hubby and I took time on the long weekend to get the bees caught up to speed.  The last two winters have been very hard on them, and the number of hives has decreased substantially.
However, the remaining hives were strong enough in numbers to split. 
Hubby purchased new Hawaiian queens.  I always feel so sorry for these ladies, leaving such a beautiful homeland behind.  They come packaged in little wooden crates, with several attendants, and a sugar plug at the end of the box.  Once the cage is placed inside the new hive, the worker bees start chewing through the sugar from both ends to release the queen.
 It's a tedious task to go through the hives frame by frame, bee by bee, to spot the queen.  You hope to find her on the very first frame but naturally that never happens.  We had to go through these two boxes of bees twice to find this queen.  Can you see  her below?  What's interesting about this pictures is that the workers are in formation, circling the queen.  You can see the cells are filled with yellow pollen, stored up to feed new babies.
That queen stays in the old hive, and half of the frames - which include brood - are put in a separate hive to join the new queen.
Hubby places the queen crate between two frames.  Next week when we go to check, the queen will be busy laying eggs in her new abode.
 Then the process is repeated for the remaining hives.  Can you find this queen?
More to do next weekend...

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Wrapped In Love

My latest quilt is designed with mothers and grandmothers in mind. I had hoped to have this ready by Mother's Day but we're just a little off that mark. It's bright and happy, with an old-fashioned look.
It's a totally scrappy Dresden Fan with colours randomly placed.  My only rule was one green blade per section. The yellow centres are Stof Quilter's Rose, and the background is Cottage Basics from Red Rooster Fabrics, both from Mrs. Pugsley's.  The background fabric seemed very appropriate as it is printed with words like "Blessings" and "Life lived in moments". My Mom was certainly a blessing. The blades are fast and easy to stitch, and no raw edge to turn under as the point is enclosed in a seam.

The blades and fans went together really quickly.  What a great use of scraps, you could sew these forever.
All the threads used were Aurifil cotton Mako 50, both for piecing and quilting.
The quilt is backed with flannel and interlined with a wool batting.  It's so cuddly, I wanted the quilting "loose" to maintain the softness and drape.  Basically, there are free form feathers running up the sides and the blades are simply outlined.

The yellow centres have a petal quilted in each.
It's a non-traditional setting for sure, with big "flowers" at the top. The fans dip playfully to the bottom to echo the shape of the quilt.  The bottom edge is angled so that this quilt can be used in a wheelchair without getting tangled up in the tires.
Another special feature of the quilt is this secret kangaroo pocket stitched into the quilt under the second row of fans.  You can slip your hands in, like an old-fashioned muff, to keep them warm.  The pocket is lined with flannel so it's a cosy spot for cold hands.
The pattern includes instruction for these microwavable hand warmers, sized to tuck into the pocket.

I've been using the quilt on cold mornings as I work at the computer; it's just the right size.  You can download the pattern for Wrapped In Love through Craftsy here.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Joanne's Ostentation

These pictures belong to Joanne Colleaux of British Columbia, who has just completed a stunning version of Ostentation.
Joanne's bold colour choices show off the design beautifully. Joanne chose to applique her curved seams rather than piece them;  instructions for this alternate method are included in the general directions at the front of the book Quilting Beauties.
 Her quilting is just spectacular.

Joanne has shared her work with us before on this blog, and it's always exquisitely executed.  You can see her Oriental Beauty and Farrago in this post:
Thank you, Joanne for being a fabulous ambassador for Sew Karen-ly Created designs! :)
You can find the pattern for Ostentation in the book Quilting Beauties.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Fun Begins

Yesterday, the dreaded task of basting the scrappy Dresden quilt was accomplished, so today is all about the quilting. Once the stitch in the ditch was finished, out came the free motion foot for some feathery fun. I chose 50 weight Aurifil Mako cotton, in colours to match the background and a size 80/12 topstitch needle.
I am not keen on marking;  I am more the "fools rush in, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants" kind of quilter, but I did use a flexible ruler and Frixxion marker to rough out the spine. This allowed me to keep the curve consistent on each side of the centre.
 The feathers just naturally flow in to fill the space.
So far so good.  I haven't sorted out how to quilt the fan blades as yet, but hopefully inspiration will hit by the time I get the feathers stitched.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Saturday, 2 May 2015


Obsessive Compulsive Fabric Collecting: it's a disorder many quilters suffer from.  Recently, I had an email from someone making my New York Roundabout Again and had run short of the fabric for an outer arch.  To solve the issue, she decided to replace the 4 outer arcs and sent a picture to ask for suggestions on what colour to use.  I emailed back with the observation that the fabric looked like Fossil Fern and possibly I had the right shade of green in my collection.  She mailed me a snippet and...sure enough...
What are the odds? (pretty good actually...!)  I decided it was time to downsize, and I ruthlessly culled three boxes and two garbage bags of fabric from my stash.  I set them aside to deliver to some quilting friends when I visit next month, and happily revelled in all the extra space I had reclaimed.  Yesterday, I woke up with a burning desire to sew colourful scrap Dresden Fan blades and...I don't have to write the rest, we all know what happened.  Yup...I brought those bags and boxes back into my sewing room. I loved seeing my old friends, from projects past.
At what point does O.C.F.C. become hoarding?

Friday, 1 May 2015


Rhythmic has arrived safely back from Paducah and I am thrilled to have this very cool label to sew on the back:

Thursday, 30 April 2015

It's Time For Colour In Amherst

Yesterday, Amherst and area quilt lovers were treated to a fabulous showing of works from award winning Canadian quilters.  Dorinda McCully, the CQA representative for Nova Scotia, arrived bright and early at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium to set up the exhibit. Dorinda was accompanied by helper Simone Cooper, who is no stranger to Amherst, having attended our Fibre Arts Festival for many years. The show was entitled, "It's Time For Colour" and the pieces carried the theme well.
Each small quilt had its own special story, and Dorinda shared details on what inspired each maker, as well as on technical construction. Dorinda has been travelling extensively around the province with this exhibit and is well versed on the background of each wall quilt.

The pieces were of varied techniques -patchwork, appliqué, thread work, painting - and each expertly crafted.   

 There were note cards available for purchase as well.
You can visit the the CQA site for more details on these pieces, including the names of their makers. 
Dorinda and Simone travelled from Antigonish to bring the show to Amherst, on the road before 6 a.m. and not back home until early evening.  Even after the long day of driving, standing and talking, their smiles and enthusiasm remained intact (although I don't think they were too thrilled about the snow on the Cobequid Pass!!)  Thank you, Dorinda and Simone, for sharing these world-class works of art with us. 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Spring Snow

I quilted snowflakes again today and Mother Nature chimed in with another blast of snow for us! (10 cm by the time it ends, if we can believe the weather people). I decided I had best hurry up and get this project off my table so spring can come. (who knew quilters held such power?! :)  The project is a practise piece  for an upcoming workshop on 60° diamonds.  I have lots of samples sewn from a previous presentation of this workshop, but I always do a trial run close to the workshop date so that things are fresh in my mind. You can't take anything for granted when you are teaching. I chose these gorgeous Hoffman snowflake  batiks.
This version is smaller than the one we will do on our workshop, but it covers the basic log cabin construction. Once the diamonds are stitched, the fun part is deciding the layout.  I tried it first with blue centres facing in, but decided I liked the light ones better.
 I love how my favourite shade of blue pops up so went with this arrangement.
Choosing thread was fun.  This is a variegated Aurifil (#4060) which goes from dark silver to very light and was perfect for the light batik.  I cut a snowflake out of card stock and traced around it for the centre quilting motif.
 The rest of the quilting was done completely free hand - mostly swirls.
 Hoffman C#123 Lapis is a perfect match for Aurifil 2725.
 I didn't use any sparkly threads as the batiks didn't seem to call for them.  They were gorgeous enough on their own, and a cotton thread was a good match.
It's too messy outside for a good picture so I took a couple inside.
The project came out a good size for a centrepiece - about 30" across.

Kate has suggested that perhaps if I quilted some flowers the weather might change.  We'll see if that works!