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"; 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!

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Red Work Holly

I've been doing more stitching with the Aurifil 12 weight thread and am really excited with the results.  I've long been an admirer of Red Work, but uncooperative fingers don't allow me to do much hand embroidering.  Doing it free motion is incredibly quick and easy, and very satisfying. Red Work is so feminine, you can't help but love the delicate look. I decided to stitch out a Christmas wreath I had designed a few years ago.  For the first run through, I only did the centre section, thinking it will make a sweet cushion.  A little red piping on the edge  will frame it nicely.
Since it turned out so well, I added some patchwork chequerboard, pieced with a solid red and white from Michael Miller's Cotton Couture line. The needle thread for the Red Work is Aurifil 12 weight and in the bobbin is Aurifil 50 weight, both in my favourite 2250 bright red. I traced the design with a red FriXXion pen (and hope that won't come back to haunt me...) Then I layered the top with wool batting, and a polka dot backing.
I timed the stitching of the centre heart:  3-1/2 minutes, which included a stop to take a couple of pictures.
When I finished the lines in red, I switched to a 50 weight white cotton thread and quilted the piece as usual.

A plain narrow red binding frames the edge.
I've stitched it three times now, each version quilted a little differently. As easy as it was to stitch, it was certainly not easy to photograph.  By our holly hedge seemed a logical spot, but the yard was shaded and the stitching doesn't show well.

This one on the table is a little clearer, and you can see how nicely the stitching looks.  You would never know it wasn't hand embroidered.
Thank you to Cheryl Coville for her help in proof-reading the instructions. You can download the pattern for Red Work Holly here or order a printed copy from my website. I'd love for you to try this method and let me know what you think!

Friday, 2 October 2015

Aurifil 12 weight - Clinical Trials

I finally got a chance to play with the Aurifil 12 weight thread I ordered in.  I am excited by the possibilities wound in each spool.  I've sewn with 12 weight thread before, but never successfully through the needle - it always ended up having to go in the bobbin, and my work stitched upside-down. This Aurifil thread is different.  I gingerly started stitching some samples to test it out.  I didn't even have to adjust the tension on the machine.
The thread has a silky finish which goes easily through a size 100/16 Topstitch needle.
Free motion embroidery with this thread holds lots of promise.  I traced a simple design onto white cotton and layered it with tear-away stabilizer.

Not bad for a first attempt! Honestly, it's way better than I could have stitched by hand...and literally done in minutes.  I can see some cute Red Work Christmas ornaments in my future.
Blue Work is fun too.
This time instead of doing it with stabilizer, I added batting and backing and quilted through the layers. You can see where I checked the thread tension on the side - again, no adjustment needed.
I had this basket block on hand, so I added a bit of embroidery to jazz it up.
This gorgeous straw-gold colour reminded me of grape tendrils, so I dug out some grapes leftover from a liturgical project. (nothing gets thrown out :))
What an easy way to add quilting and embellishment at the same time.
 The thicker thread has much more impact than a 50 weight.
So far, I have the 12 weight thread available for sale in red, black, gold, blue, white, and leaf green.  I used the latter on a quilt which will appear in the winter issue of Quilter's Connection. Obviously, I can't show that quilt online as yet, but I will have it with me at the Zonta Bazaar on October 17.  Next post I will show more Red Work. (I am going to have free-motion embroidery on everything in the house!!)

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

New York, New York

Last year as part of a fund-raiser for the N.S. Fibre Arts Festival, Polly and I made and donated this quilt called, New York, New York.

It appeared on the cover of Quilter's Connection magazine, with instructions inside.  However, because of space requirements, the foundations and templates were printed at a reduced size so it was necessary to get them enlarged at a copy shop. The pattern is now available with all the pieces at full size so you can get started right away.
I confess it's one of my all time favourite quilts - bold, bright, and full of life.  It's pieced from gorgeous hand-dyed  Hoffman 1895 Bali watercolours, and heavily quilted with wild and crazy feathers.
Polly liked it too.

It's available from my website, pattern # 615. 

Monday, 28 September 2015

September's Embers

September has been an amazingly jam-packed month.  In addition to lots of new stitching projects, it has included returning youngest to university, taking off the honey and starting fall feeding for the bees, preparing a booth for Fibre Arts Festival, getting a twin-sized quilt finished for publication in Quilter's Connection magazine, and even a short get-away with hubby.  This past weekend, Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium was a vendor at the Sunrise Quilt Guild Show in Tatamagouche, and I went along to help.  There is never a dull moment with Mrs. P: Beth booked us a caboose at the Train Station Inn.
How fun is that?
 You could climb up in the little cupola and get a great view.
The caboose had two bedrooms, and all the comforts of home...albeit on a somewhat reduced scale.
My room had a queen-sized bed and a fireplace; there's even a big TV hiding behind those doors.
The pillowcases were a nice touch. 
I bought a pair in the gift shop as a souvenir. (I did not steal the pillowcases, Cheryl!! :))

The quilt show was just across the road at the Fraser Cultural Centre.  The Sunrise Quilt Guild may be small in numbers but they are certainly big on talent.
The quilts were fabulous, and it was extra special to have so many of the guild members on-hand for the entire show to talk about their quilts.
Deb Plestid is a member of this guild and she had several extraordinary pieces on display.
Member Grace made a trip home to bring in her Maritime Beauty to show me. She had just pieced this, it's waiting to be quilted.  Gorgeous work, Grace - I love the colours you chose!

I hope now to stitch out the month so should have some finished pieces to show you soon!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Myrna's New York Roundabout Again

I love seeing my patterns done in different colours and prints.  Have a look at this beauty from Myrna Allison of British Columbia:
Light and dark purple, highlighted by a soft green, makes for a very pretty combination.  Myrna gifted this to some very happy friends to be used as a table topper.  Thanks for sharing, Myrna!
You can find the pattern for Roundabout Again here.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

More Aurifil!

The response to the Aurifil thread has been fabulous, so I ordered in some more!  Currently there are 3 weights of thread available in the large spools- 50, 28 and 12 weight - as well 200 m minispools in 50 weight. I am loving doing up the thread orders!
The thread is priced below retail, and if you purchase a speciality set of 4 minispools, you save even more.

The colours are sorted for spring, greens, fall, variegated, and colours.
This is not all up on my website as yet, but please email for pricing and postage.  If you are local, you can pick it up here at the house or at the Zonta Bazaar on October 17.
There's even more coming this week! :)

Monday, 14 September 2015

N.S. Fibre Arts Festival 2015

It's been just awesome to receive so many emails asking whether I am doing a workshop for Fibre Arts Festival this year.  I am not.  However, I will be part of the Zonta Bazaar on Saturday, the closing day of the festival.
It's been a few years since I did any real vending at shows so it feels as if I am starting all over figuring out the logistics of setting up a workable booth in short order.  One thing I do recall is that it's important to have more than just books, patterns, and thread so that the non-quilting customers aren't left out.  To this end, I have been spending spare moments making zippered pouches out of my stash fabrics.  It's been a lot of fun to say the least.
The fabrics are all top-line quilting cottons, and each pouch is lined with a coordinating print or solid from the same line.
In addition to toiletries, gadgets, or what-have-you, these bags are the perfect size to carry a small knitting project, like a pair of socks.
I had this Robert Kaufman daisy print in four different colourways, and matched the lining and zippers to each. I had a lot of fun making these!
The bags are stiffened with heavy weight interfacing and feature a flat bottom, so they stand up on their own.  They are fully washable.

The countdown to the Fibre Arts Festival is on, only about a month away now, and I will continue to sew more bags in my spare moments. The Zonta Bazaar is being held Saturday, October 17 from 10 am to 5 pm at the Col. James Layton Ralston Armoury, 36 Acadia Street in Amherst. (that's right downtown and very easy to find).  Hope to see you there!