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 Sam's Streak Of Lightning string quilt.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Popping Up

A quick note...tomorrow I will be at the Thistle Guild Quilt Show,vending with Mrs Pugsley's Emporium. The ingenious Mrs P has found a way to put wheels under her shop, and will have a wide array of gorgeous fabrics and all the latest notions...I'll have patterns and Aurifil thread. See you there!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

String Tote

Instead of being home quilting this month, I have donned another hat which, for the most part, keeps me AFK (away from keyboard)...and AFSM (away from sewing machine!). I've been given the opportunity to act as photographer on a project that involves travelling around our province, visiting somewhat remote areas that I feel privileged to spots accessible sometimes only in a big 4 x 4 "dualy" truck. My rubber boots are getting lots of miles on them.
Since sewing time is sporadic and interrupted, it's a perfect time for working on string blocks. I had leftover strips of blue and green Hoffman 1895 watercolours in various widths lying around, so I put them to good use in this quick tote bag. Instead of thin paper for the foundation, I used a heavy weight canvas which gives good body to the bag. There was just enough of a coordinating floral blue/green batik in my stash for the lining.
A machine triple stitch gives a nice, professional looking finish along the edges of the strap, and is both functional and decorative. Using 40 weight Aurifil thread through the needle gives the stitch a bit more "umph"; it resembles the stitching on a man's belt. On my Bernina 440, this built-in triple stitch is # 157.
To make the tote, I used the measurements previously shared here on my blog, adding an inside pocket made from a leftover block.  The bag will be a sample for my String Quilting workshop in October...cos what's a workshop without a trunk show of inspiration!
Polly was on the job to help me photograph the bag this morning.  She loves to climb!

My fall workshops are filling up quickly, so please email if you would like your name added to the list for this beginner workshop.  

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Blue and White Happiness

We've been spinning around in a funnel-cloud of activities this past bit, and between work commitments, birthdays, home renovations, university graduation, and hubby's job change there has been little time for fun things.  Imagine my absolute delight to answer the doorbell and be handed a big, beautiful package.  I was floored when I opened the box and found... COOKIES!!
Lots and lots of BEAUTIFUL cookies, which could only have come from the talented hand of Cheryl Coville, aka Grandma Coco. 
The detail captured on the cookies is amazing, even down to the ribbons in St. F.X. colours. The generous number she sent has allowed us to share the cookies around with family and friends. Ironically, some even went back to Ontario with one of my son's roommates, not far from where Cheryl lives.
The edible art did double duty as both decor and dessert.
My sincerest thanks to Cheryl for her thoughtfulness.  It's a little mind-bending to realize that someone whom we've never met and lives so far away could be such a big part of our celebrations. Life is like that :)  The embroidered napkins and coasters, made by my friend Joan, are the perfect blue for the occasion.
Now we put away the party clothes and get down to the unpacking and the putting away until fall, when the next round of school begins. (I may just keep the shoes on a little bit longer though...*-)

Thursday, 28 April 2016

The X-odus Has Begun

Our youngest will be graduating from St F X this weekend, and we've made several trips already to bring his apartment contents home. His log cabin X quilt came in the last load.
 I made this quilt as a graduation gift for him from high school to take with him to university.  I fully expected it would not survive the ordeal well, but I am happy to say it looks as good now as it did then.

It was my first attempt at feathers on a bed-sized quilt and I recall how much I fussed about getting the plumes even, and the spine symmetrical. I have relaxed so much since then - there would be no stress to quilt this today.
Despite years of machine washing and drying, the stitches have held and the quilt looks great. He loved receiving this quilt at the beginning of his X journey, and I expect it means more to him now at the finish.

Monday, 18 April 2016

X and O by Diane

It was barely a week ago I showed you Diane Zdep's beautiful version of Florentine, and now she has finished up another from my Quilting Beauties book.  This time she chose "X and O". If you click the last link, you will see it doesn't much resemble my original.
I love all of Diane's work, but this is totally my favourite - blue/green with a touch of purple, and featuring a kitty - well, it doesn't get any better than that!  Diane's appliqu├ęd kitty is from Lunch Box Quilts.I love those little paw prints!(They look like the ones Maddie and Polly add to the front of the book when they sign.)  Thank you for sharing this Diane - x's and o's to you! :)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

It's All The Buzz

We are delighted to find the bees in such good shape this spring.  Here's what greeted us today:
They were abuzz with activity, and many of the workers were returning with their leg pouches filled with pollen. They are anxious to get back to work!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Everybody Loves Quilts!

And everybody loves a good quilt show, too!  
The Shuswap Quilter's Guild will have over 400 quilts on display.  June 3-4, 2016 at the Shaw Centre Spectator's Arena,  2600- 10th Avenue NE, in Salmon Arm, B.C.  For more information, you can check out their FaceBook page:

Monday, 11 April 2016

Clutch Purse

Sometimes quilters are called upon to use their superpowers for other sewing a small clutch purse to match an outfit.  This one took almost twice as long as it would have to piece a king-sized quilt...and in the end, I'm not sure I even like it.  But it's a good size .  I used fabrics from Hoffman's "Clarabelle" collection, which I found at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium.  I also found the canvas and heavy-weight interfacing there that I needed to use for the base of the bag.
The pattern is a design by Amy Butler, and available as a free download on the Better Homes and Gardens website:

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Diane's "Florentine"

Diane Zdep of Alberta has done it again, this time embellishing "Florentine" from my book Quilting Beauties.  If you enlarge the picture, you will see she has added embroidered motifs to the centres of the New York Beauty blocks.  Very, very pretty - and Diane's quilting adds great texture to the piece.
You can see Diane's embroidered version of Oriental Beauty and her stunning Christmas Beauty. at these links. Thank you for sharing, Diane.  Can't wait to see what's next!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Thread Cones

A sincere thank you for all your Aurifil thread orders; more thread arrived today, including 5,900m cones of 50 weight cotton.
These are great not only for long-arms, but can be used on your domestic as well with some minor adjustments (like using a cone holder!).  We have nice, neutral shades in stock which will save you a considerable amount if you do a lot of sewing.  Please email for particulars.

Friday, 1 April 2016

The Itch to stitch

Lately I have been busy doing work which has kept me away from the sewing machine - writing, designing, working on posters and brochures, preparing for things coming up this spring.  It's all good, and all work-related, but it hasn't allowed me much time to stitch, and I miss that.  I need that! 
So I've decided now when the work day ends, I will choose a small stitching project that requires no thinking for my tired brain.  I have made a couple more zippered pouches, including this one from a gorgeous piece of Stephanie Brandenburg fabric. I just love this print!
The fabric was leftover from a tote, trimmed in Seminole patchwork, that I made a couple of years' back for my friend Jill in Fredericton Junction.  
Another day, I basted and machine quilted a flannel top for a baby quilt that I had pieced another day I needed something mindless - it's just squares, quilted with squiggly lines. I stitched the binding on the following day. 
Yesterday Grandma Coco posted a sweet pattern for a kitty enjoying some April showers.  Cheryl had sketched out her design to use on cookies she was decorating, and then decided she would get double-duty from her sketch and use it as an applique quilt block. She invited folks to download the pattern for free from her blog and to stitch along with her.  I decided instead of applique, I would try embroidering the kitty.  I set my machine up for free motion stitching, with heavy 12 weight Aurifil thread in the top and a size 16/100 topstitch needle.  It took no time to embroider the block.

 As you can see I used a hoop, but I kept banging into it with the edge of the foot so next time I will stitch without a hoop.  This is how my very talented friend Monika does it, so I know it can be done.
Skip over the Grandma Coco's blog and see her block and cookies, and join us in stitching!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Easter Bags

I was looking for something quick and cute to stitch for Easter treats, and found these sweet little bunny-ear bags on this site, Sew Can She. 
Making just one took a fair bit of time, since a buttonhole is involved, but if these were done Henry Ford style, you could make a herd fairly quickly.  I used three shades of Mirror Ball Dot; the next ones will be made in a variety of prints.  These will be so cute popping up out of Easter baskets, or even on their own  with little treats inside (a spool of thread fits). Fun! 

This second bag was delivered to my home yesterday, with a special something inside.  I had seen these bags online before, and now I understand why the bottom side seams are left unstitched.  It's an easy way to form a bag bottom. With grommet handles, it looks professionally made.  I will look around for something special to store in this bag...
 ...cos it's doubtful the original (homemade) contents will survive long *-)
Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Marilyn.  Happy Easter!

Monday, 21 March 2016


Welcome Spring with this simple table runner and placemat set.

 Shown here in Lewis & Irene's "Spring Hare" (available at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium).
This one is stitched in Nancy Halvorsen's "Forever Spring" collection from Benartex.
Download the pattern here.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Dazzled by the Beauty

I love, love, love this!
You are seeing Mildred Agena's version of my Star of Beauty...and it's just fabulous!  Mildred is a member of the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild and made this as part of the 2015 President`s Challenge.  There are approximately 500 members in her guild, and Mildred`s quilt was one of 8 chosen to be submitted to the AQS show in Grand Rapids.Mildred added bling to her quilt with Swarovski crystals, which makes me think of  fireworks. As you can see, she has cleverly omitted the top block from the quilt so that it forms a heart shape.  Because of this, she is calling her entry, "Heart Star." (the extra block was made into a placemat for her local Meals on Wheels group :) .
Isn't this gorgeous?  
Thank you, Mildred, for bringing your creative touch to the design.  I hope viewers get to see this at the Grand Rapids show in August.