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 "I *Heart* NYB. 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!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Pop Up Reminder

Just to confirm, tomorrow (Friday, February 12) I will be popping in (and up) at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium from 10-2, with a display of Aurifil threads. By chance, a new order arrived in very early this morning so there's a great selection of thread, in various weights and colours.
There are a couple of new threads in this order which I haven't tried out as yet.  This one is a 60 weight cotton, and is marked for "machine embroidery".  It will also make a great bobbin thread.
 These large spools hold 1500 metres.
I also received some silver and gold metallic rayon threads, and I can't wait to try these out!
Several more colours of the 12 weight thread are in, and I used the blue to stitch out this sweet snowman.  The pattern is by Kathy Schmitz, and is a free download from her website,  Using the 12 weight for free motion stitching is like doing hand embroidery by machine...although I understand this thread is also great for hand embroidery.
I am off to clean and oil my Bernina, and start packing up the goodies.  See you at 10!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Put A Pin In It

Because of the weather forecast for tomorrow - 20 cm of snow and some freezing rain - the Aurifil demo at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium has been rescheduled for next Friday, Feb 12, from 10 am to 2 pm.
Me being me...the biggest challenge will not be dealing with the weather;  it will be resisting the urge to quilt this little blue and white gem before then.  It's awfully cute...:)

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Aurifil Stitching Demo

Beth, at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium,has kindly invited me in to display and demo Aurifil thread.  So I stitched up this sweet little blue and white quilt, and will take my machine and quilt this in the shop next Friday, February 5.
I'll show you the effect of using different weights of thread for your quilting.

I will have a variety of Aurifil threads for sale, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about free-motion quilting.  Mrs Pugsley's Emporium is located at 50 Victoria Street, Amherst, NS, right across the street from the downtown Tim Horton's.  I will be there Friday from 10-3.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Zentangles With Aurifil

Last week on a visit to my sister's, my niece Christina showed me the grown-up colouring book she got for Christmas. The book is the artwork of the very talented Nova Scotian artist, Rachelle Richards, who sketches in a very Zentangle-ish manner. I was particularly taken with this owl, as the loops she had drawn in his feathers reminded me of clam shells;  I kept thinking, "I can quilt that!" So I did..using four different weights of Aurifil thread - 12 weight for the shape outlines, and 28, 40, and 50 weights for filler stitching.
As you can see, I didn't follow Rachelle's lines, as her drawing is much more detailed than I cared to stitch, but I kept the picture beside me as I worked and stitched the fillers free-hand.  What fun!
I contacted Rachelle for permission to show the above image, and she graciously agreed.  Her business operates under the clever name of RRRTWERK  (it took me a minute to get that; you have to use your pirate voice *-)  Rachelle has several adult colouring books available for purchase;  you can see more of her work on her Facebook page: 
Thanks, Rachelle, for allowing me to play with one of your designs.
The project is a great way to show off the effect of using different threads - bold to subtle.  Mrs Pugsley has invited me to bring the threads, and my machine, to her shop next Friday (February 5th), where I will be stitching up a storm (not literally, I hope!)  In the next post, I will show you what I will be stitching that day.
Now...hop on over to Rachelle's Facebook page for some inspiration!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Support your LQS Day!

Today is international "Support Your Local Quilt Shop Day".  I did my part, at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium.
 She's open till 1 today, so you still have time! :)

Friday, 22 January 2016

Fibre Arts Festival 2016 Workshops

The fabrics from my last post were sewn into this cushion, as sample for a class on Curved Strip-Piecing which I will be teaching during the 2016 Fibre Arts Festival.
In this class, we will take strip-piecing to a whole new level by adding free-form curves to the patchwork. We will cut the curves in the fabric free hand with a rotary cutter – no templates or rulers required – and then easily stitch the pieces together using cues from the fabric. Thread embellishment will be added after stitching. This technique can be used in a variety of projects, such as a landscape background, or in patchwork projects. Our project for the day will be a 14" cushion, as shown above. The class will be held Friday, October 14,2016, from 9 am to 3 pm, here in Amherst, Nova Scotia. For more information, you can check out this page on my website:

For the Festival, I am also offering a Beginner String Quilting class. This fun and informal class is appropriate both for beginners wanting to learn patchwork skills, and for more experienced quilters looking for ideas to use up leftover scraps. Sewing leftover "strings" of fabric produces charming, traditional quilts in the manner of our frugal grandmothers.Instruction will be provided on how to sew string blocks for use in quilts, or smaller projects such as placemats, aprons, or bags. 

This class will be held on Wednesday, October 12 from 9 am to 3 pm. You can find more information and register online here.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Snow Day

We woke up to this...
video I am playing with the gorgeous fabrics I got yesterday at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium.It's a collection from Hoffman called Clarabelle, in the Mist/Silver colourway.  It has a lovely silver sheen.
This piece of Mirror Ball Dot from my stash (on the far right) may find its way in there too if the piece needs another dark. We'll see after we start to join the strips.
I am alone in the sewing room this morning; my partner, Polly, has tired herself out and had to go back to bed.  When the wind blows hard, Polly zooms around the house non-stop like she is possessed. It catches up with her every few hours!

Saturday, 9 January 2016

I ♥ NYB!

I *do* ♥ NYB's, and these hearts make a clever and unique addition to your table. They are actually four, individually bound placemats that fit together to form a very pretty, scalloped centrepiece when not in use.
Just in time for you to stitch for Valentines...although I am planning to use mine year round...cos who doesn't like hearts?

Pieced in greens, it does double duty as a shamrock!

   You can download the pattern here...or purchase a printed copy from my website.
Thank you to pattern testers Darlene Gerber, Kari Lippert, and Lynn Bourgeois.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Two Baby Quilts

There has been a quilt rattling around in my head for a bit, and the time feels right to translate it into fabric. It involves a fair bit of complex piecing and before I start sewing, I like to give it one last "go over" in my head, start to finish, to simplify the patchwork as much as possible. This process is made much easier if there is an actual quilt under my needle; even a very simple one helps me sort out the logic of the seams I will be sewing.  To this end,  I've stitched up two  baby quilts this week.
This one is just squares of flannelette, backed  and bound with flannelette, to keep it soft and cuddly. I used a 50 weight Aurifil thread for both the piecing and quilting, in a pale yellow. 
First, all seams were ditched, and then an overall diagonal grid was stitched in a serpentine stitch, with the walking foot. The blocks are only 6", so I didn't mark anything - just eyeballed the line from corner to corner.
Baby quilts need just enough quilting to keep them sturdy, not enough to make them stiff.
The second is made from pink and rose string blocks. Because there are so many seams, string blocks have a tendency to be a bit flat and stiff, so it was extra important to keep the quilting "fluffy". After stitching in the ditch between the blocks, I free motion quilted a small flower in the centre of each - no echoing, no stippling, just the flower.  I chose an Aurifil 50 weight in a variegated rose shade, which blended perfectly with the colours in the blocks. 
I have a personal bias against directional quilts (I can picture OCD  me disturbing a sleeping baby because his quilt was put on upside down!), So that there was no up or down, I flipped the flowers vertically, end to end, in every other block.
I used a cute little stencil from Mrs. P's so that my flowers would be uniform.
This one was also backed in flannelette.
I love making string blocks; they are quick to do and produce lovely, old-fashioned looking quilts.  If you've never tried one, I will be teaching a beginner class in October using string blocks, here in Amherst, N.S. Please email (karen at if you'd like to reserve a spot.  
The quilt in my head is still there;  I am fudging about the size it should be, so there may be several more small quilts before that one is ready to be born.  Baby quilts are an appropriate choice of project, I think. :)

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Wrapped in Love

We'll start the new year off with a little Christmas sew-and-tell.  This is Wrapped In Love , made by Barbara, who attended one of my trunk shows last year. Her quilt is fitting for the name, as she made this as a special gift for her granddaughter.
Barbara writes, "I have finally finished the wheelchair quilt for our granddaughter.  It was really fun deciding on and putting together the material... I did a combination of hand and machine quilting to make it more durable and lasting.  The back of the quilt is purple flannel and inside the pocket is a bright pink as those are her favourite colours.  I am certain she is going to enjoy it and have good use of it."  Barbara, I fully expect your granddaughter was thrilled to receive such a special quilt from her gram. Thanks for sharing.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

A Little Fishy Fun

I made several fun gifts this Christmas, but my absolute favourite was this fellow, for my eldest son. He plays in a band called Moon Trout  and as you can see from the glittery,crescent shaped marking on this guy's face, he is indeed a moon trout.
I used the same (easy) curved strip piecing technique that I've employed on several projects (such as The Stuffle, and In The Summer Time),embellished during the quilting stage with 12 weight Aurifil threads.  I love the effect.  It's a great way to make a landscape background too... if you're not into trout.
I will be teaching a workshop on this free-form curved strip-piecing here in Amherst next October; please email (karen at if you'd like a spot reserved for this fun class.  

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Polly Loves Christmas

Polly has been very busy over the holidays.  First she took on overseeing all the decorating...
Then there was this bit of nonsense where she discovered if she hid under the couch cover, she became invisible...except for that tell-tail sign.
This went on for days; we still think it's hilarious.
She claimed the tree as hers, and placed several of her toys underneath.
Gift bags were fair game;  if the top was open, she was in them, checking out the contents.
The boys got hexie bugs as gifts and Polly immediately took charge.  

She is as busy as a toddler on Christmas morning!

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Clare & Argyle

I am delighted that the latest issue of Quilter's Connection magazine is out;  it contains a quilt I designed and made using Hoffman Me+You Indah Solid Batiks, and stitched with gorgeous Aurifil Thread.

The Indah Solids are a new line of batiks from Hoffman, and they are fabulous to work with.  They take an iron exceptionally well; the seams set neat and flat with little effort (and no starch at all). I love a fabric you don't have to fight to have it lay flat!  Even on an angled cut, this fabric sewed with no distortion. 
Since the quilt was for a winter issue, I chose cool blues and greens - Cobalt,Arctic Blue, Leaf , and Pistachio. The background is a greyish/white, aptly named zinc.

Once the diamonds were pieced, I added a line of stitching with my walking foot during the quilting stage which forms the traditional "argyle" pattern, but in a very easy way.  To do this, I used 12 weight Aurifil thread in colours to match the fabrics.  A size 16 topstitch needle made stitching through the quilt layers very easy.

After this stitching was added, I switched back to 50 weight Aurifil to quilt some lines inside the light diamonds. All of the quilting on Clare & Argyle was done using a walking foot.
It was summer as I stitched this quilt, and I needed a spot to photograph it that didn't have flowers.  Beth Munroe, from Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium, kindly offered me free reign of her property.  This section of fence, with the weathered pickets on one end, was the perfect spot.
The pattern is a generous twin size, and in these colours is great for a boy's bed.
The magazine is available for purchase at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium where the quilt is also on display.
Mrs Pugsley's also carries the Indah Solid batiks, and has some pretty colours in stock:  Melon; Violet; Cadmium Orange; Pine; Burnt Sienna; Sweet Pea and the gorgeous background, Zinc..  Clare & Argyle could look like this:
I have the 12 weight Aurifil threads available for sale;  please email for a list of colours. I am happy to process mail-orders as well.

If you are wondering where the name for the quilt came from...Earlier this year, I presented a workshop on 60 degree diamonds in Saulnierville,N.S. which is located in the municipality of Clare.  With diamonds on my mind from that trip, the argyle design for the quilt emerged.  When trying to come up with a suitable name, I kept mulling "argyle...argyle...what goes with argyle..?"  If you are familiar with Nova Scotia geography, the answer is Clare.  A perfect tie-in! 
(I'll leave it to you to Google).