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 a set of placemats entitled "What A Ball!", perfect for Canada Day. 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!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

An Evening With Kaffe Fassett

Yesterday Amherst was treated to a very special occurrence - a visit from Kaffe Fassett!  Deanne Fitzpatrick deserves a lot of credit and thanks for enticing this renowned designer to visit our small town.
Amherst was hopping yesterday with many out of town fibre enthusiasts here for the big event.  Kaffe himself dropped in for a tour of Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium early in the afternoon.
The lecture was held in First Baptist Church.  There is a horseshoe balcony around the perimeter of this roomy sanctuary which allowed for overflow - and a terrific bird's eye view.  I confess someone saved prime seats for us in the second row (thanks Lou!)
Lights were out for the presentation and flash was not allowed so there are no good pictures to share.
(On a side note...that's one of my paraments on the pulpit peeking out from behind the screen :)
After both Kaffe and design partner Brandon Mably spoke, there was a book signing in the vestry.  I brought along two books to have autographed.  On the six degrees of separation theory... I actually have a quilt in the same book as one of Kaffe's so I was very keen to have that one signed.
The book is called America From The Heart and it features quilts made in response to the Sept 11 terrorist attacks.  The quilts were exhibited at IQF Houston and then auctioned as a fund raiser for the families affected.  Many doors opened for me professionally because of this exhibit and book.
AQS quilt appraiser Diane Shink happened to be at that exhibit in Houston in 2001 and contacted me after viewing my quilt.  We met up and eventually Diane and  I co-authored Canadian Heritage Quilting. It was no surprise to see Diane in attendance at the lecture yesterday;  always alert and taking notes to be used in her work, you can see that she has several papers tucked inside her copy of Kaffe's latest book. Diane doesn't miss anything connected to quilting!
Diane Shink, Brandon Mably, Kaffe Fassett
Thank you Deanne for making this huge event happen right here in our hometown.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival 2014

Hopefully by now every one is busily making plans to come to Amherst, Nova Scotia in October.  Once again our town is hosting a festival to celebrate the fibre arts and you're all invited to join in the fun.  The Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival encompasses all aspects of fibre arts (knitting, hooking, crochet, etc.) but since readers of this blog are primarily quilters, the focus is just on quilting here.
There are workshops being offered on a wide range of topics and techniques, presented by well known quilters: (please click on the links to visit individual websites):
Tiny Treasures -Miniature Quilt ( Linda Hubbard), Crazy Quilting (Vera McInnis), Ricky`s Harmonic Convergence (Mary Farrow Sinclair), Quilted Art Fabric Design (Jan Boiduk), Thread Vessels(Deb Plestid), and 3 Bums on a Beach (Deb Plestid). Kathy Tidswell will be with us again to teach two workshops:  Designing Wearable Art and Creating With Thread.  In addition to the workshops, there are also shows by the local guilds - Quilt Expressions and The Cumberland Quilter's Guild- and a two day exhibit of the work of  The Maritime Modern Quilt Guild. Award winning quilter Karen Henry will visit to present a trunk show of her amazing quilts.You won't want to miss The Zonta B A Z A A R on Friday - a dazzling shopping extravaganza and café where you can purchase some of the amazing materials and fibre art you've been admiring all week-it's always awesome!
Dayle's Department Store is hosting their very popular quilt block contest and will have demos and displays every day in their Dry Goods section. New this year will be a couple of fibre-themed luncheons and teas at various spots in the downtown- one celebrating Amherst's 125 birthday with an apron display- and a fun Crazy Quilt Tea at the YMCA where the décor will be (did you guess?) crazy quilts! The popular Fibre Arts Walking Tour takes you on a jaunt around our historic downtown to see artists' work showcased in windows and storefronts. In another post I will tell you some of the prizes available to participants this year; you will be blown away by what you can win.

For the first time in 7 years since the festival began, I will not be offering a workshop. I thank each of you who has written to enquire - it was truly heartwarming to hear from you.  I decided to do something different and instead will hang a week long solo exhibit of New York Beauty quilts. I will be in attendance each day at the show. I'll tell you more about that in a later post, but briefly stated it will be at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium (just 3 doors down from Festival Headquarters).  It's free to attend, and you don't need tickets or anything to come - just drop in and have a look around.
A similar and equally impressive list of events is also scheduled for other fibre art disciplines
(i.e. knitting, crochet, rug hooking). Note that registration for the workshops has already begun, so make sure you get your name in early (registration info is available under "Workshop Descriptions" on the festival blog) The  Festival website is being updated and will be live soon; in the meantime, please visit our blog for the latest updates and further information on all the events there. You can also check us out on Twitter:  and Facebook:
Whether you are here to see it, like it, make it, wear it, buy it, sell it, or give it - you can do it all in Amherst, October 14th -18th. We'd love to have you join us! 

Just so you know...

I've been hacked again - this time my Twitter account, which I honestly have never used.  Please disregard the rather rude comments someone is posting with my name - I swear it wasn't me!  

Monday, 7 July 2014

Exposition Couvertes Piquées 2014

For visitors to our province or for locals wanting a memorable experience, the annual quilt show in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia is a must see!  I had the pleasure of attending this show in 2012;  my post is here.  This show is special - there's no other way to say it. The abundance of quilts and the skill and craftsmanship of the Clare quilters displayed in the magnificent sanctuary of  Eglise Sacré-Coeur is nothing short of breath-taking.
Quilt-Expo will be held this year from July 28 to August 1, 2014. Hours of operation will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily except Friday August 1 when the Expo will close at 4 p.m. Admission is $5.You can visit the website for more information, or email Joan.  If you've never gone, make this the year to do so - you will love it!

Arthur Aftermath

Hurricane Arthur visited us Saturday...although by the time he arrived he had downsized himself to a Tropical Storm.  It was rather exciting to see what would happen as the track of the storm was directly over Amherst!
Friday night, like most everyone else, we visited the grocery store to stock up...just in case. We were greeted with a double rainbow over the Sobeys parking lot.

The storm hit mid day Saturday.Truthfully, we have had far worse. Our power went off and on, off and on three times. We were much luckier than many not to have lost it for long;  parts of the Maritimes are still without and perhaps will be for a few days yet. We headed out to check for damage to the bee hives.  On the road to the farm, the fields were littered with downed branches.
This one partly blocked the road into the bees (can you see the hives to the right just in front of the tall windbreak?  In past windstorms, those trees have blown over onto the hives.)  
The bees were completely happy, seemingly oblivious to all the weather drama.
There were lots of  small cones on the ground so I gathered a bunch to burn in the smoker.
When they go in slightly damp, they give off lots of sweet-smelling smoke.
Back home, we surveyed our yard to find multiple small branches off but no loss of big trees.  In our neighbour's yard, this one just missed hitting their house.
Our yard is littered with sticks and leaves.  Someone is going to have to clean all that up before I can mow!
Thanks for all the emails of concern.  It's great to have Cyber-friends who care.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Ruby Red & White

Canada Day 2014;  we're all celebrating our country's 147th birthday!
Over the years I've made a lot of red and white quilts.  Last year I added these placemats to dress up our table.  I have a free pattern for another placemat with a Canadiana theme here if you'd like to make some of your own.
Naturally, I've also made a maple leaf quilt.  Not sure how many years ago this one was made but seriously close to 30, I think!  My machine quilting has come a long way since this one was made.

Although not terribly patriotic, one of my favourites is this geometric Drunkard's Path.
My favourite is my well-travelled Log Canada, pictured here at the Public Gardens in Halifax, N.S.
I am thrilled to read my email this morning and learn that Log Canada has been selected to be part of International Quilt Festival's Ruby Jubilee exhibit this fall in Houston.  IQF is celebrating 40 years and is marking the occasion with an exhibit of red and white quilts.  I am honoured our national colours fit so well with this show.

Happy Canada Day!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Quilter's Holiday

Along with the completion of the wedding parament came the fulfilment of my last work commitment until the fall.  What does time off  look like for someone whose work is quilting?  Something like this:
In addition to gardening, deck staining, barn painting, lawn mowing, meal making, a little travelling and lots of cat-herding (!), I will be spending my leisure time playing in the sewing room, creating simply for the sheer joy of it. There are no deadlines, page restrictions, copious notes on construction, or piecing diagrams to slow down the process; it's simply a time to play and hone my technical skills. Patchwork is a very technical and exacting process. I've started a Feathered Star in gorgeous Hoffman batiks, a block I've never sewn before, and already I am thrilled to learn the subtleties of its unique construction based partly upon the shape of the centre patch.  My burgeoning silk collection has been patiently waiting for my attention and I am excited to open the boxes and see those glorious colours and textures spill out onto the table.  Some of that silk is shown above, pieced into segments measuring 2" x 3". The blocks may never find their way into a quilt but I've had the pleasure of making each one and learning as I go. I guess my vacation is not so much holiday as sabbatical.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The Power Of Purple

Remember my Rhythmic quilt?
The pattern has been selling like hotcakes and most of the quilts I've seen made from it have used the same colourway as the original. I have to tell you that my jaw dropped when I saw Elaine's version on her blog. Scroll down and prepare to be wowed!    

Not only is her colour choice spectacular, her quilting is fabulous too.
Elaine writes this: "I am a music major from college so was intrigued by the name and I love circles and doing feather quilting.   Win! Win!   It was so striking I had intended to do it in red even though red is probably my least favorite color.   But.....since purple is my favorite color, I tried some different fabric swatches and decided the purple was gorgeous too."
 Look at the tiny grid quilting in the intersection of the blocks.  Patience!

I confess that this is one of my all time favourite designs and seeing it so well done is music to my heart.  The pattern for Rhythmic is widely available: it is distributed by Trend Tex Fabrics to quilt shops across Canada, including Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium  in Amherst. It is also available by snail mail from my website  or as an instant pdf download through Craftsy.  If you have made your own version of Rhythmic, I'd love a picture to show here on the blog.  A sincere thank you Elaine;  you really made my day!

Monday, 23 June 2014

Cecropia 2 (or is that 3?)

Here's part two of the moth story, continued from yesterday.  The Cecropia moth moved from the door frame down onto the deck to continue his rest. Sorry Mr. Moth, that's not a good idea around here!  My hubby looked around to find a higher, less vulnerable-to-cats location when his eye fell on two more of these beautiful moths on the cupola of our baby barn!
He picked up our friend, who gave no objection to his touch. Hubby has a gentle hand and often carries his bees back to safety when they go astray.

When he came down, I scrambled up the ladder to take pictures.  The top two appear to be a male/female pair;  there is significant difference in their antennae which is how one determines moth gender (the larger feathers belong to the male). They didn't object to having their friend join them and the three amigos snoozed the day away in safety.
By nightfall they had gone.

Sunday, 22 June 2014


This morning a little before 6, hubby called me to the back door to greet a visitor who had arrived during the night.  We weren't expecting anyone so this was a total surprise.  See who it is?   A Google search identifies him as a Cecropia Moth belonging to the family of giant silk moths.
He's a big fellow!  I got a shot of the lock and door knob for comparison.
Stats list his wing span as 5-6" and that sounds about right.  He was pretty massive when he flipped his wings up.
 His body is very colourful;  the regular pattern of dots on his abdomen is amazing.
 His antennae are feathers!  We think from the size of them he is a male.

It's 9:30 am as I write, and he is still snoozing away on the door frame.  My big concern for his safety is Polly, so she is staying inside while he naps.
If he is a giant silk you suppose he was attracted by my boxes and boxes of silk stash?  Or maybe it's just that the porch light was on last night, welcoming his presence...

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Wedding Parament Finished

Yesterday I delivered the wedding antependium to the church.  It was a dark, dreary day with not enough good light for a proper picture and I had to dodge rain showers to get a couple of quick shots outside. None of my pictures are very good, but time was pressing.  June is wedding season after all, and there is one scheduled for today at the church.

I'll show you the extra sleeve I added across centre back which holds a thin rod to keep the arms of the cross out.  It is imperative that these things hang perfectly straight and flat. The whole piece is stiffened with two layers of interfacing, one of which is a heavy decorator weight.  This made the parament extremely awkward to quilt on my domestic machine - it refused to fold up in the throat.  It was like quilting a board! Not surprisingly, my Bernina quilted feathers through all those layers with no issues.  
It fit the pulpit perfectly.  It was even darker inside than out and the pictures are disappointing.  However, you can get a sense of the effect. From the back of the church, only the golden rings at the centre are visible.
As you walk down the aisle and get a bit closer, the colours of the outer rings begin to emerge. Three shades for three strands of rings which link to form a cross.

The ministers were very pleased and frankly- if I may say so - it looked gorgeous in that setting.