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 variation of Maritime Beauty. 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!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Quilting Connections

Life is all about connecting. Networking and teamwork are paramount to any successful endeavour. When things come together it's a pretty wonderful feeling!
Because our Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival will roughly coincide with the release of my new book on New York Beauty quilts (being published by AQS in Paducah, Kentucky) my focus for festival this year made sense to be NY Beauty related.  I decided to make a New York Beauty quilt to donate as a fundraiser to the festival.  Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium chimed in and went one better for her contribution to the festival by donating a trip for two to New York City.  Wow!!!!
I set to work on a new design that would somehow connect to NY and capture the essence of the city for which the block is named. I thought of blue/greens for the water, blue sky, the spikes of the Chrysler Building and Statue of Liberty, and a splash of yellow and black chequerboard to call to mind the iconic taxi cabs. My quilt is named New York, New York...which brings to mind the line from Sinatra's song. Here's how the quilt turned out:
It's vibrant and busy like the city itself. Machine pieced and quilted with gorgeous hand-dyed Hoffman batiks, New York, New York features free form feather quilting and a hand-stitched binding on the scalloped edge. (Seen in person, you realize that no one does batiks like Hoffman of California. They are spectacular.)

Even the construction was by no means a solo undertaking;  Faithful Polly was ever-present ensuring those points were sharp.
On a lark, I contacted Heather McArthur of Quilter's Connection magazine in British Columbia to see if she would like to offer the pattern in her publication.  She loved it and was kind enough to fast-track it into the  fall issue so the magazine would be out in time to coincide with our festival.  Thank you Heather, we appreciate the effort it took for you to accommodate us.  Next I connected with the multi-talented Cheryl Coville from Ontario to ask her to check my instructions.  In addition to being a trained fine artist who has authored a couple of books, and designs unique "fusion" knitwear, Cheryl also used to be an editor for a quilt magazine. (What a handy friend to pull out of your pocket *-)  
Cheryl worked her magic in double time; the quilt got sent off to the editor, and made the cover.  I know I am biased, but what a stunning photograph!
Mrs. Pugsley has ordered a whole carton of these  magazines for her Emporium!  They are available for purchase now, and during Fibre Arts Festival.
Quilter's Connection is a beautiful publication and we are so proud it's published right here in Canada.  For international readers, the magazine is available at this link as a digital download from the Quilter's Connection website for a very modest $4.95.  It includes all instructions for the projects pictured, including of course New York, New York. (There is one more surprise in the issue I would love to share, but it's not my news so I will wait until someone else mentions it on her blog...)
The quilt is on display now at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium, where the tickets to win the quilt - or a trip to New York! - are also on sale.  Stop in and pick up a copy of this lovely magazine.
Because of these connections made from Amherst, to Kentucky, California, British Columbia, Ontario and back to Amherst again... you may actually get to wake up in the city that never sleeps.
It truly takes a lot of team work to make something like this happen and I am so grateful to have the help and support of such a fabulous crew.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

A World of Beauty

You're all invited to join me October 14-18th at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium for a showing of NYB quilts, as part of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival. With luck, the book quilts will be back by then and part of the show.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Lori's Quilt of Learning

There's a lot of quilting going on in Alberta these days it seems!  These pictures are from Lori-Lynn Slack of James River Bridge showing her prize winning Quilt Of Learning.
Lori made the quilt for a very special granddaughter and added a lot of fun touches.  In the picture above you can see she has jazzed up the top and bottom borders.  She has quilted words beginning with the appropriate letter in each block such as "Ice Cream" and "Island" around the I.
 Naturally, G has "Grandpa" and "Grandma" :)
Lori entered the quilt in a local show where she won a second place ribbon.  Way to go, Lori!  I love what she put on the back.

Super fun, and I know your granddaughter will love it! You can download the pattern instantly or order a printed version to be mailed to you from my website.  Kits for the quilt using Trend-Tex precuts of Stof fabrics can be found in quilt shops across Canada including Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium here in Amherst.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Diane's Roundabout Again

Another stunning New York Beauty quilt by Diane Zdep - can you believe it?  This time Diane has chosen to stitch Roundabout Again.  Have a look:
Although the picture doesn't show it clearly, Diane has done some spectacular free motion quilting in the centre sections.  That pop of blue in the setting blocks along the side adds a lot of zing.  You can see two other of Diane's projects here and here.  Thanks Diane - you do such beautiful work!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Save Postage: Download Your Patterns!

Little by little  (as the cost of postage increases a lot by a lot!) I am reformatting my patterns to make them available worldwide as instant digital downloads. It is not unusual for the postage to cost more than the pattern, especially when mailing overseas and to Australia and New Zealand.  

It's a slow process to convert- and not all my designs will work in an 8-1/2 x 11 format for easy home printing - but for the ones that do, this method makes perfect sense. Beginning about a year ago, I now have almost a dozen patterns available digitally. The direct download links may be found with the ordering information below each pattern on my website. 
Now when I design new projects, more so than ever I am doing so with an eye to the size of the blocks and templates.  It's been a wonderful experience to connect with overseas quilters who no longer have to wait up to two weeks to receive their patterns.  

Yesterday I added one more, the very popular Maritime Beauty, which you can download here.
A big thank you to quilters world wide who have shared these images of their Maritime Beautys for us to enjoy!

Thursday, 4 September 2014


Yesterday I got new fabrics from Hoffman.  Bellissima!
You can see the different colourways here; I chose silver, orchid, jade and pewter with an antique beige/gold from their Blenders line to match one of the lines in the stripe.  The collection includes a large floral, a swirl, a dot, a print and a stripe - a winning combination of patterns that always makes a stunning quilt.  Since my Italian is not up to speed,I Googled "bellissima" to learn it is the feminine form of "bellissimo" which makes sense when you see this collection.  Belissima indeed!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Stitched from the Heart

Mark your calendars - it's a quilt show by our friends in Antigonish, Nova Scotia:

Stitched from the Heart 2014 Quilt Show
Highland Quilt Guild of Antigonish

Friday and Saturday, Sept 26-27, 2014 (Fri 10 – 7; Sat 10 – 5)

St James United Church, 197 Main St, Antigonish, NS

Admission $5; refreshments served

For more information, contact Brenda or (902)863-5040

Monday, 1 September 2014

Ribbon Embellishment

Last month, Jeanne Kaye Speight shared this picture of her Santa's Trip Around The World.  The quilt looked finished... but Jeanne decided it needed a little embellishment.
So she added this: 
A first place ribbon from the New Brunswick Provincial Exhibition!  Way to go, Jeanne!
The pattern for Santa is here...(winning ribbon not included *-))

Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Beauty-ful Quilt

It was only last week that I showed you a picture of Diane Zdep's embroidered Oriental Beauty. Now she has done it again, with another finished beauty! Stitched in blue tones with a delft blue church scene machine embroidered in the centre it doesn't resemble my original version in the least. Diane has done some very pretty quilting, if you zoom in you can see the details better. I especially like the radiating lines quilted in the corners as they help draw your eye to the centre.

Here's my version.  Stitched in scrappy Christmas prints it has a totally different look from Diane's nicely coordinated palette.  
The pattern for Christmas Beauty # 308 is here on the checkout page of my website, or ask at your local quilt shop.
Thank you, Diane.  What's next for you?

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Workshop Notice

Laptop Bag quilted by Heather Olmstead 
Two spots have opened up in the Free Motion Quilting For The Absolutely Terrified on September 13, 2014 in Amherst, Nova Scotia.  If you are interested, please email.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

An Embroidered Beauty

Diane Zdep from Alberta has been busily quilting up some beauties, including this one. Gorgeous!
Diane writes:  "I love this pattern I bought from you. This is my walk on the wild side with the centre machine embroidered using fall colors. It sure was a lot of fun to do. I love putting my own spin on things." The pattern for Oriental Beauty is designed with an easy method of appliquing the curves but Diane, who has no issue with curved seams, stitched hers the regular way.
Thanks so much for sending the photo Diane.  I know you are stitching away on a few more surprises, and I hope we get to see those soon!
You can find pattern # 209 for Oriental Beauty on my website, or ask for it at your local quilt shop.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Tuscany Silk

I've been itching to try Hobbs Tuscany Silk Batting and was thrilled when Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium received a shipment.  Yay, Mrs. P! (she does mail orders if you can't visit in person!)
It's a lovely light-weight batting which shows the relief of the stitches very nicely.  I will definitely be using this silk batting again.  Even this small, heavily stitched piece drapes beautifully;  it would be a dream on a bed quilt.
I stitched this sample of our project for our upcoming Free Motion Quilting For The Absolutely Terrified workshop using gold metallic thread but there isn't much sparkle showing in these pictures.
It's a dark and overcast day here so I took the little quilt outside to photograph to capture as much light as possible.
I ended up planting the hanger on top of a bean pole in our garden.  It seemed a safe spot, as I had helpers in attendance.
Maddie sat at one end of the row pondering how to climb that bean pole...
...while Polly surveyed the situation from the other end.
Maddie got bored and decided there was other trouble he could pursue.  Oh, oh...look out Polly, he is slowly stalking you!
We know what happened next.  I didn't get a picture of the rumble as I was hurrying to get the quilt safely inside.  No silk was harmed in the photographing of the quilt.  

Monday, 18 August 2014

Fibre Comes in Many Forms

I have a very cool, handmade bracelet fashioned by Diann McDonald.  Can you guess what the beads are made from?  Check it out here on the blog of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival.