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 "Celebration".
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 28 February 2011

Another From Lynn

A couple of weeks' back when Lynn and I went on a fabric buying expedition, she picked up this adorable mermaid print at The Covered Bridge Quiltery. She had a very special person in mind with this purchase. This weekend she attended a quilt retreat in Sussex New Brunswick and while the storm raged outside, Lynn worked on her placemat. Isn't it adorable? Her special someone is going to be delighted when she learns this is for her.
Lynn used the placemat pattern from the Around The Table set. Thanks for sharing the picture!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

"Things I Love About A Snowstorm"

I love how Christmas-card pretty the trees are after a storm.

I love climbing up to stand on the snowbank in front of the baby barn to touch the roof.

I love the funny shapes the snow makes as it piles and drifts. (This is a side view of the barn) I love looking across the street at the neighbour's driveway and seeing a white puff of snow appear every so often at the top of the snowbank. This is a sign that he is out there shovelling...although we cannot see him over the snow. He tells us he is almost 6 feet tall...but all we see is a wisp of snow flying off his shovel.

I love how neighbours take the opportunity to chat and commiserate, and work together to clear driveways.

I love how the birds flock to the feeders during and after a big snow.

I love looking for things buried in the snow - such as our picnic table. I love the way Amherst's new LED street lights illuminate the snow at night, and make it sparkle and glisten as if we were living in a snow globe.

I love the shovelling, because it means I don't have to do time on the treadmill that day. It's a welcome break to exercise in the fresh air.

I love playing in the snow. It makes me feel like a kid again.

Most of all...I love when Dave March on CKDH radio says those words that strike fear into the hearts of most parents, and joy into all the kids: "All schools in Cumberland County are closed today."

Friday, 25 February 2011

Flaming Pie

I am happy to report that despite a rather abrupt interruption this week, the Trend Tex Challenge quilt is now pieced and ready to be quilted. I will show the completed quilt after the deadline for the challenge passes. Below you see a mini log cabin which will be added as an embellishment to the front of the quilt. It will measure 2-1/2" when it is finished. It has been some time since I pieced anything this tiny and I had forgotten how much fun it is to work in miniature. It will be tricky to keep the binding in proportion to the size of the quilt.
My work - and concentration - were interrupted this week by a disheartening discovery on another quilter's website. Quite by accident, I saw a sidebar on a blog I visit occasionally, showing a picture of my Oriental Beauty. I thought, "oh isn't that nice?" and clicked to read the post of an Australian quilter. To my horror, I discovered the owner of the blog had pieced my design in another colourway, given it a new name ("It's Not Christmas") and claimed it as her own original work. She has been teaching workshops and selling the pattern for MY copyrighted design!! Click here to see an example...and here to view an entire workshop. You will notice I did not take pictures from her site, I am only linking to them. I emailed her right away and she readily admitted what she had done. She went on to justify her actions saying she thought it was ok to do that, since she had made changes. That in itself blows my mind...

International copyright law states: the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following: (1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies...; (2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work; (3) to distribute copies...of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending....

“It’s Not Xmas” falls under the category of “derivative work”. Section 2 above says that only the copyright holder (in this case me) has the authority to make a derivative of this design. To be copyrightable, a derivative work must differ sufficiently from the original to be regarded as a new work or must contain a substantial amount of new material. Making minor changes or additions of little substance to a preexisting work will not qualify a work as a new version for copyright purposes. The new material must be original and copyrightable in itself.

I have no problem with a quilter being creative with my designs – in fact, I encourage it. Readers of this blog know that I often post pictures which show great variation in interpretation of my patterns, and delight in showing them off. It's an entirely different matter for someone to claim another's work as their own and profit from it. To her credit, she nicely apologized and says she will stop selling the pattern. I will be watching...but how many others are doing the same thing?

Sadly,this is not the first time I have run across this, and I find it more and more discouraging as time goes on. This is my life work, be it ever so humble. I take great care and spend many long hours at my sewing machine and computer. It makes me stop and evaluate whether I want to continue patterning designs as I have done professionally for the past 24 years. It's been a very disheartening week. As my good buddy Paul McCartney sings in Flaming Pie, "took my brains out and stretched them on the rack, now I'm not so sure I'm ever gonna get 'em back..."

On a lighter note, my ingenious husband has been busily crafting snowshoes for he and I to wear when visiting the bees. We took a test drive of the prototype last weekend and had so much fun. They need a bit more tweaking, which he has been doing this week. He's so clever. With more snow predicted later today and tomorrow I look forward to clearing my head in the fresh winter air.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Here's What Joan Is Serving

This is a work in progress from Joan at Ouvrages d'une Acadienne . Her centre star looks to be moving! Click the link to see the rest of her Around The Table Set. Lovely work as always, Joan!
Dayle's Department Store in Amherst are now well stocked with the pattern, so if you tried previously and were unable to find it, it's there now!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Quilting In The Forest Progress

The piecing is going well on my Trend Tex Challenge entry. Because there are 164, 1-1/4" HSTs the quickest and most efficient way is to sew them using a paper foundation. I always write my colours on the back of each section to guide me as I go. It's a bit like assembling a jigsaw puzzle.
The HSTs formed where the blocks intersect are even tinier, finishing at 3/4".
Since the snow predicted for this week appears to no longer be in the forecast, I am hopeful of a good solid week of stitching.

Friday, 18 February 2011

I Love A Challenge!

The deadline for the annual Trend Tex Challenge through The Canadian Quilter's Association (CQA/ACC) is very quickly approaching. The five challenge fabrics arrived last fall. You can see them spread out here: brick red, dark green, lime green, yellow and orange. The fabrics are an assortment of Moda Marbles and Michael Miller Fairy Frost. The Challenge theme is Quilting In The Forest so the colours seem appropriate.
I've been working this challenge for many years and for the first time ever, this year I am adding another fabric to the mix. Technically the rules do allow this, I've just always thought it was more fun to do the "pure"challenge of using the original five. This year I buckled...mostly because I find doing patchwork with Fat Quarters extremely frustrating. There's never quite enough. The black piece will be used as background. I picked it up on the opening day of the White Sale at Dayle's on Wednesday. Even though I am trying hard not to add to my ever-burgeoning stash, I admit I came away with 12 metres of fabric and a huge bag of batting. At $1.88/m for top quality quilting cotton plus no tax, how could anyone resist? That was more of a challenge than my Trend Tex quilt!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

We Are Around Lynn's Table

As promised last week, here are pictures of Lynn's completed table set, all quilted and bound and ready for use.
It's a perfect fit for her 48" table.
Lynn added to her scrappy look by using different fabrics for her bindings.
If you'd like to make your own "Around The Table" set the pattern may be found here, or ask at your local quilt shop. Thanks Lynn for sharing pictures of your lovely work.
So...what's for dinner?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Kathy Tidswell Exhibit

Last year at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival, I had the pleasure of meeting New Brunswick artist Kathy Tidswell. We are pleased to learn that Kathy will be back to Amherst again this fall to our Festival, this time presenting two workshops. Kathy's work is simply amazing; I encourage you to check out the gallery page of her website. Those of you in and around the Halifax area will be able to see some of her pieces in person during the month of March at Advantage Frame, 3269 Hwy 2, Fall River, Nova Scotia.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A Valentine's Surprise

You have to love it when someone arrives at your door and unexpectedly hands you a parcel wrapped in red tissue and tied in white satin ribbon. You have to love it even more when it turns out to be a heart - a quilted heart - made into a mug rug just for you. This sweet surprise was created by Mary Farrow Sinclair, whose work was displayed last fall at Fibre Arts Festival here in Amherst. (It's a funky heart so I shot it on a funky angle.)
Mary used a block designed by Jodi G. Warner which she saw used in a quilt entitled Puzzle Hearts, on the cover of the current issue of Quilter's World magazine. It's perfect for holding a cup of that thing which I love :)

Mary also brought with her some samples she is busily stitching for this year's Fibre Arts Festival in October, where she will be teaching a beginner Hardanger class. The piece she is working on is exquisite. I will post pictures here when she has the finishing touches added.

Thanks, Mary!

Friday, 11 February 2011

This just in...

Had to share my news with other quilty folks (cos the boys just don't' get it...!) My quilt With Glowing Hearts is one of 28 selected from across Canada to be part of the O Canada! 2011 travelling exhibit out of Houston. The show will open in Cincinnati at Spring Quilt Festival. This is the second time that one of my quilts has been included in this exhibit; Log Canada (shown in the header picture of this blog) spent 2009 travelling around the U.S. I am honoured, humbled, and so thrilled to be part of this again. What a good news week this has been!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Around The Table at Bev's

This has been a day of happy surprises, including the one pictured below. Bev Crouse of The Quilter's Net sent along this picture of her freshly sewn centre section of Around The Table. Bev's high contrast colour choices and subtle background shading make the centre appear almost 3-D. Great job, Bev - can't wait to see it quilted!

Sharing pictures is great fun, and I hope the girls in Panama City, Florida who are stitching my selvedge tote bag design this weekend in a class with June will send some along as well (that's a hint, June!). Other nice surprises for the day included several unexpected phone calls, including one which made my head grow three sizes (!) and another which I will post about a little closer to Valentine's Day. The pattern for Around The Table is available from my website, or ask at your local quilt shop, such as The Quilt Gallery of P.E.I. in O'Leary. The happiest surprise for my family today was that I didn't burn the pizza...this time...

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Around The Table - Sneak Peek!

It was fun to open my mail this morning and receive some "in progress" pictures from Lynn. She is working on a scrappy version of Around The Table. Her colours are so lovely and soft.
She is busily stitching down the binding by hand on this and the 4 matching placemats and promises to send pictures of the completed set soon. We are having another snow day (with schools cancelled again) so it's a perfect time to stay inside and sew. Sew quickly, Lynn - we want to see the whole set!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Valentine Sewing

My last post ended with this picture of a pile of silk scraps in colours appropriate for Valentine's Day. Hmmm...what shall I make? Here's what I came up with: a quilted heart sachet/pillow and a flax-and-lavender-filled eye mask, which can be heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer. I was less than 2 hours from start to finish, including time spent figuring out the designs.
I started with the square heart sachet, and drew a simple shape on paper. It's a little wonky, but that suits me; it's only a rough guide, after all. I stitch much better than I draw.
Then I added some feathery looking scrolls and do-dads around the heart.
The silk was thin enough that I could see to trace the design when I held it against a window. Several marking pens were tried before I settled on a blue, water soluble marker with a soft, thick tip. The fine tipped ones dragged on the silk.
I layered the red silk on a scrap of wool batting and free motion quilted following the marked lines. YLI silk thread was used on the top and regular cotton sewing thread on the bottom. You can see I am not very close to some of those lines :) Originally I planned to add cross hatching in the centre of the heart but decided I liked the way it was puffing up.
The markings were washed off and the heart was left to dry; I moved on to making the mask.
I spent some time figuring out the shape of the mask. I considered tracing around the black part of this Hallowe'en mask and adding an inch or so to make it larger...
...but in the end I found the largest pair of sunglasses around, traced the general shape and added a good inch or so all around. I made the top edge straight across.
Because the China silk was so thin, it needed medium weight fusible interfacing.
It was ironed to the back of the silk.
The template was used to cut two layers, a front and back.
Then the pieces were sewn right sides together, leaving an opening at each side: a small one to add elastic, and a larger one to allow turning.
The curves were clipped along the bottom and at the nose piece.
The mask was turned and pressed - carefully, because silk does not take a hot iron well.
The elastic was cut rather loosely, as this isn't anything you want tight around your head when sleeping. 13" seemed a good length. This lingerie elastic has a pretty picot edging which seemed appropriate. I slipped it in the smaller opening and topstitched it closed.
Through the large opening, I added flax and lavender. It was tricky to decide how much, and I may have gone a little overboard on this part, but I ended up using about 1 cup of flax and 1/4 cup of lavender. The flax is just the regular grocery store kind found in the cereal aisle at Sobeys and the lavender came from the health food store in Sackville, N.B. It smells wonderful.
The opening was then stitched shut. I also stitched across the nose piece, just to keep the contents from shifting too much from side to side.
To dress it up, a little ribbon rose was added to the centre. Ta da - all done!
By now the quilted heart was dry, so I placed it face down on a piece of silk lining and stitched around the edge, leaving about a 4" opening on one edge to turn.
A chopstick was used to gently coax out the corners and then the sachet was stuffed with leftover bits of wool batting with lavender mixed in.
It's about 6" square...and smells wonderful!
I plan to make more of these masks as they were very simple to do and will make a nice little gift...useful on those sleepless nights we all have when planning our next quilt.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

A Fabric Buying Excursion

Yesterday Lynn called to invite me to go to Moncton, N.B. with her. It was a beautiful day, with the snow sparkling in the sunshine. We visited both quilt shops in Moncton - The Covered Bridge Quiltery and The Fabric Cupboard before stopping for an unusual lunch. At the latter stop I picked up this hockey print which will fit perfectly in my blue and cream log cabin.
I admit I was drawn to the Canadian flag on one of the jerseys. This also gives me another cool selvedge strip to add to my almost-ready-to-be-sewn collection.
Between the two shops, I ended up with six Fat Quarters, a very modest purchase considering all the gorgeous prints on display. They are now cut into 2" strips waiting to be sewn. This morning I gleaned red, rose, pink and white pieces from my boxes of silks and hope to make something heart-felt for Valentine's. The design is roughed out in my head but not on the computer as yet. I would be interested in hearing if others are drawn to including silk in their patchwork. The haptic and visual qualities of working with silk are very appealing; my hands and eyes find great reward.
With more snow in the forecast for later today and tomorrow, there should be some cosy sewing time.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

One Is A Cardinal Number

...and that's how many cardinals I saw in the birch tree this morning - one! I was thrilled to look out on the snow and see Mrs. Cardinal surveying the feeders. Naturally by the time I got the camera, she had flown but it's great to know she is back in town. Where there is a Mrs. there is always a Mr. Cardinal as well.
It was fun to wake up and see the new snowfall which covered Nova Scotia.
35 cm is what we received.
Yesterday it was cosy and warm inside and I spent the day working on a scrappy blue and cream log cabin. I am just about half way along in the piecing and adding to it here and there as time permits.

(and yes, the strip of green is meant to be there - for a special reason!)