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 New York, New York which was featured on the cover of Quilter's Connection magazine. Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 2 May 2015

O.C.F.C.

Obsessive Compulsive Fabric Collecting: it's a disorder many quilters suffer from.  Recently, I had an email from someone making my New York Roundabout Again and had run short of the fabric for an outer arch.  To solve the issue, she decided to replace the 4 outer arcs and sent a picture to ask for suggestions on what colour to use.  I emailed back with the observation that the fabric looked like Fossil Fern and possibly I had the right shade of green in my collection.  She mailed me a snippet and...sure enough...
What are the odds? (pretty good actually...!)  I decided it was time to downsize, and I ruthlessly culled three boxes and two garbage bags of fabric from my stash.  I set them aside to deliver to some quilting friends when I visit next month, and happily revelled in all the extra space I had reclaimed.  Yesterday, I woke up with a burning desire to sew colourful scrap Dresden Fan blades and...I don't have to write the rest, we all know what happened.  Yup...I brought those bags and boxes back into my sewing room. I loved seeing my old friends, from projects past.
At what point does O.C.F.C. become hoarding?

Friday, 1 May 2015

Provenance

Rhythmic has arrived safely back from Paducah and I am thrilled to have this very cool label to sew on the back:

Thursday, 30 April 2015

It's Time For Colour In Amherst

Yesterday, Amherst and area quilt lovers were treated to a fabulous showing of works from award winning Canadian quilters.  Dorinda McCully, the CQA representative for Nova Scotia, arrived bright and early at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium to set up the exhibit. Dorinda was accompanied by helper Simone Cooper, who is no stranger to Amherst, having attended our Fibre Arts Festival for many years. The show was entitled, "It's Time For Colour" and the pieces carried the theme well.
Each small quilt had its own special story, and Dorinda shared details on what inspired each maker, as well as on technical construction. Dorinda has been travelling extensively around the province with this exhibit and is well versed on the background of each wall quilt.

The pieces were of varied techniques -patchwork, appliqué, thread work, painting - and each expertly crafted.   







 There were note cards available for purchase as well.
You can visit the the CQA site for more details on these pieces, including the names of their makers. 
Dorinda and Simone travelled from Antigonish to bring the show to Amherst, on the road before 6 a.m. and not back home until early evening.  Even after the long day of driving, standing and talking, their smiles and enthusiasm remained intact (although I don't think they were too thrilled about the snow on the Cobequid Pass!!)  Thank you, Dorinda and Simone, for sharing these world-class works of art with us. 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Spring Snow

I quilted snowflakes again today and Mother Nature chimed in with another blast of snow for us! (10 cm by the time it ends, if we can believe the weather people). I decided I had best hurry up and get this project off my table so spring can come. (who knew quilters held such power?! :)  The project is a practise piece  for an upcoming workshop on 60° diamonds.  I have lots of samples sewn from a previous presentation of this workshop, but I always do a trial run close to the workshop date so that things are fresh in my mind. You can't take anything for granted when you are teaching. I chose these gorgeous Hoffman snowflake  batiks.
This version is smaller than the one we will do on our workshop, but it covers the basic log cabin construction. Once the diamonds are stitched, the fun part is deciding the layout.  I tried it first with blue centres facing in, but decided I liked the light ones better.
 I love how my favourite shade of blue pops up so went with this arrangement.
Choosing thread was fun.  This is a variegated Aurifil (#4060) which goes from dark silver to very light and was perfect for the light batik.  I cut a snowflake out of card stock and traced around it for the centre quilting motif.
 The rest of the quilting was done completely free hand - mostly swirls.
 Hoffman C#123 Lapis is a perfect match for Aurifil 2725.
 I didn't use any sparkly threads as the batiks didn't seem to call for them.  They were gorgeous enough on their own, and a cotton thread was a good match.
It's too messy outside for a good picture so I took a couple inside.
The project came out a good size for a centrepiece - about 30" across.

Kate has suggested that perhaps if I quilted some flowers the weather might change.  We'll see if that works!

It's Time For Colour Tomorrow!

In my opinion, every day is time for colour(!)... but tomorrow, Nova Scotia CQA rep, Dorinda McCully, will bring the travelling quilt show thus named to Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium, 50 Victoria Street, Amherst.
See you there!

Monday, 27 April 2015

Oh Oh...

It's snowing outside and I think that may be my fault!  I've been quilting up a storm with some beautiful Hoffman batiks.
I'll try to slow down...promise!

Friday, 24 April 2015

Timeless Treasures Quilt Show

Here's one not to miss: Saturday, May 9, 2015, the Sackville, New Brunswick Quilter's Guild is having a quilt show, sale and tea. This Sackville guild is a fabulous, friendly, giving group of women and I can only imagine the treasures they have in store for the day.  (click poster to enlarge)
I'll be in attendance with a display of the projects from Quilting Beauties, and on hand to sign books from 10-2. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Paducah 2015 Semi-Finalists

AQS Quilt Week in Paducah opens today and even though I am not there, I am thrilled that Rhythmic is.  You can see the complete list of semi-finalists here. It's no small thrill to see my name among a veritable who's who in today's quilt world.

A new requirement for the show this time was that odd-shaped quilts - which mine appear mostly to be! - be mounted on a separate black backing to make hanging the quilts easier for the show organizers.
I was very unsure of how to go about doing this, and whether a single layer of black cotton would even support the weight of the quilt without puckers, but Beth from Mrs. Pugsley's helped me find the perfect fabric, one with just the right heft to support the quilt.  Basically, I measured the quilt, cut the backing a bit larger and hemmed the edges, using the hanging sleeve instructions for Paducah at the top. Then I machine stitched with black thread through my quilt at the edge of the binding to attach it to the backing. It could only be stitched along the top edge as the bottom had to be left free for the judges to see the back of the quilting. I've had my fingers crossed that this backing was properly done...otherwise, the quilt would not have been hung.  Rhythmic has had a fabulous year;  you can download the pattern here to make your own.

If you are lucky enough to be attending the Paducah show, I'd love a picture of Rhythmic to see where it's hanging.  It's in the wall-quilt, domestic machine quilted category.  Congrats to all the quilters who made the amazing winning quilts!  Here are the WINNERS!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Road Trip

...and I got the coolest zippers, ever:
They are perfect to go in my latest batik project!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Button, Button; Who's Got The Button?

Me and Polly!  The mailman just delivered the hand-made buttons I ordered last week from "Funny Business Buttons" and they are ADORABLE! Personally, I can't imagine making anything this small turn out so perfectly.
Polly is every bit as impressed as I am.
You can find these great buttons here.  Now I have to come up with something worthy of their cuteness! (maybe Polly needs a sweater...??)

Monday, 13 April 2015

A Little of This, A Lot of That

There isn't much of interest to share from my quilting world;  for the last little bit it's been preparing for workshops, packaging pattern orders, and brain-storming new ideas for designs and teaching. Some days it all goes in circles and you end up back where you started. I've also been playing with threads, and exploring possibilities which hadn't before occurred to me.  This is a white/silver grey Aurifil variegated I bought to use on the Hoffman Challenge quilt.  Even though I won't be stitching it on white, I wanted to see how it looked in a feather.  I think it will be fabulous on the challenge fabric.
I picked up new 12 weight thread at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium, and each spool came with a fun thread wrap.
The wrap will not only keep the thread ends tidy, but will also keep the dust off.  Sewing rooms generate a lot of dust...or at least mine does (!).
I didn't do anything too serious with the thread...yet;  it's all still in the thinking stages, but it's got the potential to be a really fun workshop.
The weather has been beautiful - it's supposed to go up to 12 degrees today! - and the snow in the backyard has gone down significantly in the past few days. This shot was taken a few minutes ago, and the back of the bench is now exposed.  Last week it was covered.
For my friend in "Upper Canada" tending her seedlings, here's a shot of our garden which is just to the left of the picnic table.  I don't think there will be fresh rhubarb for awhile yet...it's still about two feet under snow...but we're optimistic!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

It's Time For Colour!

This fabulous show is coming to Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium!

(Click the poster to enlarge the details.)
See you there!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Quilting With A Twin

This post is not about working with my hubby (who is a twin) but about the use of a twin needle for quilting.
Like regular machine needles, twin needles are sold in various sizes and gauges but they have two number designations.  The sizing on this one - 2.0/80 - signifies it is a size 80 needle with 2 mm between the needles.You can buy sizes with the needles spaced further apart;  it all depends on the look you are going for.  Twin needles are most often used in decorative stitching, but there is also a use for them in quilting. I made this little satin bow tie quilt many years ago, on my old Kenmore, using a twin needle to stitch pintucks to recreate a tuxedo shirt front
I stitched the pintucks on the top layer of cotton only, for use in the patchwork.
I used a special pintuck foot on my machine but you don't have to have one;  any foot with a wide opening (like a satin stitch foot) will work.
 This is a 5 channel foot, and the grooves ride along the tuck to keep your rows straight.
I have used pintucks in several of my quilts, including one in this book by Leisure Arts called Quilts For Babies and Kids. 

This isn't a very good picture, but the shirt front of Thomas Mouse featured pintucks.
You can also use a twin needle with your walking foot to quilt evenly spaced parallel lines on your layered quilt. 
Depending on how far apart you want your rows of double lines, you can use the edge of your presser foot (or a bar guide) to space the rows.
 On the back of your work, the stitch looks like a narrow zigzag.
I am using a double needle and metallic thread on my Hoffman Challenge quilt to stitch rays from the centre section of the quilt. I like the effect. The downside of quilting with a twin needle is that you can't travel between sections very discreetly, so there is a lot of starting and stopping (and a whack of thread ends to darn in!).
The little zigzag stitch on the back doesn't look a bit out of place.