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!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Felicity Table Runner

It's here! No not spring, but something to remind us it's coming!  This is the new design I have been working on.  It's called Felicity.
The fabrics are a sweet new collection from Lewis & Irene - a British company - called Spring Hare. Though the prints do feature bunnies, the look really is more like 30's fabrics. Such a soft palette is not something I normally work with, but I have enjoyed these...and they go great with my china!
The batting is Tuscany silk, which is perfect for a table set as it isn't thick or lumpy, yet it allows nice definition to the quilting and lets the stitching show.
It's rather simply done, mostly continuous curves with a few feathers thrown in for good measure.
 The runner measures 12-1/2" x 33-1/4", and the pattern includes instruction for matching placemats.
That mischievous middle bunny kept sniffing the flowers.
I had fun trying out different dishes for the photo shoot.  The Peter Rabbit ones were perfect, as is this well-worn cutlery set of a cow, pig and chicken.
It looks equally inviting with my Tranquility china; all the colours are there.  Would you like to come for tea?
I stitched a sample placemat to try out the fit of the templates, as well as to audition the quilting stitches.  This one uses a double layer of wool batting so you can really see the stitches pop.
The exciting part is that Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium in Amherst, Nova Scotia carries the full line of Spring Hare fabrics in her shop, and a kit (including the pattern) to make this set is available exclusively from Mrs. Pugsley's! Details will be posted on her site soon.

If you would just like the pattern by itself, it is available for purchase locally at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium, through my website, or as an instant download here.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Hopping Along With The Spring Hare

We are hopping right along with the runner in the Spring Hare collection.  The piecing is complete and I had fun choosing threads for the quilting.  I am by no means a thread snob - I love it all, and have a huge variety of weights, colours and brands on hand.  The bobbin thread is a 100 weight (i.e. very fine) Wonderfil Invisifil.  For the quilting, I chose 5 different colours:  a pink/cream variegated by Sulky, a solid yellow Konfetti by Wonderfil, a pale blue cotton Gutermann, a silver/white Aurifil variegated, and a green variegated Gutermann which I've had since Moses was a baby. That Gutermann was the first time I had seen variegated sewing thread in a store, and in my excitement, I bought all of it, in all the colourways - the entire thread display!  It was my first experience hoarding thread...(sadly not my last...:))  I have two spools of the green left, and one of a Christmas red/white/green.  It was a well-loved investment!
I picked up this pink Sulky at The Quilt Gallery in O'Leary last summer and have been itching to use it.  It has the perfect blend of shades from dark pink to cream to work with the blades in the fan blocks.
It was a tad heavier than the rest - a 30 weight - but I liked the effect.  It was like embroidering small scrolls.
Because of all the variation in thread thickness between my top and bobbin threads, it was necessary to adjust the top tension with each thread so that my stitches were perfect.  I am always amazed at how reluctant students are to do this!  For the 30 weight pink thread, I had to call on the bobbin case's secret weapon - I call it a stitch finger, I have no clue what it's really named.  Not all machines have one, but if they do, it's a wonderful help to proper tensioning.  You can see I've simply run my bobbin thread through the tiny hole at the top of the finger before inserting the bobbin back in the case.  It tightens up the bottom thread just a tiny bit - way easier than moving the screw.  
The quilting is almost finished up, so I will show you the rest soon.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Spring Hare

When the calendar says "March", we all automatically think "spring" (despite the fact that outside my window I can see it is snowing again!)  Last week, I picked up this new collection of fabrics by Lewis & Irene at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium.  It's called Spring Hare.
Some of those bunnies gambling about look a bit like chocolate *-)
I've got a new design for a tablerunner and place mats which needed spring colours. I love the shade of blue - kind of like a robin's egg.  It may be awhile before we see any robin eggs around here in real life though!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Eye Candy For Quilters

Awhile back, pattern tester Darlene Gerber worked on my Roundabout Again pattern before it went to print.  She finished the top in no time, but didn't get around to the quilting.  She sent it out to award winning quilter Valerie Smith, aka The Pumpkin Patch Quilter.  You've got to visit Valerie's site to see this piece - her quilting is jaw-dropping phenomenal.  The curved cross-hatching is so effective in the quarter circles, and those feathers in the middle - oh my!
Click the Quilt Gallery tab at the top of Valerie's page to see more. Wow! Please be sure to leave Valerie a comment so she knows you have visited.  I know you will enjoy seeing her beautiful work - I sure did!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Hoffman Challenge

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to participate in the Hoffman Challenge.  Lo and behold, Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium stocked the required fabrics for the 2015 event.  How awesome;  it takes one off the old bucket list...The fabric collection is called Mandalay; the one on top below is the main one to be used.  Gold and pomegranate.
The rules are quite flexible so I paired a couple of other Hoffman prints with the line, which added both silver and gold sparkle.
One of the sponsors of the challenge is Aurifil Thread so I ordered some from Bytowne Threads to use in the piecing and quilting.  
The deadline is very generous and the completed project is not due until July so I have lots of time to enjoy the process.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Snow Challenge

Yesterday we finally got our street widened from the last big snowfall to two lanes and this morning we woke to...more snow, more school and business cancellations, and more shoveling!

The mailman has only made it here once since last Thursday and when he did, he brought a lovely surprise.  It's a copy of my book, signed by all the wonderful folks from AQS who had a hand in it.  What a special keepsake, and such a thoughtful gesture on the publisher's part.  
You can order a copy of Quilting Beauties here (but it may be delayed a day or so because of snow!)

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Life is Full of Challenges

Some of the challenges we encounter in our journey are good ones - they make us grow in our craft, and in ourselves.  This is a good challenge:

The details are here, on Grandma Coco's blog.  Have fun!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Mary's Meadow Song

Amidst all of the snow, here's a lovely version of Meadow Song by Mary Farrow-Sinclair of Amherst to make us think of spring.  If you click on the picture, you should be able to see the cross-hatch quilting Mary has worked in the background of the appliqu├ęs. It sets the motifs off so nicely and gives a traditional look to the piece.
Mary started her project awhile back (I won't say how many "whiles", Mary *-) in one of my workshops.  My original looks like this:
You can see that my version used a few more pinwheels than Mary's, but she has substituted plain blocks for her border very effectively. Meadow Song appeared on the cover of Quilter's Connection magazine.
Mary is one of the members of Amherst's Train Station Gallery and with this quilt she was chosen to be the Featured Artisan. 
Congrats, Mary, on a beautiful piece of work.  If you are interested in purchasing Mary's quilt, you can contact her here. 
The pattern for Meadow Song is available on Craftsy as an instant download, or in print version from Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Snow Fun

We got a bit of snow last night.  According to CTV News, Amherst took top spot in the snowfall, with 65 cm down so far!  It's going to be awhile before the car is dug out.

 My sewing room window:
Polly is not a bit impressed with the view from the living room window.  This is the amount of snow on our front walk.  Hubby has suggested it would be easier to move the mailbox than to clear the walk! 

Sunday, 15 February 2015


Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who came yesterday to Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium.  It was a great party.  There was no time for pictures once things got rolling, but here are a few from just before the shop opened.
For those not aware, Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium is housed in the historic clock tower building in downtown Amherst.  Just being inside the building itself is a treat...but to have it filled with quilting fabric is heaven! (Obviously this is not a recent photo - otherwise you would see some rather large snowbanks...)  The quilt shop is housed on the main floor, and quilts were hung in those Gothic arched windows

See the big apple?

My sister, husband and niece arrived with flowers. Thank you, Nancy, Ralph and Christina :)
There was also a delivery of flowers from Joan and Gerald unable to attend because of today's blizzard. How sweet, and how very Joan. Everyone in the shop waited as I read the card read to see who the mystery sender was.  Thank you Joan and Gerald for adding to the day's fun!  
They look so pretty together!

There were little bites of NY style cheesecake to go home with each visitor, and of course a little chocolate in honour of the day.
Sincere thanks to all who attended in person, and in spirit.  It was a lovely day.  Thank you Beth!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Quilting Beauties: Cast & Crew

My name may be the only one on the cover, but c'mon...we know I didn't do it all by myself.  I had family help - Beryl, Jamie, Patrick, Peter, Nancy, Lawrence, and of course, Polly and Maddie.  The editors at AQS were absolutely fabulous:  executive editor Elaine Brelsford, Kathy Davis, Angela Henry, Chrystal Abhalter, Angela Schade, Ginny Harris, and Elaine Wilson...and I am sure many others whose names I don't know. The incredibly beautiful cover was created by graphic artist Michael Buckingham (I LOVE the cover!)  I can't say enough how impressed I am with AQS,

GORGEOUS fabrics were supplied by Hoffman of California, Stof of Denmark and Michael Miller Fabrics.  The very creative Mark Hordyszynski also had a hand in this.

Mistakes are so easy to make when writing instructions - an "off" day of keyboarding might give a measurement listing as 12" instead of 1/2" so it was vital to enlist sharp eyes to watch my back.  I am grateful for the assistance of professional pattern testers Lynn Bourgeois of River Philip, Nova Scotia, Darlene Gerber of Geneva, Ohio and Kari Lippert of Hanover, Maryland. These experienced quilters went over and over the instructions with a fine tooth comb and I feel confident that nothing was missed.  It was great to have my friend Lynn on the testing team again, as she and I go back a long way.  Lynn had also helped out on the first book, Canadian Heritage Quilting.

They say the place of honour is at the back of the book, and I am thrilled that two members of La Guilde Acadienne de Clare here in Nova Scotia, Alisa Aymar of Meteghan and Joan Tufts of Saulnierville, contributed photos of their work for the Gallery section.  Make sure you check out their beautiful quilts!
I am indebted to so many for all the help on this project, and I thank everyone involved.
Beth Munroe's enthusiasm from the get-go has been so awesome.  She invited me down to meet with the fabric reps visiting her quilt shop so that I could see and feel the new collections first-hand. She gave away a trip for 2 to New York City to promote the book, and she is hosting the signing tomorrow at her shop.  Come join us if you can  - 10 to 2 - and see for yourself that Quilting Beauties Come In All Shapes and Sizes.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Quilting Beauties: Batik Beauty

Batik Beauty - the name says it all!  This quilt was stitched using batiks from Michael Miller. I love the bright clear colours in their batiks.
The black is actually not a solid; when you get close you can see it mottled with dark blue streaks which was perfect in this quilt.
To show the quilting, I did the unpardonable in the photography world and shot some pictures outside on a very bright, sunny day.  Yes, it distorts the colours, but the relief of the stitching stands out very clearly.
The centre orange section is filled with feathers, and little scrolls swirl around the cream band which circles the centre.
The pictures were taken at the Nova Scotia/New Brunswick border, where there is a small lighthouse surrounded by these very handy rocks.  I take a lot of quilts over there to photograph.
At Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium, this Batik Beauty is displayed on an antique player piano made from a dark wood; the quilt looks fabulous in that setting.  Come and see for yourself!