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 "Meadow Song"; you can download the pattern here.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Bees A Buzzin"

We were out to visit the bees this morning, and  despite our overcast day, it was wonderful to find everyone out working.  See the little yellow pollen packs on their legs?  You can also see where some of the pollen has fallen between the cracks at the entrance.  Hubby tasted it and declared it very sweet.
It was quite windy, but you can still hear the buzz.
video
As you can see, the tar paper wrapping which is added for overwintering,has not yet been removed. Our uncertain spring can be full of surprises;  we had snow last week.  I can say for a fact that it was storming on this day 24 years ago.  I will never forget that,  as we welcomed our youngest son in the middle of a snowstorm :)
In a very short time, the blossoms will be out, and the bees will be moved into blueberry blooms. Now I am off to decorate a cake.  No quilting for me today.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

I.M.Q.E.

Have you heard about the International Miniature Quilt Exchange?

It's an initiative put forth by The Quilt Show folks to encourage quilting camaraderie around the globe. Click on the poster below to read the details.

I signed up and already have been matched with a partner - Terry, from New Mexico.  We've been emailing back and forth a bit, getting to know each other.  The goal of the IMQE program is to have 300 teams, and they are already over half-way to reaching that goal.
To participate, you need to have a Quilt Show membership, but that's free.  Go to thequiltshow.com to sign up. You have until next January to finish your quilt, and some of the entries will go to IQF fall and spring markets.  Sounds like fun!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Learning By Teaching

Although the days fly by, sometimes there isn't a lot to show at the end of each.  I've been working on stitch samples for an upcoming free motion quilting workshop.  Even though I have taught this class many times before, each one is new and different;  you can't just dial it in. You learn as you go what works and what doesn't...or as Bob Seger sings in Against the Wind, "what to leave in, what to leave out." I have one more filler stitch to settle on...and it may be just an echo. Or a scroll.  Or S lines...
For sure, we will be doing continuous curve quilting;  it's my favourite go-to stitch as it's so versatile. Whether you use it to quickly quilt squares, or as a background pumpkin-seed filler, it's a stitch every free-motion quilter should have in their repertoire. I piece scraps, and dig out orphan blocks, as I've learned that demos done on actual patchwork, not just plain cotton, give a more concrete understanding of the application.
I've decided to do clam shells, even though I usually avoid them in my own work.  (Imagine a gal from Five Islands not being a fan of clam shells! :)
This is my arsenal of feet, amassed over years of quilting, progressing from left to right.  When I started doing free motion on my old Kenmore, there was no foot available.  I used a spring needle (shown on the left). I was delighted to finally find a short-shank foot that fit my machine. Bernina has lots of fabulous feet for their machines. My newest acquisition - the ruler foot - is on the far right. See how thick it is?  That's so it won't slip under the ruler and damage your machine. It's made curved cross-hatching very doable on my domestic machine. I hope to be able to show you some of that soon.
For now, it's back to deciding on that final stitch to fill the last square on my sampler.  What would you choose?

Friday, 21 April 2017

Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival Workshops - Friday

On Friday, October the 13th (!) I will be presenting a new workshop on free-form curved flying geese as part of the 10th Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival.
In this workshop, we will learn to draft and sew a free-form curved flying geese unit which will then be added to a project. The technique used will be paperless paper-piecing (also known as freezer paper piecing) which results in perfect points but no messy paper to remove afterwards. Class project is this Christmas wallhanging shown above, however you are welcome to work on a project of your own choosing.  You may want to construct bands to add to different project, such as this:
This is an all day workshop, and the cost is $65.00 plus tax.  This class is almost full, so if you are interested, please email at once to secure your spot.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival Workshops - Thursday

Even though October seems like a long way off, it really isn't when there's lots to be put in place before then.  For this year's festival, I will be offering two different workshops.  The first - on Thursday Oct. 12 - is on free-form curved strip piecing.  It's back by popular demand, as there was a long waiting list for this one last time.

We spend the day cutting free form curves and sewing them back together to create a new piece of fabric which may then be used in a variety of projects.
The class project is a cushion with a piped edge.  I'll offer tips on how to add a hidden zipper to the back for easy insertion of the pillow form.
Here are a few of the finished pieces from the last workshop, the first from Sandy W:
I love this one by Donna G (and the handsome kitty too :))
 Glenda MacD made a very soft, feminine version:
Karen R. made several, for Christmas gifts:
It's always great to see projects finished up.  I will share more for inspiration as we get closer to the workshop.
Cost of the full day class is $65.00 + tax. Registration for both workshops (I'll tell you about the Friday class in the next post)  is underway, just email me if you would like you name added to the list.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

I Got The Blues...

No, not that kind of "blues" - the good kind.  The Aurifil thread kind!
So many shades of blue are now in stock, including # 1320 which is the signature Aurifil blue, used in their logo and packaging.
I also have 3 different weights (50, 28, and 12) of the shade of blue used in the Canada 150 logo, for those stitching sesquicentennial projects. (and by the way...did you know that "Canada 150" is part of the logo and needs to be included every time?)
The 28 weight is great for satin stitching:
The 12 weight can be used for either hand or machine embroidery.  You can find these threads here.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Aurifil Thread

Last year I decided to become a retailer for Aurifil threads. This was something I had dreamt of for some time as this very fine, long-staple, Egyptian cotton is not widely available in my area and I knew if I was having trouble finding it, others were too.  That first order was pretty small.
  I started out with a few different spools in various sizes, and weights. 
As the support for my venture slowly grew, so did my thread stock. I added cones...
and metallics, in gold and silver:
Last fall, I had a request for a collection, so I brought in a few "Basics" (as in Mark Lipinski Basics)

These collections offer a great selection of colours at a fabulous saving over individual spools, so I ordered in a bunch more.  You can see them all in my thread store.  

I also carry empty cases to store your spools.

Primarily, the thread is available for purchase on my website, but I also have it with me at shows and workshops.  If you are local or passing through the area, we can arrange for a pick-up to save on postage.  Mrs Pugsley's Emporium very kindly allows me to leave ordered thread at her quilt shop for pick up there.  Because I am a home-based business, my prices are very competitive (less than the online giant that begins with "C" - no $ exchange or import taxes to pay to get it across the border.  That's all been done. :)  Thank you for your support which allows my store - and my dream - to grow.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Sisterly Love

We hear the term "brotherly love" fairly often, but the sibling counterpart also exists.  Last year, my always-thoughtful sister Nancy saw a picture of a cake on the internet that looked like a sewing machine.  She immediately thought, "Karen would love that!" and she duly set about finding someone to make it.
It took her 6 months to find the right person - Janet Wilmot, of Janet's Custom Cakery in Truro, N.S. A beaming Nancy and my B-I-L Ralph arrived one day, and held out the cake to me.
The details are incredible; pins, scissors, pincushion, and stitching on the "quilt".  There is even Aurifil-blue thread on the machine! What does one say to something like that? There were no words.
 There were, however, lots of tears.  :)  I am still bowled over by it.
And no - no one was allowed to eat the cake!  It's holding up well, as part of the decor.  Thanks, Nancy and Ralph. xxxxx


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Optimism

We actually took the snow tires off today!!

Thanks So Much!

Really appreciate the response I received to my last post.  Several folks responded that they took pictures for me; you can see the first of them here on Bonni's blog:
Thanks so much, Bonni!

This week I am packing workshop kits, and choosing quilts for a trunk show in Paradise, N.S., in May.  I have a lot of quilts to choose from, and I try to take different ones along each time I present.
 There are some favourites, though, that have to come each time.
The trunk show will be May 5th at 6:30 pm at the Paradise Community Hall, 10300 Highway #1 in Paradise, and is open to the public.  Who wouldn't like to spend an evening in Paradise? :)

Monday, 3 April 2017

Spread The Word!

International Quilt Festival opens in Chicago on Thursday.  Are you going?  I'm not...but my Rhythmic quilt is in the "Hands All Around" exhibit, representing modern quilt-making in Canada. 

If you are there, I'd love to have a picture of the quilt in the show. (photos are permitted,)   IQF runs from April 6 to 8, 2017, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Illinois. Please pass this along to any friends who may be going. Thank you!!!




Friday, 31 March 2017

A Kid In A (Canadian) Candy Store!

I've been steadily working away on a commissioned piece and I am almost finished.  I like to reward myself at the end of each big project, so today I tooled off to Mrs Pugsley's Emporium.  I've been watching their Facebook page and knew they had lots of new fabrics in this week...lots of Canadian themed fabrics, as we are celebrating our sesquicentennial this year.
I bought a nice selection because this opportunity to purchase Canadiana doesn't often exist. Naturally I started with hockey fabric:)  It was fun to read the jersey numbers and connect them to the players' names.
 This panel has the coat of arms of Canada, as well as the flag of Nova Scotia.  Had to have that!
 There was a print with the flags of all the provinces and territories. Nova Scotia is right in the middle.
Another panel, looking very flag like, printed on top of the words to O Canada. Beautiful. These are Robert Kaufman fabrics, designed by Harper's, and will coordinate with Kona solids.

This is my favourite; I hope to use some of it this afternoon.

There were also new pins and charms, and a couple of those came home with me too: this Featherweight pin is appropriate (I own 4 Featherweights!).
The little charm is a hand-crank machine (I have one of those, too!)  Not sure if it will go on a chain, or on a bracelet.

Do you reward yourself at the end of each project?  It's my solution to UFO's!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Satin Stitching

Heavier thread weights can sure work to advantage when doing satin stitch!  I've been adding lettering to some quilt blocks, and practicing on scraps using different fonts.  I print out the size I want from WORD and then trace the letters onto fabric.  Putting two layers of tear-away stabilizer underneath my work means I don't need to use a hoop. Originally, I started with 50 weight thread going over the stitching twice.  Then I switched to a 28 weight thread and found it fills in the space between the stitches really nicely with just one pass. This is Aurifil colour 2725, a pretty soft blue. The needle is a size 90/14 metallic, which has an extra large eye.  50 weight thread in a matching colour is used in the bobbin.
Now I will gather my courage and stitch the letters on the top of the actual quilt.  Wish me luck! :)