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. Pictured is "Sun Salutation"; pattern available on Craftsy.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Outside The Box

A little bird told me that a second big box of goodies is on the way from Island Batik. ( was really a heads-up from the tracking number :)  As an Ambassador, we are each sent a supply of fabric, batting, and thread every six months or so.  Here's my first box, which arrived back in February.  There was so much in that box - thread from Aurifil, batting from Hobbs, as well as beautiful Island Batik collections - that I thought it would take ages to use up.
But use it up I did, and here's what I made: table-toppers, runners, a cushion, a baby quilt, wallhanging, and some sweet little carrot bags at Easter time.

I still can't show completely what was in the package marked "Surprise", but if you look hard in the group picture above, it's peeking out behind the rainbow trout.  I am looking forward to showing the king-sized quilt during the Island Batik Ambassador blog hop in August.
This was my favourite collection in the box, called "Morning Sunshine." Those yellows were soooo enticing.
 From this, I made a New York Beauty quilt, called Sun Salutation, which I really like:
In addition to what you see above, I also designed and made a project for Island Batik's Fall Catalogue, and it will be with them at Quilt Market in the fall when they roll out the new collections for the coming year.  It's been a busy six months of sewing, but I am really happy to say that I have used nearly every bit of fabric in that box.  No waste here!
I am impatiently checking my tracking number, watching for those magic words, "Out For Delivery".  Soon, I hope, and I will show the contents here. In the meantime, you can check out these posts for more information on this year's projects so far. A big thanks to Island Batik for their continued support.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Full Of Surprises

The Island Batik Ambassador challenge for July is to use blocks that create an unexpected design - i.e., a secondary surprise - when placed side by side.  Imagine my surprise when fiddling around with my blocks to find not just a secondary but also a tertiary (third) design emerging.

I started out sketching what I knew as an "orange peel" block, only to discover that when there are four peels in a single block, EQ8 calls it Joseph's Coat. Regardless of the name, it's a great block, and one that provided great structure and movement to this very simple quilt.  This is Joseph's Coat:

 I placed it next to a plain block.
I love the rather arabesque shape it gifted to the plain block.
Pretty...but with a little tweaking of colours, this emerged.  The orange peels no longer looked like flower petals, they were now more of a curvy chain, dancing between the coloured blocks.
With a little more colour play, immediately, the tertiary design of small border stars emerged.  
I love it!
Now to find fabrics in my stash that would work in this quilt... Island Batik very generously provided a good amount of fabric in the first ambassador box which arrived in February.  I confess, I have used nearly everything in that box! It's a very good thing that a second box is on its way here now. I chose "milkshake" from the "Foundations" line for the peels;  I started to cut the pieces out with a seam allowance to piece my blocks with curved seams, only to realize I would not have enough fabric.  Plan B was to use raw edge appliqué instead, which meant I did  not have to have a seam allowance.  Gaining that extra 1/2" per peel was just enough for me to cut enough shapes (88 peels) for a 42" square quilt.  Whew!
The pieces were fused in place, and blanket stitched using Aurifil 2021, Natural White. My favourite Hobbs Tuscany wool batting was used for the fill, and a plain piece of robin's egg blue for the back.
I had a stencil from Mrs Pugsley's Emporium that was perfect, and it fit the plain spaces to a T when placed on point.
My Bohin marker is quickly becoming my go-to marker. Its fine lead is great for a stencil, the lines show up clearly, and it's easy to remove afterwards.  

One of the most enjoyable parts of this project was choosing which threads to use.  I admit to a rather extensive Aurifil stash, and it was great fun mixing and matching the colours. Variegated threads work particularly well with batiks, IMHO.

I had just enough pale mauve dot to bind the 42" square quilt.
It looks a bit dreamy;  I think this would be spectacular in a bed-sized quilt.  I will work away at sewing it again a couple of times to tweak the design before I release a pattern. Please check back later.
 It looks very summery on a table. (Thank you for the flowers, Taylor :))

Thank you to Island Batik, Hobbs Bonded Fibres, and Aurifil thread for supplying the materials used in this full-of-surprises project.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

New Thread!

I love it when the doorbell rings early in the morning (sometimes before 6 am!) as it means a parcel delivery.  Today, the delivery man brought all kinds of Aurifil goodies to add to the on line store.
 Included were several new collections.
This one, by Angela Walters, called "It's Midnight Somewhere" is brand new in stores.  The colours are great blenders.
We also restocked some of the better sellers, including Mark Lipinski's "Basics", and this small Kansas Troubles collection.

There were also lots of colours to add to the ever-growing 50 weight line-up, including this one.  Can you guess the name?
It's Bubblegum!

Because of your great support, this brings us up to this many colours of our individual 50 weight, large spools:

The 1300m spools sell at a great price (below MSR) of $13.00 plus tax.  We are happy to ship anywhere in Canada.
Check out all the goodies here:  Sew Karen-ly Created thread store.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

A Very Musical Ride: Row By Row 2018

As you may have seen on Mrs Pugsley's Emporium Face Book post, I was again asked to design the shop's "Row By Row" entry for the 2018 season.  The theme this year is "Sew Musical". a Canadian word association game, that would always be followed by "ride", i.e. the Musical Ride of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
So...Musical Ride it is!
If you are not familiar with the Musical Ride, I encourage you to visit this link. From their website, it says, "The RCMP Musical Ride is performed by a full troop of 32 riders and their horses. Their performance consists of intricate figures and drills choreographed to music. These movements demand the utmost control, timing and coordination...The Musical Ride provides the opportunity to experience the heritage and traditions of the RCMP. The riders act as ambassadors of goodwill who promote the RCMP's image throughout Canada and all over the world."
I've had the honour of seeing these riders and horses perform, and it's pretty spectacular. does one portray that in a 9" x 36" piece of fabric, and keep it simple enough that it can be replicated by even a beginner quilter?  No small challenge.

In simplifying the Musical Ride to the smallest common denominator, a couple of elements stuck out:  a circle of red serge coats, dark horses, and lances.

The lances were easy enough, but that circle of red coats was daunting, until it dawned on me it doesn't have to be individual jackets, it just needed to be a circle of red. Simplify, simplify,simplify. My very messy sketch showed that a modified Drunkard's Path block would be perfect for a semi-circle on each end, with the addition of two Delectable Mountain blocks to resemble maple leaves.
I pieced these several times to get the easiest method and best size.  I love how they look!

The horse for the centre was inspired by the Mountie logo, seen on signs and cars: (except that the horse needed to go in the other direction *-):

Our lone rider is stripped down to the barest striking characteristics: dark horse, red jacket, big hat, and lance.
Once I had a rough sketch, it went to Mrs Pugsley's Emporium to see if she was interested.  She was, and commissioned me to create the pattern.  The next step was to contact the licensing department of the RCMP in Ottawa to see what they thought of the whole idea. I had to sew an actual mock-up of the design for approval. They loved it, and gave their blessing right away.  It is important to stress that one cannot simply use someone else's logo or graphics in a quilt design;  the images are protected under copyright law.  Last year, we applied for and received permission from the Queen to use the Canada 150 logo, and now this year we have permission from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  Very cool :)
We used fabrics similar to those chosen for last year's row:  Kona cotton in pure white, Canada red, black, and cocoa.  At the top of the banner, I free motioned "O Canada" and at the bottom, "We Stand On Guard." The "d"'s are actually musical notes.

 Aurifil 2265 Lobster is a perfect match for Canada Red!
Throughout the design, I quilted in a few maple leaves.

 The design works both vertically and horizontally, as did last year's Row, so I did two versions, varying the quilting a bit for each. As always, the pattern went to Cheryl Coville in Ontario for editing.  Her eagle eye picks up all my mistakes :)
Mrs Pugsley's chose the vertical row for their pattern cover, so it was photographed against the Clock Tower building, as have been the two previous rows. Continuity is important.
It's always fun to take some glamour shots, so I headed down to RCMP headquarters to see if there were any upcoming events that might involve Mounties in full uniform.  There weren't...but we were generously given the run of the detachment to photograph the rows wherever we liked.  
Not bad...but I was determined to find a real Mountie in uniform...
After much wheedling and cajoling, I was very kindly offered the use of a uniform - officer not included- with strict instructions that no one was to wear the jacket.  Agreed!!
I'd never been this close to a  Mountie jacket before, and it is BEAUTIFUL.  That red serge is as soft as cashmere.  

I can tell you for sure that Robert Kaufman nailed the colour "Canada Red" for their Kona cotton; it's a perfect match to the serge.

  It was difficult to get a good shot of the rows with the gear, but it was fun trying.

 Sincere thanks to my Mountie friend for the loan of this very special uniform. (I may even give it back *-)
 "A Very Musical Ride" will be available EXCLUSIVELY from Mrs Pugsley's Emporium (not from me) as part of the 2018 Row By Row shop-hop experience, beginning June 21st.  There will be a free pattern available, but I sincerely encourage you to purchase the kit so that you have the perfect, vibrant red that you need.
You can contact the shop for more information: Mrs P's Amherst  ( , telephone (902) 661-4260, or visit them at 50 E. Victoria Street, in downtown Amherst, Nova Scotia.