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!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Facing A Quilt

Facing a quilt is way less terrifying than the ominous-sounding "facing the music" (a phrase, which frankly, I've never understood.  If I paid for concert tickets, I would not be very happy to NOT be facing the music! :))  Adding a facing is similar to a binding, except unlike a binding, it does not show.  It flips out of sight to the back of the quilt.  It's a nice finishing technique to use when you want a clean, crisp edge on your quilt. I used it on this "Tempus Fugit" quilt featured in my book "Quilting Beauties" as I felt a binding would add a distracting edge.
A facing is particularly nice on a modern quilt, adding to the minimalist look.  I usually cut my facing strips 2 - 2-1/4" wide (sometimes narrower, depending on the project.  Tempus Fugit above was pieced from silk, and I used a 1" wide facing, cut on the bias to hug the curves.) For my current project in cotton, I cut the strips 2-1/4" wide across the straight of grain.  The strips are sewn to the sides of your quilt first, and they are cut the length of the quilt measured through the middle.  1/4" is pressed to the wrong side along one long edge of the strip, and the other edge is stitched to the front of the quilt.
The facing is flipped out and gently nudged into place with an iron.  Hard to tell from the picture, but I do not touch the iron to my quilt, but rather just have it hover above the seam for some gentle heat to encourage the facing to lay flat.
The real trick is the understitching, which is done through the facing and the seam allowance, about an 1/8 of an inch away from the seam. If you are a garment sewer, you will know this technique from collars and arm hole facings. After the understitching is added, the facing turns easily to the back.
The understitching will show on the back of your quilt, so it's important to match your thread colour.  It is sewn in place with hand stitches along the length before the top and bottom facings are added.
The top and bottom facings are cut about an inch or so longer than the width of the quilt.  This allows a little turn in for the raw end.  It is stitched on as for the side facings.

 The top and bottom facings fold in on top of the side facings, with the raw end tucked neatly inside.
 It gives a clean, uncluttered finish to the front of the quilt.
Some folks sew a mitered corner through their facings before turning them to the back, but the advantage of sewing them square like this, is that you can slide a skinny rod through the opening at the end of the facing and not have to add a separate hanging sleeve.  That means, less work, less bulk.
Have you ever faced a quilt?

Monday, 14 May 2018

Island Batik April re-cap

Every month, Joan from Moosetash Quilting, does a recap of the Island Batik Ambassador projects for the latest challenge.  You can check out her recap here.  It's so fun to see how different each project is!

All of the Ambassadors for 2018 are linked at this post.  Enjoy!

Friday, 4 May 2018

Island Batik May Challenge: Playful Pillows

This month's challenge for Island Batik Ambassadors was a whole bunch of fun: Playful Pillows!
The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik.
We were encouraged to "not be afraid to think outside the pillow form - pillows don’t have to be square!" Upon reading this, I knew exactly what I wanted to make! A couple of years ago as a Christmas present joke, I made my eldest son a pillow in the shape of a fish (he plays in a band called "Moon Trout"). At the time, I was stitching samples for an upcoming class I was teaching on curved piecing, so incorporated that technique into the body of the fish. It was a huge hit I decided to make another fish pillow, but this time it would be a rainbow trout. I chose bright colours from my box of Island Batiks: most from the "foundations" and "stashbuilder" bundles, but also a sunny yellow left over from last month's Sun Salutation quilt.

I made two sections of patchwork - one for the front and one for the back - and layered them with scraps of my favourite Hobb's wool batting.
The quilting was done with a variety of weights and colours of Aurifil thread, as well as a holographic thread to add a little iridescence.

Typical for me, I hadn't used a pattern for my original trout, but rather checked some images on Google and just winged it, drawing out a shape on paper. I never thought to save my paper pattern, but fortunately I had quilted an extra body and head piece and located those in a box. (Like a quilter would throw out a piece of fabric?!? :))
 I laid the shape on my patchwork and cut them out.

I really liked this tie-dyed batik, and it picked up all the colours from the body, so I quilted it with "gills" and planned to use it for the head. seemed a little quiet when added to the stripes.
So I quilted a piece of turquoise and liked it much better.  Fins are added from purple, green and orange...
 ...and the tail looked great with a slightly darker shade of turquoise than the head.
Here he is all together, and ready for stuffing with polyester fibrefill.
For my original trout, I used a shiny black button, and luckily had similar buttons on hand, but in a slighter larger size. (See that silver crescent appliqu├ęd on the top face?  That's how you know it's a moon trout :))
I cut out a circle of white felt to add under the button to help make it stand out.  The thread spool was the perfect size!
 The mouth is added with narrow satin stitching, in black.
 Here he is in all his glory:
 Isn't he a handsome fellow?
Nose to tail, he measures about 26" long...which I am led to understand is a pretty good sized catch for a Rainbow Trout (they're normally around 16"). 
 Thank you, Island Batik, for presenting a fun challenge!

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Sun Salutation

I have been posting"teaser" pictures for a couple of weeks on my Face Book page as I worked on my April challenge for Island Batik.  Now I am ready to show you the whole thing!
This month, the Island Batik Ambassadors were given the task of making something new inspired by a quilt design from the past. No surprise, I immediately thought of a New York Beauty! 
I have come to realize that most folks think of this as a "newish" pattern, but it isn't.  It's been around since the mid 1800's and known by a variety of names:  Crown of Thorns, Rising Sun, Rocky Mountain, and even Polk in the White House.  In the 1920's, the Stearns and Foster company started putting quilt patterns on the back of their Mountain Mist batting wrappers. I still have a few of those wrappers, inherited from my Grandmother...but unfortunately, not the NY Beauty one. Stearns and Foster renamed some of the traditional blocks, including this one which they dubbed "New York Beauty."  
There is an interesting short video here on New York Beauty's, showing quilts from the extensive collection of Bill Volckening.
I *love* New York Beauty quilts, and have made many of them over the many, in fact, they turned into a book with AQS.   I began making the traditional square blocks, but it didn't take long for those blocks to morph into other shapes - mostly circles and ovals. There's just something about the combination of curves and spikes that is really appealing. 
When my fabric arrived in February from Island Batik, I knew immediately that the collection called "Morning Sunshine" would be perfect for a New York Beauty design. Yellow sun, blue sky, green grass blades, sunflowers - it was all there!

I wanted the sunny yellows to be the focal point, so I drew the centre blocks into a sun, with partial coronas circling the points. The sunshine extended outward, dancing around blades of grass, and multicoloured flower petals, with sunflower centres. 
Here it is laid out for basting;  I used a Hobbs Poly-Down batting, which has a nice loft. 
The ditch-stitching was done with Aurifil monofilament, and the quilting with Aurifil 50 weight cotton, in colours 2120 Canary, 2520 Violet,4663 Baby Blue Eyes, and 2581 Dark Dusty Grape, on my Bernina 440.
I did curved cross-hatching in the centre, solar flares in the spikes, and swirls for the in-between spots. There is a small feather making its way around the outside daffodil bands. I left the coronas unquilted, as well as the blue sky surrounding the sun, because I like when there is a little pouf left in a quilt :)
The cream bands were quilted with circles (a few of which are actually round...!), and continuous curves outlined the spikes.
You can see the quilting better on the back.  I do like how those blue, unquilted arcs move your eye around the quilt.

I named the piece "Sun Salutation".
The Town of Amherst installed a sundial as part of a centennial project back in 1989 and I thought that would be a cool spot to photograph it...but it wasn't as easy to get both the sundial and the quilt in the same shot.
 (By the way...there was a difference of less than 10 minutes between that sundial and a watch!)
Here it is on the table.  It measures 28" x 42", and uses 16 different fabrics from the "Morning Sunshine" collection by Island Batik.
 The pattern is available for download from Craftsy at this link.
Thank you to Island Batik, Aurifil thread, and Hobbs Bonded Fibres for supplying the materials used in this project.  

Saturday, 7 April 2018

American Patchwork & Quilting Podcast

You truly never know what each day will bring.  Sometimes we have days full of frustration where nothing seems to go right.  Other days are golden: all your seams match and you have the correct shade of quilting thread.  And then there are days where you open your email and Pat Sloan is inviting you to be a guest on her quilting podcast.  Wait - what?!   Yup! :)
That will be ME on Monday, April 9. It will be a phone interview (so I don't have to fuss with my hair!!) at 4 pm Eastern time...which is 5 pm our time (and 5:30 in Newfoundland).

You can listen here, and I hope you will.
So...any questions for Pat? I know she's a big favourite of most quilters!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

2018 Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival

Although the list of workshops is not as yet posted on the festival site, I have started taking registration for the two classes I will be teaching this year at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival.  Both involve free motion quilting. 
On Thursday, October 11, 2018,  I will be offering my very popular beginner class.  Entitled, "Free Motion Quilting for the Absolutely Terrified", the class is about confidence building. We start at the beginning with how to adjust thread tension (both top and bottom), learn about needle selection, thread delivery, marking, and lots more.  

 It's all about getting comfortable with your domestic machine, and with the process.

Our project for the day is a very simple whole cloth, which features following a marked line, echoing, and background fillers. 
The second class I am offering is "Beginner Feathers".  Note that this is a beginner feather class, NOT a beginner free motion class.  This workshop will be held on Friday, October 12, 2018, from 9 am to 3 pm.  It will cover instruction for 3 different approaches to creating free motion feathers:  easy, bump, and hook. 

  Once you've decided on your favourite feather stitching method, we'll do all-over feathers, for a fabulous background fill. 
The class project will be a small whole-cloth, featuring a wreath and some feathery swirls.
You can find more information on both classes here,as well as a link for online registration.  These classes are limited in size.  If you have questions, email me here.