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.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Soley Cove Flowerpot

This "flowerpot" is located at Soley Town, a beautiful spot just at the base of Economy Mountain, N.S.  I took this picture a year or so ago and decided it would make a good project to stitch.  

Using the photograph as a guide, I traced around the main pieces in the photo and cut those from fabric.  The rest of the details (like the trees) were added using different weights of Aurifil thread. 
Mostly I stitched with 50 weight thread, but some 40 and 28 weight found their way in there as well.

It honestly hasn't turned out too far off, and I am pleased with the results.
Hubby and I went back to re-photograph the flower pot this spring, visiting again at low tide, and witnessed the might of the powerful Bay of Fundy tides.  Sadly, that lone tree extending at such a jaunty angle, has washed away over the winter.

We will get this one framed up and hang it in Five Islands. I think next on the list will be to try stitching the islands. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Free Motion Machine Embroidery Workshop

There are a couple of spots open in my "Back To Spool" workshop on August 4 here in Amherst, N.S., as part of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival.

It will be a day of free motion stitching to create free-hand machine embroidered appliqués which can be used in your projects. (All you need is a regular sewing machine, NOT an embroidery machine.)

More information available here:  To register, please email.

Monday, 20 June 2022

Sunset Parament

Yesterday, the latest commissioned church parament was dedicated at First Baptist Church in Amherst, N.S.  This piece was finished several months ago, and I have shown snippets here and there during construction; now I can share the entire piece.

Commissioned by the Lusby family in memory of their parents, this piece is for display during funeral services.  From discussions with both church and family, it was decided that a sunset would be an appropriate background.  My feeling was that the piece needed to be very, very simple, and calming, so I was conscious not to busy-it-up.  To this end, a lone tree silhouette seemed appropriate, and I knew just the tree. This one, on West Victoria Street, has always caught my eye, with its spreading, gnarled, branches. It is doubly appropriate as it overlooks land formerly owned by the Lusbys, and grows very near the family home. You can see the snow on the ground when I took this picture, perhaps around February.
After removing the background in the photo, I was left with quite a simple outline to stitch.  I decided to create an appliqué in free motion embroidery, that I could then easily add to a pieced background.
I used a variety of weights and colours of Aurifil thread, laying down the base in 28 weight and adding layers on top of 40 and 50 weight for finer details.
It turned out looking very like the original tree.
Previously, I had done a bare bones mock-up of the tree trunk to audition on different backgrounds, and sent it to the church and family to approve.  This is a digitally printed Hoffman fabric...
...and this is a background I made with vibrant Island Batik fabrics, sewn using a curved patchwork technique.

All parties agreed on the batik, so I proceeded to fill in the tree branches.
The parament measures 20-1/4" w  24" long, and is backed in a rich red satin.  The label reads as follows:
"The simplicity of the design invokes a feeling of serenity and peace, and features a lone, thread-painted tree silhouetted against a vibrant marsh sunset. The tree is inspired by an actual tree located on W.Victoria Street, Amherst, overlooking property donated by the Lusby family as the future site of the Cumberland County Hospice. Above the tree, two small birds are seen heading heavenward."

The project was finished and photographed in can see we still had snow.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Crown Jewels

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of HM Queen Elizabeth II, so I was thrilled when Aurifil announced they were releasing a thread collection in honour of the Platinum Jubilee.  The box reads: "The Platinum Jubilee Collection is Aurifil's humble tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.  This year, we celebrate her success and achievements throughout her 70 years of service.  Her fierce nature, resilience, and compassion have set a strong example, inspiring a new generation of leaders."

Inside the commemorative box is an array of  colours fit for a queen: neutrals, plus gold, silver, platinum and of course, a very regal purple. The response to the collection has been very enthusiastic.  Clearly I am not the only admirer.

I decided to use the colours in my thread box to make a small hanging in honour of HM.  I had hoped to have this ready to release on Victoria Day (yesterday) which we celebrate as the Queen's birthday, but one day off is pretty close. Starting with a New York Beauty block, I drew a crown and fitted it with sparkling jewels.  In the centre is a circle of deep, rich purple which I trapuntoed with 2 layers of Hobbs wool batting to try and emulate the puffy middle bit you see in pictures. (I don't have much in-person crown experience.)  My intention is to use it to decorate a door, but if you left out the extra batting, it would be lovely on a table. For high tea, maybe!  The thread collections are selling very quickly, but there are a few left on my website. 

Naturally, I chose rich Island Batik scraps for my project, matching the shades of thread to the fabric. It didn't take long to make, as the jewels are foundation pieced.  The quilting was kept quite simple.

The pattern is free to download, (click the link); I hope you will have fun with this.  Canada Post has issued some lovely stamps, and I also found a lapel pin.  There may be some commemorative china in my future as well if I can find something suitable.


"Long live our noble Queen"

Friday, 20 May 2022

Maritime Beauty Workshop


Maritime Beauty Table Topper Workshop

What:  Friday August 5, 2022 as part of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival

Where:  Amherst, Nova Scotia

Who: Taught by Karen Neary

When: 9:30-3:30

Cost: $85.

In this workshop, students will make a table topper with New York Beauty blocks.  The Maritime Beauty pattern is a great learning piece, as it encompasses so many techniques in a do-able sized project: sewing curves, piecing sharp spikes, and making and applying bias binding to a curved edge. There are also 4 inside corners to turn when binding. Instead of regular foundation piecing, we will do paperless paper-piecing (also known as freezer paper piecing) which results in perfect points with no messy paper to remove afterwards. Students will be shown a quick and easy way to make multiple copies of the foundation for future projects without tracing or photocopying.  This will be a full day class; the bias binding application will be a demonstration only, providing students with instruction on how to proceed once the project is quilted at home. This is not a difficult piece, but best suited to those with some quilting experience (i.e., mastery of the 1/4” seam allowance.)

This table topper is my original design, and the class fee includes the pattern and enough foundations to make the Maritime Beauty. (There will also be a special surprise from our sponsor, Aurifil!) Students will supply their own fabrics. Prior to the class, templates will be sent to each participant so that the centre blocks may be cut out ahead of time.  Doing this means some will finish the piecing of the Maritime Beauty in class. 

Registration is via email to  Your spot is confirmed once payment is received (etransfer is preferred, but other arrangements can be made. There are a limited number of seats available, so please do not send money until your spot is confirmed via email.) There are no refunds, however I will work with you to find a replacement if unable to attend. 

Thank you!

Back to Spool Workshop


Back To Spool Workshop

What:  Thursday August 4, 2022 as part of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival

Where:  Amherst, Nova Scotia

Who: Taught by Karen Neary

When: 9:30-3:30

Cost: $85.

Join me for a relaxed day of free-motion stitching, with a little abracadabra and trompe l'oeil thrown in to help release the power contained within a spool of thread.  This class is not for beginners, but for those comfortable with free-motion stitching. We will go back-to-spool to play with various weights of threads, stitching on wash-away stabilizer to create appliqués which may be added to any project.   Project for the day will be a flowering crab apple tree. A selection of beautiful Aurifil threads will be included in the class fee (including a special surprise from our awesome sponsor, Aurifil!), along with stabilizers needed to complete the project. You will supply your own background fabric on which to place your tree...or you simply want to frame it with your hoop for a sweet little hanging.

Students will need to bring confidence in free motion stitching, as well as an embroidery hoop that fits on the bed of your machines (i.e. make sure it fits under your needle and within your throat space. The one I use is 7-1/2” across and 3/8” high).

Registration is via email to  Your spot is confirmed once payment is received (etransfer is preferred, but other arrangements can be made. There are a limited number of seats available, so please do not send money until your spot is confirmed via email.) There are no refunds, however I will work with you to find a replacement if unable to attend.

Monday, 25 April 2022

In A Frenzy...


I'm often known to be in a tizzy, but this coming Saturday you will find me in an actual frenzy: The 2nd PEI FABRIC FRENZY

DATE: Saturday, April 30, 2022

LOCATION: Jack Blanchard Centre

3 Pond Street


TIME: 9:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Admission: $2.00 includes door prizes

Proceeds to benefit Blooming House

Light Refreshments are available.

I will be in attendance with lots and lots of Aurifil thread, as well as my books and patterns. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Log Cabins In The Cabin (Or Cottage!)


Remember these placemats from a few months back?  The pattern has been extremely popular: very quick and easy to stitch. Here's a way to coax another season from the same pattern.

On a recent trip to Mrs Pugsley's Emporium, I spotted these lovelies, and KNEW they would be fabulous in this pattern! The shop has them done up in half-metre cuts, so I chose 6 I liked.

Using Kona cotton Splash, Seascape, Blueprint, Sea Glass, Pool and Lagoon gave the mats a very modern look.
For added interest, I reversed the colour order in two of the four mats.
Simple waves are free-motion quilted on my Bernina around the central triangle using Aurifil 50 weight in a variegated blue and a variegated green. For batting, I chose Hobbs Thermore, a low-loft batting that shows the quilting off nicely.

These fit better on a square or rectangular table, but we don't have one here.  They will be perfect for the table at the cottage, and I look forward to trying them out when the weather warms. With the watery, seaside palette, they will look super there.

I also alternated fabrics used on the back.  These mats are a great lesson in the power of colour for creating a whole new look. 
The pattern is available from my website, in both print and download version.  If you are in the Fredericton area, you can also find lots of my patterns in stock at Ridge Machine Quilting Shed in Hanwell. 

Thursday, 3 February 2022

For Wee Bairn in Blue

 Last week, I showed you my newly released pattern called For The Wee Bairn.  It was made with a new collection called "Lace and Grace" from Island Batik.  I liked the quilt so much, I made it a second time, this one using a blue background and assorted scraps for the 9 patches.  The gorgeous snow this past weekend made a perfect backdrop for photography.

Other than using different fabrics, I followed my own directions exactly.
It's pretty amazing how quickly the blocks go together.
I quilt on my domestic sewing machine, so my quilts are pin basted.  This is the only part of the process I do not enjoy. :(
This time I chose a soft yellow flannel for the backing, and used Aurifil 40 weight thread both in top and bobbin.  As before, I stitched free hand feathers in the curved sections, and simply outlined the Improved Nine Patch blocks.

Since I have no wee bairns of my own to wrap, this version is for sale.  You can find it on my website.