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, 9 August 2018

The Great Outdoors Blog Hop!

Welcome to the my stop on The Great Outdoors Blog Hop, a five-week showing of quilts made by Island Batik Ambassadors using the newest collections.  These fabrics will be shipping to stores very soon.
Back in February when the first box of goodies arrived from Island Batik, each contained a bundle of not-yet-released fabrics that were (literally!) under wraps. Not everyone received the same collection, of course, as Island Batik has many beautiful lines, so you will be seeing a fabulous variety of quilts and colours. 
I was thrilled when I opened my surprise packet to find a gorgeous collection called "Eclectic Garden." Lush purples, greens, and yellows, with dragonflies, and blooms in rich, saturated colours.  If only I could grow such a garden.  You can see the entire collection at Island Batik.
We received very generous half-metre cuts of all 22 fabrics in the collection, as well as 2 yard cuts of light and dark for borders.
Much thought went into deciding what design to use for the quilt;  I knew I wanted to use as much of the fabric as possible, in fairly large chunks to show off the prints.  I decided on a reverse Irish Chain, where the colours are used in the centres and the white forms the connecting chains.  This is a rough sketch I drew in EQ8 to give me a visual to work from.  As I wasn't planning to pattern this, I didn't spend a lot of time arranging my colours on screen, or adding borders to the sketch, so it doesn't much resemble my finished quilt. It just kept me on track for layout. To keep the math easy, I cut 9" blocks.
I had JUST enough creamy white for the background;  what you see cut off below is literally what was left over.  Whew - talk about cutting it close!
I added a 3" mitred inner border with the deepest purple yardage.
Then I gathered up all that was left of my pieces and sewed 1" strips together for a piano key border.
This is a very colourful quilt.
Hobbs Batting is one of the Ambassador program sponsors, and I was pleased to use this fluffy Poly-Down batting.  It quilts beautifully.
For the first time in years, I decided to send this quilt out to be long-arm quilted.  I contacted the very talented Denise White of West Branch Quilt Studio and was delighted that she agreed to fit me in. She was happy to come up with a custom quilting plan that suited this piece to a T. Aurifil had sent along some 40 weight thread and we chose a neutral Dove Grey, #2600, which Denise used both top and bottom.  She used about a spool-and-a-half of these 1000m cops in her beautiful quilting.
Denise's work is so pretty; you can contact her via email here.

One of my favourite gardens in which to photograph quilts is Alumni Gardens on the Agricultural Campus of Dalhousie University, in Truro, Nova Scotia. (Hubby's alma mater.) Recently they've added this barley ring at the entrance to the grounds, which is reminiscent of the school ring.

We took a couple of pictures in various spots in the gardens.

This planting of lavender in front of a stone wall was the perfect shade of purple.

When we returned from there, we headed to the Purdy Crawford Centre for the Arts at Mount Allison University (my alma mater) to get a front-on shot.
The quilt is a good size, 92" x 110".

Thank you to Island Batik, Aurifil, and Hobbs for supplying the product used in this quilt.  Ambassador Jessica at Dessert Bloom Quilting is also working with "Eclectic Garden", so please visit to see what she has made with this collection.

I have a small giveaway of 3 patterns designed using Island Batik fabrics: Sun Salutation, Sunset, and Interlocking Herringbone. To enter, please leave a comment on this blog (and make sure I have an email address to contact you if you win!) The draw will be made September 5, 2018, at the end of the blog hop.  Don't forget to also visit Island Batik to enter to win one of 3 great prizes. Good luck, and thanks for visiting!
Here's the full schedule for the hop:

Monday, August 6 - All A Flutter - Yellow Cat Quilt Designs, Creative Blonde

Tuesday, August 7 - Birds N’ Bees - Ark Angel Creations, Patterns By Jen

Wednesday, August 8 - Canterbury Manor - Sally Manke, Powered By Quilting

Thursday, August 9 - Eclectic Garden - Desert Bloom Quilting, Sew Karen-ly Created

Friday, August 10 - Vintage Morris - MooseStash Quilting, Devoted Quilter

Monday, August 13 - Safari - Sew Incredibly Crazy, SweetGrass Designs

Tuesday, August 14 - Spring Blossoms - Mary Mack Made Mine, If These Threads Could Talk

Wednesday, August 15 - Victoria and Albert - Bejeweled Quilts, Clever Chameleon

Thursday, August 16 - Wild Things - Freemotion By The River, Kauffman Designs

Friday, August 17 - Petting Zoo - Den Syende Himmel, Sarah Goer Quilts

Monday, August 20 - Ocean Odyssey - Gateway Quilts, The Quilt Rambler

Tuesday, August 21 - British Rose - Busy Hands Quilts, Mania for Quilts

Wednesday, August 22 - Dear William - The Inquiring Quilter, mmm! Quilts, Living Water Quilter

Thursday, August 23 - Dragonfly Dreams - Inchworm Fabrics, BeaQuilter

Friday, August 24 - Fur-ocious Friends - Quilting Affection Designs, Dizzy Quilter

Monday, August 27 - Globetrotter - Pamela Quilts, Curliecue Creations

Tuesday, August 28 - Jungle Cruise - Vicki's Crafts and Quilting, Little Bunny Quilts

Wednesday, August 29 - Lavendula - Carole Lyles Shaw, Masterpiece Quilting

Thursday, August 30 - London Calling - Quilt in a Not-Shell, Lizard Creek Quilting

Friday, August 31 - Spirit Rhythm - Steph Jacobson, Whispers of Yore

Monday, September 3 - Sweet Tweets - Kathleen McMusing, Adventurous Applique and Quilting

Tuesday, September 4 - Whatnot - heARTS Creations, Slice of Pi Quilts

Monday, 6 August 2018

Island Batik's Great Outdoors Blog Hop!

Today's The Day!
As an Island Batik Ambassador, I will be taking part this month in a blog hop entitled "The Great Outdoors", and it all kicks off today!  I hope that you will join us in this fun event where we share all kinds of creative ideas of what to do with the new batik collections hitting store shelves soon.  
Island Batik has a great giveaway you can enter here.
The Ambassadors also have individual give-aways on their blogs, so make sure you visit all the links below to enter. My day to post is Thursday, August 9, so be sure to check back then.
So - head first to Island Batik, and then on to Yellow Cat Quilts and Creative Blond.
Good luck!

Links to all the Island Batik Ambassadors and their fabric collections

Monday, August 6 – All A Flutter – Yellow Cat Quilt DesignsCreative Blonde
Tuesday, August 7 – Birds N’ Bees – Ark Angel CreationsPatterns By Jen
Wednesday, August 8 – Canterbury Manor – Sally MankePowered By Quilting
Thursday, August 9 – Eclectic Garden – Desert Bloom QuiltingSew Karen-ly Created
Friday, August 10 – Vintage Morris – MooseStash QuiltingDevoted Quilter
Monday, August 13 – Safari – Sew Incredibly CrazySweetGrass Designs
Tuesday, August 14 – Spring Blossoms – Mary Mack Made MineIf These Threads Could Talk
Wednesday, August 15 – Victoria and Albert – Bejeweled QuiltsClever Chameleon
Thursday, August 16 – Wild Things – Freemotion By The RiverKauffman Designs
Friday, August 17 – Petting Zoo – Den Syende HimmelSarah Goer Quilts
Monday, August 20 – Ocean Odyssey – Gateway QuiltsThe Quilt Rambler
Tuesday, August 21 – British Rose – Busy Hands QuiltsMania for Quilts
Wednesday, August 22 – Dear William – The Inquiring QuilterMMM QuiltsLiving Water Quilter
Thursday, August 23 – Dragonfly Dreams – Inchworm FabricsBeaQuilter
Friday, August 24 – Fur-ocious Friends – Quilting Affection DesignsDizzy Quilter
Monday, August 27 – Globetrotter – Pamela QuiltsCurliecue Creations
Tuesday, August 28 – Jungle Cruise – Vicki’s Crafts and QuiltingLittle Bunny Quilts
Wednesday, August 29 – Lavendula – Carole Lyles ShawMasterpiece Quilting
Thursday, August 30 – London Calling – Quilt in a Not-ShellLizard Creek Quilting
Friday, August 31 – Spirit Rhythm – Steph JacobsonWhispers of Yore
Monday, September 3 – Sweet Tweets – Kathleen McMusingAdventurous Applique and Quilting
Tuesday, September 4 – Whatnot – heARTS CreationsSlice of Pi Quilts

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Some Pretty Quilting

This month, I will be participating in a blog hop with the other Island Batik Ambassadors where we show off the quilts made with their new fabric collections.  I used up nearly every inch of my collection, and made a rather large quilt.  Normally, I quilt all my pieces myself on my domestic Bernina but I couldn't face basting this behemoth in all this heat.  Even though it's been a dozen or more years since I have sent a quilt out, I knew I wanted it done by West Branch Quilt Studio.  The very talented Denise White does beautiful work - custom, or with one of her 150+ pantographs.  I often admire her work in quilt shows.
Denise and I chatted over the quilting, and I went with her suggestions for a suitable motif.  The wide backing came from Mrs Pugsley's Emporium;  it's a soft lilac with a grey feathery swirl.  40 weight Aurifil thread in Dove Grey 2600 was a perfect match, and Denise used it top and bottom as it blended well with all the colours.
 It's always hard to get a good photo of the back, but trust me when I say it's very pretty.
Polly likes it, too :)
You can email Denise by clicking the link on her name, or find her on Face Book.  She has a brochure available, and is happy to give a quote for her beautiful work.
I invite you to check back this week for links to giveaways and posts by all the Island Batik Ambassadors.  

Monday, 30 July 2018

Princess Feather Stitch Out

Recently, I received a box of goodies from sponsors of the Island Batik Ambassador program, including a thread set of all the weights of Aurifil thread. There were seven spools of #2890 "Very Dark Grass Green", from 12 to 80 weight, as well as Lana wool and Aurifloss.  As soon as I saw it, I knew what I wanted to do with it: a stitch-out!
Six of the threads are intended for machine use, so I set the floss aside and starting working out a design.  I have long admired the quilt pattern called "Princess Feathers" so used that as a jumping off point. Real Princess Feathers feature appliqu├ęd plumes spinning around a centre star.; mine would be stitched with thread.
I began by drawing a straight line, and then measured off 60 degree sections using the line marked on my ruler. (For the math impaired among us, a circle has 360 degrees, so dividing 360 by my 6 threads gave me 60 degree divisions. :))
On my dividing lines, I used a flexible ruler to trace a curve.  The green painter's tape was my reference for where to place the blue ruler at centre each time - very scientific. And because a REAL Princess Feather has a star at the centre, I drew in a small one of those, too.
So far, so good...but then I decided that these beautiful threads needed equally beautiful fabric, so I chose a piece of pure white dupioni silk from my stash.  Silk is a tricky fabric with which to work, one of the issues being that marks do not easily come out of the fabric.  For this reason, I plopped my paper drawing on top of the silk and stitched the lines in 80 weight thread, giving me just the barest outline to work from.
The paper removed easily, and I layered the silk with a doubled piece of Hobbs wool batting and backed it with a luscious rich green dupioni silk.  The second issue with silk is that pin marks often remain, so my pin-basting was kept at a bare minimum, with only a few silk straight pins around the perimeter of the piece.  I began with the 80 weight green thread and tentatively free-handed the first feather. I used a size 10/70 topstitch needle for this fine thread. I choose topstitch needles for all my free-motion quilting, as they have sharp points and large eyes. Not a bad first I moved on to the next with 50 weight, my go-to thread, and switched up to a size 12/80 topstitch needle.  I used this same needle for the 40 weight thread which came next, but switched to a 16/100 topstitch for the 28 and 12 weight threads. I had never used the Lana wool before, but it stitched easily.  It has a very different look than cotton thread - soft and fuzzy. I think it would be great on a child's quilt, or for texture for leaves or flowers.
For the bobbin, I reversed my colours and used 60 weight plain white against the green.  
When it came time to quilt the background, I used 50 weight white with a size 12/80 topstitch needle. Pebbles are not my favourite thing to stitch, but I do like how they look.  The Hobbs wool batting plumped up the feather lobes nicely.
In all, I used 8 different Aurifil threads: 12 weight Lana wool, and cotton in 12, 28, 40, 50, 60, and 80 weights.
From the back, you can't tell any difference in top threads.
The piece finishes 18" square, so I added triangle corners at the top for hanging instead of a full sleeve. There is room in the centre diamond sections to embroider the weight # for each plume, and I hope to do that by hand with the Aurifloss.
There is a fair bit of quilting on this piece, using almost 3 three full bobbins of thread.  Since silk doesn't toss off lint in your machine the way cotton fabric does, it was a good measure of how much lint actually came off that thread.  When I removed the throat plate after the stitching was done, all I could find was a bit of the wool batt caught between the feed dogs.  Aurifil truly is a low lint thread!
Although far from perfect, this little free-hand stitchery is a nice sample of how different threads affect the look of our quilting. 
 If you would like to join me in learning how to draft and stitch free-form feathers, there are a couple of spots in my class at this year's Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival. You can register directly on this page.  Thank you to Aurifil for supplying the thread for use in my work.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Woodland Forest Treeskirt

Skip on over to Marjorie's Busy Corner to see what she's made for the Christmas in July bloghop:…/christmas-in-july…

You can find the pattern for Woodland Forest tree skirt project at my Craftsy shop.

Monday, 23 July 2018

New Shipment

Another exciting box of goodies has arrived!  This time, it's more copies of Canadian Heritage Quilting.
Diane Shink and I teamed up in 2009 to do this book, and I like it more and more each time I open the pages.  It contains information on the history of quilting in Canada, and updated instructions for making these classics. Diane is a certified quilt appraiser through AQS and has an extensive collection of antique and vintage quilts, many of which are featured in the book. She knows, and shares, the history of each quilt.
I made the cover fan quilt using 50's reproduction fabrics, and named it "Gram's Baptist Fans."  My Gram was a staunch Baptist and in the photo chosen for the cover, the quilt is draped on one of the pews from the former Baptist Church in Five Islands.  Lying open on the quilt, is a hymn book from that same church.
I chose the colour palette and design as they reminded me of a fan quilt my Gram had made many years earlier. Here is Gram's fan quilt, draped over an engagement picture of her and future husband, Austen.  I think this was taken around 1921.
Recently, my friend Debbie Ferguson gifted me with the twin of this quilt, found in a house her parents had purchased, two doors down from Gram's. I was - and am- beyond thrilled to receive this quilt. Many of the same fabrics can be found in both, and I can picture Gram and Mrs. Perry exchanging scraps at sewing circle.  
Quilt by Myrtle Davis on the left, and quilt by Linda Perry on the right.
In total, Canadian Heritage Quilting contains seventeen patterns, including my much-acclaimed"Log Canada".
This Ohio Star baby quilt pattern is also one of my favourites:

I've been sold out of this book for a bit, so am pleased to have them back in stock. There is a link for easy online ordering here.