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, 29 September 2021

Aurifil Color Builders 2022


Aurifil has just announced the details of their 2022 Colour Builders, and it looks pretty amazing!  This highly successful thread-of-the-month program is now heading into its third year season, with each year building on the success of the previous.  As a dealer, I participated for the first time this past year and have to say that everything ran like clockwork.  It’s a super way to build your thread stash and save a bit off the price of individual spools while doing do.  Personally, I loved going to my thread rack and having just the shade I needed at my fingertips.

The 2022 Color Builder Subscription is created in celebration of Aurifil’s variegated 50 weight thread. Aurifil produces 36 variegated thread colors; threads that contain multiple colors or multiple shades of one color. Twenty-four of these shades are represented in the 2022 program, which arrive in mini-collections of 3 spools each month. Each set contains 3 large spools of 50wt -- 2 variegated and 1 complementary solid.
This year the color inspiration is drawn from 12 breathtaking rainforest plants: from the Amazon Water Lily and the Bird of Paradise to the Jade Vine and the Spider Lily. These plants are a representation of our earth’s most threatened tropical forests, largely affected by deforestation and climate change. For 2022, Aurifil has partnered with Rainforest Trust , an organization dedicated to the long-term protection of these forests. The patterns for 2022 were designed and developed by Aurifil’s own Kate Brennan in partnership with graphic designer Christina Weisbard. Patterns are centered around floral-themed appliqué, allowing each featured monthly plant to take center stage. While instructions are given for fusible appliqué, we’ll highlight a variety of methods of appliqué and finishing throughout the year. Blocks may be finished as 12 individual mini quilts or pieced together to create a full quilt. Patterns will be exclusive to subscription holders for one year. 

As you know, 50 weight is the most versatile (normal) weight of thread. It is perfect for piecing, hand or machine appliqué, and for quilting. This thread will see your project through from start to finish. 

The program is delivered monthly; if you are local (or close to!) Amherst you are welcome to pick it up here. Otherwise, the thread will be mailed to you each month for a small postage fee. You will be billed monthly in a pay-as-you-go system, not all at once, either via credit card or etransfer.

The feedback I received on this year’s program has all been positive, and I am excited to be part of this program again. I look forward to having you join in. There is more information here:    

Please be in touch with any questions, or to have your name added to the list. The program will begin on Jan 15/22, and your first payment will be due then, but we need to let the plant in Italy know before Oct. 15th  so they can be packaging up the threads just for you!

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Book Reviewing


From time to time over my many years of quilting, I have been asked if I would write a review for a new book.  I would agree only if the subject matter looked interesting.  Most of those reviews were requests from authors, and they ended up here on my blog.  This past year however, I've been contacted by publishers to have a look while the books were still in production.  One such book is Mary Hogan's "Fast-Fold Hexie Quilting" from Landauer Publishing

Mary's book  contains a plethora of projects, including trivets, tabletoppers, wallhangings, and bed quilts.  Her technique for creating the quilt-as-you-go hexies is one I had not seen before, and I look forward to trying it out.  The book is available in the U.S. from Fox Chapel Publishing, or in Canada at Amazon
My condensed review ended up on the back cover. 😊

Friday, 9 July 2021

A new pattern!

I've had a quilt rattling around in my head for a bit and I am happy to say the pattern has become a reality. 

"Encircling" is a great design to showcase large prints and gorgeous florals, and when I saw Tula Pink's "Curiouser and Curiouser" line I knew it was perfect.  A trip to Mrs Pugsley's Emporium in Amherst yielded this stack of Fat Quarters.  I paired it with Fairy Dust for the background, and a black solid for the rings and binding. 

It was fun to see how closely the fabric matches the artwork on the corresponding Aurifil thread set.

The pattern is simple to sew with gentle curved seaming, and only 3 large pieces per block. It's easy to adapt for fussy-cutting special motifs in the fabric. 

I quilted the circles in a spiral:

The wavy outer edge is a dream to bind – no inside or outside corners to mitre - and gives a unique finish to your quilt.  

For fun, I photographed the quilt with my Mom's childhood china tea set from the 1920's, and my vintage and well-loved "Complete Works of Lewis Carroll". 
Pattern includes full sized templates for a lap-sized quilt, but it's really easy to simply add more blocks for a larger quilt. 
This is a totally fun pattern, and easy to adapt to different sizes.  Shown is a lap-sized 46" x 64", but if you need it larger, simply add another row or two of blocks.  I will make this soon in some Kaffe Fasset florals and use it on my table.  The computer mock-up shows how nicely 20 blocks fit on the table. 

The Aurifil thread collection shown is available from my thread store;  we ship across Canada.  The pattern may be ordered in print form here, or downloaded at this link.
As always, I am indebted to pattern editor Cheryl Coville of Grandma Coco's Designs who is a bigger help than she realizes in getting the patterns ready.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Spring Promise

The old saying of "time flies when you are having fun" is certainly true in my case.  When I have my head down designing and sewing, little else gets attended to.  (like blogging...or housework!) 

I've really been concentrating on new designs lately, and have well over a dozen sketched out.  Not all of those will come to fruition of course;  some will get added to the "what was I thinking??" pile.  Others are just snippets of ideas...things that might work for a border, or as a secondary block, but not be the star of the quilt.  Those go into a vault for when an idea is needed.  

This week with the approach of spring, it was time to sew a new runner - a quick and simple one. It features a central appliqued blocks flanked on each end by checkerboard patchwork.  The petal elements are arranged in a circle.  

I have found the easiest way to get a perfect circle is to fold the fabric into quarters, and press it lightly to mark the lines.  Then I rifle through all the pot lids in the kitchen to find one the size of my circle.  I trace around this with a Hera marker, so that I have no marks to remove afterwards.
As you can see, it leaves nice registration marks in the fabric, which come out with a quick press once the elements are added.

I decided to use 50 weight thread to do the blanket stitch around the edges.  

The end panels are quilted in diagonal lines using a walking foot.  The fun begins with the centre block, where feathery shapes are free motion quilted.
The feathers almost look like butterflies. (Happy accident!)
The pattern is available from my website and you can follow the links there for printed or downloadable versions. As always, I am grateful for the sharp eyes of Cheryl Coville of Grandma Coco Designs for her help in checking the instructions.
I've also done up thread sets with spring colours of Aurifil 50 weight which you can find here

The pictures are a wee bit pale because our weather was anything but spring-like for the photo shoot. (it was snowing!) However...we do have the promise of spring. :)

Monday, 8 February 2021

February Snow

 Nova Scotia had a dusting of snow overnight (we understand between 30-45+ cm, but no official word on how much our area received. We know Polly was greeted with a nice wall of snow at the back door.

Here are the steps from the bottom.

With Polly's guidance we made short work of clearing the drive.

Luckily, we have no need to be in the backyard for anything other than to make snow angels. (Polly does not like doing those.)

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

One Bite At A Time

The Aurifil Color Builders  program has launched, and the block for January is a Sumatran Elephant.  I couldn't wait to tear into my beautiful little box of threads!

This month includes 3 greys: 2600 Dove, 2610 Light Blue Grey, and 5004 Grey Smoke.  I chose similar shades from my stash of  batiks.  I particularly like that one in the middle, from Island Batik.  It looks very elephanty to me.  I also chose violet as an accent colour, and blue for the background.

The foundation patterns for this program are designed by Cassandra Beaver; the detail is fabulous. The colours have nice contrast and work well in the pattern.  When I began, I thought that light grey section below was his trunk, but soon realized it was the other end of the elephant! (The foundations arrive reversed.)
I am as yet undecided as to whether I will quilt and bind this as a stand-alone mini-quilt (it's 16" square), or quilt each of the blocks and join them as a quilt-as-you-go at the end of the year.  My other option of course, is simply to join all the blocks when they are complete and quilt them traditionally.  We'll see.

In addition to the foundation-pieced pattern, there is also an embroidery design sent each month. I don't have an embroidery machine, so I will be doing mine free-hand free motion on my domestic sewing machine.  It should prove interesting. These patterns are exclusive to Aurifil Colour Builders 2021.  If you would like to join in, you may do so at any time.  I've ordered extras, which you can find here. We ship across Canada.  More details on the program may be found on the Aurifil website.

Sunday, 24 January 2021

Roxi's Rhythmic

This has got to be one of the best versions of "Rhythmic" I've seen!
Roxi Miner, from western Canada, has chosen a vibrant palette which is perfect for this design. The bold colours with high contrast really add spin.  I love it, and it looks great on her table.

Roxi has made Rhythmic several times, giving them all away. Her latest version she is keeping for herself.   She has been very generous in sharing pictures of her gorgeous work, and I have posted the below shots before.

The pattern for Rhythmic is available on my website as a mailout , or here as an instant download.  Below is my original version, shown hanging at Paducah...

...and in the Hands All Around Exhibit at International Quilt Festival:

 Thanks so much for sharing, Roxi.  I can't wait to see the next one! :)

Friday, 22 January 2021

Aurifil Thread Case Special

Our thread store has recently received a LARGE order from Aurifil; we are (literally!) stocked to the ceiling with thread! 

As usual, the ever-vigilant Polly was on the job to inspect the packages. (There might just be some Catnip-19 in there...)

In total, the boxes weighed a little over 32 lbs.  If you consider how light a single spool of thread is, you can appreciate this is a LOT of thread!  We are really doing our best to stay ahead of any hold-ups that may occur due to the on-going pandemic.  We do not want our sewing interrupted! One of the things we were able to secure was another carton of the thread + case specials which were so popular awhile back. 

These are a terrific deal, with a spool of 50 weight 2024 Mako cotton thread plus a reusable storage case which holds 12 large spools, both for just $19.99.  As you know, the thread sells on its own for $14.99 and the cases are $12.99 so it’s a great price, and good time to stock up.  These sold out very quickly last time we had them.

We also ordered in a couple of extra Colour Builders sets for January in case you missed out on joining earlier. This is a fabulous monthly subscription from Aurifil which highlights the plight of endangered species world wide.  In addition to the thread, subscribers receive exclusive embroidery and foundation piecing patterns each month, the latter being designed by the talented Cassandra Beaver.

Our collections have been replenished, including a brand new one from Edyta Sitar called  "Secret Stash". 

You can order these items from the website  We deliver across Canada, and offer local contact-less pickup.