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. Shown here is "To Be Where You Belong", presented to Sir Paul McCartney on his visit to Nova Scotia in 2009.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 25 May 2020

Wholecloth Quilting

A couple of weeks' back I started machine quilting a whole cloth quilt as part of my "self-threaducation" during lockdown.  I have set myself the task of trying out different weights of Aurifil threads in various applications to see how they look. As a dealer for this wonderful product I feel I should not just offer the thread for sale, but actually know how it performs in various applications.
The stitching was a breeze, but getting a good picture has been tricky!
This is a pre-printed kit from Benartex;  on their website it is entitled simply Nautical Wallhanging, but it is labelled as Anchors Aweigh #783 on the package.

I chose to use a 28 weight thread on top, and a 40 weight on the bottom. For the 28 weight (wound on the grey spool) I chose a shade darker than the fabric 2314 Beige, just to give a bit of contrast.  The thread in the bobbin is 40 weight in 2021 Natural White. It was a perfect match to the muslin.

Cross-hatching those straight lines seemed to take forever.  In hind-sight, I should simply have used those lines as grid-marks for a quicker free motion filler.
The anchors and rope borders moved along very quickly.  I had reservations about those lines coming out in the wash, but they did, all in one go.  I hung it on the line to dry.
Since it has a nautical theme, I thought photographing it on the steps of the light house in Five Islands would be smashing.  However, the tide was coming in when we were there and the high tides along this Bay of Fundy coast blow in with great enthusiasm. This small quilt didn't stand a chance of staying flat in those winds!
I tried it in various places, at various times of the day, with variable cloud and sunshine. Here it is in front of our new old barn.

In the end, soft natural light through the window seemed to show the stitching the best.
I am quite enamored with this 28 weight thread and how easily it stitches. You can purchase the thread here.  More colours will be added soon.
 The package calls this a wallhanging, but I think it would make a beautiful, heirloom baby quilt.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Andra Tutto Bene

Yesterday while sewing a stack of somewhat subdued colours into half-square triangles, I could hear a little voice whispering, " know there is a rainbow in the basket behind you."
I ignored it as long as I could, but somehow that basket ended up on my sewing table and sure enough...out spilled a rainbow...of Hoffman 1895 Bali watercolours.
The previous day, I had read a post on the Aurifil blog about a small wallhanging designed by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill of  Whole Circle Studio.  The post says, "AndrĂ  Tutto Bene (Everything Will Be Okay in English) was inspired by the words and beautiful artwork created by children in Italy during the Covid19 pandemic in 2020. While children and their families in Italy were quarantined in their homes, many displayed rainbow-themed banners and posters featuring the phrase "AndrĂ  Tutto Bene"to send messages of hope and positivity."  We could all use a bit of that.  Sheri supplied a foundation pattern for the rainbow, which I printed on newsprint for easy removal.
The 1895 Watercolours are perfect, especially the blue for the sky.
The original design featured clouds, but part-way through sewing I decided I would switch out the clouds for a world. I searched out my largest paper coffee filters to make positioning the circle super easy.
Then I printed an outline of the world to that size, and cut out the shapes to applique.
They were fused in place, and stitched down using clear Aurifil monofilament.
I sewed completely around the circle and matching lining, and cut an X in the back near the top where I could turn the world inside out.   It was appliqued in place using the clear monofilament.
I printed "Andra Tutto Bene" in a script font in Word, printing 200 point size letters in mirror image so I could trace them onto fusible web.  Cutting out the letters was the slowest part of this project.  They got stitched down using free motion quilting.
Then the fun began: choosing thread colours to quilt the rainbow. I am using all 50 weight Aurifil in this project.  I found a scrap of Hobbs Tuscany silk batting which was just the right size.
The bottom edge was cut to the same shape as the rainbow.
A little red heart is stitched on where I envision Nova Scotia to be.

This bit of hope and encouragement is now hanging in our Family Room window.  It's raining today, but perhaps soon we will have a real rainbow.
If you would like to make your own, there is a link to Sheri's pattern here on the Aurifil post.  Thank you to Sheri and Aurifil for making this available.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

Mother's Day Thread Special

We are just about to turn another calendar page into May, where we mark one of our favourite special days: Mother's Day. This year instead of taking our Mom out to dinner, or bringing the kids for a visit, we will fete her long distance.
Mother's Day to me is a day associated with "girly" treats - flowers, chocolates, lacy pretty things.  To that end, we will be offering special packaging and gift-wrap for all Mother's Day Aurifil thread orders. You choose the colours and weights of thread Mom loves, and we will do it up pretty (and maybe even add a little chocolate kiss or two!)
Small orders of two or three spools can be done up as a tussy-mussy, a lacy nose-gay of thread rather than flowers.
Colour choice is all yours.
Four or more spools can be done up in a basket wrap...with a wee bit of chocolate included.
Here's a larger basket, of six spools.

It's not the same as celebrating in person, but Mom will know you have thought of her in a unique way.
The thread checkout is here:, and we deliver across Canada.  Locally, we can arrange curbside pick-up or delivery. Simply place your thread order, and let us know where you would like it sent.  Please email with any questions.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Aurifil Thread Goodies!

We are all keeping busy, busy: sewing masks, isolation quilts, and now...comfort quilts. The demand for quality thread is high, and we have lots of the best.  Earlier this week, we received more Aurifil collections for our online shop. (There were actually more than this, but the stack kept tipping!!)
Some were old favourites we've had before and sold out of, and others are new to us.  All are gorgeous.
Everyone loves Edyta Sitar's designs and she has curated lovely collections to coordinate with her projects.  Her "Over the Rainbow" collection says, "A colour wheel of threads for every project."
 Jeni Baker's "Favourite Things" collection is a lovely assortment of warm and pastel shades.
 Don't let the name of this one by Zen Chic's Brigette Heitland fool you into thinking it is just for Christmas;  these neutrals can see service all year.
Perennial favourites include this collection of "Botanics" by Carolyn Friedlander...
 ...and the always popular colours of Kaffe Fassett.
You can see all these beautiful threads here: These large spool collections contain a whopping 12 x 1300 m=15, 600 metres of thread...with luck, enough to sew you through stay-at-home time.

Thursday, 9 April 2020


I am making the best of this lock-down time, and have decided to focus on learning as much as I can about thread, specifically Aurifil thread.  I've been a user for many years, and a dealer for over 6 years now.  But even with all the sewing I do, there are things I have not tried.  I am on a mission to learn it all!
Recently, I completed this top of blue and yellow 36 patch blocks, made from Island Batik's beautiful "Forget Me Not" collection.
This is the same fabric I used previously to make "Sweet Dreams", which I quilted using Aurifil 50 weight thread.
The 36 patch quilt went together quickly, each square finishing at 2" (I used 2-1/2" strips, so it was quick to cut.) Only two colours were used in each 12" block, alternating blue and yellow.  The gorgeous light and dark batiks make for a nice wash of colour when the blocks are set together. This shows 3 x 3 in the layout, which is a nice size for a baby quilt, but I ended up doing 4 x 5, for 48" x 60". It makes a nice couch sized quilt.
To quilt this, I decided to use 28 weight thread.  It's the next to heaviest weight that Aurifil makes (12 being heaviest), and is a nice, substantial thread. It comes on a grey spool.  I've used it a bit in the past for satin stitching, sewing on buttons, and for mending a rip in my son's backpack.
Only once before had I quilted with it, and that was for free motion stitching. Never had I used it for straight line quilting with my walking foot.

I chose 1135 light yellow and 2725 light Wedgewood blue.  In the bobbin, I used 40 weight in 1135 light yellow.  For the needle I used a size 14/90 Microtex, which has a sharp point.
Stitching in the ditch was completed first, and for that I used a finer 50 weight.
This was a perfect design for walking foot quilting, as no marking was required;  to work the diagonal cross-hatching, I just eyeballed the distance from corner to corner in the squares. Hobbs Poly-Down is the batting.
My top tension was reduced just a tiny bit, and my stitches were perfectly balanced top and bottom.

Here you can see the difference in the size of the thread, the yellow being the 28 weight and the lighter one in the ditch is the 50 weight.
It was hard to get decent pictures.  At this time of year in Nova Scotia, the grass is still brown and only a few brave crocuses are daring to pop their heads up.  Normally, I would take the quilt to a pretty location like the beach, or a park, but with our province-wide mandatory quarantine, we can be fined $1000. for going to these places. I'll wait.

I am extremely pleased with how the 28 weight thread performed, and will definitely be using it again. 
It's distinct without being overbearing, and I know it will hold up well.

I have a few colours in my store if you'd like to give it a try.  Among other things, Aurifil says the thread may be used for machine or hand embroidery, cross stitch,bobbin lace, couching, thread painting, mending, tatting, crochet, crewel, buttonholes, and serging.  Oh my - with 6 weights of thread, I will not soon run out of things to try!