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

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Pearls At Quilt Market

Most of the quilt world is off to Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City this weekend. I am not there, but I am thrilled to be represented by one of my quilts in the Island Batik booth!  Designing quilts for the new lines of Island Batik fabrics is not one of the requirements of being an Island Batik Ambassador, it's a separate pursuit. It's awfully hard not to be inspired by the gorgeous fabric scans of these hand-stamped fabrics from Bali when they arrive (I want to sew them all!!). I totally fell in love with this one, designed by Kathy Engle, called "Black Pearl".    
When I plugged the scans into EQ8, I played around with blocks that would show large pieces of these gorgeous batiks.  I settled on this block which is one of my favourites, decided on my layout, and sent off the proposal.  That was last August. The proposal was approved, the fabric was shipped from headquarters in California, and it arrived to me here in Nova Scotia in late October.  
October is always a time-crunch month for me because of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival, where I was teaching two workshops and vending at a market.  I also had an Ambassador challenge quilt to make.  As always, organization is the key, and before the fabric arrived, I contacted Denise White of West Branch Quilt Studio to see if she was on board to longarm this queen-sized quilt for me.  She was as excited to quilt it as I was to sew it!  I did a mock-up of the tessellating clamshell design in scrap fabric and mailed it off to her, so she would know what was coming and we could hit  the ground running. She came up with all kinds of quilting ideas, and we both agreed on a kind of feathery shell she sketched out.   I pieced the quilt and couriered it to her (she lives a couple of hours away.)  

Her design fit the space perfectly.  Denise quilted with Aurifil 2600 Dove Grey in a 40 weight, used in both top and bobbin. I really admire Denise's quilting, her confidence, and her passion for her art. Naturally, with a layer of Hobbs Tuscany wool batting inside, the quilting plumped up nicely.

Here's the back of the quilt; the fabric is mostly plain grey dots but I added a row of blocks from the front down one side.
Denise couriered the quilt back to me in jig time, and I cut the scalloped edge and applied the binding.  By now, it's November, and we have snow!! It's awfully hard to get a straight on picture of a large quilt.  Hubby and I invaded Beth's yard to try some outdoor shots, but wind and sun and shadow were not on our side.

As in the past for large quilts, we took it to the Purdy Crawford Centre For The Arts, on the campus of Mount Allison University. The building allows lots of natural light.
Even so, the quilt hung high to get it all in the picture, and it made for a sharp angle for my shot. Both the tessellating design of the quilt and the fabrics used give "Pearls" a very contemporary look.
Regardless, the quilt got sent off to California;  part of my angst in getting this done quickly was that, not only would this be caught in the Christmas rush, but Canada Post was entertaining rotating mail strikes, and there was no guaranteed delivery time .  Thankfully, it arrived on time and without issue.

Island Batik has the very talented photographer Jerry Khiev on staff who clearly had no problem photographing the quilt for the current catalogue.  You can see "Pearls" on page 92.  Jerry graciously shares his pictures with the designers, so with his permission this one graces the front cover of my pattern.
Photo credit:  Jerry Khiev of Island Batik
"Pearls" is available from my website as a mail-out pattern, or you can download it directly here . The patterns have been delivered to Mrs Pugsley's Emporium, so you can also purchase them there.

For shop owner, the pattern is being distributed by Island Batik, or you can contact me directly to order wholesale. Fabrics from the Black Pearl collection, along with many more, are being shown at Market this weekend, and can be ordered by shops.  I encourage you to please ask your local quilt shop to carry this beautiful collection!

As you can see, there were lots of hands involved in making this project happen. I'd like to thank Island Batik for supplying the fabric, Denise White for her quilting, hubby Jamie for help with my photo shoots, Cheryl Coville for editing my pattern, and Jerry Khiev for a great photo.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

The Apple Of My Eye



May's Island Batik Ambassador challenge is "Make It Modern".  Our industry sponsors are each singled out for one of our challenges, and this month it is Hobbs Batting.  (Last month was Accuquilt, and July is Aurifil!)  Our parameters include: "the use of...graphic areas of solid colour ...minimalism...and expansive negative space". Clearly, it also needs to include some Hobbs batting! :)
In flipping through some of my pictures for inspiration, I came across this photo taken a few years back, which I really like. It's a Royal Gala apple, with symmetrical stripes around the fruit, which showed nicely against the white background. This could be fun to make in fabric!
I decided to start with the background - a solid white Island Batik- and quilt that first.  I've never done a quilt this way before, but part of the "modern" approach is one of improvisation and deviating from the norm a bit.  Our quilt was to be crib sized.
I've been saving this special cream-of-the-crop Tuscany silk blend batting, which Hobbs sent in our first Ambassador box, for a special occasion.  I confess to being a bit of a batting snob, because a good quality batting can make a huge difference in your quilt.  This silk batting is one of my favourites...along with Tuscany wool.
I free motion quilted simple wavy lines running top to bottom on my quilt using 4 different weights of Aurifil: 80, 50, 28, and 12. Using the different thicknesses of thread creates great texture.
Once it was all quilted, it was time to add some applique.  I pulled five reds from my stash of Island Batik.
Improv curves are such fun to sew;  each piece of patchwork is unique. (I will trim off those weird shapes on the right hand side when I add the next strip; this was leftover from another project.)  My stripes for the apple will be the same plain white used in the background.
Once I got the reds pieced, I moved on to a couple of greens, for a leaf.

  I cut the whole thing into a giant apple shape, and turned under the edges.  I then used this piece as a pattern to cut a layer of Hobbs wool batting, which will add a bit of loft to make the apple stand out from the background(trapunto).
I auditioned the placement on the quilted background, and decided it needed to be nearer the bottom, rather than centred.

The appliqu├ęs were stitched in place using matching Aurifil 80 weight.  I love this thread!
You have to look really closely to see the stitches.
Last year in one of our Ambassador boxes, Aurifil sent a spool of the same colour green in all the different weights. I've gotten a lot of use out of this collection.  Again, it was the 80 weight I chose to use for applying the leaf.
With 28 weight thread, I stitched in the ditch along the curved seams through both layers of batting.  

 Hard to tell from the picture, but the apple is really quite plump.
Our apple tree would have been the perfect spot to shoot this, but sadly, it is probably a month off blooming!! You can see I added a snazzy green binding, using one of the fabrics in the leaf.

The quilt ended up at 40" x 42" which is a generous size for a crib quilt for the apple of someone's eye.



Thank you to Island Batik, Hobbs Batting, and Aurifil thread for supplying the beautiful products used in this project, and for creating a truly fun challenge.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The Top 10 Things I Love About Batiks

The Top 10 Things I Love About Batiks

10. The fabric doesn't fray.  This means there will be no stray, annoying threads trapped between the layers of your quilt.
9. Batiks obey the command "stay". When you press your seams, the fabric lays perfectly flat.  You can pretty much finger press your seams as you sew them.
8. Batiks have a high thread count, signifying they are a very good quality cotton, and will last well.
7. Batiks come in rich, vibrant colours. 
6. There is very little lint on the fabric, and no shedding in your sewing machine.

5. It's a traditional product, still made by hand the way it has been...forever. You can learn more here.

4. Blocks come out square and true every time. No need for trimming.

3. There is no right or wrong side to a batik, which is so wonderful when you are having one of those days when you don't know which way is up.

2. Because the fabric is hand-dyed, each bolt is unique.
1. The # 1 thing I love about batiks is Island Batik!

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Into The Blue

The Island Batik Ambassador challenge for April is to make a square baby quilt, using our Accuquilt Go Cutters.  
As you may recall, Accuquilt surprised the Ambassadors this year by sending along an entire cutting system, including the 8" QUBE set, to each participant. What an amazing machine this is - fast, accurate, and fun to use.  My favourite thing is that you don't plug this in - it is powered by a simple hand crank that takes no effort to turn.  This is especially important for me, as Polly has to be in the middle of everything I do and there is no way she can accidentally get herself sucked in. (yes, she is one of THOSE cats...)
A pattern book filled with ideas comes with the cutter, and there are also free patterns to be found on the Accuquilt site.  I decided to use a fabric collection I received in my Ambassador box called French Blue, which included light and dark yardage as well.
I paired the collection with a neutral called "Rice", which has a blue marl.
Hanging to dry, the fabrics suggested sailboats in sunshine;  since there was a sailboat pattern included in the book, this seemed a good choice.
I sketched this "Ship of Dreams" quilt up in EQ8 and started cutting.  
After sewing one boat, I was so taken with how easily it went together, that I decided to change up the design and add a few more triangles...and a pop of red.

 578 HST cut, sewn, pressed in about 2 hours. Seriously!!! Since the corners are snipped, there is absolutely no trimming to do.I love this AccuQuilt Go! cutter! 
Polly helped me play with the arrangement of triangles. 
 We liked that this looked like sunshine in a blue sky.

I had enough of my favourite Hobbs Tuscany Wool Batting leftover from a previous project for my quilt.
Deciding what to quilt is always a head-scratcher, but with all those triangles, I felt there was enough going on, and the quilting needed to be minimal.  I simply free motion stitched continuous curves in the light triangles, and left the coloured ones to puff.  Aurifil 50 weight in Natural White 2021 blended in perfectly.  I added some waves in the outer border.
It has a bit of a shimmer effect.
Ideally, this would have been photographed in a beautiful sunny day with shimmering water in the background.  The shining-est water around is Silver Lake, N.B., and we went on the sunniest day forecast.
Ha!  That lake is frozen solid! We couldn't even walk to the edge without sinking into the wet sand.
I do like how the quilt turned out:  a sailboat bathed in sunshine, sailing off into the blue. It measures 40" square.
I am totally smitten with the Go! cutter, and there are many more triangle quilts in my future, for sure.
There is a pattern for "Into The Blue" available for purchase.  The pattern includes a template for the triangles, so you can make it without a cutter...just not as quickly, or easily. Thank you to Cheryl Coville for her help in editing the pattern.  It is available from my website, or as a direct download here
Many, many thanks to Accuquilt, Hobbs Batting, Aurifil thread and, of course, Island Batik, for providing the wonderful products used in this quilt.

Please be sure to check out what the other Ambassadors are making this month with their Go! cutters:
Carolina Asmussen ~Carolina Asmussen  /Gene Black ~ Gene Black / Pamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuilts / Connie K Campbell ~ Freemotion by the River / Anja Clyke ~ Anja Quilts / Tina Dillard ~ Quilting Affection Designs / Becca Fenstermaker ~Pretty Piney / Jennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring Quilter / Barbara Gaddy ~ Bejeweled Quilts by Barb / Dione Gardner-Stephen ~ Clever Chameleon / Sarah Goer ~ Sarah Goer Quilts / Vasudha Govindan ~ Storied Quilts / Lori Haase ~ Dakota City Quilter II / Joanne Hart ~ Unicornharts  / Mania (Magdalini) Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for Quilts / Carla Henton ~ Creatin’ in the Sticks / Stephanie Jacobson ~ Steph Jacobson Designs / Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs / Joan Kawano ~ Moosestash Quilting / Kim Lapacek ~ Persimon Dreams/ Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood / Leanne Parsons ~ Devoted Quilter / Bea Lee ~ BeaQuilter / Toby Lischko ~ Gateway Quilts & Stuff / Bill Locke ~ Studio Bill Locke / Denise Looney ~ For the Love of Geese / Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights / Sally Manke ~ Sally Manke / Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack’s Blog Kathleen McCormick ~ Kathleen McMusing / Carol Moellers ~ Carol Moellers Designs / Karen Neary ~ Sew Karen-ly Created / Lisa Nielsen ~ Lisa Lisa and the Quilt Jam / Jackie O’Brien ~ If These Threads Could Talk / Laura Piland ~ Slice of Pi Quilts / Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde / Vicki Schlimmer ~ Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting / Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail / Sherry Shish ~ Powered by Quilting / Anita Skjellanger ~ Quilt in a not-Shell / Laticia “Tish” Stemple ~ Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland / Jennifer Strauser ~ Dizzy Quilter / Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations / Terri Vanden Bosch ~ Lizard Creek Quilts / Alison Vermilya ~ Little Bunny Quilts / Sandra Walker ~ mmm! quilts / Suzy Webster ~ Adventurous Applique and Quilting / (Debora) Anne Wiens ~ Seams like a Plan / Geraldine Wilkins ~ Living Water Quilter / Janet Yamamoto ~ Whispers of Yore