Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Thursday 31 July 2008

New York Beauty - Basting

It's taken awhile to get this piece queued for basting, but it's finally there. Those of you who are really observant will note that the layout of the quilt in the above picture has changed somewhat from what is shown below. This was not intentional on my part, yet I'd like to think it was one of those things that was meant to be: I was up bright and early (5 am)one morning, happily arranging blocks on my design wall (which,incidentally, doubles as a flannelette blanket in the winter time). I moved this block and that one, standing back to get the effect of the bursts of colour until I had them JUST RIGHT. I left to drop my youngest to school, anxious to get back to start sewing my masterpiece together. When I returned, imagine my horror to see the blocks scattered all around the room! Turns out my eldest son, home from university for the summer, had wandered in to play on my computer while he dried his hair. Unfortunately, the blocks were on the wall which were in the direction the hair blower was aimed!! And yes, we laughed our heads off...eventually. Lesson learned: a pin or two to hold the design is not a bad investment.

The irregular shape required piecing the batting for extra width. To do this, I rotary cut the edges of the batting to make sure they are even. Then I butt the edges, being careful not to overlap and cause a lump. I use a long, wide zigzag stitch on the machine, catching the edge of each batting piece as I go. Next I place cardboard cutting boards on the floor to protect the hardwood and tape the backing to the cardboard. On top of this is placed the batting, and then the well pressed top goes over all. It's a hands-and-knees operation, and not one I enjoy much. This is the first piece I've basted since the loss of Tilly in June, and I sorely missed his help today...Tilly loved basting quilts.
I'm never quite sure how many pins are enough, and probably have a tendency to add more than are strictly required. However, it seems that a well-basted top is much easier to handle on the machine than a loosely basted one.
I begin the quilting by stitching with the foot on. Once the seams are secured, I remove the pins and begin the free-motion fun. This will be quilted in a combination of invisible and cotton threads, both matching and contrasting. It seems rather silly to match the threads when none of the fabrics match.

Wednesday 30 July 2008


This morning there was another call from The Department of Natural Resources telling us of a bee swarm on the Amherst Golf Course. Since hubby was out of town, eldest son agreed to accompany me. When we got there, we saw the most unusual sight of bees spread out on the ground. Shortly before we arrived, someone had run over some of the bees with a golf cart, so the quick-thinking groundskeeper put a pine branch down to mark the bees. The branch turned out to be a good idea for another reason, as the bees clung to the branch. You can see that unlike a normal swarm, they are not clustered in a tight core. I set up the Nuc box and carefully shook the branch of bees into the box. Those who didn't care to let go were gently coaxed in with a very soft brush.
The bees were not a bit agitated and it was not necessary to don the beekeeping gear.
There were a surprising number of bees on the ground. It was difficult to collect these with the brush so after a half hour or so we left them on their own, hoping that they would follow the other bees into the box. was not to be so. When we returned a short time later to check on them, all of the bees had left. No doubt their queen had decided to move on, and her loyal subjects followed. Despite the disappointment in not having a new box of bees, this adventure made for a very exciting day. Maybe tomorrow we will get called back for their new location!
Eldest greatly enjoyed driving the golf cart and tractor all over the course in wild abandon...or so it seemed to me...

Monday 28 July 2008

Bee Swarm

Yesterday hubby got a call about a bee swarm a few miles from town so we packed up our gear and headed out in search of the bees. We found them clustered on a fence post which was hanging with grape vines. As swarms go, it wasn't a huge one and it was a very easy and gentle process to coax the bees into a box of frames. No doubt they were happy to have new digs provided for them so they could get back to the business of honey-making.
Here's hubby pointing out the queen: she has a larger body, darker thorax and pointier end.
Some past swarms we've been called to capture have been a bit more dramatic in their appearance. This interesting-shaped one from last summer was quite high up in a tree:
The cluster of this swarm resembles a huge pine cone, which was what the homeowner first thought when he saw it. When he investigated, he was surprised to find bees!

Sunday 27 July 2008

100 Years of Anne

I am very pleased to learn that my quilt entitled "Simply Stated: A Portrait of Anne as a Young Girl" has been juried into the Kindred Spaces 2008 Textiles Showcase in Charlottetown, PEI. It will be in the 100 Years of Anne category. This should be a huge exhibit, with delegates coming from the Yakohama International Quilt Week in Japan to take in the events, all part of the 100th anniversary celebrations of Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables. As the name states, my interpretation of the theme is a simple one: Nothing captures the spirit of Anne more clearly or concisely then a straw hat and flying red braids surrounded by a field of flowers. This picture of Anne is set in an old-fashioned gilt oval frame. You can see her 3-D braids flying out from underneath her trademark straw hat.
The fabric used for the 'frame' is antique gold Fairy Frost from Michael Miller and has a sheen which resembles gilt. The quilt combines both hand and machine quilting, and has tiny silk rosebuds stitched in the centre of each floral border block. When I am designing, I keep two quotes from Albert Einstein in mind. One is: "simplify, simplify, simplify,..." and the other: "make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler."
"Simply Stated:..." is a derivative of my Anticipation quilt and as copyright holder of that design, I am the only one able to make such a derivative. More on that later. In the meantime, mark your calendars for the dates of the show: September 12 - October 12th, at the Kier Gallery on Victoria Row in Charlottetown, PEI.

Friday 25 July 2008


For those of you on The Island (Prince Edward Island, that is) looking for the "Anticipation" pattern, we've added a new store where you can find it (3 locations, actually). Check out The Anne Store located at 110 Queen St in Charlottetown, Avonlea Village on Route 6 in Cavendish and at Gateway Village at Borden-Carleton, PEI. It is also available at The Quilt Gallery of PEI in O'Leary, a shop that is definitely worth a visit.

Tuesday 22 July 2008

Quebec 400: Paul McCartney

What a weekend! We spent Saturday and Sunday afternoon sightseeing. Old Québec is so beautiful...We ate at this same café on the right 24 years ago.There were several "live" statues giving performances; this fellow played the Pan Pipes.
An aerial view of the citadel:
Sunday night we headed off to the concert to catch the opening acts: The Stills and Pascale Picard. Our hotel room was a 15 minute walk to the concert site.
It's one thing to see crowds like this on TV and quite another to be part of the experience. It was a veritable sea of people. Québec City, which has a population of 700,000, hosted over 250,000 people on the historic Plains of Abraham for the concert. That's pretty amazing!

Words are inadequate for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, other than to say that Paul was incredible.

There's a very nice account of the concert at this blog.

Friday 18 July 2008

Good, Better, Best

"Good" is achieving 24 years of happily-ever-after marital status. "Better" is having hubby fly you to Quebec City to celebrate the occasion and revisit your honeymoon spots. "Best" is having all of this take place when Paul McCartney is in town. What a weekend this will be!

Thursday 17 July 2008

Hi Tech Tote

I've been working away here-and-there on a laptop bag, using a pattern by Kathy Fernholz. It has turned out really well, sewn in coordinating prints from Makeower UK. The tote is lined in green, which was also used for the main colour of the wrap which goes around the laptop for extra protection. The accessories I came up with on my own just to give the set a nice "quilty" touch, but the pattern for the tote can be ordered from:

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Sew and Tell

In the mail today was a picture of my Maritime Beauty centrepiece, made by a quilter near Moncton, N.B. Check out Jerri's gorgeous work here. Also, the president of the London Friendship Quilter's Guild sent notice that there is a write-up on their blog of the speech which Paulette Eccelson presented at their closing banquet. Have a look to see Paulette's findings on Canadian designers.

Monday 7 July 2008

Beehaviour Much Improved

The sunny weather has made the bees very happy. It's wonderful to see such strong, healthy hives. This is hubby holding up a frame of "brood" which will soon hatch into more workers for the hive. At the bottom of the frame you can see the larger drone cells.
Another hive shows the cells full of honey - ummm, ummm!

Saturday 5 July 2008

Lilies of the Garden

The Iris have pretty much finished their bloom, but a walk around the garden yesterday shows that the lilies are opening in good number. All but the bronze daylilies in the front bed have blooms. Here are pink Oriental Poppies growing among the red lilies:These red daylilies, purchased several years ago from the Halifax Seed Company, have a deep, rich colour. Unfortunately, I can't recall their proper name. Old-fashioned Tiger Lilies - everyone's favourite:
Orange Daylilies:These are Evelyn Price Yellow Lilies and have the most wonderful fragrance:

Wednesday 2 July 2008


Yesterday was a lovely celebration of Canada's 141st birthday; we enjoyed a BBQ, strawberry shortcake and the company of friends. The downtown festivities in Amherst, NS, are always lively and this year we also took a jaunt to Sackville, NB, to spend part of the day in another province. The weather was perfect for the fireworks at Drew and Charlene's...although we could have done with quite a few less mosquitoes!

On the sewing front, my focus is still on playing with NYB's and working from available stash. The latest is a miniature version of the Maritime Beauty. This was a fun piece to make and surprisingly not as challenging as one would think a 2" curved block would be.
It's like Mini-Me!

The weekend in the bee yard was not quite so tame... Even though Mother Nature dictated that it was time to switch from the blueberry to the cranberry fields, the bees had other ideas. They didn't want to move. Much angst and many stings later, the bees were successfully transported to their new digs. The price of honey may be going WAY up if they continue to BEEhave in such a manner!