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!

Monday 31 August 2009

A Bee Quilt?

Today's mail brought another treat from a fellow quilter and blogger in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Although Linda and I have met only "virtually" through the blogs, I do enjoy the very entertaining account of her activities she pens in her "Stitch Lines" . If you have been following along you will see that she has been cleaning out her parent's home and unearthing all kinds of treasures. Last week she emailed to say she had found a booklet entitled "Bees and How To Keep Them" dated 1937 and wondered if hubby and I would like to have it.
I've only have a quick glance through at this point but look forward to reading it more thoroughly this evening. So far it doesn't appear very much has changed in the approach. One of the pictures was rather intriguing though, as the caption reads "Removing Quilt". Sounds like I may have discovered a new excuse to make a couple of dozen more quilts!
Thank you Linda, for your thoughtfulness in sending the book.

Friday 28 August 2009

Show Me More!

Another Selvedge Tote from the "Show Me" state - Missourians (?) sure live up to their motto!

Darlene Sforza of O'Fallon loves purple, so her bag is trimmed in purple check with matching lining and handles. She has a couple more planned as Christmas gifts, and will keep sewing until her selvedge supply runs out. Sounds like me...what a great incentive for us to keep buying fabric! Darlene has previously made a Purple Zinger selvedge quilt so it sounds as though she goes through quite a bit of fabric.
Thanks so much Darlene for sharing the picture of your gorgeous tote bag.

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Selvedge Ex Machina

I've been so blown away the past few days...not by Hurricane Bill, but by calls and emails enquiring as to how we weathered the storm. It's been heartwarming to hear from quilters all over. Yet another surprise was waiting in this morning's mail. Look at this - all the way from Virginia!
Robin read the post on the Selvedge Tote Bag and very kindly snipped off her selvedges and sent them along. Robin's selvedges are from Aunt Grace and Darlene Zimmerman fabrics and it was interesting to see that the very same prints she has are shared in my stash. Gram's Baptist Fans, which graces the cover of Canadian Heritage Quilting, was made using these 30's Reproduction prints. I am very pleased to receive them as my next planned selvedge project will require quite a number. Here's the stash I have accumulated so far, with Robin's new ones pictured at the front. (I'm sure you are all impressed to see how neatly my selvedges are organized)
Perhaps by November there will be enough collected to begin the next project. In the meantime, I am continuing to sew samples for the diamond workshops in October.
A very sincere thanks to Robin for the selvedges - most appreciated! You can check out Robin's blog here.

Monday 24 August 2009

The Post Bill Playbill

Hurricane Bill turned out to be rain, high winds and a bit of flooding...which is nothing hardy Maritimers cannot handle. We are grateful it passed by so quickly. Calm has returned today, although it is still raining. This is the field where some of the bees are kept; we were happy the hives were not damaged.
The summer is moving even more quickly than Bill; really hard to believe we are in the last week of August. School begins here before Labour Day this year: September 3rd. The samples which I have been stitching for the Diamonds workshop are piling up so today I am switching gears from piecing and will begin quilting a few of them. As the red and green sample uses a lot of holly prints, I am going to quilt it using holly motifs. Even though holly does not grow on a vine, a little artistic licence is acceptable in such situations. A flexible ruler is a great help in drawing curved lines; this vine will snake in and around the side diamonds with holly leaves added here and there.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Apian Cirque du Soleil

Hurricane Bill is a few short hours away from the coast of Nova Scotia, and moving this way quickly. Even though Amherst is not on the coast where Bill is predicted to make land, we will still experience high winds and heavy rainfall. It has, in fact, been raining all night. Like most others in the province, we've done our best to secure things both outside and inside our home. It would not be a surprise to lose power and we are prepared for that as well.
It has been interesting to watch the bees the past few days. This picture was taken earlier in the week during lovely sunshine. The bees were engaging in a peculiar behavior known as "bridging". It is unclear to apiarists what they are actually doing, but you see this when the hive is happy. To me it looks like play; the bees line up to take their turn in joining a chain which they build between frames. It's fun to watch when they are doing this, but extremely difficult to photograph as they are never still.
Early this morning when we checked the beeyard, the colony was not quite so content. The buzz of the hives on approach was not a happy cadence. Whether it is because the rain is keeping them inside today or they sense something larger is any one's guess. We added ballast to the hives in hopes that the hurricane winds will not blow them over, and will keep our fingers crossed.

Friday 21 August 2009

Selvedge Tote # 3

I guess if you are from Missouri you have a certain reputation to live up to. Kathy Cavaness who hails from the "Show Me" state has done just that, and shown me a picture of her Selvedge Tote Bag. Isn't it great? I love how she has left coloured bits of fabric showing through beside each selvedge strip.Kathy has had fun sharing her project with her Southern Stitchers group, who are now busy saving selvedges for their own projects. The pattern for this bag appears in the current (October 2009) issue of McCall's Quilting.
If you have made a bag, please be sure to send along a picture for us to see. (And you don't have to be from Missouri to show us!)

Wednesday 19 August 2009

Fabricville Show and Share

Yesterday could not have been a more perfect day for the Quilt Camp at Sea cruise ship to arrive in Halifax. Early in the day the weather seemed a bit hazy, but it burned off to beautiful warm sunshine - over 30 degrees Celsius. We went down to the the waterfront to see the ship.

The annual Buskers Festival was also in town, and there were a lot of folks around enjoying the sunshine.

Theodore Tug Boat was busily hurrying off to somewhere in the harbour...

Fabricville did an absolutely stellar job welcoming the visitors. The store was magnificently hung with quilts of all sizes, shapes and genres. Members of the Mayflower Quilters Guild generously gave of their time to be on hand to greet, guide and escort visitors through the displays. Many locals and tourists came just to see the quilt show, and many shoppers came to cash in on the terrific specials the store was offering. Fabricville had organized buses to take the cruise ship passengers directly to their store and back at regular intervals throughout the day. It was hopping busy each time a bus arrived with a flood of excited, happy people.
The quilts were displayed on racks, beds, and hung everywhere throughout the large store.
Fabricville very kindly set up a display for me near the front door, with books to sign and surrounded by quilts. That gorgeous table topper under the book on the easel was made by Kathy Higgens and got a lot of oohs and ahhs throughout the day. My selvedge tote bag (you can see it to the left of the photo below) was a great conversation piece.
It was wonderful to meet so many quilters. Lorna from Mayflower was there, greeting and snapping pictures (including some you see here!) which she always graciously shares around. Thanks, Lorna.
No one left the store empty handed, as Fabricville gave out generously filled loot bags of sewing supplies. I don't think anyone would have left empty handed anyway, what with the huge sales the store was offering. I came home with 10 packages of Schmetz sewing machine needles, a new blade for my rotary cutter...and more fabric than I care to admit! :) Nothing I bought was more than half price - what bargains! Store manager Ellen really thought of everything to make this event a success - including the selection of Nova Scotian music playing in the background. I truly had a wonderful time, and thank Fabricville not just for inviting me to come along , but for their generosity in hosting such an event. I feel certain the "cruisers" will return to their homes with warm memories of the welcome extended to them by Fabricville and the quilting community.

Sunday 16 August 2009

Quilt Camp At Sea

Tuesday, August 18th is going to be a very exciting day for the quilting community in Halifax!The New England Quilt Camp at Sea Cruise ship will be docking for the day and Fabricville on Bayer’s Road is pulling out all the stops to extend them a hearty Maritime welcome. Fabricville has planned a full day of quilt displays, demonstrations and a terrific sale of goods. Members of the Mayflower Quilt Guild (to which I belong) will be on hand in the store to welcome visitors. The demonstrations cover a wide range of topics and skill levels. Karen Henry will kick off the demos at 930 and she is sure to wow everyone with her incredible work. I will be there from 11 a.m. - noon, signing copies of Canadian Heritage Quilting. The quilts from the book will be on display with me, as well as some others. I invite all quilters in the area to stop in and say hello. More details are on this poster, and in the ad in Saturday’s Halifax Herald.

The demonstrations end around 4 pm, but the specials run till store closing at 6. It’s a great time to stock up on supplies for fall retreats and workshops as all quilting cottons and batting sold by the meter are buy 1 meter get 1 free. Notions under $12.99 are 50% off and all other notions are 15% off, including Rowenta irons.
The event will take place at Fabricville, The Village At Bayer’s Road, 7071 Bayer’s Road, Halifax. If you need to call for directions, the number is 902- 443-9675. Hope to see you there!

Friday 14 August 2009

Paulette's Log Canada

It’s so enjoyable to have folks send pictures of quilts they’ve made of my designs. Sometimes almost identical colours and fabrics are used, and sometimes a quilter will put a unique spin on the project; such is the case here. This really interesting variation was created by Paulette Eccelston who lives clear across the county in British Columbia. Paulette is well-known to CQA members, having penned a column for many years for our quarterly newsletter, The Canadian Quilter. She is also a past recipient of the Dorothy McMurdie Award, Canada’s most prestigious quilting honour. You can read more about Paulette here.
Paulette sent along a photo of a wallhanging she made using my "Log Canada" pattern from Canadian Heritage Quilting as a jumping off point. She designed this piece to use as a teaching tool in a "Bits 'N Pieces (Scrap) class. The fabrics were chosen to represent the 4 seasons, which are very distinct in Canada. As in the original, red was chosen to pay homage to the maple leaf on our flag. As we celebrate Canada’s birthday on July 1, red is used in the summer block.

I really like the white tone-on-tone chosen for the background, as it makes me think of snow.

How very appropriate for Paulette to do a bit of flag-waving, as she has been a very strong voice in support of Canadian quilt designers.

Thursday 13 August 2009

The Doughnuts

Gram's Doughnuts
3 eggs
1-1/4 cups white sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 scant tsp. ginger
4 Tbsp. oil
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. soda
1 cup sour milk
4 Cups flour

Beat eggs, add sugar while beating. Add nutmeg, salt, vanilla, ginger and oil.
Stir soda into the sour milk and add alternately with the flour. Mix only until blended. Cover and place in fridge overnight. Roll out to about 3/8" thickness, using just enough flour to prevent sticking. Cut with doughnut cutter.
Fry in vegetable shortening (such as Crisco) until golden. When you remove doughnuts from the oil, place them in a pan lined with paper towel to blot up excess oil. If sugaring, add some sugar to a paper bag and shake one doughnut at a time (kids love doing this!) Makes about 3 dozen large doughnuts.

(Normally, these turn out lovely and smooth skinned; I think mine were rough this time because they were made during a time of very high humidity. Because of that, I had to add a fair amount of flour so they wouldn't stick.)

Wednesday 12 August 2009

A Maritime Summer

We've been taking jaunts out and about the past month, enjoying the tastes and flavours of our Maritime provinces. We've managed to hit all three, and found wonderful treasures in each place. At the Moncton, New Brunswick Farmer's Market I purchased some lilac scented soap made by The Soap Shack. It smells just like our backyard in the spring - I love it.
A trip to the all-you-can-eat lobster buffet at Fisherman's Wharf in North Rustico, Prince Edward Island had us waddling out the door. Was it tasty!
After watching The Week The Women Went on CBC T.V. this winter, a trip to visit Jimmy Lefresne's Train Station Inn, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia was in order:
What an interesting spot, with beautiful gardens and unique guestrooms.
The food was delicious. (These are mussels.)
And of course we had to make a trip "back home" to Five Islands, Nova Scotia where I grew up. This rock formation is called The Old Wife.
In order, the islands are Moose, Diamond, Long, Egg and Pinnacle. At the end is Pinnacle Rock. Possibly there are more beautiful spots in the world but I sure haven't seen them :)
Last year our lighthouse was moved to a new location, and it looks grand on Broderick's Beach.
Another Maritime food tradition is homemade doughnuts; they are a fun, family activity where everyone can get into the act - rolling, frying, sugaring...and eating! I use my Gram's recipe, but my doughnuts never look as good as hers did. If anyone would like the recipe, let me know.

Monday 10 August 2009

First in: Selvedge Tote Bag

The tote bag in McCall's Quilting is creating a lot of interest! I've had many emails over the past week or so from folks working on their own version. Check out this one from Marie, all the way from Querétaro, Queretaro de Arteaga, Mexico: It looks like the twin sister to mine! It's great fun when folks share pictures of their projects, so please make sure to send yours along too. Kindly leave Marie a comment on her blog and let her know what a great job she did!

Monday 3 August 2009

McCall's Quilting: Selvedge Tote Bag

The October issue of McCall's Quilting is now out, and it features one of my designs: a really fun tote bag made from selvedge edges.Never one to throw anything away (especially a piece of fabric!), I have amassed quite a few selvedge edges in my 22 year quilting career. So...what to do with them? Most of us cut them off and toss them away without thinking. Such waste! This project presents a stylish way to repurpose those snips and go green in this “something from (almost) nothing” tote bag. The selvedge (or selvage as it is sometimes written) is the uncut edge of a woven fabric which attaches to the side of the loom. The weft threads are doubled back on this edge and as such it is 'finished' and will not fray. Though in the beginning these edges were printed with utilitarian information only, such as lines to indicate the repeat of a print on the fabric or dots of colour used in the dye, this has been expanded to include web sites, designer signatures, and much more.

Going through a stash of selvedge edges is an educational experience. It is interesting to track the changes made over the years, from bland to beautiful. I gleaned the following from this pile of selvedges:

  • Not all selvedges are printed - some are simply plain white.
  • Some have frayed edges, almost like a fringe (in my fabrics, those seemed to be primarily from British mills such as Makower, UK )
  • Some are dyed to match the fabric, but most are plain white printed with coloured ink.
  • Some selvedges have the company and designer’s name, some have the year. (The oldest I found was a blueberry print fabric dated 1993) Often the style number of the fabric, the name of the collection, and a website address will also be printed on the edge of the fabric.
  • Most have the printing facing the edge of the fabric; only one in a large pile of selvedges was turned inward to face the centre (did someone lose their job for that?)
  • The dots are the colours used in the print process, helpful for matching coordinates; the lines indicate the repeat of a design on the fabric.
The above pile yielded enough to make this terrific tote. Sticking with the frugal theme, I chose a Michael Miller Fairy Frost in "coin" colour for the handles, lining and accent colour which looks just like a copper penny.My selvedge pile deflated, I am now saving furiously for my next project. If anyone has unwanted selvedge, I'd be pleased to offer it a good home!
Edit: The pattern for this tote is now available on the patterns page of my website. and as an instant pdf download from Craftsy.  Enjoy!