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.
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Tuesday 29 December 2009

Christmas Snow

With snow overnight, it is Christmas card pretty in Amherst, N.S. today.
Snowy days such as this often drive many birds out to the feeders, and we are hopeful the cardinals will return soon. A Northern Flicker stopped by earlier, however by the time I got the camera this sole Mourning Dove was the only one who agreed to pose. I am wondering where his mate is, as they seem to always travel in pairs.

Monday 28 December 2009

World Cup Knitting

During the holidays is the time the World Cup Jr.'s are played (hockey) and this year they are being held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. We all watch, and it's great opportunity to get in some knitting on my socks. I am a very slow knitter and do not accomplish many pairs in the run of a year but I always figure it gives me something to show for time spent in waiting rooms, or in front of the T.V. Plus, we all love the wool socks! Here's a pair which I made for my sister Nancy for Christmas:
My knitting strategy is to keep two socks on the go at the same time and to make sure at least one of them is in the "mindless" section of straight knitting so that it can easily be transported without pattern book or counters. Last night I finished up one sock and have its mate ready to turn the heel. Because this takes a bit of quiet and concentration, I started a new pair on the spare needles. When I have peace and quiet, I will get the heel turned on the flax sock, and no doubt by the time I am on the straight part of the foot, the natural one will be ready to have the heel work done.
It's a system that works for me.
Found these pictures on my camera card and figured I might as well share them. It's a couple more of the Diamond Chips projects from an earlier tutorial. If you are on my gift list, you may have found one of these tucked in your package :)

Monday 21 December 2009

Readying For Christmas

We're just about there. The shopping is done, the presents are wrapped, the tree is up and the baking has started. It smells like Christmas. (Never mind the tree fell over and some of the cookies burned - that's all part of the Christmas memories!) These dear skates in the picture above were carved of wood by my brother-in-law, Ralph. One pair is for us to keep, and one to give. I love them, and know that he spent many hours on the details...just as we do on our quilts.
The Christmas lights around Amherst are stunning; I am particuly awed by Victoria Square this year. The lights woven through the trees create a spectacular canopy. The holly bushes in the backyard are laden with berries, although today they are not as visible as last week when this picture was taken. We enjoyed some snow overnight and are still receiving a bit more. It looks like Christmas.The Christmas Bird Count was tallied one day last week. Normally our cardinals have returned from their summer vacation in time to be included in the count, but we have yet to see them this year. So far it has only been Bluejays, Starlings, Mourning Doves and Chickadees at the feeders. Perhaps today's snow will signal the cardinals to settle in for the winter. The bees are wrapped like presents without bows for the cold season ahead. It feels like Christmas.

School is finished and many students are returning home from university for the holidays. It's great to hear the laughter and see how everyone has grown and changed. It sounds like Christmas.

From my family to yours, our wishes for a wonderful holiday season.

Friday 18 December 2009

Bernina Maiden Voyage

I've been a bit behind on my blogging as I have been occupied finishing a quilt for an imminent deadline. This is the first project I have stitched with the new Bernina and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting acquainted with the machine. The 440QE is an absolute pleasure upon which to sew, and I am thrilled to pieces with how it performs. The power it has is unbelievable - this machine knows how to sew. I can't show you the quilt just yet, as it will be featured in the spring issue of Quilter's Connection magazine but will post pictures as soon as editor Heather MacArthur gives the go -ahead to do so. I have been comfortably free-motion quilting for many years and admit that the BSR (the Bernina Stitch Regulator) at first struck me as a nice extra I would never use. However, The Bernina Lady said "try it" so I did...and I am hooked. The stitches are perfect. I have a tendency to get really focused on what I am doing to the exclusion of everything else around me, and often a quiet visitor to my room will startle me into a scream and a jump. Normally, that requires a bit of ripping for that section, but not this time. The BSR is startle-proof.
Do I have regrets with this machine? Just one: I should have done this YEARS ago. It's brought a joy and excitement back to my stitching that I haven't felt for some time. I love it!

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Cumberland Quilt Guild Diamonds

As promised, here are pictures of completed projects from the "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" workshops held during the Fibre Arts Festival. These participants are all members of the Cumberland Quilt Guild in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Here's Shelley displaying her lovely table topper:
Shelley also made another, this time arranging the colours in her blocks to create the optical illusion found in a "tumbling blocks" setting. The 3-D effect is quite pronounced. Shelley made this wallhanging for her daughter and you can see appliqu├ęd lizards (geckos?) playfully circling the blocks:
Shelley was the photographer for this group picture so didn't get to be in it. Here you see Jennifer, Debbie ("Supreme Commander"), Sheila and Marilyn in the front row and Jackie, Sharon, Nancy (who is modeling hers as a cape) and Chris in the back. Aren't they lovely? (both the quilts and their makers :)
You can see there were lots of giggles.
Thanks to all, and a special thank you to Shelley for the great pictures.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Cumberland Quilt Guild Christmas Party

This morning I awoke with tiny, round bruises on the inside of both knees…which, upon closer scrutiny, looked suspiciously thimble shaped. Hmmm…I wonder…could they be from some of the shenanigans at last night’s Cumberland Quilt Guild’s Christmas party? What an evening! Guild President Debbie (who, by the way, sports a nametag which reads “Supreme Commander”) led us through a wonderful time of scrumptious food, fun games, and an incredible Show & Tell display. Despite a brief “alarming” moment (!) the evening was fun from start to finish. For the games, I was lucky enough to be on a keen team of competitors and we kicked butt in the needle threading challenge, as well as the carry-the-thimble-on-the-back-of-the-spoon relay race. We fared poorly, however, when we were required to use our knees as transport for that darned thimble. Such a maneuver requires intense training which we obviously lacked (thus the bruises).
The Show & Tell portion of the evening was fabulous, including the results of a Christmas Nine Patch challenge in which the members participated this fall. We also got to see the completed pieces from the Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend workshop in October. Stay tuned for pictures shortly – they’re gorgeous! Show & Tell continued with members displaying their first quilting project, some dating back many years.
The evening closed with the exchange of gifts and I was surprised and humbled to receive a gift certificate for Dayle’s from the Guild. I know in which department this will be spent! I also received a very dangerous looking tattoo which reads “Born To Quilt” which I will be sporting next year at Fibre Festival. Although I am not a member of this guild, I certainly appreciate the friendship and feeling of inclusion extended to me throughout the year by this very lively and spirited group. Thanks for a wonderful evening, ladies!

Monday 7 December 2009

My Happy Dance!!

Click the arrow in the video to see my happy dance... :)
Now scroll down to see what I am celebrating!!!

For the past year, I have been following Jeanne (aka The Bernina Lady) around to her displays and hounding her with questions via email. No doubt she was beginning to think she had a stalker! She has been so wonderful through the whole process and I feel confident she is as dependable as the Berninas she sells. Wednesday she was passing through Amherst and the Christmas specials she was offering made the timing right. I did it!!! I am soooooo thrilled with this beautiful machine:
The Bernina Aurora 440 Quilter's Edition.

Sunday 6 December 2009

First Nova Scotia Snowfall 09

Old Man Winter left his calling card this morning in the form of a heavy snowfall. We awoke without power so, like true Canadians, headed out in the 4 x 4 to Tim's for coffee. As you can see, they were a very busy spot!
Isn't the snow pretty?
The storm caused a bit of disruption, and the Christmas band concerts at the high school were cancelled for this afternoon and evening. Disappointing not to have a chance to hear that spectacular drummer perform. Luckily our power was restored fairly quickly, unlike others in the county whom we understand are still without.

And so it begins...

Thursday 3 December 2009

Sussex Vale Quilter's Guild

Wow - look at all these presents; Santa would be pleased to see this!
Judy Steeves sent along this picture of the results of a November 24th sew-in held by the Sussex Vale (New Brunswick) Quilters’ Guild. Twenty two quilters spent the day piecing these projects…3 of them over 90 years of age, and some past 80. Judy led the session with a mock up of the directions from my blog tutorial posted step-by-step on a large piece of Styrofoam. The completed projects you see here were shown at the Guild's annual Christmas luncheon. I love to see all these colourful "gifts" spread out on the table. Don't those black and white ones stand out?
Judy mentioned that instead of binding one of hers, she "birthed" it (sewed the back to the front around the outside edges and turned to the right side through an opening in the seam.) This is a quick and easy finish for those who don't care to fuss with binding. Judy also mentions that she sewed a snap in place under the bow so that it can easily be removed. These are both great suggestions.
Chances are if you live in Sussex and know a quilter, one of these will be under your tree this year.