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!

Sunday 28 February 2010

Farrago 2 Finished

Yesterday I finished sewing on the binding for the scrappy Farrago design. I like pieces with interesting shapes, and this one is a snap to bind.I also tend towards a rather eclectic mix of quilting designs, trying to vary each section just a wee bit. An earlier New York Beauty - Calliope - was brought out for reference and inspiration.
Swirly, frond-like motifs were used to depict sea grasses and kelp. It brought to mind Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea which I read many, many years ago.
If you'd like to make your own version of Farrago, the pattern is available on the pattern page of my website.
We also took the opportunity of a nice day to check on the bees. The snow and muck (mostly muck...) made it impossible to navigate the field even with four-wheel drive. We parked on the dirt road and hiked in to the hives. Everything was very quiet when we arrived - too quiet, almost. As the day was mild, we expected to see a bit of activity with bees out for "cleansing flights". To ensure all was well, we unwrapped a couple of hives to check for life. Sure enough, as soon as we lifted the covers little inquisitive bee heads began poking up between the frames. All is well.

Thursday 25 February 2010

Cover Girl

How cool is this? My "Meadowsong" quilt made the cover of the latest issue of Quilter's Connection magazine. Doesn't that just say "spring"? :) Check out the Quilter's Connection blog for more info.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Stashbusting :(

The past couple of days have been spent sorting through my stash...and not in a fun way. There comes a point where (dare I say it?) too much fabric is not a good thing. It can get overwhelming. And with more fabric on the way, it was time to tame the beast. 7 large bags have been removed so far and more to go yet. Most are Fat Quarters and larger.
It's hard to say goodbye to old friends who are there when you need them - the exact shade of violet to liven up a block, or an exquisite stripe perfect for hugging the edges on a curved binding. Sigh... The fabric will go to a good home however, one where I know it will be well loved and appreciated. Eventually. Once the shock of "where am I going to put all that" passes.

On the sock front...even though I cast on a new pair Sunday night, there was no knitting during the upset hockey game between Canada and the U.S... ouch! However, the women's game Monday and the men's with Germany last night did allow me to complete a leg. This yarn is Durasport in Forest Green from Briggs and Little in New Brunswick. Maritimers are well familiar with Briggs and Little yarn as we grew up in mitts, toques and sweaters made from it. I have a favourite cabled sweater in Fundy Fog from many years back. This Durasport is a heavier yarn than the fine Kroy but the socks are still thin enough to be worn in boots and sneakers. If I had to choose a favourite yarn from any I've worked with, it would be this one. I love the flecks in the colours - the oatmeal and bluejean are both as gorgeous - and the thick,thin texture of the spin. These do shrink up a bit in the wash, so I work a longer foot than usual.

Tonight the men play Russia in Olympic hockey. It's doubtful I can turn a heel with Crosby and Ovetchkin on the ice.

Sunday 21 February 2010

Change is Good

Oh, no...Karen's blog is all different!! Regular visitors to this site will see that the furniture has been rearranged this morning...a fun thing to do when time permits. We get so complacent when things are always the same...
This has been a productive few days of sewing. Quilting is progressing nicely on the tropical Farrago. The anchor straight line quilting with the walking foot is done, which allows me to remove the safety pins for the free motion work.
The Trend Tex Challenge "The Sky's The Limit" is pretty much finished. It just needs to be photographed and the label made and sewn to the back. It's a wonderful feeling to have that completed way before the deadline; I admit I struggled with the fabrics, which were so not me. Pictures will be posted as soon as it's permissible to do so. I am really looking forward to popping it in the mail tomorrow.
Tonight in men's Olympic hockey, Canada will play the U.S. It's doubtful there will be opportunity for much knitting on the new socks.

Friday 19 February 2010

She Knits, He Scores!

Fellow Nova Scotian Sidney Crosby and I really had the adrenaline pumping last night. He scored the winning goal in an overtime shoot-out to beat Switzerland 3-2...and I finished my socks!

Thursday 18 February 2010

What Do You Want To Do Today?

That's what I ask the Bernina every morning when I walk into my sewing room. And the answer is always the same: EVERYTHING. I marvel at how it can go from quilting this thick, triple-batted trapunto... (those are clouds, by the way) satin stitching fine silk.
In between deciding on projects, I work on string blocks. Here's a completed pink top, as well as the start on a blue one. With the addition of a little appliqué, these will make cute baby quilts.
The annual White Sale began at Dayle's Department Store this morning and I was there when the doors opened at 9 am. Even though this Benartex batik was not part of their sale, I have been thinking about it since I saw it on Tuesday and knew it would be a perfect addition to my Farrago. Yesterday I fussed about someone buying it all before I got there, but felt a little reassurance that there would be few shoppers out during yesterday's snow storm! Here it is in all of its wrinkled gorgeousness out of the washer and ready for the dryer. It came as no surprise to meet most of the quilters from Cumberland County, N.S. also in the Dry Goods Department at Dayle's this morning. There are some terrific bargains to be had.
Progress on my socks has been as phenomenal as the Olympics which I watch on T.V. as I knit. Last night during the women's hockey (which Canada won 13-1 over Sweden...) I turned the heel on the second muslin one and even managed a few rows past the foot gusset. I don't think I've ever knit a pair of socks this quickly before. Although far from a world record, it's a new personal best :)
(For those wondering why I haven't taken off the first toe yet, it's so I can more easily get the socks the same length. These are for a gift so it won't do to have one an inch longer than the other most in my immediate family are used to *-) One more picture to share today comes from Bernice of Sackville, N.B. This is the same Bernice who made the Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend workshop project in gorgeous batiks (2 posts down). Bernice keeps very busy with her quilting projects and has added miniatures to her repertoire. Great work, Bernice!
I am heading back to see what adventure the Bernina wants to embark upon today. I think it's yearning to quilt some free motion feathers...

Monday 15 February 2010

Lucy's Gold

If there were a quilting Olympics, Lucy Bourque would get a gold medal for this Maritime Beauty.
Lucy began her Beauty in a workshop I gave in Keswick Ridge, New Brunswick last April. She was new to sewing curves and bias binding and tackling this Maritime Beauty was w-a-y outside of her comfort zone. I am sure she is feeling a huge sense of accomplishment in how much she stretched and grew to meet this challenge. Beautiful, beautiful job, Lucy - the colours are spectacular...and I do see gold... in your bottom spike.
If you would like to make your own Maritime Beauty, the pattern is available on my website.

Friday 12 February 2010

Bernice's Batik Diamonds

I love it when quilters send pictures! Here is another diamond project from the N.S. Fibre Festival workshop in October. This was made by Bernice from Sackville, N.B. The batik fabrics Bernice chose worked beautifully in this piece, which she gave to her sister. Thanks for sharing, Bernice - it's gorgeous.

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Bernina is Coming to Amherst!

If you read The Bernina Lady's Blog you will have learned her exciting news! Jeanne (a.k.a. The Bernina Lady) has secured a host store in Amherst, N.S. and will be adding us soon as a regular stop in her travels. The Bernina Lady has a unique approach to doing business in that her "store" is mobile and travels around to different towns in the Maritimes on a regular basis. As a new Bernina user, I am really looking forward to a local presence to learn more about my incredible machine. For Amherst, it now means our town has a sewing machine dealership - how wonderful! Details of when and where will be announced shortly on The Bernina Lady's website.

Sunday 7 February 2010

Superbird Sunday

I am starting to think that our friend Flicker realizes that when he visits our feeders, there is a group of admirers gathered on the other side of the window watching his every move. When he arrives he sits for quite a spell, just gazing around the yard...perhaps allowing me time to fetch my camera. There was a fair breeze and the feeder on which he was perched kept spinning around. Here you can see his feathers are a bit ruffled.
A close-up of his front show his perfect colouration. I think he is such a beauty.
The black lines on his face indicate this fellow is a male - a moustache, if you will. The female has all the same markings but this one.
In the next two shots, you can see the yellow underneath his tail feathers. Someone told us that a common name for a Northern Flicker is "Yellow Hammer". When he spreads his wings to fly, it is yellow you see. What a perfect patchwork of colours and patterns he is.
I hope to catch him in flight some day; so far he has been too quick for me.
Look how well camouflaged he is in the trees, even with the red stripe on his head.

Friday 5 February 2010

My Tropical Vacation

In my email this week I received a "smilebox" of pictures from a friend visiting The Dominican Republic with the heading "My Tropical Vacation". This is about as close as I will come this winter to azure waters and lush vegetation: Farrago is very striking done in scraps of blue-greens. The only fabric kept constant throughout was the gorgeous batik I got last week on the Island. It is used in the band which outlines the curved spiky sections and in the six elongated setting diamonds. It isn't quilted yet as you can see; I will leave it a few days to decide what it needs...and pretend I am basking in warm waters...

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Another Maritime Beauty

Peggy Stevens sent in this picture of her completed Maritime Beauty from a workshop held in...well, we won't let on how far back that workshop was and how long it's taken Peggy to send the picture! Her marine biologist daughter likened it to a sea urchin, which is an interesting comparison. I like the design Peggy has quilted on her circles. Can you make it out? Peggy's talent was referenced on this blog back in September, when a quilt she designed was a winner in the Kennenecasis Valley Quilt Show.
Peggy was with us last week on the P.E.I. fabric buying expedition and we are expecting her to do great things with all that fabric she purchased!

Monday 1 February 2010

Valentine Four Patch Hearts

With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, many are looking for quick projects to spread a little cheer. These patchwork fabric baskets, which many of us wove from paper in our younger years, fit the bill nicely. They can be filled with goodies for a quick gift, or used as a table favour at a Guild party.
Before I begin the tutorial, I would like to extend a very sincere thank you to the quilters at who invited me in as their guest in a "superchat" last evening. It was a lively time and I enjoyed it a great deal. Hopefully most have recovered from the one -ruler bombshell :) It was really interesting to connect with quilters one-on-one from around the globe in a very relaxed and friendly setting.

On to the tutorial!
Patchwork Hearts
Finished size: Basket is 5" h x 5" wide; heart applique is 5" to fit a 6" block
Materials Required: (for basket)
2 pieces contrasting fabric each 9" x 3"
2 pieces heavyweight fusible interfacing each 9" x 3" (Pellon Decor Bond used in sample)
2, 9" pieces 1/4" satin ribbon
Sewing thread to match
Directions: Iron interfacing to wrong sides of both 9" x 3" fabric pieces.
Round end of one strip as shown to resemble top of heart. Tracing around a can (such as this spray starch) makes the task easy.
Fold fabric in half lengthwise and round the other end to match. Using this piece as a pattern, cut second interfaced 9" x 3" fabric piece to match. If you are planning to make more than one heart basket you may wish to trace this shape onto paper to use as a master pattern.
Keeping each section folded in half, measure over 1-1/2" to find centre. (Notice the ruler, quiltchat quilters! :)
Make a cut 3" deep.
Press both pieces flat, wrong sides together.
To weave the basket, take the left strip of one piece (in this case white) and slip it through the right strip on second (pink) piece as shown. Slide it up as far as it will go along the slot.
Open the left strip on the top (white) fabric and slip the bottom (pink) strip through it.
Weave remaining strips in similar way, alternating colours so that a chequerboard is formed.
Your pieces should open to form a basket:
To make ribbon handles, open up basket and stitch one end of a 9" ribbon to basket front at heart centre. Repeat for back of basket.
If desired, topstitch the front and back of the basket together just above patchwork and extending up about 1" as shown between x's in this photo. Repeat for other side of heart. This adds a bit of stability to your basket, and keeps it from flopping open too far.
Tie second 9" ribbon into a bow and tack over stitching on front of heart.
You may choose to add ribbon roses or buttons, depending on how elaborate you would like your basket to be.
To make coordinating 4 patch applique heart:
Materials Required:
2 pieces contrasting fabric each 2" x 5"
2 pieces contrasting fabric each 4" x 2-1/2"
Sew the 2" x 5" pieces together along long edges. Press seam to one side. Cut apart into 2" segments. Flip one segment upside down and sew the segments together to form a chequerboard.
Using your heart basket, trace along curved top of heart on each 4" x 2-1/2" piece.
Cut out with scissors, adding 1/4" seam allowance along top (curved) edge. Sew straight edge to top of 4-patch chequerboard as shown. Press.
Applique as desired onto a 6-1/2" background.
If there are comments or questions regarding these patchwork hearts, please click on "comments" at the bottom of this post and I will do my best to respond to you there. Enjoy!