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. Shown here is "To Be Where You Belong", presented to Sir Paul McCartney on his visit to Nova Scotia in 2009.
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Sunday, 25 April 2010

Quilt Canada

This week - April 26 to May 1 - quilters from across Canada will be flocking to Calgary, Alberta to attend Quilt Canada. This annual conference of the Canadian Quilter's Association moves around the country each spring from coast to coast. It is a dazzling display of talent from across our country including a National Juried Show, an exhibit of challenge quilts sponsored by Trend Tex Fabrics, an opportunity to learn from top teachers, and a fabulous time to stock up on must-haves at the vendor's mall. Although I will not be in attendance this year, several of my quilts will be on display in different venues. A small wall quilt will be in the Trend Tex Challenge which I enter every year - not to win, but for the fun of doing something completely off the wall. In this challenge, each participant is provided with the same 5 Fat Quarters of fabric. That in itself is a challenge for me, as I don't do Fat Quarters well; I always seem to need more yardage. If you set one aside for the binding, this leaves pretty much just 4 F.Q's with which to work. Technically, you can add 2 more fabrics but I think it's more fun to stick within the strict challenge rules and only use the 5 given. There is also a theme, and this year it's The Sky's The Limit. After mulling that around in my head, it came out thus: Since many of us have our fabric stash piled sky-high, do we dare dream it can go to infinity …and beyond? My piece is entitled, “The Sky’s The Limit…Or Is It?” I started with a rough working sketch on freezer paper with a ladder climbing into the clouds. The ladder was angled to give perspective and the background fabric goes from darker at the bottom to lighter at the top to accentuate that.The rungs are progressively narrower and shorter as they are placed near the top of the ladder. The sides of the ladder are fused down, but the rungs are clean finished and stitched in place later so the fabric can wind up the ladder in a 3D fashion.
Stacks of fabric climb to the sky along the sides of the quilt, and spread across the top in a sort of fabric heaven. Ideally the fabric would climb in a more topsy-turvy fashion (like an uneven stack of books) but there was only enough fabric to do straight pieces and none to spare. Hopefully, it is enough to convey the idea.
An extra layer of high loft polyester batting was added for trapunto across the top of the sky so that the clouds would appear extra fluffy.To make the clouds uniform, I auditioned several round shapes to get the desired size. The circles move from the vegetable soup, to the large Guterman cotton and finally to the small spool of Guterman polyester.
I made a stencil from cardstock and cut along the line with an exacto knife blade.
The swirls were marked and quilted on the extra layer of batting. The vertical squiggly lines are on the single layer of cotton batting. The strip of red print - tapered at the top - was heavily starched and tacked in place by hand as it wrapped around the rungs of the ladder
It finished 23” x 26”. You can see by the green strip along the bottom that I ran short of binding fabric. What you can't see in the picture is that there is a golden light quilted in the "heavens" with gold metallic thread, and rays reaching down towards the fabric to welcome it up the ladder.
In the vendor's mall, Quilter's Haven from Moose Jaw have several of my quilts and patterns for sale at their booth, including Farrago, Oriental Beauty and Log Canada. Canadian Heritage Quilting, the book which features this quilt, will be available at their booth and co-author Diane Shink will be stopping by to sign copies. You can check with Heather and Arlyce for Diane's signing schedule.
In the Quilter's Connection booth, editor Heather MacArthur will be there with all the projects from the current edition of this Canadian quilting magazine, including my Meadow Song.
I am hopeful some kind photographers will send snaps taken at the show to share with those of us unable to attend.


  1. Karen, Not to worry, I will be sharing lots of photos.. and I'll take a few of your quilts in the booths too if you like..

  2. Thanks, Linda - I will look forward to seeing your pictures!

  3. Love, love, love your Trend Tex challenge contribution. If I was there, (oh lucky me) I would certainly vote for yours..I love the translation of your thoughts on fabric. I hope to be able to do that someday. I just bought my copy of Quilters Connection yesterday. Of course I was inspired by your cover quilt. It is so sweet and great for a scrappy quilter.

  4. I too am waiting for Linda H.'s pictures.
    I saw your TT challenge on the CQA website. It's so nice. I didn't realize Log Canada was a separate pattern. I thought it was only in a book. Nice.

    I hope all the Gathering of the Guilds girls had a great time. I've attended a few of those and I think it's a wonderful venue for sharing of ideas.

  5. Hi, Gail: Didn't mean to imply that Log Canada was a separate pattern - it is only in the book Cdn Heritage Quilting, which Quilter's Haven will have in their booth. The other designs mentioned are sold individually.
    I think a Gathering of the Guilds sounds like a great idea; I'm sure it's a very productive time for groups to share ideas.

  6. Hi Karen - your pieces looked good at the CQA event yesterday. It's a good thing that shopping and photos happened then, as a massive blizzard (not in the forecast) blew into Calgary late in the day and I expect that I am not the only one who will not get to downtown today because of the road conditions. Very disappointing, as today was the day to start my bidding on the Trendtex pieces.