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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Monday 31 May 2010

With Glowing Hearts ©

With Glowing Hearts©
I am very pleased to present the latest quilt in the Sew Karen-ly Created...pattern line. With Glowing Hearts © has been in production for some time and is now ready for sale. Patchwork and appliqué combine in a patriotic mix of maple leaf and fleur-de-lis motifs.
The design idea began during the Olympic fever of our past year. The linked rings in the Olympic logo became hearts to echo a line from our national anthem ("With glowing hearts, we see thee rise" is quilted in the inner border in the sample quilt). The colours chosen for the hearts reflect not only our winning Olympic spirit but also a bit of Canadiana: blue for water, sky, and our French heritage; black for Cape Breton coal and Alberta oil; green for our forests; red for our maple leaf and flag; gold for wheat, maple syrup and of course, as the commodity immortalized in Robert Service's "Spell of the Yukon". As always, I am grateful for the help of Lynn Bourgeois for her assistance in pattern editing.
"With Glowing Hearts" was photographed at Fort Beausejour, N.B. National Historic Park, a perfect location to shoot this quilt as the fort was used by both French and British troops (who changed the name to Fort Cumberland) during the early days of Canada. Anyone who has visited this location will tell you how windy it is (a great spot to fly kites!) and on another day I will post "out-takes" from the photo shoot. It was no easy thing to have that quilt stay in place long enough to snap the shutter. Hubby and I chased it over a lot of ground to get these pictures!
Fort Beausejour is one of my absolute favourite places to visit; officially the site opens tomorrow but there were many visitors there this past weekend including a family from P.E.I. who asked to take photos of the quilt also. That was a nice compliment.
The pattern for With Glowing Hearts © retails for $10.95. There's lots of time to get it sewn before Canada Day! Please ask at your local quilt shop, or send an email to order directly from this site with a credit card. The pattern has not been added to the checkout as yet, but will be shortly. Timeless Stitches Quilt Shop in River John is well stocked with the pattern so stop in and have a look!

Saturday 29 May 2010

Discovering Cricket Cove

Today was a trip to the Country Fields bee store outside of Moncton, New Brunswick to pick up some much needed frames and foundations for the very busy bees. As I knew we were heading to the city, I made a list of things which could not be purchased in Amherst. Hubby and I are big on buying locally when possible and make every effort to find what we need on this side of the border before we head out. As you may have guessed however, there are not an abundance of beekeeping stores around and we really enjoy our trips to Country Fields. After that, we headed to Mountain Road to check out a yarn shop I had scoped out online. Cricket Cove turned out to be a wonderfully well-stocked store with oodles of high-end gorgeous yarns of all types and descriptions. I'd hate to say how long I spent in this shop but I will certainly return. It was lovely, to say the least. I've been on the lookout for some new sock yarn. Slowly, the wool I picked up on the Island last summer is getting used up...slowly, as the thick yarn is not easy to knit and tires my hands. I love the colour, but the knitting has been a struggle. After a couple of months, I am only this far on the first sock: It was exciting to see all the sock yarns at Cricket Cove; they had a dedicated section devoted just to socks -everything from alpaca, cashmere, and merino wools to hand dyed and painted silk and wool blends. It was a struggle, but I managed to limit myself to yarn for 2 pairs. The first is a practical superwash wool infused with Aloe Vera called On Your Toes by Kertzer. I chose a pretty rose shade:
I couldn't resist this skein, aptly entitled "Yummy" by Fibranatura, a super soft Merino wool. My favourite shades of blue and green with a little mauve mixed in will be a pleasure to knit. Admittedly, this yarn was a bit of an indulgence for a practical girl like me but...won't they be gorgeous?
We also made a stop at Chapters in Dieppe to pick up a copy of the summer issue of A Needle Pulling Thread:
Inside this magazine is a review and excerpt from Canadian Heritage Quilting.
Then it was off to check on the bees who were happily at work in the sunshine. A good day for all.

Tuesday 25 May 2010

Motley Crew WIPs

A little eye candy to start the week... Jeanne (aka The Bernina Lady) sent along these pictures of WIPS (works in progress). Jeanne meets with a group of stitchers who call themselves The Motley Crew; they get together on a regular basis to stitch on their Berninas. Some of the Crew have been working on my Farrago using batiks for their works of art. They have the centres completed so far. Here you see Carol's - so soothing in these soft colours. It looks like an island floating in a Carribean sea:
...and Jeanne's:
I love how Jeanne's colour placement frames the centre star so nicely. The arched bands really stand out. Marg's is spectacular done in autumn shades:
Marg is zipping right along with hers and already has the outer blocks foundation pieced and ready to add. As Jeanne says, these will be "delicious" when finished. I can hardly wait to see how they choose to quilt them. The pattern for Farrago is available here if you'd like to make your own. I realize I'm a bit biased...but aren't they gorgeous?

Thursday 20 May 2010

Splitting Up

The Neary Apiarists have been busy splitting hives and installing new queens for these new colonies. The process is a fairly straightforward one but rather time consuming. First off, you need to locate the current queen bee in the hive you are splitting. It's harder than playing "Where's Waldo" because in this scenario, everyone is wearing a striped shirt...Each frame is scrutinized one by one and if after examining each frame you haven't found her, you start over. It would not do to put both old and new queen in the same box and leave the other box queenless. Hubby is particularly good at queen spotting.
After the queen is located, that frame is set aside and remains with half of the frames. The others are moved to a separate box, and a new queen is added to start a brand new colony. A colony cannot survive without a queen. It's like settlers coming to the New World and needing a leader to direct their undertaking. New pedigreed queens are purchased annually through the N.S. Beekeepers Association. These particular ones are from Hawaii. They arrive in little wooden crates, with a few workers added as attendants for Her Majesty. There is a hunk of sugar in the crate on which the bees feed. Click the arrow below to see the activity in the queen cage. She is the large bee:

We transport a couple of the crates at a time to the beeyard. Here you can see they are afforded the respect they deserve, with a special carrying place in the dash. They like to be kept warm.

When the split box of frames is ready, hubby takes a nail and removes a cork plug from the end of the queen crate. They can't escape from the cage as yet, as the sugar cube is blocking the way:The crate is placed between two new frames... ...and inserted into the new box of bees. Over the next few days, the workers on each side of the crate will chew through the sugar to release the queen. This allows the colony time to get used to the idea of a new leader, and allows the queen time to assume the same smell as the hive she is joining. This assures that by the time she leaves the crate, she is welcomed as one of their own. As with the rest of bee culture, it's an interesting process.The bees are enjoying our spring weather a great deal. Beeing official photographer to the bees is no easy task; first, couple shooting through a veil with the slight shutter lag built into digital photography and add to that a day with a slight breeze. The grass would move and more often than not the target bee would be out of focus...
...or not there at all - frustrating!
Here are a few shots of the pollen sacs on the worker's legs. Since they don't have backpacks or buckets to carry home the pollen they collect, they store it in little pouches on their thighs ( bees have thighs?). Depending on where they have visited, their cargo can be yellow or bright orange. Visitors to dandelions usually come away with orange booty. The colour of the pollen collected is reflected in the shade of the honey which comes off in the fall. This is why honey made from white clover blossoms, for example, is lighter in colour than say a honey produced from a mix of wildflower pollens.
This worker has shoulder bags: Here you see them arriving back at the hive and heading in to store their cache. Some of these little workers are really loaded down. Often in spring the entrance will be stained yellow or orange; you can see a bit of yellow here.As the hives are rented for pollination, this weekend we will move the hives into blueberry fields. Heavy work, and I'm always glad when this part is behind us.

Saturday 15 May 2010

...What a Rush!

Remember the song by Crowbar, "Oh, What a Feeling! What a Rush!" ? This week I experienced both meanings of the word "rush" - a hectic week of meeting a deadline, and the exhilaration of finishing the task. I had a week to design and sew for International Quilt Market/Spring to showcase some of the new fabric lines from Benartex. In such a time frame, there is no room for a redo or mistakes so whatever you go with, you're committed. Snap decisions needed to be made on what colour goes where for best effect: Never one to take the easy route, some of the blocks involved curved seaming,

...binding strange angles and inside curves...
...and matching stripes in the fabric pattern. All of the projects required bias binding for their funky shapes. I do like odd-shaped quilts.

It was a wild week with fabric flying everywhere. Sometime mid week, I lost my pin cushion and didn't want to take the time to stop and look so soldiered on with about 6 pins. I conscripted the household into helping. Eldest son did the computer work and made simple fabric labels for the backs, as well as the shipping labels and paperwork required to ship the package through U.S. Customs.
Just to add a bit of drama to the week, youngest son's contribution was to arrive home with nasty cold germs from school. We limped along a bit slower because of that, but just as determined. Murphy's Law also dictated several other technical difficulties which were dealt with as best as possible. When the UPS man left yesterday afternoon, he took with him 3 completed quilts headed for the Benartex booth in Minneapolis. In hindsight, I would change up some of the colour placements and design decisions, but under the circumstances I am happy with the results.

As per my post on Quilter's Net earlier this week, my reward for finishing was to order the latest Chuck Palahniuk novel, Tell-All. In the aftermath of cleaning up, I found my pincushion buried under a pile of bindings. All is well.

"Oh, What a Feeling! What a Rush!

Monday 10 May 2010

Weekend Whirlwind

This weekend was a perfect example of the phrase "everything comes at once." Late Friday afternoon a big box of beautiful fabrics arrived from Benartex, needing to be designed and sewn into quilts for Quilt Market (which starts May 21st!). Before I had time to get my head around that, hubby arrived home with a new bee hive...
and a bunch of new queens for the hives we will split into two. Lots to do, plus time to pause and celebrate Mother's Day. Whew! However, by last night 3 hives were split (into 6) and one quilt top was completed. It's easy to let ourselves get overwhelmed by too much, but there are strategies we can use to make things easier on ourselves...most of which I've learned the hard way! Bev Crouse at Quilter's Net has asked me to write a post for her newsletter on Time Management. If you would like to read my quilter-oriented suggestions for fitting everything-and-then-some into your day, click here to sign up to receive the post.
I am off to baste and quilt. The fabric is s-o-o-o gorgeous. Naturally, I started with the balis!

Friday 7 May 2010

N.S. FibreArts Festival 2010

The Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival website has been updated, and events for this year are posted here. I will be presenting two workshops that week (same topic on 2 different days), Wednesday October 13th and Friday October 15th, from 9-3 pm. The focus of the workshops will be on successful machine appliqué. If you've attended one of my classes before, you'll know there will be lots of sewn samples to illustrate the different techniques we will cover. The workshop is hosted by the Cumberland Quilt Guild; enquires may be made directly to the registrar, Sharon Snook. If you are thinking of attending, best to get your name in quickly as the classes fill fast. Hope to see you there!

Sunday 2 May 2010

It's All The Buzz

Click on the arrow to hear how the bees sounded this afternoon. They are enjoying our spring weather a great deal!

There's an even louder buzz among quilters about the upcoming release of EQ7. I've been a dedicated user of EQ since the beginning, upgrading through each of their versions. I remember thinking when EQ3 was released that it was the ultimate, but have been truly wowed by each successive release. I can hardly wait to see what has been added this time.

Saturday 1 May 2010

5 Month Anniversary

Our 5 month anniversary of sewing together is coming up, so I bought my beloved Bernina a present to mark the occasion - a # 24 Freehand Embroidery Foot. The Bernina Lady was passing through town on Thursday so she brought along the foot. It's a dandy.
This excuse to buy a new foot may not have a leg to stand on, but in this case any reason is a good reason! I am enjoying playing with all the different feet, and have a wish-list which I am working away on. Probably next will be a pintuck foot; Bernina has 4 different ones from which to choose, so the anniversaries are covered for quite some time. (Wish it were this easy to think of things for hubby after 25 years! Do you suppose he needs new feet? :)