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!

Tuesday 29 June 2010

We ♥ Canada

In my stash are some perfect leftovers to create a quick patriotic project for Canada Day. My quilt "With Glowing Hearts" uses fabrics from The Canadian Cottage Collection by Robyn Pandolph and there are bits and pieces remaining from that project. The red print with maple leaves and the cream with words from O Canada make just the right statement. The mat is basically a rail fence block with an appliquéd centre.
By the way...if you are using a browser which does not support ansii and ascii characters, what you see as a question mark in the title of this post is actually a heart. It is not questionable as to whether I heart Canada :)

We Canada
Finished Size: 30.48 cm x 45.72 cm (12" x 18")
Materials Required:
.25 m (1/4 yd.) red print
.3 m (3/8 yard) cream print
15 cm (4-1/2") fabric for binding
20 cm (8" square) paper backed fusible web
35.5. cm x 50.8 cm (14" x 20") low loft batting
35.5. cm x 50.8 cm (14" x 20") backing
Sewing and quilting thread to match
Cutting Instructions:
Cut 2 red 5" x 12-1/2"
Cut 2 red 2-1/4" x WOF (for binding)
Cut 1 white 9-1/2" x 12-1/2"
Cut 1 red heart using pattern supplied

Sewing Instructions:
Sew white rectangle in between 2 red rectangles along long edges as shown.

Press seams towards red. Apply fusible web to back of 8" square of red following manufacturer's directions. Cut out heart using .pdf pattern found here, remove paper backing and fuse to centre of white. If desired, satin or other decorative stitching may be added around the perimeter of the heart. Layer pieced top on batting and backing and pin baste. Quilt as desired. Trim edges even. Join 2-1/2" binding strips along short ends to form one long strip. Press in half wrong sides together. Sew to front of placemat by machine, flip to back and hand stitch in place.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Great Tidings

Another new pattern has been added to the Sew Karen-ly Created... lineup.
"Great Tidings" table set includes instructions for a 37" runner, a 12-1/2" table mat, as well as a 37" square table topper. Fabric used in this set is "Tidings" by Nancy Halvorson for Benartex. Ask for the pattern in your local quilt shop, or order directly from the pattern page of my website. "Great Tidings" is distributed in Canada by Trend Tex Fabrics. Locally, it is available in the Dry Goods section of Dayle's Department Store in Amherst.

The pattern for "With Glowing Hearts has also been added to the checkout on the website. Thanks for the great response to this pattern!
For those arriving from Gail's blog and looking for the pattern called "Dark Chocolate"... well there isn't one by that name!! It is pattern # 108, Maritime Beauty and may also be found on the pattern page of my website. You'll see lots of sewn samples on the bottom of the workshop page. Have fun!

Sunday 20 June 2010

Yuletide Tidings

It may seen odd to be posting Christmas designs with summer only a few hours away, but seasonal fabrics are arriving in the stores now. This is "Yuletide Jewel" sewn in a new line from Nancy Halverson called Tidings. This Jewel was one of my quilts displayed by Benartex in their booth at Spring Quilt Market last month. The Tidings collection contains both non and traditional Christmassy prints; locally it is available at The Fabric Cupboard in Moncton, N.B.
Yuletide Jewel is a quick project to make; it only has four pieced blocks.
It was fun to quilt and looks so different from my original in these colours. Teal and Peacock Blue add spark to colours we normally associate with Christmas.
The pattern for Yuletide Jewel is available from the pattern page of my website. I am finishing up the pattern for another design using the Tidings collection and hopefully will have that ready to post here soon.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Queen Street Bees

The Queen Street Bee Swarm story has generated a lot of interest - thanks for all the great comments. Hubby and I have now safely delivered the bees to the apiary...which is situated in a beautiful field of purple and white clover. We took the bees directly here rather than to the blueberry fields as the blueberry blossoms are just about finished. Those hives will be moved back to this spot very soon.
Hubby tells me the bees prefer the white clover to the purple. Either way, there's lots there to keep them well fed and happy.
Here hubby is getting ready to move the frames from the grey nuc box to a regular deep super. A "super" is the term for the bee boxes. Deep supers contain the frames upon which the queen lays her eggs and hatches the brood and generally make up the bees' living quarters. Shallow supers are added on top of these deep supers for honey storage. There is a metal screen placed between the deep and shallow supers called a Queen Excluder. As the name implies, everyone can pass through the mesh screen except the queen. This prevents her from laying eggs in the honey frames.
These swarm bees have had a busy few days. They were given empty frames with black foundation. You can see they have started to "draw out" the comb shape in wax on this foundation.
The cells on this side are pretty much ready to be filled. We saw some already containing eggs laid by the queen. She is building her colony quickly.
This frame had lots of eggs on it.
The bees even had time to build extra "burr comb" on the inside of the nuc box. We were surprised to see a big bumblebee on the bottom. He doesn't appear to be bothering the honeybees one bit.
Hopefully this will be all the bee excitement for awhile. The next adventure with the hives will be to move them into the cranberry blossoms in a week or so.

Thursday 17 June 2010

"A Swarm In June Is Worth A Silver Spoon"

Yesterday I planned to catch my breath from the Bernina Lady's debut and get myself reorganized. However, when the Amherst Police Dept. called around 9:30 a.m. with news of a bee swarm, it appeared life had other plans. My eldest son Patrick is always up for an adventure (thank heavens, as we seem to have lots of them!) so he and I loaded up the bee gear and headed out. The swarm had landed in a tree on Queen Street (now how appropriate is that? Do you suppose the bees read the sign and figured it was a good place to head with Her Highness?) We had no problem finding the right spot, as the homeowner had placed a barricade on the sidewalk. Here's the swarm on the tree:
At first it didn't look like much, but as we worked we discovered that there was a long fissure in the tree and the bees were filling the gap inside the trunk. These are just the fellows left on the outside. how will we get them out of there? Capturing a swarm takes a bit of creative thinking, as no two are ever alike. Patrick and I conferred and decided that we would set some bait (a honey frame) and try as best we could to gently encourage the bees into the nuc (a small bee hive).
You can see to the left of the tree there is a full frame of honey, and the grey nuc box is just below where I am working. The bee brush has extremely soft bristles and it is important to use a gentle sweeping motion across the bees. You don't want to hurt anybody. I brushed them into my left hand and then shook my hand in the nuc to release the bees.The bees came willingly, and we were no time getting them all gathered up in the nuc. When we checked at suppertime, they were happily playing in their new home. This "bridging" indicates a happy group of bees, so we felt confident we had captured the queen with the swarm even though we hadn't seen her at that point.
We started going through the frames one by one and Patrick spotted her right away. Can you see her?
Look just ahead of my finger. She's a beauty - a rich amber colour.
Patrick acted as photographer on this adventure, and he took great pictures. Thanks, Patrick! Tomorrow we will move these bees to the apiary. They are not a full hive, but by summer's end should be built up enough to overwinter.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Bernina Lady's Visit: Day 2

Yesterday we returned to Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium for the second day of the Bernina Lady début. These balloons were airborne before long, as it was a windy day. Wonder where they ended up?
The Bernina Lady's "make-and-take" project was a big hit. Here's Katherine making hers. She had a blast using the stitch regulator and was free motion quilting like a pro by the time she finished. Interestingly, she told us her aunt in Malaysia sews on this very machine. Berninas are everywhere!
The top-of-the-line 830 machine wowed everyone. Lynn made the most beautiful bag using built-in pre-programmed Diane Gaudynski feathers, stitched in cream thread on a cerulean blue batik. It was the epitome of elegance.
I stocked up on sewing machine needles, as specialty ones are not easily available locally. Hope these will hold me until the Bernina Lady's next visit.

Monday 14 June 2010

The Bernina Lady Hits Town!

The signs were everywhere...
And they all pointed to a wonderful time!
Today was the first day of The Bernina Lady's Amherst début, and many folks turned out to welcome her. The make-and-take project was an especially popular item and folks got to stitch on a machine and try out the BSR. This afternoon we were treated to a spectacular showing of the most exquisite silk quilt imaginable, made by Amherst native Anita Vriend. Her proud Mom was kind enough to make a special trip in to show what her daughter had stitched - on a Bernina, of course! It was a treat to see the workmanship in this masterpiece.
The Bernina Lady returns to Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium again tomorrow (Tues, June 14th) from 10 am to 4 pm. We'd love to have you join us!

Thursday 10 June 2010

More Buzz...

This time not about bees...unless it's "B" as in Bernina. Jeanne Huntley, a.k.a. The Bernina Lady, has added Mrs Pugsley's Emporium as a host store in Amherst, N.S. and will now be visiting our town on a regular basis. The Bernina Lady makes her début this coming Monday and Tuesday June 14 and 15th from 10 am - 4 pm. There will be demonstrations, an opportunity to come and play on one of these marvelous machines, door prizes, and a project to make and take home (free of charge). The Bernina sewing machines are being offered at a terrific price for this grand opening. Jeanne has invited me to join her, and I in turn invite all of you to join in welcoming The Bernina Lady to town. This is big stuff for our community, as there has not been a machine outlet here for many years. Come enjoy a couple of "quilty" days of fun in downtown Amherst, N.S. Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium is located in the Olde Clock Tower Building, 50 Victoria Street.

Bees In The Trees: Day 2...End of Story

(Note edit at bottom of this posting to read the end of the swarm saga.)
Throughout yesterday, we checked on the swarm about every 2 hours. It was a writhing, busy mass of bees. At 4 pm, it looked pretty solid.
When we returned a little after 6 pm here's what we found:
Nothing! They were gone! It was a huge disappointment, but not totally unexpected - these creatures do have wings, after all. We started to pack up the ladder and spotted this in a tree further on in the yard. They hadn't left, they just moved...for whatever reason.
Well I'm not climbing up there...
The swarm reformed in a different shape: Ever hopeful, Hubby and I moved the ladder and box underneath the new location, which is much closer to the main street of our town.
Here's how the swarm looked around 6 this am; the shape has changed somewhat again. No scouts on the move, it appears that everyone is still sleeping. Today will be a gorgeous, sunny day so we are expecting there will be movement of some sort soon. They must be getting hungry.
10:15 am - Everyone still in place, nothing has changed.
12:30 pm - The tree is empty, the swarm has moved on. Maybe we will get a call soon from another homeowner... :)

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Bees In The Trees

There is never a dull moment...yesterday after returning from out of town, there was a message waiting about a bee swarm near us. Eldest son and I went to investigate. This is an "extreme"close up of the swarm, taken at very early light, so not the best for clarity.It's a beauty, a really large tight cluster of bees.'s too far off the ground to reach.We placed a nuc box on a step ladder, placed some "lures" around the box, and are hoping for the best. When I checked early this morning, the swarm was still tightly wrapped in the tree above the box. Perhaps when it warms a bit, they will send their scouts to see if the accommodations look inviting. Last night was a cold one, and I feel sorry for these bees not to have had a warm place to rest.

Monday 7 June 2010

New York Roundabout

Awhile back, I designed and stitched a New York Beauty quilt using Benartex pre-printed foundations and Fossil Fern fabrics. I am pleased to be able to finally post a picture of the quilt. I call it "New York Roundabout". Fossil Fern has such wonderful colour movement within the fabric that the piece seems to glow. Foundation By The Yard is a super easy-to-use product. The blocks are printed on a fine cotton which does not need to be removed after piecing. You simply stitch on the lines and add your colours like a paint by number.

I had a wonderful assortment of colours for my palette:

The curves are gradual ones, and having the foundation layer remain in place keeps them nice and stable while sewing. I did not have to clip these curves to have anything fit, nor did the sewing require a special foot. This is my normal 1/4" piecing foot (#37).

In no time, the blocks were sewn, layered, and ready for quilting. I always begin with the walking foot and stitch in the ditch to secure the pieces. Then I remove the safety pins for some free motion work (the fun part!).

A flexible ruler comes in very handy for drawing nice curved lines.

Feathers arched around the outside of the central blocks:

...and loops were quilted in between the spikes:

A deep, rich purple was chosen for the binding.

Even binding the inside corner was not difficult as the fabric layers were so stable.

I did feathers, and loops and some straight-line stitching all to accentuate the feeling of movement in the centre of the quilt.

Then it was patterned and shipped off to Benartex where they printed the instructions and packaged them up with the foundations and fabrics. These kits are available at your local quilt shop; you can see the New York Roundabout on the kit page of the Benartex website:

It pleases me that these kits are also being distributed in Canada by Trend Tex Fabrics, so please ask at your local quilt shop.