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 28 September 2010

Christmas Farrago

Oh my goodness...look what Linda has done now: "Gorgeous" doesn't seem a large enough word... I love how the gold bands frame the spikes. Please click the link to Linda's blog and leave a comment there for her. If you'd like to try your hand at creating your own Farrago masterpiece, the pattern is available from my website.

Sunday 26 September 2010

I.W.K./Mayflower Guild Quilt Fair & Sale


October 21 to October 23, 2010

Parker Reception Room
IWK Health Centre
University Ave., Halifax, NS

October 21st - 10am to 8pm
October 22nd - 10am to 8pm
October 23rd - 10am to 5pm

Admission - $ 3.00

Our raffle quilt is " China Blue" 72 x 90. Raffle tickets are $2.00 each
or 3 for $ 5.00 – Draw will take place on Saturday, October 23rd
The show will have a large display of quilts for show and sale. We will also feature silent auction items made by the members and a craft table.
This year’s proceeds will be donated to the IWK Auxiliary. The Auxiliary provides items of care and comfort and support to the women, children, youth and their families who must visit the Health Centre.
A joint project of the Mayflower Quilters’ Guild of Nova Scotia, Mayflower Chapter Members and the IWK Auxiliary.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

A Wonderfil Surprise

Look what just arrived - a day early. What terrific service...and what gorgeous threads from Wonderfil! Glorious colours of Invisifil, Deco-Bob, Konfetti, Mirage, Silco, D-Twist, Accent and others are winking at me from their boxes...inviting me to open them and play. How am I ever going to keep my hands off this today?


Missing In Action - quilt action, that is! The past few weeks have been hectic and the next few promise to be the same. Fall is such a busy time with pattern orders, magazine deadlines, quilt market, workshops, and the Fibre Arts Festival all vying for attention. Today I am designing three new blocks, a spring quilt, and trying to work up a poster for the display at Dayle's in October. The Wonderfil thread order is slated to arrive tomorrow, so I have today to finish up these chores before resuming quilting on the silk NY Beauty. The chaos in my head is reflected in my knitting, which is also all over the place. The second leg of the carnation coloured sock is ready to turn the heel...

...and the gorgeous blue/green made it this far. Too far, actually; I got carried away on the foot which would fit a Sasquatch by the time the toe is formed, so I will need to ravel a bit (at which I am not very good.) This will require quiet and concentration on my part, neither of which are in abundance here lately.

My answer to these two hold-ups was to start another sock. Normally, I'm not a big fan of Jacquard yarns, but this Lavender colourway from Kroy was irresistible. I keep imagining the smell of lavender as I knit. It's v-e-r-y soothing...

Thursday 16 September 2010

Quiltus Interruptis

We interrupt this quilting session for a word from our sponsor, "BooBoos R Us"... There I was, happily quilting along on this silk NY Beauty, when I was horrified to discover this. Can you see it?
The sequence of my piano key border which should have been cream, dark blue, cream, light blue, cream, dark blue...adinfinitum...was out of whack in one of the outside blocks. Arrgghh! One end had 2 creams together...
...and the other had 2 blues abutting.
How did I miss that?! Obviously my head was elsewhere the day I pieced this section but the part that really gets me is that this has hung on my display wall over the summer months and no one noticed. My foolproof system of checks and balances failed as I had neglected to send a picture of the top to my sister Nancy, who always points out my mistakes immediately (big sisters are kinda like that :)
Hmmm...what to do, what to do, what to do...
Luckily, it was an outside block so my thinking was that I could gently rip out the quilting (yikes! this is silk!), lift the top section away from the back and rip off the outer background piece, the outer arch band, take the border apart, switch the offending pieces around and put it all back together. Sounds simple enough. I gave myself this much room to work.
So far so good...

Originally I figured I just needed to switch the two sections around, but when I did the colours were still out of sequence, so I had to rip the individual sections apart.Thankfully, the pieces went back together as smooth Can you tell? More importantly, can *I* tell?! (I guess I just did) No lumps, no bumps and everything fit snugly together.
That speed bump conquered, the quilting resumed where it left off.
Mistakes are a part of our every day life (for some of us more than others) and it's important to learn to deal with them. The most shocking quilt related mistake I ever made was in a full sized quilt for a column on Seminole piecing in Quick & Easy Quilting magazine many years back. The quilt was in southwest colours of sand and turquoise and cream and I liked it so much that I made a matching cushion and then re-sized the design to make a miniature as well. I was pretty pleased with how the whole thing looked and it was finished with just enough time to meet the deadline if it shipped by courier. On the final inspection, right before putting it in the box, I clipped off a thread on the front of the quilt...except I didn't just clip the thread. I snipped a piece out of the quilt...oh my! What a sick feeling that was. With matching thread and a few hand stitches, the hole was no longer a hole...but still noticeable, and headed for publication with my name on it :( It was the best I could do. The quilt went to the editor with a note attached asking if perhaps it could be photographed with the boo boo not showing, somehow. They obliged. The publisher liked the quilt enough that it eventually also ended up in this book by Leisure Arts. If you have a copy at home, check out "Southwest Seminole" on page 79. There's a reason that big cactus is placed in front of the quilt! :)

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."Scott Adams, 'The Dilbert Principle'

Wednesday 15 September 2010

A New York State Of Mind

I'm both honoured and humbled to learn that my Tropical Farrago has been chosen as a finalist in the New York State of Mind quilt competition. Sponsored by the New York Historical Society, this exhibition is made up of quilts from traditional blocks...such as the New York Beauty. A New York State of Mind will be held at the Fenimore Art Museum/Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. October 15-17, 2010. Most think of the Baseball Hall of Fame when they hear Cooperstown, but as a former English teacher I am reminded of the name James Fenimore Cooper, whose father founded this town. You may recall Natty Bumpo in The Leatherstocking Tales, or The Last of The Mohicans. Murphy's Law being in full effect, I am presenting workshops at our Fibre Arts Festival that week and unable to attend the show. :( If any readers in the area are planning to go, I'd be very grateful for some pictures. It will be a fabulous show.

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Free Range

The past few days have been lots of fun meeting up with fellow quilters. Friday, Bev Crouse from The Quilter's Net stopped in for patterns and honey. I always enjoy chatting with Bev; her enthusiasm and positive energy are contagious. In discussing what type our honey is (i.e. buckwheat, clover, etc. based on where the bees find their nectar) I told her hubby usually says "wildflower" since it includes clover, blueberry, cranberry and a myriad of native blossoms. Bev cleverly referred to the honey as "free range" which has a nice ring, so we're adopting her phrase for use from now on. Thanks, Bev!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting a spirited group of quilters from Shelburne County, Nova Scotia on their way to a quilt retreat in New Brunswick. No, their van didn't look like this yesterday, but it wouldn't surprise me to see it on their trip home! They will be heading back this way in October for the Fibre Arts Festival and attending my Wednesday workshop that week. That Wednesday class has filled, by the way, but there are still a couple of spots open for Friday if you can join us.
For local folks, the order for Wonderfil thread will go out tomorrow so this is last call to get your orders in. I've recently discovered that Invisifil rips out as nicely as it sews in...(would you call that "free range quilting", Bev ?)

Saturday 11 September 2010


During the summer, I pieced a New York Beauty quilt from silk. It features a gorgeous navy jacquard, paired with two lighter blues, a pure yellow and some cream coloured silk dupioni. My intent is to have this piece hung with my display during Fibre Arts Festival. As always, I started the quilting by stitching in the ditch around the blocks. This allows me to remove the safety pins used for basting so that I can free motion quilt without having to stop and remove them. The thread I am using to quilt this piece is Invisifil, a 100 weight thread which is as fine as silk.
The foot-work is the easy part. After that begins the dreaded "how am I going to quilt this" conundrum. For a couple of days as I mulled this over, I carried around a printout of the block and would glance at it as I did other things. I wanted to quilt something different in the space between the points than I had done on my other Beauties...something that radiated out from the centre and followed the gradual shape of the V, but also something that curved. Stacking a loonie (our 1$ coin for non-Canadian readers), a nickel and a small button created a shape that reminded me of bubbles. I like it.
There are a couple of ways that this shape could easily be quilted in a continuous line. The one easiest for me was to start at the bottom, do half of one circle, cross over to do the opposite side of the second circle, cross over to the top and then reverse to come back down. Can you follow my arrows to see the path? One could also do semi-circles up one side and down the next. Crossing over from side to side was more like a smooth handwriting exercise for me.
I won't be showing the whole quilt here, only bits and pieces - it will be a surprise for Fibre Arts Festival. I am thinking I will go back and echo quilt around the circles to allow them to stand up a bit.
This morning the bees surprised us with a shape they had created also. The hive cover was lifted to reveal a big letter K (for Karen) formed from burr comb. Can you see it?
We did smoke the bees off the wax and the "K" appeared more distinct, but by then my camera batteries had you'll have to take my word that their penmanship is top drawer...and their cleverness knows no limits.

We looked in all the other boxes hoping to find the letter J (hubby's initial) but to no avail. I guess we know who those bees like best, huh? :)

Customized Maritime Beauty

Joan finished up her Maritime Beauty variation, custom made to fit a particular table. It's so easy and sew clever. If you'd like to try your hand at your own Maritime Beauty, the pattern is #108, found here.

Thursday 9 September 2010

Quilts in The Gillis of Belleisle Vineyard

Last month I posted about a unique quilt show being held in The Gillis of Belleisle Winery in New Brunswick. Here are some pictures sent along by owner Alan Gillis who reports that the day was a huge success, with many visitors and hundreds of dollars raised.

Let's hope they do it again next year!

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Blog Hopping

No wait...that's a frog hopping...Anyway, skip on over to Joan's blog to see what she's done with my Maritime Beauty pattern. It's neat to read where she found inspiration to attempt it - way to go, Linda! Joan's piece is going to be so much fun to bind - I love how snugly bias binding hugs those curved edges.

A short newsletter went out earlier today, so if you haven't received yours, please email.

Sunday 5 September 2010

My Name Is Earl

Anyone in this area watching for Earl pretty much had to do so on the T.V. only, as the storm only brushed by us with "tropical" rather than "hurricane" force winds. Even so, there were 250,000 folks left without power in Nova Scotia, including half of Amherst (thankfully not our area!)Frankly, the rain was a welcome relief as it broke the awful heat and humidity of last week...which had us all wilted.
On behalf of the bees, I would like to extend a sincere thank you for all the expressions of interest and good wishes sent their way during the storm. We were just out and checked and all is well.

Friday 3 September 2010

Earl-y Preparations

We are somewhat nervously awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Earl, and checking the progress of the storm here:
Amherst is located on the border between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, just to the right of Moncton on the map. We are directly in the path of the storm, as is Yarmouth. It appears Halifax, which was hit so hard by Hurricane Juan several years back, will escape this storm. We took some time to visit the hives to make sure things were ready there. When we arrived, there were still a few hives covered in bee beards, although not as many as our last visit. Our weather is unusually warm at present and it's hot inside the hives.
This hive was a particular concern. Hubby (the head beekeeper) decided we should add another box on the top of the hives where the bees were congregated on the front. This would allow extra space for them to go inside and perhaps not be so hot for them.
Here's the same hive after adding the extra "storey"; many have already gone inside. When the rain hits, they will want shelter. We also left water for them again today, although by tomorrow this will no longer be an issue!
In general, we found the bees very agitated today- not aggressive (no stings) but they were extra skittish. We assume they sense a change in the weather. Extra bricks were placed on top to hold the covers down. Beyond that, there isn't much that can be done. Hopefully the trees behind them will act as wind break...rather than break in the wind.

Thursday 2 September 2010

Wonderful Wonderfil Thread

Gradually, I am getting the samples stitched for the Fibre Arts Festival "Meadow Song" workshop coming up in October. I had mentioned on a previous post that I had ordered some Wonderfil thread to try out. I am liking it a great deal. My favourite so far is the Invisifil, which is a very fine thread. According to their website, the Invisifil is a "100wt Cottonized Soft Polyester Tone on tone thread". Because it is so fine, it has been wonderful for piecing silk, working blind-stitch appliqué, and in the bobbin. It is as fine as silk thread for quilting. As it isn't available in the Amherst area, I am intending to order some more in to have on hand. If anyone attending Fibre Arts Festival would like me to order some for them as well in a colour to match their project- this or any of the Wonderfil threads - please let me know by September 15. You can check out all the threads and colours on their website. You DO NOT need this thread for the workshop, but it works really well for invisible machine appliqué and does double duty as a bobbin thread when stitching with heavier weight threads on top. I've also used it for machine quilting and am pretty impressed with how it looks. It is a good alternative for invisible thread with which some machines have issues.

I spent half the day checking shipping charges through various carriers to try to find something affordable in case someone outside of the Amherst area was interested in ordering. However, like the honey and beeswax, mail order is not a practical option for this thread. (Is it just me or is $12.00 to mail a $3.00 spool of thread a little crazy?...)

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Bee-ing Overheated

The past few days here have been very warm and humid, with 30+ Celsius temperatures. It was too hot Monday to go during the day to take off the last of the honey, so we went in the evening. We were greeted by an unusual site.
The hive fronts were all covered by beards of bees. Normally we might see this on one or two boxes on a hot day, but never this many.
It is warm inside the hives with all those bees, so they were keen to escape for some fresh air. It's like sitting on the front porch in the evening.
The honey supers were easily removed, without stings or other incident. I think the bees were too hot to be bothered seeing what we were up to.
On some hives, we had to brush the bees out of the way to take the top boxes off. You want to be careful not to crush any little bee bodies when moving the heavy boxes. Hubby was obliged to do all of the lifting as those boxes were beyond me.
The sky over the Amherst Point marsh towards Minudie was gorgeous for our drive home.