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 29 November 2010


Yesterday on a whim, hubby and I attended a flea market here in Amherst. This is not something we normally do. We browsed through the selection of used furniture, appliances and dishes and were headed to the door when I spotted this. It looked suspiciously like a sewing cabinet. I asked hubby if he supposed there was anything interesting inside, so he lifted the lid and peeked in.
He looked at me with wide eyes and said..."oh, oh...there's a Bernina in there!" He's such a big tease. I approached the cabinet fully expecting to see a gaping hole...

Lol!!! It was too funny...and too good not to bring home. Oddly, on the front of the machine it says "Made in Italy" which I found rather intriguing as Berninas are made in Switzerland. It weighs a ton, but thankfully there was help offered to get it to the car. On the drive home I pondered the "Made in Italy" thing and my dear hubby asked if I had checked the spelling of the name closely, teasingly suggesting perhaps I had actually purchased a Berninina, or Berninio or some such thing!
Although a bit dinged with nicks and scrapes, the solid cherry wood cabinet has potential as a nice side table in my sewing room, if nothing else. The missing knobs can easily be replaced. The cabinet is surprisingly sturdy and the machine fits inside with perfect precision; it is very well crafted. The front door swings open for a little storage compartment. The bar you see hanging down under the machine is a knee lift. The machine only sews a straight stitch, which I am guessing is a clue to its vintage. Some web investigation is in order to find out the history of this model. It was a fun find.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Thursday 25 November 2010

On To The Quilting...

I bought a new gift for my beloved: a straight stitch throat plate.
The throat plate that comes with the Bernina (and on most multi-stitch machines) is a versatile one which will accommodate a zigzag or decorative stitch as well as a straight stitch.
Having been "raised" on a machine where I always switched plates, I can see the benefits of having the tiny hole for the needle to pass through. It makes perfect stitches even more... perfecter. (Those who know me will understand how I cringed when I wrote that, having been an English teacher in a past career *-) If you scroll back up to the top picture, you will see it comes with a bright orange warning to help you remember to change the plate when you are changing your stitch width. Otherwise, good bye needle.
I used the plate to start the free motion quilting on my spring quilt. I can't show you the front of the quilt yet, but here's the back. Can you tell what motif I am quilting? Only 32 more of these to do before moving on to the next section. So far, so good.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Just for a bit of fun...

Fellow blogger Linda H is having a give-away on her site of a lovely hand-made Santa ornament. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. The draw is tomorrow night, so there isn't much time left. Let's see how many comments she gets before her deadline. Just make sure you tell her that Karen sent you :)))

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Out of Seasonal Sync

As I basted pastel fabrics for a spring quilt...... the Christmas cactus bloomed brilliantly in the background, a reminder that a different season is upon us. Outside everything is white from last night's snow.
It would be nice to think that I'm way ahead of myself but alas the opposite is true...!

Saturday 20 November 2010

A Maritime Christmas

The Christmas season kicked off in fine style last night in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Each year the town celebrates a "Victorian Christmas" and this year the theme has added a Maritime slant.
The festivities began with a light up in Victoria Square in the centre of town. There was a huge turnout gathered around the bandstand as town crier Gerry Randall issued the official declaration to open the season. The mayor said a few words and then flicked a switch turning on all the lights. It was magical.
The Sackville Citizen's Band played as we sang Jingle Bells and then all trailed inside the Baptist Church for a carol sing with the ARHS Senior Concert Band. The sanctuary holds over 700 people and it was jam packed, with many folks standing. The band did a stellar job as usual...especially one little drummer boy :) During the last carol, folks exited the sanctuary to continue the festivities at Dayle's Department Store just up the street, singing as they walked. Store decorator Jackie Estabrooks really outdid herself this year. With help from the staff, as well as assistant Ashley, she has made dayle's look even more amazing than usual. The centrepiece of the decor is this full masted schooner built by talented staff member Darren Allen. The choir sang from the staircase and the Sackville Citizen's band played carols as each section of the store was lit. As the carols continued, refreshments - including shortbread cookies -were served.Under Jackie's direction, each department decorated their own tree in blue and blue/green, all in a nautical theme. The Nova Scotia tartan was also widely used.
Here you can see a whimsical whale's tale, and a Christmas sprite with a gift dangling from a fishing pole. What imagination!
Several wreaths encircle anchors.

Even a grouping of lobster traps was made to look festive.
The store looks incredible, and is well worth a visit to see this in person.
Tonight the fun continues with the town Christmas parade. That special drummer boy of mine will be marching with the high school band. The weatherman is predicting snow, something needed for a perfect Maritime Christmas.

Friday 19 November 2010

Linda's Farrago

...or should we say "Linda's Masterpiece"? Fellow blogger Linda has finished her Farrago done in Christmas prints. Linda made this for a gift...but I think it's ok for me to post the picture (don't tell!) I had the pleasure of meeting Linda for the first time during the N.S. Fibre Arts Festival in October, but I have been enjoying looking at the lovely quilts on her blog for some time. She used red Invisifil for her quilting and a needle punched batting, as this will be used on a table.

I look forward to seeing what Linda makes next.

If you'd like to make your own Farrago, ask for the pattern at your local quilt shop, or find it online here, #409.

Thursday 18 November 2010

Rosy Socks and Circles

Last evening I grafted the toe on a pair of socks destined to be a Christmas gift. I am really pleased to have these finished and hope to have time to make one more pair before The Big Day. They are photographed here on wool batting, which I have spread out to relax. Doesn't it look soft? With any luck, the batting will get used up in a day or so.
The quilt I am working on with Benartex fabrics is progressing slowly but surely. The blocks are all pieced and joined, and now I've decided a little bit of appliqué is required to add detail to the patchwork. This "little bit of appliqué" involves making 192 circles. I am using Eleanor Burns' method of facing the fabric with interfacing, and cutting a slit in the back to turn. Using the needle-down position on the Bernina in combination with the knee-lift is making the stitching of these circles extra quick. Only 92 more to go...

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Maritime Beauty, Camilla Style

Here are some photos taken at a recent quilt retreat in New Brunswick. Camilla, from Moncton, is stitching my Maritime Beauty. She was no time getting the blocks pieced and joined together.
I love how she has arranged her colours; having the darks in the centre creates a secondary square design. Beautiful work, Camilla! Thanks to Lynn for sending along the pictures.
The pattern for Maritime Beauty is available in quilt shops, or directly from the checkout on my website.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Spinning Plates

Thanks for all the kind emails enquiring as to whether we floated away in the rain! This is pretty much what I've been doing since the Fibre Arts Festival concluded- spinning my plates and going 20 different directions to try to catch up...Right before Festival began, a box arrived from Benartex containing some of their new fabrics to be showcased at Fall Quilt Market in Houston.
Inside the box was this gorgeous new Forever Spring collection by Nancy Halvorson. You can see the whole line on the Benartex website. These soft rose, blue/green and gold fabrics are being worked into a new design for Quilter's Connection Magazine. The issue will be on the stands next spring, at the same time these fabrics reach the stores. The sewing is going well, and today I hope to join the blocks and start adding the borders.
The bees have been keeping us busy, getting them ready for overwintering. They were a bit grumpy during all the rain of the past week, but now that sunshine has returned, their dispositions are also much sunnier. Yesterday when we visited they were happy to be out and about.
We took a day this week to visit Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia as youngest son is deciding on a school for next year.
It is a beautiful campus with well-kept buildings. Naturally, my first choice of schools would be Mount Allison - my alma-mater - but the close proximity is a bit of a problem. I do agree that I probably would not have gone there either if I had lived so nearby when I was younger.
We were all very impressed with St. F.X.

The physics and engineering building had stunning Mariner's Compass designs in their inlaid marble floors but I was only able to snap a few pictures as I was holding up the tour group. (Apparently we weren't there to look at the floors :)
I also managed to (finally) get the laundry room painted (a soft, sage green) and a pile of paperwork off my desk. Once the quilt is finished, I will tackle the newsletter and then look forward to getting a couple of new designs out of my head and into fabric. I think my window of warm weather has passed to get the deck stained this season...but it's good to leave something for spring, right?

Sunday 7 November 2010

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

Nova Scotia has been enjoying a few rainy days with very high winds, and there's lots of flooding in our area. These pictures were taken in Nappan, a community just outside Amherst. This one is on the Smith Road:
Normally this is lush, green pasture:
This is on the main road, just before you reach the Experimental Farm. We checked on the beehives and were relieved to see all is well. I don't imagine the bees would appreciate flooded basements.
The Nappan United Church may be seen in the background.