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!

Wednesday 30 November 2011

Lord Of The Strings

Each year when we wrap the beehives for winter, part of the process is to tie twine around the hives to secure the tar paper. Hubby likes the string anchored with a bow line knot and two half-hitches for quick untying in the spring. Tying that bowline has always eluded me...especially since we are usually working in freezing weather with cold clumsy fingers. This year was mild and the light bulb finally came on over my head. Eureka! Here's my bowline knot:
And here's how it goes around the hive.
We got them all done in jig time.
When we got home, I got out the Ashley Book of Knots - a veritable enclyclopedia of knot tying which I've had since my macramé phase long ago. We won't say how long ago, but the $9.98 price tag on the front of this 620 page book is a bit of a clue.
Next year I plan to surprise hubby by asking if he'd like a Bowline Bend, Bridle, Cringle or one tied on the Bight. Surely that will impress him more than my twisted version of Tolkien: One String to rule them all, One String to find them,One String to bring them all and in the darkness bind them...
Safe wintering, bees; we hope those knots hold!

Tuesday 29 November 2011

And The Winner Is...

There were 35 qualifying comments left on the post to win a Sew Slip II. Using a Random Number Generator, we came up with # 4 for the winner.
Elaine M said...Hi Karen, I was one of those absolutely terrified stippling quilters who took your workshop in Amherst. Since then, I'm still nervous about stippling but I've done 2 projects using stippling. One was a Christmas apron for myself to wear at La Guilde Acadienne de Clare Christmas Tea event and now I'm working on a Christmas table cloth and stippling the middle of the cloth and free motion for the borders. I would be very excited to win your sheet for I need all the help I can get in order to do a beautiful job stippling. Wish me luck! Elaine
The Sew Slip II is now on it's way to Elaine in Clare and I hope she enjoys hers as much as I do mine. Don't forget, The Covered Bridge Quiltery in Riverview, N.B. will be carrying these very soon! They are always happy to do mail orders if you are unable to visit in person. Congrats, Elaine!

Friday 25 November 2011

Polly's First Snow

As usual, Polly was at the door at first light yesterday waiting to be let outside. She loves to chase the leaves - and other cats! - out of the yard. She was ready to bound when I opened the door but stopped short when she saw this. She didn't know quite what to make of it and sat motionless deciding. "In or out, Polly - we are not heating the outdoors."
She very gingerly put one paw down to test. She was not one bit impressed.

Where did all the leaves go? There's nothing to chase.

Wait, these things weren't here before.

After sliding down the shovel handle, she became a bit indignant about it all.

She went back inside after only a few minutes out, and stayed in all day.

It's going to be a long winter, Polly; you'd better get used to it!

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Win- Win, Win-Win... Win!

I must be one of the least gadget-y people on the face of this earth. Honestly. I didn't even own a seam ripper until one came with my Bernina two years ago. Quilters are shocked to learn I use the same ruler for everything: 6-1/2" x 24" with 30°, 45° and 60° markings. (What else do you need?! :) There is one thing in my sewing studio which I swear by however, and would not want to be without: a teflon slider sheet for quilting. This sheet is placed on the bed of the machine to help reduce friction in free motion quilting. Being able to move the quilt sandwich freely helps greatly in achieving smooth stitches, and I want my stitching to be the best it can. For several years I have used a Supreme Slider which now is looking pretty ratty; I decided to treat myself to a new one. In the course of Googling the product, I stumbled across something called The Sew Slip II. It is similar to the Supreme Slider in what it does, but it does it oh so much better! For starters, you can see the Sew Slip II sheet is larger, 12" x 18" compared to 8 " x 11" for the Supreme Slider. That allows more of your quilt to easily slide around.
There are larger sizes of the Supreme Slider available...but at a correspondingly larger price (significantly more than the Sew Slip II.) One of the issues I have had with the Supreme Slider is that even though it is supposed to stay in place on its own, it doesn't. I have sewn through the sheet several times as you can see in the picture below. To hold it in place, I have had to tape it securely around all edges.
The Sew Slip II clings to the bed of the machine, no tape required. It isn't glue on the back of the sheet, but it feels tacky. This is the shiny back of the sheet.
The absolutely best thing about this Sew Slip II is the centre opening for the needle. My previous sheet had a small opening which covered the feed dogs but allowed the thread to pass through for stitching. This meant that when I switched back and forth between free motion and guided quilting (i.e. walking foot) - which I do often - I had to take my quilt off the machine, untape the sheet, remove it, pop the feed dogs up for stitching, take the quilt off the machine, and then tape the S. Slider back in place again to continue the free motion. The opening on the Sew Slip II was designed to accommodate the feed dogs, which means you can put this sheet in place and leave it there for all your stitching. BRILLIANT!!
It's a perfect fit. My feed dogs can move up and down as required.
Me being me, I went to the Sew Slip website for more information, and then emailed the company with even more questions. (I ask a lot of questions.) Nancy Hepp, the owner of Sew Slip, responded promptly and over the course of several emails very kindly and enthusiastically answered all my queries. I learned the sheet is extremely durable and may be cut with scissors (not your good ones!) to any size. It rolls up for storage and may be ironed if you like (it is Teflon, afterall). Nancy recommends occasionally rinsing it under running water to clear any loose threads...(or stray cat hairs... Polly!!) She also mentions you can pop it in your dishwasher for a thorough cleaning (now that's the easy kind of cleaning I'm into :)
In Canada, the Sew Slip II will be available very soon at the Covered Bridge Quiltery in Riverview, New Brunswick. If you email the shop, I'm sure they will be pleased to let you know when the order is expected.
As noted in the heading, everything about the Sew Slip II is win-win: it is larger, cheaper, stickier and more convenient to use. That takes care of 4 of the heading "wins" but there were 5...hmmm. Sounds like we need to add another win, so here's your chance to win a Sew Slip II
! The rules are...
  1. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post by clicking on the word "comments", telling us what you are working on right now. Anyone can comment, you can choose "name" from the drop-down choices, or "anonymous". You do not need to register for anything EVER to comment on this blog.
  2. Your comments will be numbered in the order they arrive, and a number will be selected randomly to choose the winner (it isn't based on your sewing project; I was just being curious as to what everyone is making for Christmas gifts.)
  3. Make sure I know who you are and how to contact you afterwards; your email address does not show up in your comments so it's up to you to ensure I can reach you if you win. If you are not certain, please email.
  4. Contest closes at midnight (Eastern Time) on November 28, 2011.
  5. You must be in Canada to win. My apologies to readers outside our country, I promise to have another give-away just for you when this ends.
  6. One entry per person.
Wow - that's a lot of rules!!! :) Good luck!!

Monday 21 November 2011

Putting The Bees To Bed

We have begun the work of readying the bees for winter. This weekend the hive-top feeders of sugar syrup were removed and entrance reducers fitted into place.
An "entrance reducer" is just what the name implies; it is a piece of wood with slots carved which will allow the bees in and out, but also help block the wind and snow from blowing into the hive. During the cold winter, the bees do not venture out much so do not need the full opening across the width of the hive which they enjoy during the summer.The honey is selling well at Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium in Amherst and many new customers have been in touch to say how much more they like the taste of the natural honey compared to what they are used to from the grocery store shelf. I expect it's the same difference in taste between packaged cookies and homemade - no comparison! The honey is just as it comes from the hives - it is not heated or treated in any way. Because of that, it will "cream" naturally on it's own as it sits. Gillian H. tells me that her husband likes his liquid, so he keeps the jar on top of the refrigerator. It is just warm enough up there to keep it runny, but not hot enough to destroy the natural enzymes in the honey. It also doesn't use up any extra energy, or create more work. What a great tip!
Next weekend we will begin wrapping and insulating the hives with Styrofoam and tar paper. Then these beekeepers get a break from bee-duty until early spring!

Monday 14 November 2011

Whole Cloth Sampler Kits

Believe it or not, I am still sorting out and unpacking from the N.S. Fibre Arts Festival last month. There are 4 extra kits left and I've decided to offer them for sale. The kit includes enough fabric to complete the project shown below, plus material for binding, hanging sleeve and a wooden dowel. The project finishes to 12" x 12". The full-sized pattern is included, along with notes from the workshop (which includes the recipe for home made starch).
The kits are $12.00 (plus tax if you are in Canada), plus shipping of $4.00. If you are interested, please email. Payment may be made by credit card, PayPal or a cheque. There are only four kits left; these would make a nice little gift for a beginner quilter!
Edit: 4 pm Thanks for your interest, the kits are now all gone!

Saturday 12 November 2011

Free Motion Laptop Bag

Check out this gorgeous laptop bag made by Heather Olmstead. Heather attended the Free Motion Quilting For The Absolutely Terrified workshop which was held during this year's N.S. Fibre Arts Festival.
After Heather stitched the whole cloth sampler from class, she did the design again on this case. Heather writes that she is now just "slightly terrified" of the process. Fabulous job, Heather!

Friday 11 November 2011

Like a Streak of Lightning

It's time to post the official picture of the finished string quilt, as it was presented to its new owner this afternoon. The streak of lightning setting was an appropriate one to choose, as the recipient is a rock 'n roll kind of guy with an electric personality. I viewed the long zigzag rows of stitching as lines on a treble clef and added free motion quarter and eighth notes down the lines. It is pictured here with his bass guitar...which happened to get left behind in my son's room when they all left for university in the fall. I hope he gets a laugh out of it showing up in the picture - we did.
Polly was torn to see the quilt go as she has enjoyed its making.

This makes 3 completed dorm quilts for my son and his close friends, and one more to go next year. This one missed the September deadline by a bit, but it only made the surprise that much bigger (!) The best part of making these quilts is the hug you get in return. :)

Thursday 10 November 2011

Cranberry Season

It's cranberry harvest time at the Logan farm where our bees pollinate the crop earlier in the season.
We bought lots of berries - some for sharing, most for the freezer.
While there, I picked up a recipe for Cranberry Marmalade which I had never tried before. The first batch turned out so well, I made a second.
These will make nice tuck-in gifts at Christmas.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Puzzle Boxes

Hubby surprised me this weekend with the very unexpected gift of an oak puzzle box. We had seen this box in an antique store recently and I resisted buying it. He went back later and got it as he knows how much I enjoy such things. (Pretty romantic, huh? ♥)
These cleverly designed boxes were made to hold attachments for Singer treadle sewing machines. John M. Griest was awarded the patent for a "folding box" in 1889 - the date seen on every box - while working for the Singer Manufacturing Co. Mr. Greist later went on to form his own company (while changing the spelling of his last name). These are the machine attachments I used while growing up. I still love the sound this buttonholer makes: I always looked forward to using it.
The oak puzzle boxes feature beautiful workmanship, with dove-tailed joints and hidden hinges, rolling out flat to allow easy access to the attachments.
The inside of the box is covered with a green flocked fabric. There are a few pieces missing from this one, but all the binders are there.

I have my great-grandmother Christina Patterson's treadle machine and the puzzle box of attachments which came with it. It is shown on the right in this picture; the lining is purple, perhaps indicating a different year of manufacture.
I love the craftsmanship which went into these boxes, as it indicates how valued the sewing machine was in the household.

Friday 4 November 2011

Final Inspection

The Streak Of Lightning string quilt is completed, and has been given the stamp of approval by # 1 Inspector Polly. She checked out all the seams, the quilting, and especially noted whether any of that enticing Polly-ester batting was poking through in any spots (to her dismay, it wasn't). We will show you the finished quilt after next weekend when it is given to the recipient (who, by the way, knows Polly and will enjoy her contribution to this quilt.)

Thursday 3 November 2011

IQF Houston

International Quilt Festival, Houston is now in full swing. Diane Shink who is coauthor of Canadian Heritage Quilting sent this picture taken on opening day. This is the "O Canada" exhibit which has been travelling across the U.S. since April and my With Glowing Hearts hangs at the opening of the display.