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 31 October 2012

IQF - Houston

You know life is too hectic totally slips your mind that you have a quilt in an exhibit at International Quilt Festival, Houston!!  If anyone reading is attending the show, I'd dearly love to have some pictures taken of "Farrago" which will be in the O Canada exhibit.  I know there are regular readers of this blog from the Houston area who have sent photos before;  I hope you will again.
International Quilt Festival, November 1-4, 2012, George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, Texas

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Patchwork of Patience

After two long, full days of piecing, I am this far on the last side of the Advent antependium.  You can see the stars forming.
As much as I dislike having the freezer paper on the back of these tiny patches, it really is essential as they are too small to be held in place by a pin.  For the non-quilters reading this, the shiny side of the freezer paper adheres to the fabric when it's ironed
At this rate it will take the rest of the week to finish this side...barring interruptions...or power outages from Hurricane Sandy (yikes!!)

Monday 29 October 2012

Roundabout Again...and Again!

Here's another top from the workshop finished up and ready to quilt!  This New York Roundabout Again was made by Colleen Gander who travelled with her friend Delia from Ontario to attend my workshop at Fibre Arts Festival.  Colleen hadn't planned to send a photo until she had this beauty all quilted, but I coerced her into sharing now. (And no mistake, Colleen - we will want to see it again when it's quilted!) She shot it early this morning and the colours are a bit skewed.
I took some of the yellow out in Photoshop, but it still isn't quite right.  Colleen used a delicate red and white toile for the centres.
Thanks, Colleen;  I never met a red quilt I didn't love and this one is no exception.  Looking forward to seeing it quilted!
Kindly leave a note for Colleen on her beautiful work by clicking the word "comments" below.  You do not need any sort of account to comment, simply click "anonymous" at the bottom of the option menu.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Advent Advancing

I am busily working on the Advent antependium...and very behind schedule.  My original plan was to have it finished and delivered before the end of August;  now  I will do well to get it delivered by the end of November.  My design involves rather complex piecing, with the eye drawn to a star in the centre of a vortex.  Years back I learned how to draft these perspective pieces from Angela Madden, hand drawn full sized on freezer paper.  I drew the sketch three times before it suited, and then once more in mirror image so my final patchwork would be oriented in the desired direction.
I've done similar patchwork before.  This piece below was entered in the Trend Tex Challenge at Quilt Canada (thus the gaudy fabrics, which were not my choosing!!) the year it was in Fredericton, N.B. (What year was that, Linda?)  The theme was "Time" and it features an hourglass of flying geese units. It was a challenge to piece, mostly because I kept running out of fabric (extreme patchwork and Fat Quarters don't mix...)
I used the same method again in 2010 for another Trend Tex Challenge piece the year Quilt Canada was held in Newfoundland.  The theme was "Quilting On The Edge".  I had sense enough this time to make the piece smaller although I still used every available scrap of those five Fat Quarters.  You can see where I had to insert a strip of the peacock blue in the bias binding to have enough to finish.
Running short on fabric won't be an issue this time around, the issue will be running out of time.  The colour this church uses to celebrate Advent is a deep, rich purple.  Some denominations use blue for Advent.  I am using lots of Fossil Fern fabrics in my palette.
Because of the odd angles, no two pieces in the patchwork are the same size.  I number each strip before I cut it from the master and then assign a letter to each block in the strip so I don't mix up the sequence.  The freezer paper is ironed to the wrong side of the fabric and each patch is cut and joined individually. It's slow going.
I work one row at a time and join it immediately to the previous one so I don't mix anything up.
To deepen the effect of the vanishing point perspective, darker colours are used at the bottom switching to lighter shades towards the top and centre.
The bottom, one side and half of the sky are finished.  This silver lamé star may or may not be the one used, but it is helpful for now to get a sense of how it will look.
Even though it may look as though it's almost together, if it doesn't please my eye it will get redone...and redone...until it suits.

Friday 26 October 2012

First Finish - And It's A Beauty!

No surprise, it's Joan, and look at this - she's even got it all quilted and bound.  (Look at those feathers! )
Skip on over to Joan's blog Ouvrages d'une Acadienne to see a picture of the entire quilt.  It's BEAUTIFUL, Joan!

Monday 22 October 2012

The Lost C(h)ord

No, I am not referring to the song by Arthur Sullivan;  I'm talking about this:
If you attended my Roundabout Again workshop on Oct 13 as part of the Fibre Arts Festival you may have returned home with an extra sewing machine power cord.  If so, kindly email me so we can arrange to reunite it with its rightful owner. (If you'd like to hear Webster Booth sing about the other Lost Chord, click here.)

Fall Colours

I love the reds all around us!  We pass this sugar maple on the way to the bees.  It's lovely every season.
This Burning Bush in our front yard is deep scarlet;  no mystery where it got its name.

Saturday 20 October 2012

First Finish?

It's sort of, kind of, the first finish from the workshop...(the qualifiers are because it isn't really the whole quilt and the maker wasn't really in the class!)  However, it is the New York Beauty block from Roundabout Again, and Beth did pop into the class for a few minutes to pick up the pattern and see what was going on.  That counts.
Beth Munroe is a beginner quilter but has been a sewist for a good many years. (I almost termed her a "sewer" but that term written always makes me chuckle as I think of underground waste pipes...I don't want to call anyone a seew-er) Beth watched a quick paper-piecing tutorial at Fibre Festival Headquarters last week by Phyllis Cameron and decided she was ready to tackle a block.  Built-in decorative machine stitches were used to quilt the block.  Beth followed the directions in the pattern to make continuous bias binding which transformed her block into a potholder.  Now Beth is feeling confident and ready to start the quilt!

Thursday 18 October 2012

A Little Inspiration

Last week during the demonstration at dayle's, I finished up the machine quilting on this Christmas version of Roundabout Again.  The angle is a little odd in this picture as it is spread out on the dining room table.  I will take it full on when I get a hanging sleeve on the back.

I put a little flicker of gold metallic thread in each point and did a continuous curve in the spaces between.   The outer ring was quilted in unmarked, free hand feathers using the curved edge of the archband as the spine of the feather.
I used this piece in the workshop to demonstrate the application of binding an inside corner, and also my really easy method of joining the ends of the binding in a diagonal seam. 
New York Roundabout Again pattern #112 is available here.

Monday 15 October 2012

Roundabout Again Workshop

Here are some pictures of my Saturday workshop, part of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival.
Many of the quilters shown here have been coming for the past several years, making this an annual destination.  Most average about a 6 hour car ride, with the ones from Ontario logging substantially more hours.
Tina and Sheila have both attended for several years.
This year, 7 members of La Guilde Acadienne de Clare were in attendance.  Here you see Joan and Elaine busily working away.  There are more pictures of the workshop on Joan's blog.
Mary and I have corresponded for many years so it was wonderful to finally meet up.
We welcomed a few new faces as well;  here's Helen from Havre Boucher, N.S.  In the background are Elaine, Joan and Simone.
Brenda from Truro is working on making continuous bias binding to finish her project.

Gaile, Tina, Sheila, Jean and Amanda showing off their blocks
(that one in the middle always has to be different *-)
The colours and fabrics chosen by the participants were all so varied, I can't wait to see the finished projects.  I've had emails from a couple of folks who hurried home to finish their blocks so hopefully it won't be long before we see some results. It was an absolutely wonderful day.  I am always humbled by how generous quilters are in sharing their talents.  Mark your calendars, and we'll do it all again next year: October 15 - 19, 2013. 

Friday 12 October 2012

Demo at Dayle's

If you are in Amherst today, I hope you will drop by the Dry Goods department on the second floor of Dayle's Department Store.  I will be there from 11am - 1 pm with my machine set up, quilting away.
A good day is one where you get to sew. :)

Thursday 11 October 2012

More Festival Windows

Since all thumbs are fingers but not all fingers are thumbs (wait for'll get the analogy...!) I am posting some pictures here as well as on the Festival blog.  Here are more store windows in downtown Amherst, decked out for the Fibre Arts Festival. 

These 3D hooked pieces by Pauline Verstraten in the window at Dayle's are so well done.  I love the sheep!
Polly also has a pumpkin hooked from wool.  Love it!

A beautiful quilt in fall colours by Barb Hood.
These displays are all part of the downtown Fibre Walk.  You can purchase a Passport for $5.00 with a map to all the displays and information about each artist.  There is a ballot on the Passport for your chance to win these prizes:
Passports are available at Festival Headquarters;  it's a lot of fun!

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Fibre Arts Festival Display at Dayle's

Hubby and I took advantage of a beautiful Saturday afternoon to walk downtown and check out some of the displays in place for this week's Fibre Art Walk.  
The colourful signs and banners create a festival atmosphere all over town.
Jackie Estabrooks, the designer at dayle's, did her usual stellar job creating this display of some of my New York Beauty quilts for the store front window.  I especially love how she wrapped the mannequin in one of the quilts.
It's difficult to take a picture through a store window without getting glare and reflection from the activity in the street, so look past all the shadows and blips.
If you are in town this week, I invite you to come have a look at the window, 129 Victoria Street in Amherst, Nova Scotia.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Give Thanks

The new Thanksgiving antependium was dedicated in church this morning;  I can now share some pictures of the process.  This is the background fabric I used, Blessings II from Studio e Designs.  I saw images of the fabric online when it was previewed at Spring Quilt Market in Cincinnati and knew it was perfect for my project.  It took some doing to find it, but I finally located it at a shop in Indiana.
It has words such as Peace, Faith, Give, and Love printed in a grid fashion.  My original idea was to weave a background with these words with a light source in the centre, in the manner of artist Anna Faustino.  I love how effective her woven quilts are.  Because I didn't have an abundance of the Blessings fabric, I did my sample using a fall print weaving it into complimentary colours.
In the end, I decided this was too busy for my purpose and that it would distract from the message of the piece.  I opted to use the background just as printed - sometimes simple is the best way to go.
I auditioned various sizes of lettering for my banner, from a 100 point font all the way up to a 400 point.
The letters need to be as large as possible so they can be read from a distance - i.e. the back of the church - and yet not overpower the other elements.
I won't admit how many times I made the grapes...first they were too small, then these too large ones. 
Finally, Goldilocks was satisfied with the proportions.  The antependium features an appliqued vine that flows and connects a sheaf of wheat, a pumpkin, grapes and leaves.  As the appliqued pieces are embellished with stitching (thread-painted) this brought me to my next conundrum:  to hoop or not to hoop.  It was vital that the piece be perfectly flat with no ripples, as it hangs against the lectern.  Hmmm...what to do.  Unsure of how to proceed, I telephoned master stitchery artist Monika Kinner-Whalen in Saskatchewan for advice.  I know she dislikes using a hoop and on a piece this large, it was going to be a pain to use one.  She gave great advice and even suggested thread colours that would make the stitching pop.  Thank you, Monika, for being so generous with your wisdom :)
In the end, I hooped the parts with the dense stitching, and did the rest just with tear-away stabilizer underneath.  The letters are satin stitched for emphasis but the rest of the stitching is free motion.
The piece came out perfectly flat - I could not be more pleased.
I layered it with a wool batting and quilted feathers around the main shapes, echo quilting the fill.
It came out looking very much like my original sketch...except for the blueberries which didn't work.
I used hanging tabs on this one instead of a rod pocket since it's more of a proclamation.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.