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!

Thursday 28 February 2013

Red Cross Quilts

My grandparents, with Gram's fan quilt.  Photo courtesy of Canadian Heritage Quilting
When I watched this clip, I couldn't help but think that my grandmother, Myrtle Patterson Davis of Five Islands would have stitched on some of these quilts.  My Gram was both an expert needlewoman and a member of the Canadian Red Cross and I know she helped make quilts for soldiers.
Over 24,000 quilts from little Nova Scotia - wow.

Sunday 24 February 2013

A Winter Visit To The Bees

It's been some time since we checked on the bees and with all the wild windy weather we've been having lately, a trip to the bee yard was long overdue.  Since yesterday was beautifully sunny and not too cold, hubby Jamie and I decided it was a good time to go.  We showed up in almost matching mitts;  his are from the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and mine are last year's version.

Because of all the snow in the field, we needed to snowshoe in to reach the hives.  If you are a longtime reader of this blog, you will recall that my ever-resourceful and inventive husband fashioned snowshoes for us last winter from a piece of plywood.  He splurged and bought actual snowshoe bindings for mine;  his are fashioned from baler twine and shoelaces.  (If you knew him, you'd understand... *-)
They worked great, despite having to navigate a couple of obstacles.   The first was a frozen electric fence which we couldn't disconnect so had to delicately step over. I assure you that me in snowshoes is anything but delicate!  The worst part of the trek was several patches of ice on top of the snow which  effectively turned the snowshoes into snowboards.  It was a wild ride at times...Jamie thought I was headed to the far end of the field at one point!  I think next time I will take along ski poles to help me steer...
Along the way we spotted a few bees out flying around, and some in the snow:  good signs that there was life ahead.
It was great to see the bees flying in and out of their small winter entrances.
Jamie opened the top of each hive and was happy to see bees in healthy numbers in all the colonies.  There were lots of ladybugs there as well, making good use of the shelter.
The trek back was much easier as the track was made through all the crusty parts.
It was a fun afternoon, and I can't wait to go again.  

Saturday 23 February 2013

Quilter Wannabee?

It isn't confirmed as yet, but rumour has it this fellow might join us for the Fibre Arts Festival workshop this fall.
From the placement of his hands, it looks as though he is doing some free motion quilting.  Wonder how his feathers look?
Photo courtesy of The Telegraph (and Beth!).

Friday 22 February 2013

Greenland, Hello!

Although you may not have noticed it, tucked neatly at the bottom on the left side of this blog is a "Feedjit" gadget which shows the countries of visiting readers. No need to be concerned about being tracked:  neither your IP address nor your identity is disclosed in any way. (My own shows up as originating in Cape Breton, the other end of the province from where I live!)  It's fun to realize that this is being viewed from around the world.Today there was a visitor whose flag I didn't immediately recognize;  turns out "Vestgronland" is known to us as Greenland!  Love the flag - it would look great quilted! :)  Please leave a comment below to let us know where you are visiting from.
    Sisimiut, Vestgronland arrived on "Sew Karen-ly Created...: 

Wednesday 20 February 2013

Trunk Show

Last evening I had the pleasure of doing a trunk show for the Sackville, New Brunswick Quilt Guild.  I fussed for a couple of days over what to take - how many, how few, which ones?  After 26 years in the biz, there are a few (!) quilts in my closet(s). I always figure it's better to take too many than not enough but the weight of these monsters adds up quickly.  In the end I went with 8 bags full.
It's always a treat for me to go to Sackville, as I have such fond memories of the town from my days there as a student.  It was an extra special treat to meet this genuine, generous, enthusiastic group of quilters and get to spend an evening immersed in all things quilting.  For sure, I was given a warm, royal welcome - picked up at my door and delivered back, bags carried, tea they gifted me with fabric!
I've been invited back to present a workshop in the spring, and I can't wait to go.  I know it will be a fabulous day spent in their company.  Sincere thanks to all for the reception you gave me last evening - gosh, a girl could get a swelled head pretty quick! - especially to Darlene, Greta and Gail.  See you in May!

Monday 18 February 2013

Lenten Antependium

Yesterday was the first Sunday in Lent, and the new antependium for the occasion was dedicated in church.  Unfortunately I was not able to attend as we were delivering youngest back to university; classes resume there today after a 3 week strike by the professors...Thank heavens the nasty weather waited until we were safely home before it began;  it's a real mess outside today and all schools and businesses are closed. (I am hoping classes are on at X though! :) )
Normally I take photographs when I deliver the pieces to the church, however Friday the sanctuary was busy with wedding preparations so I was unable to take pictures.  I will share this quick shot from an early fitting.
The colour for Lent is purple, and this parament is comprised of four traditional Crown And Thorn blocks with a cross emerging from the plain squares.  It is pieced from cotton and silk.
It has a thin layer of wool batting;  concentric circles are free motion quilted around the cross with swirls in each block.

Thursday 14 February 2013

Always Time For Love

Despite my best intentions to have a quick Valentine's project for you on the blog, it just hasn't happened.  Instead I will leave you with this charming shot of hubby and I (!) and a link to a past tutorial for a very quick heart project.  If you've left it to the last minute like me, don't despair - these little four-patch heart baskets work up in no time. 
Happy Valentine's Day.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

A Wonderfil Sight

Although the snow makes it tricky to plan too many teaching days over the winter, it's a great time to get organized for the busy season ahead.  This year I hope to offer more local classes and am scouting out a fabulous space to host quilting workshops;  stay tuned for details :).  To this end, I am working on new designs, finishing up the antependiums, and preparing for previously scheduled workshops and trunk shows.  I always like to have lots of my favourite threads available during class.  The delivery man from Canada Post arrived a little after 6 one morning with this box.  If you look anything like I do at that hour, you'll understand the debate going on in my head ("do I open the door looking like this?!?") In the end, I always figure no one cares about bedhead and fuzzy slippers.
Once that box is opened, you forget those things anyhow!  This order is Konfetti 50 wt. cotton and Invisifil 100 wt cottonized polyester in a basic range of colours. 
It makes me want to sit at the machine and sew these all up!

Monday 11 February 2013

The Mending Wall

As a quilter, do you mend?  I always find such division of ideals when that question is asked.  Many quilters take offense when they are asked to sew on a button, or fix a broken zipper;  menial tasks such as these are not art.  Others do it willingly...two militant camps who sit on opposing walls. Although these are not tasks I prefer, I do them as part and parcel of having sewing skills, and because my mother and grandmother - both expert needle workers - did this for me.  I do it for my sons.  I do it for my husband. (No, I will not do it for you, so don't drop off your mending!) I even admit to sewing in flapping zippers on winter jackets and stitching bottoms in sleeping bags of visiting friends when my boys were little. Elven work. It's certainly not as glory filled as feathering a quilt, but the satisfaction of knowing my tiny mother will not trip over that extra 8" on the bottom of her pyjama pants far outweighs the most glorious plume I could ever stitch. Something there is that doesn't love a wall.
Which wall do you sit on?

The Mending Wall  by Robert Frost
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors." 

Sunday 10 February 2013


Our kitties came out to help shovel.  Maddie didn't seem quite so taken aback by the snow this time - perhaps he is getting used to the idea.  Polly was her usual into-everything-with-gusto self.
She waited for the scoop to be empty and then hopped on as it passed by.
We decided to see what Maddie thought of this, and headed the scoop towards him.  Take note of Polly's ears as we get closer and closer to Maddie:

The ears are starting to flatten...
Oh, oh...look out Maddie - this isn't looking good for you...
A lunge and a swat to protect her cherished scoop - Polly is NOT sharing!
At this point the camera batteries died, otherwise you would have seen that once the scoop was out of the picture, the kitties were fine again - running and playing together.  Boundaries have been established and recognized so all is well.  Good thing we have two snow for each cat!

I Love A Good Snowstorm

...and this was a doozy!  Not sure what the total snowfall amount will be when it's all over and done with - the pundits tell us as much as 45 cm.  I just know it was a wonderful day for kicking back with a good book and I thoroughly enjoyed Sutton, autographed by the author himself, J.R. Moehringer.
Everything was shut down yesterday and most things are cancelled today as well to allow folks a chance to dig out.  The plough has gone by at least four times so I expect there is a mountain at the end of the driveway...

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Alisa's Roundabout Again

I love when folks send pictures of their work, especially when the project turns out this gorgeous!  Alisa Aymar attended the Roundabout Again workshop at Fibre Arts Festival in October and made this:
Lovely! Please leave a comment for Alisa below.  If you would like to make your own, the pattern for Roundabout Again #112 is available here.

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Easy Lettering

MS Word is such a time saver when it comes to lettering.  In the olden days, the process involved a trip to the print shop to enlarge the font and then tracing it backwards against the window onto the fusible web.  Now I simply go into Word, select a font and manually type the size I want in the box. The drop down menu for the font size usually goes up as high as 72 but just ignore that and type in a larger number if you require larger print.  Circled below you will see that I am using Harrington font in 175 point.  My large format printer takes sheets 11 x 17, so choosing a landscape orientation with narrow margins yields pretty much the exact size I want for my 20-1/4" antependiums.   After typing my word, I click the arrow to the right of the blue A to give the menu for text effects.  Choosing "outline" gives hollow letters, thus saving ink.
When I am ready to print, I click on "printer properties" and under the advanced setting I can choose to print my letters in mirror image.  This means I can trace directly onto the paper side of my fusible web and not have my letters come out reversed. I iron this web to the wrong side of my fabric, cut out the letters and fuse them in place on my fabric.

Monday 4 February 2013

X Games For Kitties

We had a beautiful snowfall overnight - the soft, fluffy kind that you love to play in...and even enjoy shoveling.  Schools are closed today so I expect there will be lots of snowmen appearing in front yards.  I might even build one myself :) 
Maddie doesn't much care for snow;  he walks through it gingerly, and with disdain on his face.

Polly, on the other hand, delights in the white stuff and can't wait to get out and play in it.  She loves to dig tunnels and bat the snow with her paws. She chased Maddie at high-speed around and around the yard.  See how high he is lifting his back legs to get over that snow!  Finally he went and hid under the front step, away from Polly-the-wildcat.
Polly then did a bit of scoop surfing, her favourite winter sport.
 When Polly visited the vet last August, we met a neighbour from our street there with his dog.  He greeted Polly with "I see you riding in the snow shovel in the winter!"  We wondered if he was watching her antics this morning;  she put on quite a show!

Friday 1 February 2013

We've Got Mail

One of the perks of owing a small business is being in the know on all that's going on.  My patterns are sold wholesale to shops across Canada and the United States, but beyond the North American borders patterns are sold individually from the checkout page of my website.  They go all over the world and it's such fun to see the address labels as they spit out of the printer.  Most of us gripe about the high cost of postage, but truth to tell I am always surprised at how little it costs and how quickly things go.  Recent orders to the U.K. shipped for the same as it would cost to send to our other coast in British Columbia and took about the same time to arrive.  This morning I sent my first order to Kazakhstan!  The postage was about double what it would cost in Canada (but still reasonable) and the delivery time quoted was 10 days.  If you look at the little green markers below you can see the trip the package will take.  The distance, as the crow flies, is 9,514 kms.  A real bargain for $5., if you ask me!
If you are overseas and have been pondering ordering, please email for a postage quote.  You may be pleasantly surprised!