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!

Sunday 31 March 2013

Coming Full Circle

Tomorrow marks a full church year - although not quite a calendar year - since the dedication of my first commissioned antependium. It is still my favourite of all the ones I've made.  Shortly after I posted pictures, I was contacted by Peggy from a church in Wisconsin, seeking permission to use the design in her church.  Peggy wrote, "I have found few Christian designs that I really feel are beautiful and speak a message.  Your Easter Antependium is one... I admire it and wish you many more inspirational pieces." I am hoping Peggy will be in touch soon with a picture to share.
Wishing you and yours all the blessings of Easter.

Friday 29 March 2013

What's In A Word?

Having lived the early part of my life as first a student of the English language and then as a teacher of the same, I am always fascinated by words.  Odd sounding and looking words onomatopoeia, which is almost an example of itself...or words borrowed from our French neighbours (couche tarde is my family's all time favourite in that category!)  I like being in line up at Tim Horton's to hear folks order with their proprietary lingo: "double-double", or "4 x 4".  I've often wondered how terms like "Fat Quarters" or "UFO"'s ended up as regular in quilter's vocabularies.  Everyone uses them NOW...but how did they get started?  I think I got a hint earlier this week, and I giggle each time I think about it...
Picture being in a quilt shop next to a person who asks for 12 Fat Quarters and a Flabbie to match one of the prints.  Yup, you heard it right -  flabbie!!  While doing some cutting for mail-orders, Beth of Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium came up against what one calls a half-metre cut.  Was there a special name for it?  Hmm., I don't think so - I just call it a half-metre.  Beth has decided at her shop, they will be named Flabbies.  Check out her post here, and have a giggle.  It makes perfect sense to accompany that Fat Quarter with something of similar terminology.  "Mrs. P's Emporium:  Home Of The Flabbie". :)

Good Friday

Not a good picture:  dark, bleak, underexposed;  subject matter: stark, cold...Hanging down each side is a string of 30 silver coins bearing Roman heads.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Palm Sunday

Another special day, another special antependium. It's a simple one with a clear message.  Palm fronds are fused and free-motion stitched.
The lettering is outlined with satin-stitch to clearly define the edges.  (After stitching is a session of self-doubt:  does 'Hosanna' have 2 n's or 2 s's?  Hmmm...)

The palm leaf is the same used in the Easter hanging, just oriented a different way.

Saturday 23 March 2013


Hubby and I decided to take a short jaunt to Maine this week.  It was complicated to figure out the best driving days as our snow forecast was so changeable from one moment to the next.  Before we left, I made sure everything was in place and ready to send off to the Paducah show.  I revamped the hanging sleeve as per their very precise instructions and made a label for the back.  It was a very simple one, done in Word on the computer and printed on a treated fabric sheet.  
After rinsing off the excess ink and allowing it to dry, I laid it face down on a piece of plain cotton and stitched around the edges, leaving an opening to turn.  It was hand stitched to the back of the quilt.
Someone told me you are not supposed to have a label on the back of a quilt that goes for judging, but no where in the very explicit rules from AQS did it say this.  My last quilt that went there sported a label and it was not disqualified, so this one has one as well.  Any thoughts or comments on the label issue?

When I went to get tissue paper to put between the folds, I discovered that instead of sheets of tissue, I had shredded strings that looked like Easter grass.  Thank you Polly and Maddie for doing such a thorough job on the tissue well as on the padded bubble mailing envelopes which were stored on the same shelf...
The rules for Paducah say that the quilt needs to arrive between March 29 and April 5 to qualify.  That's trickier than it sounds when you are mailing from another country as the package may well get held up at Customs.  I checked at the main Post Office last week for their advice and have decided - taking into account shipping times, Customs, and the Easter holiday - my optimal day to mail is Monday.  But what about the snow...and if our travel back got delayed...?
My last will and testament to those remaining behind...MAIL THE BOX!!!

Wednesday 20 March 2013

A Tisket, A Tasket; A Cute Easter Basket

Despite this being the first day of spring, here on the east coast of Canada we are enjoying another snow storm, and watching up to 25 cm of the fluffy, white stuff fall outside the windows.  Schools and businesses are closed, making this a perfect time to stay inside to create.
I seem to make a lot of baskets, mostly because I really enjoy filling them with fun and interesting items. You can see a previous one here. Sometimes you just need a small one, to let someone know you are thinking of them;  it's even more special if you can use some favourite fabrics from your stash. I chose a pink dot, but a pretty floral would be awesome. These little baskets are great for shut-ins who could use a little pick-me-up.  Other than a couple of hand-stitches to hold the ends together, this is a total no-sew project that takes little time to complete.
Opening that Pandora's box of Mirror Ball Dot fabrics last week unearthed some pretty Fairy Frost pieces I had forgotten about, including a pastel yellow which looks like sunshine;  it made a perfect lining for this basket.  I had fun working out the design, with a mandate to keep it as quick and inexpensive as possible.  Please read through all the directions before starting to make sure you are clear on what's required.

A Tisket, A Tasket, A Cute Easter Basket

Materials Required:
2, 9-1/4" squares fabric in coordinating colours for basket (i.e., one pink, one yellow)
2, 9-1/4" squares of  heavy weight fusible interfacing*
1, 9-1/4" square of fusible web for basket*
2, 1-1/4" x 11-1/4" pieces of coordinating colours for handle (i.e., one pink, one yellow)
2, 1-1/4" x 11-1/4" heavy weight fusible interfacing*
1-1/4" x 11-1/4" fusible web for handle
2 pretty buttons
Disappearing marker
Strong thread
*Pellon Craft Fuse heavy weight fusible interfacing and Pellon Wonder Under used in sample project.

Fuse interfacing to back of each of the 9-1/4" fabrics following manufacturer's instructions
Apply fusible web to the back of one of the fabrics;  remove paper backing and fuse the interfaced lining on top, wrong sides together.  This fuses the pieces together to create a double sided fabric.   

 Trim to 9" square.
Divide fabric into thirds both vertically and horizontally by drawing lines 3" apart with a disappearing marker. You will have a grid of 3" squares marked on your fabric.
Fold bottom third to centre along marked line and press to crease. Repeat for top section of fabric.  You can see I am using lots of steam to make a crisp line.
Turn fabric a quarter turn and repeat the pressing so that the fabric is now pressed in a 3 x 3 grid.
With scissors, cut along two outer lines on the top and bottom ends only to the centre mark as shown.  Note that you are NOT cutting in from both sides, you are only cutting on the top and bottom ends to the centre. (4 little snips, not 8).
Fold up, and bring sides together, angling a bit at the top edges.  Pin in place.
To make your handle, fuse interfacing to back of both handle and lining sections.  Fuse handle and lining together with the fusible web in between. Trim handle to 1" x 11".  Mark 1" from each end of handle.
Remove pin from basket and slip handle between basket sides and inner square, as far as the 1" marked line.  Re-pin.
Using sturdy thread and handstitches, make an X to secure ends.
I used pink Lily quilting thread which had belonged to my grandmother.  45 cents well spent, Gram :)
Sew decorative button on top to cover stitching. (Thank you for these cute buttons, Mary). That's all there is to it!
Fill it with some fun little goodies and brighten someone's day. The new stamps from Canada Post which feature spring flowers are perfect.
If you make some baskets, we'd love to see them. Kindly email pictures here.

Happy Spring!

Saturday 16 March 2013


It's National Quilting Day and naturally, I am quilting!  This patchwork puzzle is my first attempt at a design with the Mirror Ball Dot.  The pieces are scrambled so you can't see what I am making...unless you have one of those amazing brains that can rearrange the picture mentally.  I even numbered them to give you a hand! (ok...I numbered them so I could put them back in place :)  What are you working on today?

Friday 15 March 2013

Mirror, Mirror On The Ball...

All kinds of interesting things happen when you least expect them. A couple of weeks ago out of the blue I had an email from Mark Hordyszynski.  Most of you will recognize Mark's name as the designer of Mirror Ball Dot and Fairy Frost fabrics for Michael Miller.  These fabrics stand out for their unusual hand and decided sheen;  they are quite unique in the marketplace.  When Mirror Ball Dot was first released, I did some projects with it; this nursery set entitled Yan Tan Tethera uses some of the soft, dreamy pastels of Mirror Ball Dot... does this easy to sew Lollipop quilt.  Both patterns are available on my website.
I used 4 blocks from my Fruit Smoothie pattern to make this quick mat one spring.

Mirror Ball Dot created a bit of a following, and when the fabric finished its run and was no longer available,we heard stories of folks hoarding Mirror Ball Dot.  Hoarding fabric - really?  Now who would do that...?!?  :)
(besides me, I mean...)
I even saved the original colour cards.

It was very cool to hear from Mark who is re-introducing the fabric through Michael Miller.  He chose 6 quilt and fibre artists and asked us each to each come up with something unique from this fabric, fleshed out with a few colours of Cotton Couture.  How fun to get a parcel from Hawaii yesterday!

These are my Mirror Ball Dot colours to use...
...and this is Cotton Couture.
You can see the full line of colours available for both these lines on the Michael Miller website.
Mark is no small talent - a bit of a Renaissance Man- as you will see on his site, The Mad Hatter of Maui.

Mark has written a post on the others involved in the project which you can read here.
We will each be given a date in a few weeks' time to post what we've come up with.  I will post the links in the blog hop, so please be sure to check back.  How could I say no to something this fun and creative?

I just hope I can rise to the challenge.  Thanks, Mark!

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Maritime Beauty Kits

Last week I teased you with photos of the back of the Maritime Beauty I was working on.

 Now it's time for the big reveal!
I just LOVE this piece!
As mentioned previously, these are some of the new fabrics which have arrived at the soon-to-be-a-real-quilt-shop, Mrs. Pugsley's Emporium.  
The collection is by Robert Kaufman Fabrics and is called "Valley Of The Kings."  It is rich and elegant, with gold metallic accents in the black, gold and purple fabrics.  The collection includes a multi-coloured stripe which I saved for the bias binding;  I always love how stripes wrap themselves so gracefully around the outer curves. 
I shot a few pictures inside, and then my helper suggested we go out in the snow for some natural light.
What would I do without Polly's help?  We tried out a couple of spots to avoid too much sun or shade, and finally found a sweet spot to shoot.

This one below is my favourite shot. 
The owner of Mrs. P's liked it so much, she has decided to offer kits on the design.  These kits are available online only for now and the first few will go at a special price and with a reduced postage rate (only $6.50!)  Mrs. P's has put together two different kits:  one which includes all fabrics, even the backing fabric, for $30.00, and one which is just the fabrics for the top for $20.00.  (If you are in Canada, there is HST on top of that of course.)
You can purchase your kit by using the yellow Add To Cart button below.  Use the drop down arrow on the right hand side  to select the kit you'd like - either with or without backing.  The pattern for Maritime Beauty is NOT included in the kit, you can purchase that separately from my website.

Purchase Your Kit Here: