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 29 July 2015

I am Auri-filled :)

I've been playing with Aurifil thread over the past few months, and I have to say I really like it.  This Italian thread is super-fine, totally lint-free, and is a pleasure for both hand and machine sewing.  I've stitched up a ton of samples in all the different weights, and even tried it out on silk.
This is the Mako 50 weight and it looks lovely on dupioni; I would not hesitate to use this cotton thread for quilting my silk projects.
 The sheen of the thread is a nice complement to that of the fabric.
I also went through my (ahem...rather extensive...) thread collection and selected 3, 50 weight cottons to compare to the Aurifil. As you can see, the colours aren't a match but it gives a general idea of how the threads perform.  Mostly where you can see the difference is in the thickness of the centre stem, where I travelled back and forth the same number of times.  The Aurifil is in the top left corner. Because the thread is finer, the travel lines blend in and don't show as prominently when you are doing free motion.
It's fun to see the difference in the 4 weights of the cotton Mako thread, running from the finest (50) to the heaviest (12).  By the way, the weight number assigned to a thread is actually a length measurement:  in a 50 weight thread, 50 kilometres weigh one kilogram.  In a 12 weight thread,  12 kilometres weigh one kilogram.  Therefore, the smaller the number, the thicker the thread. It's the opposite in sewing machine needles, where the smaller the number, the thinner the needle so if you remember that, it's helpful when you are matching needle to thread.  A 12 weight (heavy) thread needs a 16 (large) needle.
I am working on designs using the various weights of thread, both for publication and for workshops, and have ordered in some Aurifil thread for sale. So far, I have the basic colours in the 50 weight, as well as a few variegated spools. This is a great thread for both piecing and quilting.
If you are in the area and feeling "unaurifilled", drop me a line. There will be more colours arriving soon, as well as different weights.
Oh...and by the way...if you are wondering what "Mako" means, well...I was too.  I was pretty hopeful it had nothing to do with sharks (even though that's what came up in my Google searches) so I emailed Alex Veronelli - Mr. Aurifil himself- to ask! He very graciously answered that "mako" denotes a particular extra-long staple cotton variety from Egypt. The longer staple gives a stronger thread, which can be very finely spun.  The name Mako derives from Mako-bey, in whose garden a cultivar of this cotton was discovered.
Aren't you glad I asked? :)

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Moving Forward

While most folks slow down for the summer, around here things get ramped up in the planning department. New ideas are set in place, both for designs and business goals.  The fall is like starting a new semester in quilting and like every student, I've been buying school supplies. I've added a wide format scanner, with an 11 x 17 bed, something I have wanted for a long time.  It makes it so easy when larger pattern pieces don't need to be cut apart.  It joins service with my wide format printer (both taking up a lot of room, so they need to work hard to justify their presence!)
I've placed a couple of projects for publication (Quilter's Connection, and The American Quilter) and will share details on those soon. Fall workshops are set-up, new partnerships have been forged, and I've even decided to vend at a show or two.  Sales of both books - Quilting Beauties and Canadian Heritage Quilting - have been very steady and I thank you for that. More news in the next post!

Monday 27 July 2015

Unconventional But Effective

If you have trouble top-stitching on the very, very edge of your fabric, try using your zipper foot next time! With the needle moved all the way to the right, you can line up the edge of the foot with the edge of your work, while the needle nestles in that little bite.  A bonus is that the foot remains totally on the fabric, holding it in place. Straight stitching every time!

Try it, and see what you think!

Saturday 25 July 2015

Christmas In July

Five months from today is The Big Day and many quilters are starting their holiday projects now.  If you are one of those organized souls, here are a selection of designs which may inspire you. Above, is The Beauty Of Christmas which can be used on the wall, the table, or under the tree.  You can find that pattern here.
Placemats are a popular gift;  the free instructions for making these are here on my blog.
 Woodland Tree Skirt makes a pretty addition to your Christmas decor.
The pattern may be downloaded by following this link.
A Christmas quilt is so pretty and this one is great to use up leftover bits and bobs of fabrics. It is aptly named "Gift Scrapped". 
The pattern includes directions for a runner...
and placemats. You can download the pattern for "Gift Scrapped" here.
  This Simply Santa© Tablerunner is the epitome of quick and  easy.
 You can download the pattern here:
 Don't forget the matching Santa Sacks to hold your special gifts.
 Santa Baby ornaments were a huge hit last year!  Find the free directions on my blog here.
Of course you need special boxes to wrap everything in as well.  The free instructions are here.
More gift bags:
These are reusable and last for many years. The patterns are on my website in a printed version or available as a download.
Hopefully this will give you lots of motivation to get started.  Only 5 months to go!

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Quilt Knit Stitch!

The Ruby Jubilee Red & White exhibit will be travelling to Portland, Oregon in August.  If you are headed that way, have a look for my Log Canada quilt!

Tuesday 21 July 2015

Here and There

We've been enjoying a bit of summer vacation.  A trip up the Acadien Peninsula in New Brunswick was in order, as the lighthouse at Miscou Island has long been on the bucket list.  We packed up the Stuffle to go...
...and then had to unpack one large item: Polly.  She wasn't happy being left behind.
It's a lovely drive up the shore, and we enjoyed it a great deal - quiet roads and beautifully kept properties.  Everyone was so friendly, and we enjoyed delicious fare including lots of seafood.
The lighthouse at Miscou Island is MASSIVE.

We strolled along the sandy beach and dipped our toes in the waters of the Bay of Chaleur. That morning, we were the only visitors and had the place to ourselves.
The lighthouse is a National Historic Site and open to the public, so we climbed to the top.
We had to duck down and squeeze through this half door to get out onto the railed deck. 

 The view was peaceful.
We visited the other two islands in the area, including Île Lamèque where the Ste-Cécile Church is located.
Although the church is plain on the outside, every inch of it is decorated on the inside. The story is that when the church was built, the interior wood was treated with linseed oil. Over time, the oil turned the wood a very ugly black. Something needed to be done, so the priest and a helper set about painting the interior of the church.
Instead of just using one colour, they used a vibrant palette and made this church truly a unique work of art.

The doors of the church are left open for visitors and there were many there. It's really something to see.

 Here are the two artists:

We saw many huge churches in each small community, including this one in Pacquetville, singer Edith Butler's town.
 We visited a new distillery, Fils Du Roy...
 ...and were given a tour of the premises.
 Their copper vats were made to order by hand in Portugal.

Then we enjoyed delicious rappie pie to finish up the trip!

Now it's back to work!