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!

Saturday 8 October 2016

Ribbon Winner

Marilyn Eparvier continues to wow judges with her version of "Florentine".  First, it was juried as a semi-finalist at the prestigious AQS show, and now she has won a coveted first place blue ribbon at the West Michigan Quilt Guild 2016 show.  With over 500 members in this guild, it had lots of competition. 

The judges were very impressed with Marilyn's work.
Thank you Marilyn for sharing your good news.  It's a proud moment for sure when that blue ribbon gets pinned on your quilt!

Monday 3 October 2016


Wouldn't you love to win your Christmas baking supplies?!  Each year, La Guilde Acadienne de Clare puts together a fabulous (practical) basket of goodies, worth well over $300.00.  The tickets are $2. each, or 3 for $5., and it is drawn for at the Christmas tea on November 20.The winner does not need to be present to win, and the guild will deliver the basket up to Amherst if the winner is from here.  Perfect!
Members from this wonderful guilde have supported our Fibre Arts Festival from the beginning. There are a couple of carloads of quilters coming again this year for the week.  I have tickets available on this basket, just let me know how many you'd like! :).

Tuesday 13 September 2016

A Piece of Home

On a recent trip to Five Islands, we went for a walk on the beach and I picked up a small piece of driftwood.  It made me think of all the times my friend Betty and I spent scouring the beach there for treasures when we were young. We couldn't wait for the snow to leave in the spring so that we could see what the harsh winter tides had washed up. Often there was amethyst;  I still have this rather sizeable chunk we found!
 The driftwood made a perfect hanger for this little beach scene.
All kinds of weights and types of thread were used in the quilting, including a silver holographic which added the sparkle of sun dancing on the waves.  Rather than binding the edges, I "faced" them for a clean edge finish. (You can find directions for this in my book, Quilting Beauties.)
This will go with me as a sample for my curved strips class at Fibre Arts Festival, and then hang here in my work room as a reminder of home.

Sunday 11 September 2016

Counting Our Blessings

Our garden has provided us with much delicious produce this season.  Even today, we harvested pole beans, peas, tomatoes and zucchini for our supper.  It was fun to pull out some scraps in fall colours for a new table runner.  I decided to use my Felicity pattern, as even though it was designed in the spring, the base of the fan always reminded me of a cornucopia.  I fussy words for the centres:  Hope, Family, Peace, Friends, Give Thanks, and Counting Our Blessings.
 I quilted swirls and scrolly leafy shapes using Aurifil 50 weight thread in green, gold, and natural.
My Grandmother made the little pumpkin in a senior's ceramics class many, many years ago and it's always part of our fall decor.
You can download the pattern here.

Friday 9 September 2016

Festival Prep

There's lots of excitement here this morning, as orders have started to arrive for Fibre Arts Festival. W hat fun to open the boxes!
Included is a new shipment of my book, Quilting Beauties.  I love the line, "Live, breathe, quilt", that AQS has on the box. Words to live by :)

 Polly was particularly taken with the Aurifil box.
Perhaps an Italian cat helped pack it...? 
Inside were lots of goodies, including a few new items - cases, and thread collections. 
The thread cones have turned out to be a popular item, both with stand-up and sit-down quilters. These large spools hold 6,452 yards (5900 m) of 50 weight and offer great saving if you use a lot of thread.  They are in stock now in basic colours.
 There is also a "Basics" collection of 12, 50 weight 1300 m spools in a reusable case.
The 12 weight cotton has been replenished and several new colours added, including light blue and a really pretty rose.  Polly and I will be playing with thread all day!

Monday 29 August 2016

"Home Sweet Home" For Ghoulies and Ghosties

With its Gothic arched windows and a clock tower reaching high into the night sky, it's not a big stretch to associate the building housing Mrs Pugsley's Emporium in Amherst with Hallow e'en. Owner Beth found the perfect fabrics to use in a special limited edition kit of her "Home Sweet Home" for this year's Row By Row experience. 
I had the fun of quilting this piece, and added some funky spiderwebs in the sky.  For the hands on the clock, set to a few minutes after the midnight witching hour, I stitched with a glow-in-the-dark thread from YLI.
The background of the building was quilted first in black 50 weight Aurifil thread, and then over-quilted using a bright red 28 weight Aurifil, to look like blood dripping down the building.  I do confess I was nervous about going over-board on this part in case it looked a little too gruesome, but it was all in fun. Beth added a broderie perse spider to her front door. (He's the busy fellow who spun all those webs in the sky!)
I'm not sure of the fabric line used in this piece, but it is perfect fit.  It contains snippets of Poe's "The Raven" as well as the old Cornish prayer, "From ghoulies and ghosties, and long-leggedy beasties, and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord deliver us!"
Kits go on sale tomorrow (August 30) at 1 pm at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium. Quantities are limited.

Saturday 27 August 2016

Maritime Beauty Redux

Nancie Wiseman Attwater of CA needed something eye-popping for her new table, and this Maritime Beauty she created certainly fit the bill.  Using Kaffe Fasset brights along with Moda solids, her beauties look like big, beautiful blossoms. Over-the-top gorgeous, Nancie!
You can see she has changed the inside of the centre blocks,adding smaller spikes in the quarter circle. She writes, "I love the way the colors all went together This is a great first time pattern for New York Beauties."  Nancie was so pleased with her results, she made another, smaller piece, which turned out equally gorgeous. Thanks so much for sharing the pictures, Nancie.
You can download the pattern for Maritime Beauty here.

Sunday 14 August 2016

AQS Quilt Week - Grand Rapids

AQS Quilt Week at Grand Rapids, MI, is now a sweet memory for Marilyn Eparvier, who was honoured to see her Florentine hang at the show. (You can see the complete list of semi-finalists here.) I just love how her quilt looks against the black curtains - it almost glows!
And speaking of's a shot of Marilyn with her quilt - tired, but happy, after her long week of volunteering.
Sincerest congratulations, Marilyn!

Monday 25 July 2016

Smart (alec) Phones

As mentioned previously, I've been tripping around the province with hubby for the past 3 months, acting as photographer on his project. (I took well over 8,000 pictures!) We've made a lot of friends along the way, including this friendly, welcoming bunch:
We were like ships passing in the night with the rest of the family, so we kept in touch mostly via text. I've come to appreciate that the auto-correct function on a Smart phone is a bit of a curse...One day I texted eldest son about leftovers, typing: "there is a chicken breast in the fridge."  He responded immediately with, "Lol!  I sure hope not!!" Puzzled, I scrolled down to see the auto-correct had changed my words to, "there is a chicken breast-feeding in the fridge."
We're still laughing!! :)

Thursday 21 July 2016


A full year after its release, it's heart-warming to see that Quilting Beauties is still going strong!  This greeted me yesterday when I logged onto the website of the Canadian distributor for the book.

It's been awesome to read reviews like this:
You know times are changing when a new book includes a CD-ROM of printable full-sized templates and foundations for making your sewing easier! Besides giving instructions for making nine quilts, several pages are devoted to explaining how to hang unusual-shaped quilts. Great photos help with that understanding. "Quilting Beauties" is a book for the confident beginner who wants to focus on foundation paper-piecing, and perhaps discover for the first time how quilters get those precise spiky points!

Receiving photos from readers of the finished quilts has been such fun. This is "Thistles In The Heather" by Kate Chamberlain:

This stunner is by Joanne Colleaux - "Ostentation":

Several versions have been entered into major quilt shows, like Florentine, by Marilyn Eparvier.

...and jazzed up with embroidery, as in this one by Diane Zdep.

A big thank you for your continued support.  If you have made a quilt from Quilting Beauties, please send along a picture.  You can purchase an autographed copy of the book from my website.

Wednesday 20 July 2016

String Workshop Sample X

I have been working steadily on samples for two new fall workshops. Earlier, I showed you these blue and white string blocks in progress.  I decided 48 of these 8" blocks would be enough for a lap quilt.
Polly and I pondered how to set them together, and it suddenly struck us that using the same layout as for my son's Log Cabin "X" quilt would be perfect. String blocks are SO much less work than log cabins, with no seam matching or need to keep the block true; the foundation paper does that for you.
When I opened the folder of pictures of the log cabin quilt, I had a smile over how much Polly has grown since we made that first X quilt.  She looks so scrawny!
Here's the log cabin version:
 Here are the string blocks in the same layout (although the quilt is turned sideways in the photo).
This is the string quilt on top of the log cabin.  The blocks for the latter were 12" instead of 8". 
I think this is a great way to show off the power of the lowly string block;  it imitates a log cabin nicely, and works beautifully in traditional settings such as barn raising, or straight furrows. There are a couple of spots left in this Beginner String Quilt Workshop to be held Wednesday October 12 during the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival. Just email if you would like a spot saved.
Although I am not big on plain borders, I may add one to this lap quilt, just to flesh it out a bit. It will be feather quilted, as per the original.

Monday 11 July 2016


This is one of my favourite quilts;  I had fun drawing the block and devising the layout so that it appears complicated, but totally isn't.  Hubby and I took it to Five Islands on a very windy day (plus the tide was coming in!) and could barely keep the quilt on the ground.  It went airborne several times!

 This one was expertly long-arm quilted by Jacqueline Pohl of The Vintage Quiltery in Manitoba.
The pattern for Encompassing has been reformatted, and is now available as an instant download.

Sunday 10 July 2016

Apron Fun

We've had a lot of wet weather lately, and my niece and great-niece are having a grand time together in the kitchen.  Just for fun, I stitched them some chef aprons from a solid blue bottom-weight cotton canvas.  I typed their names in a Word document, choosing 250 as the size for the font.  I selected "mirror image" on my printer so that the letters would be reversed.  This makes tracing them onto fusible web so easy.
This was a quick project, and I didn't want to remove any marks afterwards, so simply placed a print- out of their names underneath the fabric letters. I removed the paper backing from the web before I started so that I wouldn't disturb them once they were straight.

After fusing them in place with a hot iron, I placed tear-away stabilizer underneath my work. It makes such a difference in the final appearance of the stitches.
In the top is 50 weight Autifil thread, and in the bobbin is 60 weight Aurifil. I did a simple satin stitch around the edges of the letters.

I always keep corsage pins in my pincushion, and find a gazillion uses for them!  They are a big help removing tear-away from inside the letters
Luckily, these were both short names and I was done in no time. I debated about making matching chef's hats, and in the end wimped out and went with $ store versions...since I figured they wouldn't actually wear the hats anyhow.
My great-niece was excited to get a surprise parcel in the mail addressed to her, and was a good sport about wearing the silly hat.  It was a total guess as to the size, but I'd say there are a couple years of cookie-making in this apron for her.