Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Monday 17 December 2018

A Little Christmas Whimsy

For the December Island Batik Ambassador challenge, we were tasked with creating anything "wonky" or "whimsical", in any size.  What fun!!
As part of the Island Batik Ambassador program, we are each generously sent product a couple of times a year with which to work - fabric, thread, and batting. The second Island Batik box sent this year included an intriguing collection of checked fabrics, which were perfect for what I had in mind for this challenge. I didn't exactly follow a pattern...but Googled "elf stockings" and found images of several that I liked.  This link should get you started, but you may want to change things up a bit as you go.  I had three colours of checked fabric...and of course, I started with the red. My plan was to place the chequered squares on point along the bias of the fabric, for more of a jester look.
I traced out my pattern and added a straight line down the centre to make sure of exact placement.
I folded the pattern in half so I could see the diamonds underneath and ran the line down the centre point of each.
It's cute already!
Working with batiks is so great as you don't have to worry about the right and wrong side of the fabric, and thus cut two fronts or two backs.  Just turn one piece over and you're good to go!
Although the pattern didn't call for batting, the quilter in me needed to add a bit of substance, and Hobbs Thermore was perfect - it added structure without bulk. (Locally, it's available at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium.) The batting was basted to both the stocking front and back, and the pieces sewn right sides together.  The pattern didn't call for a lining either, but I added one, just to give a nice finish, as these stockings will be used as gift bags for special friends.
For the top cuff, I opted for medium weight iron-on interfacing to add a bit of body.
I chose a "Grinch green" for the cuff from the Island Batik Blenders. A sleeve board comes in so handy when pressing small pieces.
Here's my first finished stocking, with a bell on the toe and pompoms on the cuff points. (It's hanging on my grandparent's old radio, from the 1940's :)).
My next two stockings are ready to cut; the purple one will have a plain white cuff  with the recipient's name hand embroidered.  To do this, I will use Aurifloss in pink and grey. The pompom colour is as yet undecided, but if I can't find anything suitable, the points may just get adorned with bells, like the toes.

I love this blue and can't wait to see it finished!
And of course, the fun of a stocking is filling it with all kinds of goodies!
Thank you to Island Batik, Hobbs Batting, and Aurifil for supplying the products used in these whimsical Christmas stockings. Please visit the other Island Batik Ambassadors at the links below to see what everyone has come up with for this month's challenge.  I am off to sew my stockings!

Friday 14 December 2018

Awesome Aurifil!

Earlier this week, these thread cases from Aurifil came in on special promotion, and it's an awesome deal!
You get a large spool of Aurifil 50 weight thread in 2024 white, PLUS a case which holds a total of 12 spools, all for $14.99!  If that weren't special enough...I received this video from Alex Veronelli, the CBDO of Aurifil thread. He has generously offered to do this for any shop selling the cases - how amazing is that?

Thank you, Alex;  it was a kick to watch this, and I thank you sincerely for your time. A great company, a fabulous thread, and a super price - all in time for Christmas!  The cases may be ordered online at my thread store (link to follow), and you'll see lots of colours there to help fill the spaces in your case!  If you are local, we can arrange for you to pick them up at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium, or here at the house.  I am also happy to ship via Canada Post Expedited, or on Maritime Bus. It's the perfect gift for the quilter on your list!

Friday 30 November 2018

Aurifil For Christmas!

Just on the cusp of December, we have new threads which have arrived at the shop!  In addition to refilling the stock of basic colours in the individual spools, there are also some of the brand new collections introduced at Quilt Market this fall.
My favourite among these is this group of 50 weight variegated, curated by Tula Pink. I love how these multi-coloured threads quilt.
 The collection comes in two sizes.  One contains 12 large spools, and the smaller contains 10 spools
TULA PINK PREMIUM COLLECTION  includes colours 4660 – 4668 – 4656 – 4658 – 4653 – 3320
4662 – 4647 – 2843 – 4060 – 5004 – 4670
 This collection is available from my shop for $139.00 + tax. 
The smaller collection  contains the following 10 colours: 4660 – 4668 – 4656 – 4658 – 4653
3320 – 4662 – 4647 – 4670 – 4060
This collection is available at the excellent price of $43.00 + tax.  What a perfect gift!
If you like, I am happy to gift wrap your purchase and mail it directly to the gift recipient, with a tag marked from you.  How easy is that? :)

Sunday 25 November 2018

IMQE: From Nova Scotia With Love

A little over a year ago, I answered a call for entries for an International Miniature Quilt Exchange, organized by The Quilt Show. Each quilter from the US was paired with a partner from another country; we were to spend the year getting to know the other (through email) and then exchange a small quilt.  I was extremely fortunate to be teamed up with Terry from New Mexico. Terry lives an interesting life of travel and adventure, but she has not yet been to Nova Scotia.  I decided to try and stitch a little of our province into her quilt. Naturally, the Nova Scotia tartan was my main fabric.
I drafted concentric rings of circular Monkey's Puzzle blocks in EQ8, and placed a Mariner's Compass in the middle. Some of the pieces were pretty tiny.
The smaller compass points were drawn to look like sailboats.
The quilting was done with Aurifil monofilament so as not to compete with the busy quilt. The batting is Hobbs Tuscany silk, and the beautiful fabrics are Hoffman 1895 Watercolours. I think they paired beautifully with the tartan.
Most of the quilting is simply stippling, but I did work a feather in the centre compass points.

Here's the Artist Statement which accompanied my quilt:
Céad Míle Fáilte
Being part of this exchange has been an interesting experience. I was fortunate to be partnered with Terry from New Mexico, U.S.A., and it’s been a pleasure learning about her life, and her travels. Her emails arrive from a myriad of locations, with engaging stories of the places she visits. Terry has never been to Nova Scotia so I wanted to express a little about our province, which is almost completely circled by the sea. Designed in EQ8 with Monkey Puzzle and Mariner’s Compass blocks, the quilt measures 22-1/2” x 22-1/2”. The irregular shape suggests a coat of arms. The colours are pulled from our Nova Scotia tartan: blue for the sea, white for the waves and granite shores, green for the Acadian forests, gold for our Royal Charter, and red from the royal lion rampart on our Coat of Arms. Hand-dyed watercolours are paired with the tartan for the patchwork, which uses traditional, strip, and foundation piecing. The inner ring of waves contains 2-1/2” blocks, the centres of which are not quite ½”. The Tall Ships were visiting N.S. when I began, and inspired the ships circling a compass star. That lone blue ship may even vaguely resemble our famed “Bluenose II”! The quilt is machine pieced and quilted. The name Céad Míle Fáilte is the official welcome of Nova Scotia. It translates from the Gaelic as “one hundred-thousand welcomes”…which I heartily extend to Terry.
The "Welcome To Nova Scotia" sign at the Nova Scotia border seemed a perfect spot to photograph the quilt, and I added this to the bottom of my Artist's Statement.  We needed to have the photos done in February, so there was lots of snow on the ground!
I confess that each time Terry wrote from a new location, I wondered how she would find time to make my quilt (!) but she had allowed for her peripatetic lifestyle by incorporating hand piecing and quilting. My little  quilt travelled with her where she went, making it even more special.  
A cross-section of the entries were selected to be exhibited this fall at Quilt Festival in Houston, but ours were not among those chosen, so we mailed off our quilts to each other.  It was exciting to open the parcel and see her exquisite hand work.  It's just beautiful, and I love the colours she chose.

Her stitches are SO perfect, and completely invisible on those tiny hexies.  I wish I could sit beside her and have her show me how to do that. Here is Terry's Artist Statement:
My quilt for IMQE “On the Edge of Tradition” has been a journey of joy. Ever since “meeting” Karen from Canada, I have enjoyed getting to know her, her quilting, and her family through the emails we have exchanged. She is very encouraging, knowledgeable and confident in her skills as a quilter.
After finding out Karen’s preferred colors I set out to see how I could incorporate them into a mini quilt that set off my skills and infuse some of the New Mexico flair to the quilt. With her colors of turquoise and reds, setting them against the black and whites kept coming to the forefront of my thoughts as I designed this mini. A traditional nine patch and an appliqued wreath pattern were set in motion. Turquoise is a color that is associated with the native Navajo nation in their jewelry and traditional dress. My town of Farmington, NM borders the Navajo nation. I love traditional quilts with applique. The classes that I have taken from many national quilt artists encouraged me to work on my applique skills. In this piece I have used techniques from Sharon Shamber for the leaves. The 3/8” hexagons are an extension of another quilt I am currently working on. Black and White just kept it edgy. My husband and I travel extensively and this quilt has been to Washington in the summer, across country to Vermont in the fall and to the third coast in Texas in Feb.
Quilt is 24.5" square #198

Terry has a Facebook page where she is documenting the many quilts she has made.  You can see more of her beautiful work here.

Terry, these pictures are separated in time by almost a year, but I took your quilt back over to the same rock, to welcome it to Nova Scotia. :) We have almost as much - if not more! - snow than we did last February.

The IMQE was a highlight of my year: a new quilt, and a new friend. :)

Thursday 22 November 2018

The Wentworth Valley

This month's Island Batik Ambassador challenge was to create a project using log cabin blocks. It took me awhile to decide what to make, as I love every log cabin quilt I've ever seen!  One design I've had in mind for a good many years is to interpret the patchwork of colours created in the fall when the frost hits our maple trees.  
One of the most spectacular spots to see these colours in all their glory is in the Wentworth Valley, between Amherst and Truro, N.S. They even have a Festival of Colours there each year, where visitors can take the ski lift to the top of the mountain.

What I see when I look at these pictures is a full rounded top, tapering narrower at the bottom.I decided to make a block with different widths of strips so that your eye sees a faux curve when the blocks are set together.  Our project needed to be at least 36" square, so I drew the block in EQ8 to finish at 6".  This gave me easy to cut strips of 1/2" and 3/4".
In the boxes of fabric supplied to me by Island Batik was a collection of Paisley Dot "Earth Tones", as well as coordinating yardage.  Perfect! I added a few more colours from my Blenders and Basics stash, including bright reds and yellows, and a few Paisley Dot "Brights" which were left over from Twinkle.
 Here you can see the curve formed from the uneven logs.
As I pieced each block, I added it to the design wall to ensure that each one coordinated with its neighbouring block.  Originally I planned for a 6 x 6 layout of blocks, but decided making it a bit longer would yield a good sized lap quilt.
 My final layout was 6 x 8  blocks, plus a narrow inner border and a 6" outer border, giving me a finished size of 49" x 60".
I used my very favourite Hobbs Tuscany wool batting for this project, which was generously included in our Ambassador boxes.
 Of course, I chose a variety of contrasting and coordinating threads from Aurifil.
I wanted a design which would pop up, and spirals with the wool batting underneath filled the bill. The spirals represent the wind rustling through the trees.
The block itself gets lost in the finished quilt, but you can see the individual patch below.
 I am very pleased with how it turned out.
 I quilted more free-motion spirals in the border, and added maple leaf motifs in each corner.
Thank you Island Batik, Aurifil, and Hobbs for supplying the beautiful products for this quilt, which I have name The Wentworth Valley

Friday 16 November 2018

Aurifil Pop-Up Shop

There are all kinds of Christmas events happening this weekend in Amherst, and Sew Karen-ly Created will be part of that, with a pop-up shop of Aurifil thread at Mrs Pugsley's Emporium on Saturday.  I'll be there from 10-1.
 There was a new order of threads in this week, and they are gorgeous!  We've added more of the very fine 80 weight, and I will have samples there for you to feel and compare to the 50, 40, 28 and 12 weights, as well as sewn samples so you can see the difference.

Mrs Pugsley's Emporium is located at 50 Victoria Street East, Amherst, in the historic clock tower building downtown.  See you there!