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. Shown here is "Log Canada" from the book "Canadian Heritage Quilting".
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 14 June 2018

A Very Musical Ride: Row By Row 2018

As you may have seen on Mrs Pugsley's Emporium Face Book post, I was again asked to design the shop's "Row By Row" entry for the 2018 season.  The theme this year is "Sew Musical". a Canadian word association game, that would always be followed by "ride", i.e. the Musical Ride of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
So...Musical Ride it is!
If you are not familiar with the Musical Ride, I encourage you to visit this link. From their website, it says, "The RCMP Musical Ride is performed by a full troop of 32 riders and their horses. Their performance consists of intricate figures and drills choreographed to music. These movements demand the utmost control, timing and coordination...The Musical Ride provides the opportunity to experience the heritage and traditions of the RCMP. The riders act as ambassadors of goodwill who promote the RCMP's image throughout Canada and all over the world."
I've had the honour of seeing these riders and horses perform, and it's pretty spectacular. does one portray that in a 9" x 36" piece of fabric, and keep it simple enough that it can be replicated by even a beginner quilter?  No small challenge.

In simplifying the Musical Ride to the smallest common denominator, a couple of elements stuck out:  a circle of red serge coats, dark horses, and lances.

The lances were easy enough, but that circle of red coats was daunting, until it dawned on me it doesn't have to be individual jackets, it just needed to be a circle of red. Simplify, simplify,simplify. My very messy sketch showed that a modified Drunkard's Path block would be perfect for a semi-circle on each end, with the addition of two Delectable Mountain blocks to resemble maple leaves.
I pieced these several times to get the easiest method and best size.  I love how they look!

The horse for the centre was inspired by the Mountie logo, seen on signs and cars: (except that the horse needed to go in the other direction *-):

Our lone rider is stripped down to the barest striking characteristics: dark horse, red jacket, big hat, and lance.
Once I had a rough sketch, it went to Mrs Pugsley's Emporium to see if she was interested.  She was, and commissioned me to create the pattern.  The next step was to contact the licensing department of the RCMP in Ottawa to see what they thought of the whole idea. I had to sew an actual mock-up of the design for approval. They loved it, and gave their blessing right away.  It is important to stress that one cannot simply use someone else's logo or graphics in a quilt design;  the images are protected under copyright law.  Last year, we applied for and received permission from the Queen to use the Canada 150 logo, and now this year we have permission from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.  Very cool :)
We used fabrics similar to those chosen for last year's row:  Kona cotton in pure white, Canada red, black, and cocoa.  At the top of the banner, I free motioned "O Canada" and at the bottom, "We Stand On Guard." The "d"'s are actually musical notes.

 Aurifil 2265 Lobster is a perfect match for Canada Red!
Throughout the design, I quilted in a few maple leaves.

 The design works both vertically and horizontally, as did last year's Row, so I did two versions, varying the quilting a bit for each. As always, the pattern went to Cheryl Coville in Ontario for editing.  Her eagle eye picks up all my mistakes :)
Mrs Pugsley's chose the vertical row for their pattern cover, so it was photographed against the Clock Tower building, as have been the two previous rows. Continuity is important.
It's always fun to take some glamour shots, so I headed down to RCMP headquarters to see if there were any upcoming events that might involve Mounties in full uniform.  There weren't...but we were generously given the run of the detachment to photograph the rows wherever we liked.  
Not bad...but I was determined to find a real Mountie in uniform...
After much wheedling and cajoling, I was very kindly offered the use of a uniform - officer not included- with strict instructions that no one was to wear the jacket.  Agreed!!
I'd never been this close to a  Mountie jacket before, and it is BEAUTIFUL.  That red serge is as soft as cashmere.  

I can tell you for sure that Robert Kaufman nailed the colour "Canada Red" for their Kona cotton; it's a perfect match to the serge.

  It was difficult to get a good shot of the rows with the gear, but it was fun trying.

 Sincere thanks to my Mountie friend for the loan of this very special uniform. (I may even give it back *-)
 "A Very Musical Ride" will be available EXCLUSIVELY from Mrs Pugsley's Emporium (not from me) as part of the 2018 Row By Row shop-hop experience, beginning June 21st.  There will be a free pattern available, but I sincerely encourage you to purchase the kit so that you have the perfect, vibrant red that you need.
You can contact the shop for more information: Mrs P's Amherst  ( , telephone (902) 661-4260, or visit them at 50 E. Victoria Street, in downtown Amherst, Nova Scotia.


  1. Congratulations on an amazing design . Our oldest son was in the Musical Ride for several years so this one really touches my heart and I hope to make one for him as well as myself .

  2. Karen, your pictures and narrative of the creation process and the discussions with the RCMP are enlightening and entertaining. Major kudos to you for all your design work and interaction with the Mounties to borrow the pieces of the uniform to photograph with your Musical (Ride) Row 2018. While your Canadian readers are very well acquainted with the Musical Ride, your international friends will undoubtedly enjoy this background information on your Row. Once again, magical!! Jeanne Kaye

  3. Wow! Jaw-dropping! Stunning! You are amazing!! I thought last year's was fabulous and then so is this years! Well done my very talented friend!! I will have to put a reminder in my calendar to order this kit from Mrs. Pugsleys in the fall as I don't think we will make it out East this year!!

  4. Karen - you have excelled yourself again! This is beautiful......and so Canadian, for sure eh? Such a pity, though, that 'they' wouldn't let you have your very own Mountie.....

  5. Oh Karen, you have outdone yourself once again! What a fabulous row, you will win the “popularity contest” again this year, I’m sure! This is a sure winner. Mrs. P is very lucky to have you! She’d better get busy cutting kits...

  6. Great design Karen, and the timing is perfect. At this moment when Canadians are becoming more aware of negative noises in our environment, we want to stand up and be proud of being Canadian. Thanks

  7. I saw the sample hanging in Mrs Pugsley's Emporium a few days back, too early to get a Kit! I'm back home on the west coast so will have to wait till November. It's definitely another one of my favourites, will be perfect for my Canada Day celebrations. Congratulations on another beautiful design.

  8. Beautiful row! Love the photos with the red serge

  9. It's beautiful Karen. What a thoughtful design... I'll be by in July to Mrs. P.'s

  10. Wow Karen, this design is SO incredibly Canadian! Thank you!

  11. This is an incredible design - well thought out, planned and finished.