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 "To Be Where You Belong", presented to Sir Paul McCartney on his visit to Nova Scotia in 2009.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

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. :)


  1. That is so special to have my quilt photographed at the same spot. Yes I feel the same...A new quilt and a new friend.

  2. Quilts to represent new places is a really nice idea. I like both your quilts, they are so different, and the pieces in both are tiny.

  3. Oooh, I've been anxiously awaiting your post about the IMQE. Both quilts are wonderful. What a great exchange project! Hoping this runs again, I'll definitely give serious thought to participating.

  4. I can see why this was the highlight of your year. Both quilts are awesome.

  5. Oh. My. Goodness! Your quilt is incredible! Your imagination blows me away. This whole adventure was clearly very rewarding. What an intriguing read. Thank you for sharing, Karen!