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. Pictured is "Grandmother's Blossoms"; pattern is available here.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The Top 10 Things I Love About Batiks

The Top 10 Things I Love About Batiks

10. The fabric doesn't fray.  This means there will be no stray, annoying threads trapped between the layers of your quilt.
9. Batiks obey the command "stay". When you press your seams, the fabric lays perfectly flat.  You can pretty much finger press your seams as you sew them.
8. Batiks have a high thread count, signifying they are a very good quality cotton, and will last well.
7. Batiks come in rich, vibrant colours. 
6. There is very little lint on the fabric, and no shedding in your sewing machine.

5. It's a traditional product, still made by hand the way it has been...forever. You can learn more here.

4. Blocks come out square and true every time. No need for trimming.

3. There is no right or wrong side to a batik, which is so wonderful when you are having one of those days when you don't know which way is up.

2. Because the fabric is hand-dyed, each bolt is unique.
1. The # 1 thing I love about batiks is Island Batik!

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Into The Blue

The Island Batik Ambassador challenge for April is to make a square baby quilt, using our Accuquilt Go Cutters.  
As you may recall, Accuquilt surprised the Ambassadors this year by sending along an entire cutting system, including the 8" QUBE set, to each participant. What an amazing machine this is - fast, accurate, and fun to use.  My favourite thing is that you don't plug this in - it is powered by a simple hand crank that takes no effort to turn.  This is especially important for me, as Polly has to be in the middle of everything I do and there is no way she can accidentally get herself sucked in. (yes, she is one of THOSE cats...)
A pattern book filled with ideas comes with the cutter, and there are also free patterns to be found on the Accuquilt site.  I decided to use a fabric collection I received in my Ambassador box called French Blue, which included light and dark yardage as well.
I paired the collection with a neutral called "Rice", which has a blue marl.
Hanging to dry, the fabrics suggested sailboats in sunshine;  since there was a sailboat pattern included in the book, this seemed a good choice.
I sketched this "Ship of Dreams" quilt up in EQ8 and started cutting.  
After sewing one boat, I was so taken with how easily it went together, that I decided to change up the design and add a few more triangles...and a pop of red.

 578 HST cut, sewn, pressed in about 2 hours. Seriously!!! Since the corners are snipped, there is absolutely no trimming to do.I love this AccuQuilt Go! cutter! 
Polly helped me play with the arrangement of triangles. 
 We liked that this looked like sunshine in a blue sky.

I had enough of my favourite Hobbs Tuscany Wool Batting leftover from a previous project for my quilt.
Deciding what to quilt is always a head-scratcher, but with all those triangles, I felt there was enough going on, and the quilting needed to be minimal.  I simply free motion stitched continuous curves in the light triangles, and left the coloured ones to puff.  Aurifil 50 weight in Natural White 2021 blended in perfectly.  I added some waves in the outer border.
It has a bit of a shimmer effect.
Ideally, this would have been photographed in a beautiful sunny day with shimmering water in the background.  The shining-est water around is Silver Lake, N.B., and we went on the sunniest day forecast.
Ha!  That lake is frozen solid! We couldn't even walk to the edge without sinking into the wet sand.
I do like how the quilt turned out:  a sailboat bathed in sunshine, sailing off into the blue. It measures 40" square.
I am totally smitten with the Go! cutter, and there are many more triangle quilts in my future, for sure.
There is a pattern for "Into The Blue" available for purchase.  The pattern includes a template for the triangles, so you can make it without a cutter...just not as quickly, or easily. Thank you to Cheryl Coville for her help in editing the pattern.  It is available from my website, or as a direct download here
Many, many thanks to Accuquilt, Hobbs Batting, Aurifil thread and, of course, Island Batik, for providing the wonderful products used in this quilt.

Please be sure to check out what the other Ambassadors are making this month with their Go! cutters:
Carolina Asmussen ~Carolina Asmussen  /Gene Black ~ Gene Black / Pamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuilts / Connie K Campbell ~ Freemotion by the River / Anja Clyke ~ Anja Quilts / Tina Dillard ~ Quilting Affection Designs / Becca Fenstermaker ~Pretty Piney / Jennifer Fulton ~ Inquiring Quilter / Barbara Gaddy ~ Bejeweled Quilts by Barb / Dione Gardner-Stephen ~ Clever Chameleon / Sarah Goer ~ Sarah Goer Quilts / Vasudha Govindan ~ Storied Quilts / Lori Haase ~ Dakota City Quilter II / Joanne Hart ~ Unicornharts  / Mania (Magdalini) Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for Quilts / Carla Henton ~ Creatin’ in the Sticks / Stephanie Jacobson ~ Steph Jacobson Designs / Connie Kauffman ~ Kauffman Designs / Joan Kawano ~ Moosestash Quilting / Kim Lapacek ~ Persimon Dreams/ Emily Leachman ~ The Darling Dogwood / Leanne Parsons ~ Devoted Quilter / Bea Lee ~ BeaQuilter / Toby Lischko ~ Gateway Quilts & Stuff / Bill Locke ~ Studio Bill Locke / Denise Looney ~ For the Love of Geese / Leah Malasky ~ Quilted Delights / Sally Manke ~ Sally Manke / Maryellen McAuliffe ~ Mary Mack’s Blog Kathleen McCormick ~ Kathleen McMusing / Carol Moellers ~ Carol Moellers Designs / Karen Neary ~ Sew Karen-ly Created / Lisa Nielsen ~ Lisa Lisa and the Quilt Jam / Jackie O’Brien ~ If These Threads Could Talk / Laura Piland ~ Slice of Pi Quilts / Michelle Roberts ~ Creative Blonde / Vicki Schlimmer ~ Vicki’s Crafts and Quilting / Gail Sheppard ~ Quilting Gail / Sherry Shish ~ Powered by Quilting / Anita Skjellanger ~ Quilt in a not-Shell / Laticia “Tish” Stemple ~ Tish’s Adventures in Wonderland / Jennifer Strauser ~ Dizzy Quilter / Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations / Terri Vanden Bosch ~ Lizard Creek Quilts / Alison Vermilya ~ Little Bunny Quilts / Sandra Walker ~ mmm! quilts / Suzy Webster ~ Adventurous Applique and Quilting / (Debora) Anne Wiens ~ Seams like a Plan / Geraldine Wilkins ~ Living Water Quilter / Janet Yamamoto ~ Whispers of Yore

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Wild Strings Quilt Tutorial

As an Island Batik Ambassador, all products in this post were given to me by Island Batik, Aurifil thread and Hobbs Batting.
The Island Batik Ambassador challenge for March is "Vintage Re-imagined."
We are free to interpret the topic any way we choose, and it's always so interesting to see how different 50 Ambassador imaginations work. Our guidelines this month were

  • Vintage quilts inspiring new creations
  • 36” x 36” or larger
  • Any technique
When I think of vintage quilts, simple scrap patterns come to mind so of course it didn't take me long to consider doing one of my favourites, a string quilt. Here's one made in Missouri, around 1860. Most of the strips run horizontally in these blocks, with just one being vertical.  Do you suppose the maker planned that? It certainly adds interest to this quilt.
I thought of some of the ways I have pieced string blocks in the past, and looked to a way to modernize the look.  These were all graduation gifts for friends of my son, and all contained the same scraps.

This made for a quick baby quilt:

I've taught classes on string quilting, and encourage the recycling of old phone books, or any catalogues printed on thin paper, to use as the foundation. This cushion was pieced on left over tax forms from Revenue Canada. :)
You can find tutorials for a couple of string projects on this blog, showing how to stitch the fabric to the foundation paper:  Christmas placemats, a tote bag, and even an apron.  One of the cool things about strings is you can make your blocks any size or shape, including circles...
60 degree diamonds...

or rectangles.

60 degree diamonds always intrigue me, as you can set them together so many ways to make really cool patterns, but rectangles are of course way easier to sew together, with no Y seams.  If there was just a way to combine the two. Hmmm... I dug out some large sheets of newsprint and started playing with paper, pencil and the 60 degree line on my ruler. (These large newsprint pads are available at art supply shops. These came from The Art Shack in Moncton, New Brunswick.)
I found that a rectangle 6-1/2" x 10-1/2" divided diagonally corner-to-corner gave me a 60 degree line through the centre. Perfect! 8 across and 6 down would make a lap sized quilt. I cut 48 pieces 6-1/2" x 10-1/2" and drew my diagonal lines in one direction on half of the sheets and running in the opposite direction on the other half. 
Now to decide on colours.  "Vintage" always makes me think cream and black so I went hunting through my Island Batik stash.  I had some plain black which I wanted to use for my centre strips, and discovered a rather unconventional strip set, a partial layer cake, and some yardage to match.  Sewing one test block, I was hooked on the look.  The main fabric line is called "Wild Things", with a few leftover 10" squares of "Jungle".

I started by cutting the solid black into 2" strips, and centred them on the diagonal lines. The colours were cut in varying widths, from 1/2" to 2-1/2" and split into lights and darks.  I pieced one side in each, separated by the centre black.

For the outer row, I used solid black to do one side, so that the diamonds running vertically were complete.
I added a 2" border to the top and bottom in solid black, and a 6" border all around of the coordinating print.  Isn't this gorgeous?!?

Because the quilting would not show, stitching in the ditch of each strip was all that was needed.  The border was quilted in concentric wavy lines, and bound in black.  Aurifil thread was used for both piecing and quilting.
Hobbs Tuscany silk  batting was used in the centre. 

Finished quilt is 56" x 72" .  To me, this quilt has a masculine, modern vibe.  I really like it.

Because of the fabric line used, the quilt is named "Wild Strings".
It is pictured here with the resident wild cat, Polly.  Look at those claws!!!

Thank you to Island Batik, Hobbs batting, and Aurifil thread.  You can find the complete list of 2019 Ambassadors here;  please visit each to see how the Vintage Re-imagined Challenge has been met!