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 "Sunset"; pattern 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!

Monday, 12 August 2019

Beat The Heat

Welcome to today's stop on Island Batik's "Beat the Heat" blog hop.  Although we can't actually help reduce the heat and humidity, we perhaps can offer some distraction by showing off the new Island Batik collections shipping to stores now.
We've had wicked heat and humidity this past month, so it was
nice to think back to January when the
first Island Batik Ambassador box arrived.

In that box were two parcels wrapped in paper marked "Surprise",
which we were to keep secret
until now.
Inside my parcels, was a collection called "Garden Party".  Designed by the Colourworx team, the collection  includes 20 different batik prints in saturated rainbow colours.
I received a sampling of the entire collection, plus an additional 2 yards each of a light and a dark.
Our instructions were: lap size or larger, with the goal of featuring as many fabrics from the collection as possible. The batiks headed for the laundry...
...and I headed off to the open EQ8 on the computer.  I wanted to use large pieces to show off the fabrics;  these are 8" squares, with triangle corners added to give a star shape. Alternate blocks with an X made from the cranberry yardage give the stars the appearance of floating.
The triangle point at the edges were pieced into the inner border to complete the star shape.
I auditioned many styles of borders, but in the end I went with my favourite piano key border, in 1" strips.  My quilt ended up a fair bit larger than this sketch, as I liked it so much I kept going.
To make the borders, I pieced 1" width of fabric strips of each colour together, then subcut them into 6-1/2" widths.  It made the piecing go really quickly to do it this way.
I decided to mitre the corners, and everything lined up perfectly.
This time, instead of basting on the floor as I always do, I decided to clamp it to my cutting table (which just happens to be in an air-conditioned room!) Polly was her usual helpful self when it came to basting...  The batting chosen is my favourite Hobbs Tuscany Wool;  you can see a bit poking out at the edge. It's Polly's favourite too, and the cut-off scraps go into a box for her which we call her nest, as she snuggles down inside to nap.
 The backing is a plain muslin from Mrs Pugsley's Emporium, for which Aurifil #2000 in 
50 weight was a perfect match.
For the blocks, I free motioned a flowery motif. 
The borders got a squiggly line free motion stitched across the seam, rather than in the ditch.
The alternate X blocks have the same squiggle stitched through their centres. As this is a bed quilt, I wanted it left soft and squishy.  The quilt is sized to fit a twin bed.
Hubby and I took it downtown to photograph at Amherst's beautiful Victoria Square.

A sincere thank you to Island Batik, Aurifil thread, and Hobbs Batting for supplying the products used.

As a small thank you for stopping by, at the end of the hop (after August 31/19) I will draw a name for two free pdf patterns. This giveaway is open to everyone, but please make sure you leave an email address in the comment where I can reach you. Make sure that you visit the Island Batik blog for a chance to win some fabulous fabric, as well as the links below to see gorgeous quilts:
Monday, August 5
Leanne Parsons 
Sherry Shish

Tuesday, August 6
Bill Locke
Lisa Nielsen

Wednesday, August 7
Sandra Walker
Terri Vanden Bosch

Thursday, August 8
Pamela Boatright
Kathleen McCormick

Monday, August 12
Karen Neary
Carol Moellers

Tuesday, August 13
Michelle Roberts
Laticia “Tish” Stemple

Wednesday, August 14
(Debora) Anne Wiens
Gene Black

Thursday, August 15
Tina D Dillard
Bea Lee

Monday, August 19
Joanne Hart
Carla Henton

Tuesday, August 20
Connie Kauffman
Vasudha Govindan

Wednesday, August 21
Vicki Schlimmer
Mania Hatziioannidi

Thursday, August 22
Gail Sheppard

Monday, August 26
Maryellen McAuliffe
Jennifer Strauser

Tuesday, August 27
Connie K Campbell
Joan Kawano

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Get Ready To Beat The Heat!

We're about to start on the second week of Island Batik's "Beat The Heat" blog hop. Each week, Island Batik is giving away pre-cuts of one of the featured collections, and this week it's "Garden Party" by Colourwerx.  This collection just happens to be the one I worked with, so please drop back here tomorrow to see my quilt.  In the meantime, make sure you enter the Rafflecopter giveawa from Island Batik.
No photo description available.
Good luck!

Friday, 26 July 2019


 The much anticipated second Island Batik Ambassador has arrived, and the contents did NOT disappoint!  Twice a year, Island Batik and industry partners Aurifil, Hobbs Batting, and Accuquilt, shower their Ambassadors with a treasure box of goodies. It's like Christmas in a box, filled with 23 pounds of wonderful surprises.
First out, were 3 fabulous battings from Hobbs' Tuscany line: wool, silk, and polyester.  I am very familiar with the wool and silk battings as they are pretty much all I use, but this polyester is new to me and I look forward to trying it out.
Accuquilt, who sent us the Go! cutter in the first box, has sent along a die for "Cleopatra's Fan" from their BOB - Block on Board collection. This means you can cut the entire block in one turn of the handle. As you know, I am a big fan of curved piecing and I can't wait to get using this.  I think it will be for my September project.
Aurifil contributed three spools of 50 weight thread.  You will see below why these colours were chosen.
The Island Batik fabrics are always such luscious colours, and this new collection called "Little Sir, Little Miss" is no exception.  There are 42, 2-1/2" strips plus 2 yards of each of light and dark coordinates.  I love that number print, it will make for a fun quilt.
You can see that the Aurifil thread matched up with this collection.  I always marvel at the thought and time put into packing these boxes.
This next collection of 10" squares and 4 yards of light and dark coordinates is called "Blueberry Patch"...which is so appropriate for a Cumberland County gal like myself.
 Blueberries are big in my part of the world, with Oxford about half an hour away.
 (This is the giant blueberry in Oxford.)
They also sent along 1/2 yard cuts of 8 coordinates, tied in a pretty bow.  Even that bow will get used.
 The blue thread is, of course, a perfect match.
Neutrals and basics are are so great to have, and the solid white, black, and grey always gets used up quickly. The piece on the bottom, called Moo Milk, also contains 4 yards.
 There's another bundle of 8, 1/2 yard cuts which work well with the "Little Sir, Little Miss" collection... well as this one called "Speak Easy", with Klimt inspired prints.
 It's almost overwhelming when you view it altogether - wow!
Before I start sewing, I take the time to catalogue everything in a binder, with a little snip from each fabric next to the corresponding tag. This way I can see at a glance how much of each fabric I have, and the collection to which it belongs.
As I finish each project, I add a sketch or photo showing what I made with those fabrics. This is "Sun Salutation" from my very first Ambassador box last year. 
Once this is all done, the fabrics are separated into lights, darks, and mediums, and are off to the laundry.  Polly sees this as a sign she can now claim the box!
A sincere thank you to Island Batik, Hobbs Batting, Aurifil thread and Accuquilt for their generosity, and for providing the inspiration for months of sewing.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Colouring Inside The Lines

This month's Ambassador Challenge for Island Batik is sponsored by one of our industry partners, Aurifil thread. 
We were sent a selection of weights and colours in our Ambassador box back in January, and an additional packet of thread arrived later this spring.  It included these 3 spools of 40, 28, and 12 weight to be used in our challenge. 
Our instructions said, "Fabric is your canvas and Aurifil thread your paint! Create a one of a kind art quilt or project with Aurifil thread."
This project took a great deal of thinking.  Normally, we design to showcase the fabric but this time the thread needed to take centre stage. We had been sent cuts of solid colour batiks, and I decided to use the plain white as my background.
I printed some New York Beauty blocks from EQ8 on plain white paper and started colouring in doodles with a box of markers to see if I could make this work.
We all know if you can draw it, you can stitch it, so I pulled some of the same colours from my thread stash and set to work.
This is my working sketch from EQ8;  the blocks are drawn to 6". The only unappealing part of this project was tracing the block outlines onto my fabric.  I wanted to get stitching, and this was going to slow me down!!
My solution was to cut both freezer paper and the white batik into 9" x 12" pieces, and iron the freezer paper to the back of the fabric. It was then trimmed to 8-1/2" x 11" and fed through my printer. It was a super easy (lazy!) way to transfer the lines.
 I printed one block first as a test and did this much stitching before I decided it was going to work. (I'm not big on practicing!)
 The freezer paper was removed from the fabric and the blocks were joined with 1/4" seams as per regular patchwork.
I used my favourite Hobbs wool batting for the middle, and another layer of white batik on the back. My bobbin was loaded with 50 weight Aurifil in 2024 white.
To say this was fun is an understatement! I changed my needle as often as my thread, opting for a size 12/80 for my 50 weight, a 14/90 topstitch for the 40 and 28 weights, and a 16/100 topstitch for the 12 weight.
 The 12 weight thread fills in beautifully, even with just rows of straight stitching.

 The project took about 2 weeks to stitch, and I loved adding new bits every day.

Below you can see how fine the 50 weight (purple) used in the swirl inside the spike, appears next to the 12 weight (black).
 For the white background bits, I simply stitched feathers in white 50 weight.

 I toss my emptied Aurifil spools into a container, so I fetched two to use as finials.
 They slid onto each end of a 3/8" dowel for the perfect finishing touch.
 In all, I used 26 different colours and 4 different weights of cotton thread.

Thank you to Aurifil thread, Island Batik, and Hobbs Batting for supplying the products used in this challenge.