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.
Comments are always appreciated, simply click the word "comments" at the end of each post to leave your message. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday 21 February 2019

We Have Thread - Glorious Thread!

It's so exciting when the boxes of Aurifil you have been (im)patiently waiting for finally arrive, and you open them up to find...
...all of this!  Do you see what's there in the middle?!?
Kaffe Collective thread sets!! These collections are a hot ticket item and won't last long in the shop. These are the 50 and 80 weight sets; the 12 weight Kantha Collection is on its way as well.
Glorious Handwork is a collection of 20, very fine 80 weight threads. The 80 weight is wonderful for hand work (like English Paper Piecing) but it also works well in the machine. I have recently used it to quilt on silk, as well as on batik.  It adds the texture of quilting without distracting from the fabric.
Look at the colours. ♥♥♥♥♥♥
 This is the 50 weight set, a go-to collection perfect for both piecing and quilting.
Variegated threads are also in high demand, and this set by Michele Scott comes in two sizes.  It's a 12 weight thread, which can be used for hand or machine quilting.
Back in stock are these 50 weight sets from Tula Pink.

There are also new variegated colours in individual spools, both 50 and 12 weight and a couple of new collections of 80 weight thread, as well as new colours in individual spools. You can see everything here.
AND...there is another carton of the thread/case specials! You get a spool of 50 weight white thread plus a case which holds 12 spools for $14.99.  Normally the cases are $9.95 and the thread is $13., so this is a great deal.  These sold out in less than a day last time, so if you are interested please don't wait too long to order.
I am working away at adding the new stock to the website, which you can find here.  Please note that the prices you see in your cart INCLUDE the sales tax.  We ship across Canada, and if you are local, or passing through Amherst, I am happy to arrange pick-up so you avoid shipping charges.   On this snowy, grey day this thread has been a glorious explosion of colour.

Saturday 9 February 2019

Beginner Free Motion Quilting

Are you interested in free motion quilting and unsure how to get started?
  On Wednesday, April 24, 2019 I will be offering a full-day workshop entitled, Free Motion Quilting For the Absolutely Terrified, here in Amherst, N.S.  We will cover the basics of free motion machine quilting including needle and thread selection, basting, batting, and machine tension.  Sample squares will be stitched with various techniques including stippling and meandering, following a marked line, echo quilting, and background fillers. We will then apply what we have learned to mark, baste, and free motion quilt the miniature whole cloth pictured above. Many quilts will be shown for inspiration.

There is no pre-requisite for this beginner free-motion class, however you need to be comfortable with your sewing machine; this is beginner free-motion, not beginner sewing. You will need to bring a sewing machine in good working order, capable of dropping, or covering, the feed dogs for free motion stitching. The class will run from 9 am to 3 pm and will cost $75.00 + HST. 

It will be a small class, and there are only a couple of spots available, so if you are interested, please email me asap.

Tuesday 5 February 2019

X and O: My Magnificent Mini

The first challenge for the Island Batik 2019 Ambassadors is to make a miniature quilt and post sometime during February.  The guidelines were pretty broad:

  • Must be 24” x 24” or smaller
  • Any fabrics except “surprise” fabrics
  • Any technique
February is always a red-and-white month for my sewing, so I cast my thoughts to something Valentine-heart-love related. I hit upon one of my previous designs, "X and O", and decided to remake it on a smaller scale. This is the original, which uses an 8" New York Beauty block in a diagonal setting.
The pattern is in my book, Quilting Beauties, and since it has the templates and foundations on a CD, it's really easy to resize the blocks in the printer menu.
I resized my blocks to finish at 4", and went looking through my red scraps of Island Batik fabrics.  I had a little chuckle when I discovered that the hank of rayon in this year's box was tied in red and was just the right size for my spikes!  Waste not, want not...
For the background fabric, I used a piece of the Check It Out from my December project.  I love the subtle colour change in this print, and knew it would not overpower my little quilt.  For the light print I chose a piece called "Almond", from the Neutrals line. It has a faint marl of purplish-pink running through it. Underneath the spikes, is a pure white batik so that the points will show nicely.

 The piecing was pretty straight forward and the centres for the side blocks were easily sewn in.
For the centre, however, I decided to eliminate the seams and appliqué a complete circle on top of the spikes. To do this, I put my pins in straight down through the fabric, and then gently bend them back and slide them in horizontally. This way the circle stays in place as each pin goes in.
I chose ultra-fine Aurifil 80 weight cotton to machine blind stitch the circle in place, switching to a size 10 Microtex needle. It disappeared right into the fabric.
Looks like we are ready to quilt! I always love comparing the piece to the sketch drawn in EQ8 to see how close I came.  Not bad!
The batting used is Hobbs Tuscany silk, which is one I use a lot, and always in a miniature.  It allows the quilting to show, but without adding bulk which a heavier batt would do. It produces a beautiful drape in the finished quilt.

The thread chosen to quilt this miniature is the same Aurifil 80 weight used for the appliqué. The space for quilting is pretty small, so a fine thread is perfect.  I kept regular 50 weight thread in the bobbin, and switched my needle out to a size 10/70 Topstitch needle.  The larger eye of the needle prevents drag on the thread when doing free-motion.  
 I didn't do a whole lot of quilting, as I didn't want to overpower the design of the patchwork.  There are curves in the white triangles under the spikes, a little lick of flame in each spike, and tiny fleur de lis flanking the centre New York Beauty blocks. The background has some echo quilting, and a heart added in each setting trianle. 
Here's the back, which is the same Almond used for the front, and 50 weight Aurifil in the bobbin.

My  miniature X and O finished at 16" across.  Thank you to Island Batik, Hobbs Batting, and Aurifil thread for the products used. You can find the pattern for X and O in Quilting Beauties. 

Monday 4 February 2019

Unboxing Island Batik 2019

With the conclusion of the Getaway Blog Hop, a new year as an Island Batik Ambassador begins.  I am nothing short of thrilled to be included on this incredibly creative, and very diverse, team of designers, artists, and makers from around the world.  Island Batik, Hobbs Batting, and Aurifil thread pack up a generous bounty of goodies for us to use in our work, and it's SO much fun when the box arrives.  This year, there was a bonus surprise box from Accuquilt...which knocked most of us for a loop!

Even though the boxes had been inspected by Canadian Customs, Polly insisted on giving them a second once over, just to make sure.
My sniffer cat gave them her approval.  The box on the right - the one with the materials - had a hard journey; one side of the box was taped back together somewhere along the way.
 A glorious box of colour, with a big ol' surprise right on top!
 This bundle has 8, half-yard cuts from the foundations line.  Isn't this a gorgeous piece on top?
Island Batik also produces rayon fabrics,and they sent along 2 yards for each of us.  Interestingly, I received this Tjap used in a cotton batik in an earlier shipment. I am sewing with it now, and loving it!
Island Batik make scarves from the rayon, and have gifted us with one of those as well: Look at this gorgeous lilac, I have a light grey jacket it will pair great with.
This strip set of French Blue is gorgeous, and includes 2 yards of coordinating light and dark prints - Blueberry and Cloud. This collection is shipping to stores now, and was one of my favourite featured collections in the recent Getaway Blog Hop.  You can see what Pamela and Joyce made with this lovely grouping.
This package contains 3 yards each of plain white, grey, and black solids.
 As there is a "modern" challenge in our year, these pieces come in very handy. (Plus they make a gorgeous foil for the bright batiks!)
These packages are called Stashbuilders and they add variety to our colour selections.  We get two packages, which contain just under 3 yards/package.
Aren't they pretty?
Then there is 5 generous yards of a neutral foundation fabric called Rice, which coordinates nicely with the other fabrics in my box. I can't help but think of the time these carefully coordinated boxes take to pack.
Hobbs is one of the program sponsors, and they sent a bounty of batting: cottons, blends, Thermore, and (my favourite) a beautiful silk from the Tuscany collection.
Aurifil supplied us with thread, and these colours coordinate with my foundations bundle shown above.  Again, I marvel that someone took the time to match threads to our fabrics.
 Here's my booty all together...well, almost all.
There's also these two surprise packages which I can't show you yet.  You will have to wait until the blog hop in August to see them! (But trust me, I tore into the packages as soon as I set the camera down :).
What about that second box??  Oh, my - this was totally unexpected, and such an incredible surprise.  Accuquilt has partnered with the Ambassadors and supplied each (all 50 of us!) with a Go! cutter system, a cube set of 8" blocks dies, and a 2-1/2" strip cutter.
 I love the slogan: cut time, quilt more!
Polly is looking pretty pleased with all of this, and I haven't stopped smiling!
It will be a busy year for the Ambassadors.  I will share the names and sites below, and encourage you to buckle up and follow along for some pretty fun times ahead.  I also hope that you will visit the sponsors to this wonderful program:  Island Batik, Aurifil thread, Hobbs Batting, and Accuquilt.  I thank each of them sincerely for their generosity.
2019 Island Batik Ambassadors:
Carolina Asmussen ~Carolina Asmussen
Gene Black ~ Gene Black
Pamela Boatright ~ PamelaQuilts
Connie K Campbell ~ Freemotion by the River
Anja Clyke ~ Anja Quilts
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
Joanne Hart ~ Unicornharts
Mania (Magdalini) Hatziioannidi ~ Mania for Quilts
Carla Henton ~ Create 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
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
(Debora) Anne Wiens ~ Seams like a Plan
Geraldine Wilkins ~ Living Water Quilter
Janet Yamamoto ~ Whispers of Yore