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".
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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.


  1. This is a "banner"( just my thought as it hangs in the tree) to delight in, love the curved lower edge, and faced? no binding to detract from the design. Those threads are truly right in their element with your New York Beauty.

  2. Both beautiful and creative. Giggles at your finials, that is something I would do. I love it.

  3. That's a fun project, and your finials are the perfect finishing touch!

  4. This is amazing! Right down to the finials!

  5. That is so cool. Looks like you had lots of fun planning this out and executing it.

  6. Very cool! I love the coloring with thread!

  7. Wow Karen! You continue to amaze me. Great idea, great execution, wonderful workmanship and of course, wonderful thread!

  8. This is gorgeous. I think I want to play and try it.

  9. Stunning is about all I can say, I am still drooling:)

  10. That is impressive! I had a thought about a zentangle project but this is quite something. Also the shape is similar to one I designed but haven't done anything with - so fun to see something similar but very different. Great quilt!

  11. What a fun project and a great idea for the challenge. It is a beautiful piece.

  12. This is a gorgeous banner, love your thread painting! It is truly beautiful!

  13. This is so lovely, Karen. What a fabulous way to showcase all those beautiful, vibrant colours. Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. This is super. Every thread gets its moment in the sun and the project is terrific on the whole. I love New York Beauty blocks in all their iterations... I think it is the combination of straight lines and curve. Excellent interpretation of this month's challenge!

  15. Your thread painting is awesome. NYB is just the right block for it since it's such a pain to piece :-)