Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Tuesday 31 December 2019

Looking Back On 2019, And Ahead To 2020.

Another over-busy, super-productive year is drawing to a close, and with it ends my 2 year tenure as an Island Batik Ambassador.  I have enjoyed my experience with Island Batik *SO* much, and am very thankful for this amazing experience, but it was time for a change.  Polly will miss receiving the bulging boxes of goodies, filled with products from sponsors Island Batik, Aurifil, Hobbs Batting, and Accuquilt. We remain ever grateful for the support of these very generous companies.
All of the projects shown below were stitched with product supplied by the above sponsors, and there is still lots on hand for many more quilts to come... 

Over the Christmas break last year, I worked like crazy to get my quilt finished up in time for January's blog hop.  I was sent the most gorgeous collection ever to work with, one called "Blossom".  The result was Grandmother's Flower Blossom.  Of all the quilts I've made, this is one of my favourites.

After the above pictures were taken in the park, I added tassels to each of the hexagon points, for the ultimate finishing touch. I love how this looks on the bed, like an old-fashioned coverlet.
Our monthly challenges began in February, where we were asked to make a miniature.  This is a mini "X and O" from my book Quilting Beauties, quilted with Aurifil 80 weight thread.
The March challenge was Vintage Re-imagined, so I imagined a traditional string quilt forming diamonds, in wild jungle prints. It made a perfect Christmas present for my (wild, jungle) brother.
 It was in April that I fell in love with the Accuquilt Go! cutter, when we were asked to use it for the challenge. "Into The Blue" was made with many, many half square triangles that were cut and sewn in record time.  The Go! cutter has changed the way I design, as from now on all my HST's will be sized to match my dies.  No more trimming for me!
May was our Modern challenge, and I did free hand rotary cutting and curved piecing to make an apple.
June took a lot of thinking, as it was to try something we haven't done before.  I combined three techniques I had yet to try into one project and produced a quilt-as-you-go, reversible quilt, sewn and quilted on my serger.
In July, we had the pleasure of doing a thread challenge, to showcase the gorgeous threads we were sent by Aurifil.  I opted to stitch out a faux New York Beauty using 80, 50, 40, 28, and 12 weight threads.  The empty spools became finials for the hanging rod.
August was the "Beat The Heat" blog hop, and I was fortunate to get the very colourful Garden Party collection, designed by Colourwerx. Victoria Square in downtown Amherst was a great spot to photograph this full-size beauty.
For September, we were sent another die from Accuquilt.  Mine was Cleopatra's Fan, and from this I made a Knight's Templar Cross, reminiscent of King Arthur. It's a generous lap size, but could probably also find duty as a cape, or hoisted as a flag. The quilt was photographed at the remains of the French Fort Beausejour in New Brunswick.
October was all about appliqué and although I am not a big fan, it did push me to make this Holly Jolly tabletopper which has adorned my kitchen table over this holiday season.  I like it a lot. The quilting in the open space around the centre allows the Hobbs wool batting to really stand out. Using good quality batting makes all the difference in the finished appearance of your project, and Hobbs is tops in the field.
For November, we were challenged to make a quilt using our favourite tool.  For me, that's EQ8.  I came up with this modernized version of a Hudson's Bay Point blanket, which I have named Amherst Point.  The bright colours on white, and angled ends, make this very appealing to my eye.
December was a 3-D challenge, and this optical illusion ended the year off on a high point for me.  I am pondering a simplified version for an upcoming workshop, so please watch this page if you are interested in learning how to draft this.  More later, as I take the time to think this through.
In addition to the required challenges, I made a few extra projects using Island Batik.  Mrs Pugsley's Emporium started carrying the line, and I made this quilt called "Welcome Aboard", which the shop kitted, and quickly sold out.
This "10 Carrot" runner popped into my head late one night, and I couldn't wait to get making!  Island Batik makes the most gorgeous orange shades.
This scrappy red and white string quilt was another Christmas gift, this time for my nephew. It used up a lot of little ends of  red and white.  I have a few more of these scrappy ones started which will get finished in the new year.
 I also designed quilts for the new Island Batik collections introduced at spring and fall quilt market.  "Pearls" was in the spring catalogue, displayed in the booth at Kansas City, and is still travelling in trunk shows to shops carrying the "Black Pearl"collection.  The pattern is available here.
This piece, called Sweet Dreams, was shown at Fall Market in Houston and is now travelling with Island Batik reps. You can find ordering information for this "Forget Me Not" fabric in the current catalogue.  The pattern is available for purchase here.
This stitchery was made using the solid white Island Batik and featured 12 weight Aurifil thread.The pattern/thread kit was the Christmas special sold exclusively in my thread store.
There were a few non-Island Batik projects also completed last year, as well as the presentation of a couple of workshops, a trunk show or two, and various vendor events with my thread.  Again, my thanks to my sponsors for product, and to customers of my threads and patterns for your continued support.  2020 promises to be a year of change, and hopefully one which will include some much-needed time away from the machine. Hubby and I have taken a giant step and purchased a summer home near the shore where I grew up. It has a barn! It is an older house and needs some TLC, so that's the big project for next summer...and beyond.  Already I am matching quilts to the rooms, and having fun with that, but there is real work ahead. (I think the Grandmother's Blossom quilt will will look awesome here!)
I've accepted the commission of another liturgical hanging, to be made of red and white silk (I'm excited just writing that...).  It's due in November, but I hope to get started on it mid-January, so please check back and follow along in the making.  Your presence will keep me on track!  And I have thread, thread, and MORE THREAD on order to arrive early in the new year.  I need to get cracking and update the website to accommodate the new stock.
The new Ambassadors for Island Batik will be announced soon, and I can't wait to see what everyone will be up to this year. I will share the list here.  Wishing you and yours a healthy and happy 2020!


  1. They are all incredible! The ten carrot table runner makes me smile. The red scrap quilt makes me drool. The island batik challenge projects are very humbling. Thank you for a year chuckalucka full of inspiring, motivational posts. with you at the helm, there’s no telling what 2020 will bring. I’m looking forward to it! Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks for a year of inspiration. I look forward to more in 2020.
    Enjoy your summer place. More beds for quilts!

  3. Karen - I am sad that we will not be seeing your Island Batik creations every month but I know that you will be keeping us inspired with your new "makings"! You have such a talent!! All the best in 2020 and your new summer home! I shall be waiting for more photos!!

  4. Karen, you accomplished so much this past year! You make me feel like such a sloth. :)

  5. Wow, Karen......just reading your accomplishments makes me dizzy! Here's an Aussie saying for you: "I've been so busy I haven't had time to turn around and scratch myself". Looking forward to seeing your new holiday home - you know that barn needs a barn quilt, right? New York Beauty, perhaps?

  6. What a great year, and I so look forward to seeing your creations in 2020 - especially the liturgical commission.

  7. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. All great projects. Happy New Year.