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 9 December 2021

Christmas Tree Stands

Do you hold on to things that may just come in handy someday? My container of empty Aurifil thread spools is testament to the fact that I do.  I have orange, red, green and grey ones...but mostly orange because that's the colour of the 50 weight spool I use most often.

Rummaging through my stash of Christmas fabrics, I found quite a few small green pieces. The brain said they would make a great forest of small evergreens.  But I wanted a standing forest, not one that sits in a bowl, or hangs on a tree.  In the past I have made small stuffed trees with dowels inserted in the middle; hubby would fashion a base from a piece of wood.  Using Aurifil spools with the end cap in place makes them perfect as a stand!

To make the trees, you will need 6 small squares of fabric (2 for each tree) of whatever size you want your trees.
7 empty large Aurifil spools
Small amount of Fibrefil stuffing
Small star sequin or buttons
Ribbon for 3 bows
Sewing thread

Draw out a pattern for your trees.  My smallest is 4-1/2" across the base, and 4-1/2" measured up from the centre of this baseline.  The medium tree is 6-1/2" wide and 5-1/2" tall, and the largest tree is 5-1/4" wide x 7-1/2" tall. 

Cut two pieces the same size for each tree and sew them right sides together around the outside, leaving a small opening on the bottom edge for turning. Clip corners, and turn to right side through opening.

Remove end caps from 4 of the dowels.  For 2 trees, simply glue one spool section on top of the spool/cap using a hot melt glue gun.  A wrap of sturdy tape works well also. 

The tallest tree has two plain spool parts glued to the top of the spool/cap.

Poke a little fibrefill into the tips of the triangles and then put the spool in all the way to the top.   Poke in fibrefill around the spool and pin the opening; stitch opening closed with hand stitches.  

Tie a bow around the base of each tree, and stitch a small star sequin or button to the top.

That's all there is to it!  (and they're really cute).

Wednesday 17 November 2021

Christmas 2021 Aurifil Thread Specials

Without a doubt, Christmas -and the way we shop, and gather -has certainly been impacted by world events. Nevertheless, we still find creative ways to celebrate the season. One of those ways is to order online, have your parcel beautifully wrapped with a hand-written gift card, and delivered directly to your recipient.  We can do that!
To sweeten the pot, from now till the ends of November all of the Aurifil thread sets of 12 large spools in a reusable storage case are on special for $10. off. When you do the math, it works out to $11.40/spool, saving you over $40 than if you had purchased them individually. (Even more if you choose 40 or 28 weight sets.) That's a great deal!

Throw in that complimentary gift-wrapping, and the shopping for the person-who-has-everything is done! You can see all the thread sets here. We ship across Canada. 🇨🇦

Saturday 13 November 2021

Log Cabin Triangle Tree Placemats

The name might be a mouthful, but it gives the whole picture of what this pattern is about:  tree-shaped placemats made log-cabin style.  These clever mats are sure to be a hit on the table, and they go together really quickly. Because they are strip-pieced, you can easily sew a set in a day.  

The mats are sized to accommodate a dinner plate and cutlery. Because of their shape, they fit beautifully on either a rectangular or round table.
The need for binding has been eliminated, and the quilting is kept to a minimum: in the ditch between seams, and a squiggle down the centre of each strip. 
If you are more of a traditionalist and prefer a bound edge, instructions are included for that as well. 
There are also directions on how to make matching napkins which slip through the trunk of the tree.

We could all use a bit of fun and whimsy this Christmas, and these placemats will delight your family. Ask for the pattern at your local quilt shop, or find it in print form from my website, or downloadable at this link. 

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Aurifil Color Builders 2022


Aurifil has just announced the details of their 2022 Colour Builders, and it looks pretty amazing!  This highly successful thread-of-the-month program is now heading into its third year season, with each year building on the success of the previous.  As a dealer, I participated for the first time this past year and have to say that everything ran like clockwork.  It’s a super way to build your thread stash and save a bit off the price of individual spools while doing do.  Personally, I loved going to my thread rack and having just the shade I needed at my fingertips.

The 2022 Color Builder Subscription is created in celebration of Aurifil’s variegated 50 weight thread. Aurifil produces 36 variegated thread colors; threads that contain multiple colors or multiple shades of one color. Twenty-four of these shades are represented in the 2022 program, which arrive in mini-collections of 3 spools each month. Each set contains 3 large spools of 50wt -- 2 variegated and 1 complementary solid.
This year the color inspiration is drawn from 12 breathtaking rainforest plants: from the Amazon Water Lily and the Bird of Paradise to the Jade Vine and the Spider Lily. These plants are a representation of our earth’s most threatened tropical forests, largely affected by deforestation and climate change. For 2022, Aurifil has partnered with Rainforest Trust , an organization dedicated to the long-term protection of these forests. The patterns for 2022 were designed and developed by Aurifil’s own Kate Brennan in partnership with graphic designer Christina Weisbard. Patterns are centered around floral-themed appliqué, allowing each featured monthly plant to take center stage. While instructions are given for fusible appliqué, we’ll highlight a variety of methods of appliqué and finishing throughout the year. Blocks may be finished as 12 individual mini quilts or pieced together to create a full quilt. Patterns will be exclusive to subscription holders for one year. 

As you know, 50 weight is the most versatile (normal) weight of thread. It is perfect for piecing, hand or machine appliqué, and for quilting. This thread will see your project through from start to finish. 

The program is delivered monthly; if you are local (or close to!) Amherst you are welcome to pick it up here. Otherwise, the thread will be mailed to you each month for a small postage fee. You will be billed monthly in a pay-as-you-go system, not all at once, either via credit card or etransfer.

The feedback I received on this year’s program has all been positive, and I am excited to be part of this program again. I look forward to having you join in. There is more information here:    

Please be in touch with any questions, or to have your name added to the list. The program will begin on Jan 15/22, and your first payment will be due then, but we need to let the plant in Italy know before Oct. 15th  so they can be packaging up the threads just for you!

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Book Reviewing


From time to time over my many years of quilting, I have been asked if I would write a review for a new book.  I would agree only if the subject matter looked interesting.  Most of those reviews were requests from authors, and they ended up here on my blog.  This past year however, I've been contacted by publishers to have a look while the books were still in production.  One such book is Mary Hogan's "Fast-Fold Hexie Quilting" from Landauer Publishing

Mary's book  contains a plethora of projects, including trivets, tabletoppers, wallhangings, and bed quilts.  Her technique for creating the quilt-as-you-go hexies is one I had not seen before, and I look forward to trying it out.  The book is available in the U.S. from Fox Chapel Publishing, or in Canada at Amazon
My condensed review ended up on the back cover. 😊

Friday 9 July 2021

A new pattern!

I've had a quilt rattling around in my head for a bit and I am happy to say the pattern has become a reality. 

"Encircling" is a great design to showcase large prints and gorgeous florals, and when I saw Tula Pink's "Curiouser and Curiouser" line I knew it was perfect.  A trip to Mrs Pugsley's Emporium in Amherst yielded this stack of Fat Quarters.  I paired it with Fairy Dust for the background, and a black solid for the rings and binding. 

It was fun to see how closely the fabric matches the artwork on the corresponding Aurifil thread set.

The pattern is simple to sew with gentle curved seaming, and only 3 large pieces per block. It's easy to adapt for fussy-cutting special motifs in the fabric. 

I quilted the circles in a spiral:

The wavy outer edge is a dream to bind – no inside or outside corners to mitre - and gives a unique finish to your quilt.  

For fun, I photographed the quilt with my Mom's childhood china tea set from the 1920's, and my vintage and well-loved "Complete Works of Lewis Carroll". 
Pattern includes full sized templates for a lap-sized quilt, but it's really easy to simply add more blocks for a larger quilt. 
This is a totally fun pattern, and easy to adapt to different sizes.  Shown is a lap-sized 46" x 64", but if you need it larger, simply add another row or two of blocks.  I will make this soon in some Kaffe Fasset florals and use it on my table.  The computer mock-up shows how nicely 20 blocks fit on the table. 

The Aurifil thread collection shown is available from my thread store;  we ship across Canada.  The pattern may be ordered in print form here, or downloaded at this link.
As always, I am indebted to pattern editor Cheryl Coville of Grandma Coco's Designs who is a bigger help than she realizes in getting the patterns ready.

Sunday 21 March 2021

Spring Promise

The old saying of "time flies when you are having fun" is certainly true in my case.  When I have my head down designing and sewing, little else gets attended to.  (like blogging...or housework!) 

I've really been concentrating on new designs lately, and have well over a dozen sketched out.  Not all of those will come to fruition of course;  some will get added to the "what was I thinking??" pile.  Others are just snippets of ideas...things that might work for a border, or as a secondary block, but not be the star of the quilt.  Those go into a vault for when an idea is needed.  

This week with the approach of spring, it was time to sew a new runner - a quick and simple one. It features a central appliqued blocks flanked on each end by checkerboard patchwork.  The petal elements are arranged in a circle.  

I have found the easiest way to get a perfect circle is to fold the fabric into quarters, and press it lightly to mark the lines.  Then I rifle through all the pot lids in the kitchen to find one the size of my circle.  I trace around this with a Hera marker, so that I have no marks to remove afterwards.
As you can see, it leaves nice registration marks in the fabric, which come out with a quick press once the elements are added.

I decided to use 50 weight thread to do the blanket stitch around the edges.  

The end panels are quilted in diagonal lines using a walking foot.  The fun begins with the centre block, where feathery shapes are free motion quilted.
The feathers almost look like butterflies. (Happy accident!)
The pattern is available from my website and you can follow the links there for printed or downloadable versions. As always, I am grateful for the sharp eyes of Cheryl Coville of Grandma Coco Designs for her help in checking the instructions.
I've also done up thread sets with spring colours of Aurifil 50 weight which you can find here

The pictures are a wee bit pale because our weather was anything but spring-like for the photo shoot. (it was snowing!) However...we do have the promise of spring. :)