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!

Friday, 20 May 2022

Maritime Beauty Workshop


Maritime Beauty Table Topper Workshop

What:  Friday August 5, 2022 as part of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival

Where:  Amherst, Nova Scotia

Who: Taught by Karen Neary

When: 9:30-3:30

Cost: $85.

In this workshop, students will make a table topper with New York Beauty blocks.  The Maritime Beauty pattern is a great learning piece, as it encompasses so many techniques in a do-able sized project: sewing curves, piecing sharp spikes, and making and applying bias binding to a curved edge. There are also 4 inside corners to turn when binding. Instead of regular foundation piecing, we will do paperless paper-piecing (also known as freezer paper piecing) which results in perfect points with no messy paper to remove afterwards. Students will be shown a quick and easy way to make multiple copies of the foundation for future projects without tracing or photocopying.  This will be a full day class; the bias binding application will be a demonstration only, providing students with instruction on how to proceed once the project is quilted at home. This is not a difficult piece, but best suited to those with some quilting experience (i.e., mastery of the 1/4” seam allowance.)

This table topper is my original design, and the class fee includes the pattern and enough foundations to make the Maritime Beauty. (There will also be a special surprise from our sponsor, Aurifil!) Students will supply their own fabrics. Prior to the class, templates will be sent to each participant so that the centre blocks may be cut out ahead of time.  Doing this means some will finish the piecing of the Maritime Beauty in class. 

Registration is via email to  Your spot is confirmed once payment is received (etransfer is preferred, but other arrangements can be made. There are a limited number of seats available, so please do not send money until your spot is confirmed via email.) There are no refunds, however I will work with you to find a replacement if unable to attend. 

Thank you!

Back to Spool Workshop


Back To Spool Workshop

What:  Thursday August 4, 2022 as part of the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival

Where:  Amherst, Nova Scotia

Who: Taught by Karen Neary

When: 9:30-3:30

Cost: $85.

Join me for a relaxed day of free-motion stitching, with a little abracadabra and trompe l'oeil thrown in to help release the power contained within a spool of thread.  This class is not for beginners, but for those comfortable with free-motion stitching. We will go back-to-spool to play with various weights of threads, stitching on wash-away stabilizer to create appliqués which may be added to any project.   Project for the day will be a flowering crab apple tree. A selection of beautiful Aurifil threads will be included in the class fee (including a special surprise from our awesome sponsor, Aurifil!), along with stabilizers needed to complete the project. You will supply your own background fabric on which to place your tree...or you simply want to frame it with your hoop for a sweet little hanging.

Students will need to bring confidence in free motion stitching, as well as an embroidery hoop that fits on the bed of your machines (i.e. make sure it fits under your needle and within your throat space. The one I use is 7-1/2” across and 3/8” high).

Registration is via email to  Your spot is confirmed once payment is received (etransfer is preferred, but other arrangements can be made. There are a limited number of seats available, so please do not send money until your spot is confirmed via email.) There are no refunds, however I will work with you to find a replacement if unable to attend.

Monday, 25 April 2022

In A Frenzy...


I'm often known to be in a tizzy, but this coming Saturday you will find me in an actual frenzy: The 2nd PEI FABRIC FRENZY

DATE: Saturday, April 30, 2022

LOCATION: Jack Blanchard Centre

3 Pond Street


TIME: 9:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Admission: $2.00 includes door prizes

Proceeds to benefit Blooming House

Light Refreshments are available.

I will be in attendance with lots and lots of Aurifil thread, as well as my books and patterns. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Log Cabins In The Cabin (Or Cottage!)


Remember these placemats from a few months back?  The pattern has been extremely popular: very quick and easy to stitch. Here's a way to coax another season from the same pattern.

On a recent trip to Mrs Pugsley's Emporium, I spotted these lovelies, and KNEW they would be fabulous in this pattern! The shop has them done up in half-metre cuts, so I chose 6 I liked.

Using Kona cotton Splash, Seascape, Blueprint, Sea Glass, Pool and Lagoon gave the mats a very modern look.
For added interest, I reversed the colour order in two of the four mats.
Simple waves are free-motion quilted on my Bernina around the central triangle using Aurifil 50 weight in a variegated blue and a variegated green. For batting, I chose Hobbs Thermore, a low-loft batting that shows the quilting off nicely.

These fit better on a square or rectangular table, but we don't have one here.  They will be perfect for the table at the cottage, and I look forward to trying them out when the weather warms. With the watery, seaside palette, they will look super there.

I also alternated fabrics used on the back.  These mats are a great lesson in the power of colour for creating a whole new look. 
The pattern is available from my website, in both print and download version.  If you are in the Fredericton area, you can also find lots of my patterns in stock at Ridge Machine Quilting Shed in Hanwell. 

Thursday, 3 February 2022

For Wee Bairn in Blue

 Last week, I showed you my newly released pattern called For The Wee Bairn.  It was made with a new collection called "Lace and Grace" from Island Batik.  I liked the quilt so much, I made it a second time, this one using a blue background and assorted scraps for the 9 patches.  The gorgeous snow this past weekend made a perfect backdrop for photography.

Other than using different fabrics, I followed my own directions exactly.
It's pretty amazing how quickly the blocks go together.
I quilt on my domestic sewing machine, so my quilts are pin basted.  This is the only part of the process I do not enjoy. :(
This time I chose a soft yellow flannel for the backing, and used Aurifil 40 weight thread both in top and bobbin.  As before, I stitched free hand feathers in the curved sections, and simply outlined the Improved Nine Patch blocks.

Since I have no wee bairns of my own to wrap, this version is for sale.  You can find it on my website.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Valentine's Mug Mat


Here's a quick project to stitch for your special someone for Valentine's Day.  This mug mat is larger than most, as it's meant to be shared by two.  Fusible appliqué means you can whip this up in time for the big day.

Spiral Heart Mug Mat
Finished Size:  6-1/2" x 11"
8" square of white*
8" square of red*
7" x 11" background fabric
8" square of fusible web
8" square of tear away stabilizer
7" x 12" batting
7" x 12" backing
1, 2-1/4" x WOF strip of red for binding
* Quilter's Rose by Stof used in sample project.

You can get the pdf template for the heart for free here. Make sure when you print the heart you choose "actual size" from the list of print options (no scaling). Please note that the design is already reversed for you, ready for tracing onto the back of the fusible web.

Trace heart design onto fusible web. Note that the heart has two sections.  Fuse one section to back of red and one to back of white fabrics.  Cut out carefully.  Remove paper backing and arrange the two heart sections so that they are snugged up with no gaps in between.  I use a corsage pin to gently nudge the pieces into place.  Fuse to centre of background fabric. 
With stabilizer underneath work stitch around edges of heart to secure.  Sample shown uses straight stitching, but a narrow zigzag would add nice definition to the edges.  Trim stabilizer.
Add batting and backing, pin baste.  Quilt.  Sample shown is quilted around the outside of heart and echoed 1/4" away.  Squiggly lines are free motion quilted from the heart to the sides. Trim mat.  Mine is 6-1/2" x 11.
Fold 2-1/4" binding strip in half lengthwise, wrong sides together and press. Sew to front of quilt, mitering corners.  Flip to back and hand stitch in place.  

This entire pattern is available in a printer-friendly format as a free download at this link:

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Christmas String Progress

This past snowy weekend was incredibly productive for sewing, and I am so pleased with the progress made in my Christmas scraps box. My 40 blocks are all sewn, trimmed, papers removed, and edge-stitched.  Whew!

As mentioned in the previous post, I dug out a box of scraps to make string blocks during our weekend snow storm.  I had 6 made which were samples from a workshop I taught (back in the day when such things were possible), and most of the foundation papers and strips were cut, so it was all straight sewing.

The papers were removed while watching a movie;  I take a large recycling bag and work inside it as I rip so that the mess is contained.  Since the blocks had no seam intersections, the papers tore right off.  

Polly was a big help holding the finished blocks.

As soon as the papers were removed, I ran with the blocks to the machine to do the edge-stitching.  This step is SO important with string blocks, as the ends of the seams can open while removing the paper, and with handling.  Stitching 1/8" from all edges within the seam allowance with a short stitch length holds everything in place.  

A bonus when sewing multi-coloured scraps is being able to use up the thread on near-empty bobbins. I emptied 6 on the weekend!! 
Here are the blocks laid out on a queen sized bed. At the moment, the quilt top measures 52" x 57-1/2".  Originally, I had thought to make this couch-sized, but it's really not much of a stretch from here to keep going and finish it a usable bed size.  To do this will either involve borders or sashing, and I am rather leaning towards the latter.  My plan is to take some time to sketch it out on the computer in EQ8 and see my options.

So, this one will get set aside for a little bit while I do that.  In meantime, I am thread-painting a tree, and getting ready for February's Colour Builder block.  The threads are already on the way and I can't wait for them to arrive.  There was also notice of a shipment of fabric coming from Island Batik, which will be used in a magazine project. Lots to keep me distracted this week.  The weatherman is predicting some snowy weather for next weekend, so perhaps the string quilt will get hauled out again...

Saturday, 29 January 2022

Storm Sewing 2022


There's a snow storm outside, and I am sewing up a storm inside!  I always like to have a simple sewing project for storms, as our power often goes out.  String blocks are perfect, as they are easy to pick up again if you are interrupted.  I had a few sample blocks leftover from a class I gave at the Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival a couple of years back, so decided I would add some more to the pile.  I dug around the bottom of my Christmas prints to find some usable scraps.

These blocks are rectangles, and a bit of an odd size: 6-1/2" x 11-1/2".  The dimensions were determined by the size of the newsprint being used for the foundation and really...what does it matter what size each block is, as long as it makes a good sized quilt.? I drew lines across each paper in a random way (no specific angle) alternating left and right in each foundation.  This way when they set together in pairs, an imperfect chevron stripe will be created.

The strips are also cut at random widths from 1/2" to 2-1/2".  Since I am sewing scraps, the length of each strip is determined by the size of the piece dug out of the box. The first strip is laid beside the drawn line with the ends extending off the paper a bit, and held with a pin; a second strip added right sides together on top. Then the strip is flipped down to the right side and pressed. 
When the paper is covered, simply trim the edges along the paper.

It's a quick and easy way to use up bits and bobs, and I love the scrappy look of the string blocks when they are finished.

Back to sewing.  It's a race to see how many I get made while it snows!

Thursday, 27 January 2022

For The Wee Bairn

 I am delighted to announce the launch of a new pattern to join the Sew Karen-ly Created lineup. "For The Wee Bairn" was designed to showcase Island Batik's "Lace and Grace" collection, which is shipping to stores now.

The collection includes a wide range of pretty colours; when I laid them out on the dark teal green,  they immediately reminded me of tartan.  

I chose to make a traditional "Improved Nine Patch" (also called "Glorified Nine Patch") as there is so much movement in the blocks.  I drew the curved sections with an extra dip to give the corners nice, sharp points where they intersect.  As you can see, Polly helped me lay the blocks out on the bed...although she spent as much time playing with her beloved stuffed cat as she did arranging quilt blocks!

The blocks look tricky to sew, but splitting the curved section made it easy to get good joins.  It went together as smooth as warm butter.

Having that seam in place, also gave me a centre line to use as a spine for free motion feathers.  I love when there is no marking involved.
I used 40 weight Aurifil thread for quilting: 2021 Natural for the top, and 1135 Pale Yellow in the bobbin.

Here's how it looks from the back. (colours are WAY off in this photo, but the weird light shows the stitching well!)

"For the Wee Bairn" measures 40" x 49". It is surprisingly simple to sew, and makes a special heirloom quilt for your own wee bairn (baby).

Can you see the tartan kilts swirling around? 
As always, Cheryl Coville of Grandma CoCo's Designs was a tremendous help checking the pattern. Sincere thanks to Island Batik for the wonderful opportunity to work with their beautiful fabrics.  You can see the quilt on page 56 of their current catalogue.   The pattern is available in both printed and digital formats from my website, or ask at your local quilt shop as many are stocking this pattern.