Sew Karen-ly Created...

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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.

Wednesday 26 January 2022

January 2022

 All I can say's a good thing I don't make new year resolutions because if I did...I would have broken one by now!  It's in my head to blog more this year as I really enjoy writing and posting, but the time just seems to zoom by and much of what keep me busy just isn't good blogging material (like inventory, answering emails, shovelling snow!).    There are some fun things too, and the highlight of January has been starting the new 2022 Colour Builders program with Aurifil.

My list of subscribers has grown this year, and I am delighted to have last year's enthusiastic group returning.  That speaks volumes about the program.  This year the focus is on variegated 50 weight threads and the patterns supplied are all flowers to be appliqu├ęd. The pattern was designed by Kate Brennan with help from graphic designer Christina Weisband. The block for January features a "Frangipani" also known as "Plumeria". It's a very dainty flower, and so pretty with the star centre.
The hardest part was choosing a fabric for the background; I ended up with a neutral tan.

My flower is done using fusible applique, with shapes traced onto the paper side of the fusible web.  I tried a new-to-me kind of fusible called “Flexie Fuse Light” and it worked great.  I printed out the sketch full sized, and placed it on a light table underneath my background fabric.  You can see the black outline showing through the fabric in the picture below. Mind you, I don’t have an actual light table: it’s a glass-topped coffee table with a lamp underneath with the light bulb pointing up.

It worked great! I found my Bohin tweezers with the pointy ends were a tremendous help putting those tiny petals in place without disturbing the others.  Serger tweezers with long points would also work really well.

   When I was happy with my flowers, I lifted the background fabric straight up to my ironing board and fused everything in place.
These are the colours in our thread box this month which I used for the free motion stitching around the pieces.
I also added a darker green to outline the leaves and a bright yellow from my stash for the centre stars.  I hope to add a few more details when I join the blocks for the quilting.
It was a fun block to do and I am enjoying seeing all the pictures around the internet showing off these pretty blocks.  
There is still time to join the program, just email me for details.