Art Quilting with Karen

Karen Caswell is our incredible Art Quilting teacher. We are so lucky to have her as a part of our team! She teaches classes every month, and you do not want to miss a single one. From Free motion quilting for beginners and thread painting, to beautiful stencilling and foiling, Karen does it all. She is such a patient and inspiring teacher and can turn the most intimidated sewer into a Art Quilter Extraordinaire.

Karen Caswell was born and raised in Saskatchewan, and resided in Saskatoon for most of her adult life. She studied agriculture science at the University of Saskatchewan and completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, prior to a 29 year career in agricultural research with the National Research Council of Canada.  Upon retiring two years ago, Karen and her partner made the move west to the Comox Valley. Karen’s feelings about the move are summed up in the last lines of a poem she recently composed:

“Yes, the prairie winds are in my soul,

But it’s here on the island I feel most whole.

In the land of the forests, the eagles, the sea,

I feel like the weather has set me free.”

Karen comes from a long line of quilters and began quilting in 1970 at age 12 using her Grandmother’s patterns, templates cut from cereal box cardboard, and old flannel sheets for batting. Many of the quilts made in her childhood included colouring book images transferred to cloth and painted with ball-point tubes of acrylic paint.  Maybe things haven’t changed so much, as many of her current quilts include hand-dyed, stenciled, painted and embellished fabric. She has a love of experimenting with new techniques and creating original quilts – passions that she shares with her mother and sister.  Over the decades she has created dozens of quilts, visited countless quilt shows and quilt shops, taken numerous classes and read a plethora of quilting magazines and books. She has won ribbons for her quilts, judged at four quilt shows, and presented an invitational retrospective trunk show of her work to a quilt guild.

For the past two years, Karen has been teaching sewing and quilting classes at Island Sewing and Embroidery and Island Sewing Center. She specializes in teaching free-motion quilting, fabric painting, and art quilt techniques and construction.  Karen has also taught classes on making bags, fabric boxes, wine totes, baby quilts, free-motion embroidery name-tags, wall-hangings, buntings, pillows and table runners.  She thoroughly enjoys interacting with other quilters and encouraging students to explore new techniques.  Karen is a member of the Comox Valley Schoolhouse Quilter’s Guild. In addition to quilting, she enjoys photography, collage, and abstract acrylic painting.  She follows her mother’s model of life-long learning.

Summer Embroidery Weekend

Wow! What an amazing, fun, educational and creative weekend we had at the shop!


Lynn Swanson the incredible educator from Brother Canada showed us all the incredible things the Brother Dream Machine can do, on it’s own and with the scan n cut! Did you know you can scan, digitize and create a cut file on board the Dream Machine, send the cut file to your scan n cut and bam you have an instant applique design! The Dream Machine is available with the upgrade kit (kit coming in October) or if your patient, the Dream Machine 2 will be out December. This is the most amazing machine you will ever see. Don’t believe us? Come in and see for your self and chat to our customers who have this beautiful machine.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday was all about creating & learning. Learning about stabilizer, threads, thread breaks (it happens! we’re only human) colour coordinating, light maintenance and file importing from CD to Machine. Below are all the photos from this weekend. I hope you feel as inspired as we do! Stay tuned as well for the demo video with Lynn Swanson on the Dream Machine and some highlight clips from this weekend.

Everything you see here is Anita Goodesign. Love their designs!

Where were we? Row by Row!

row 2016You may be asking where the heck have we been this summer? Well the answer is Row by Row. Everyone at the shop has been overwhelmed with the response to your row by row kit. June 21st Row by Row began and has been incredibly non stop since. I owe a HUGE thank you to Jenna for slaving away at stocking us up on kits that never seem to last and all our incredible customers for loving our row and having patience with us when we are out of stock.

roby row

Good News is we just restocked license plates, so if you were waiting, they are in, if you pre paid for one, check your mailbox soon.

In July we welcomed a Row by Row Winner, Kathy Hannin who did an incredible job on her row.

This summer has been intense and incredible. We never knew the potential of row by row and how many amazing people from all over the world would be coming to our little island shop.

It’s been busy, but we will try and keep up with the blog heading into September.

Thank you all for an incredible summer!

– Island Sewing



Marvelous May!

What a busy month! Deb did an incredible job quilting the Black Tie Affair quilt and it is finally finished and on display along with more kits, precuts and patterns. This collection has been our most popular and doesn’t show any sign of slowing down (until we run out of fabric!) So grab your BTA Quilt Kit TODAY!!

Also new is the first of our new in house patterns & kits! This one is Modern Petals by Coastal Notion. It features modern fabric, pre-cut applique pieces already backed with heat and bond. The finished quilt measures approx. 44″ x 48″ and goes together super fast with one charm pack, an inner and outer border and cornerstones. We hope to have a new kit and pattern out every month.

We also have the Freedom & Homecoming Kits now in and samples hanging and they are pretty awesome!!


This long weekend is also our Machine Embroidery Retreat! Lots of photos were shared on our facebook page and tomorrow is the last day. I can’t wait to see what the ladies made!!

Come by the shop and see what’s new.


Fort Mac Quilts Update

Well thanks to Lenore for letting us know about the trailer full of donations going to Edmonton for the Fort Mac relief efforts. We were able to send 17 quilts! How awesome is that?

We are still collecting until the end of May and currently have 8 more quilts and are hoping for more. Some of our customers have made brand new quilts especially for Fort Mac recipients and that are incredible. Thank you Campbell River quilters, you guys are the best!love-our-customers-400x187

May and More!

We are so amazed and appreciative of our customers supporting the Quilts for Fort Mac #YMM Quilt Drive! Look at this pile and it’s only been 1 week. We have 12 quilts and more are on their way!! We are still sending quilts to Erie Art Quilts in Calgary, however our incredible community of Campbell River is filling a trailer tomorrow afternoon downtown. So our first weeks worth of beautiful quilts will be going in the trailer tomorrow and heading to Edmonton at the donations collection depot. Also, our local guild’s president will be driving some quilts out to Erie Art Quilts in Calgary next week as well so big THANK YOU !! We will continue to collect quilts through to the end of May.Photo 2016-05-11, 1 02 36 PM

Other news. Row by Row is starting soon! This incredible US/Canadian Quilting Adventure does not disappoint. We have been VERY busy designing our row to compliment the theme of Home Sweet Home and what it looks like to us. We hope you’ll love it as much as we do. Today we were working on our physical sample and it’s looking good. Sorry! No sneak peaks on this one ;o)

We have been busy working on samples. We shared Jenna’s incredible Eagle Wall Hanging and the Kits are on their way! We also have the Canada Flag Kit and were busy finishing that up today (see sneak peak below).

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Our first in house pattern and kit is nearly complete and the sample is being quilted with hopes that we’ll get it done tomorrow.

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Machine repairs are coming in very quickly and Peter has been extremely busy trying to get them done even working into the evenings. Thank you so much for choosing us to take care of your machines while they get their spa treatments. We love them as much as you do and Peter is very good at what he does.

Also, cause it’s to cute not to share, check out this adorable dress made with the Little Red collection in the shop! Love it!

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Monday we will be attending the Duncan Quilters Guild Meeting and participating as their vendor, bringing some goodies with us but more importantly we will be demoing the Scan N Cut by Brother Sewing and all the INCREDIBLE things it can do (did you see that Eagle Wall Hanging??) that being said we will be closed May 16th and do apologise for any inconvenience.

Well that’s a long post!! Thank you for reading.

Quilts for Fort Mac #ymm


We decided to collect quilts, pre-loved, homey, quilts for the residents of Fort MacMurry. Erie Quilt Art (  in Calgary has spearheaded this movement and we at Island Sewing couldn’t think of a better way to help out. Rather than spending the money to make new quilts, we all have a few extras kicking around, or in storage that have a homey feel to them. These quilts will go to families as they try to settle throughout the country after the devastating fires that engulfed the city.


So thank you so much, already you awesome people have been bringing quilts in!

We will continue to collect quilts until the end of May at which point they will be shipped to Erie Quilt Art in Calgary who will then distribute them to those affected by the fires.

I know we have THE BEST customers , we live in THE BEST Country in the world and always band together when our country is in need and that you won’t let us down.

So please share this with anyone and everyone.

Thank you!

Island Sewing

Saturday Fun

Well I wasn’t quite good at takin photos today because I was so into this cute pattern we are developing and sewing in the front window with the heat of todays gorgeous sun shining in the shop. But I got ONE….thing is we can’t share the whole photo or it would reveal the pattern which we are trying to make a suprise. But I’m terrible at suprises so check out below for a sneak peak. Also Jenna who is our new satin stitch queen (sorry Deb, but you taught her well!) has completed the Freedom Wall Hanging of the eagle and its is amazing. This kit will be in store soon, if you are interested please let us know as we are taking pre-orders. The newsletter is also out, if your on our list check your email. If you think your on our list but didn’t get the newsletter let us know as we are trying to track everyone down that we missed in the transition to our new email newsletter provider.


What’s up this past week

Deb and Christa have under taken laying flooring in the back room. These two woman are none stop and honestly I don’t know how they do it! So why are they doing this? You’ll have to wait and see!

We’ve also been working on developing our own line of quilt patterns to make lots and share with you. The BTA quilt is finally off with Deb to get quilted and I can’t wait to see what she does with it.

Jenna’s been hard at work on our shop sampler of this Freedom Wall Hanging by Cantik Batiks (Kits available very soon!) there will also be a Canada flag version which is being assembled now.

We’re always up to something so check back often.