Month: June 2016

Quilt Canada Solids Mini-Quilt Challenge!

The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild issued a challenge to its members, create a 14 inch square solid mini-quilt from a select colour palette. No embellishments, no applique, and the quilt had to be bound with a faced binding. The quilts would be put on display during Quilt Canada and the pubic would vote for their favorite.

TMQG solid mini colours
TMQG solid mini colours photo courtesy of TMQG

Seven colours were selected for the palette and only 3 of these or less could be used. The colours are from the top: Storm, School Bus, Peridot, Ash, Berry, Coal, and Pomegranate.


I chose to use Pomegranate, Coal, and Ash. I created this piece improvisationally using a log cabin design.

I enjoyed the process and especially loved hearing comments from people viewing the quilts during Quilt Canada.

Frond detail
Frond detail

There were three winners of the Quilt Canada Solids Mini-Quilt Challenge. First prize went to Rebecca Burnett, second prize went to Doris Lovadina-Lee (me!!) and third prize to Lynda Hutchinson.

Many more great photos are on the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild Facebook page and blog. Head on over to see the other entries in the Solids Mini-Quilt challenge and other quilts our quild had on display.

Complex Design and Piecing workshop – from photo to art quilt

Helen Garland is a teacher, a quilter, an artist. She will be teaching a five day workshop this July 11-15, 2016 at the Haliburton School of Arts + Design, teaching Complex Design and Piecing.

Haliburton info

Helen studied art at the Stourbridge College of Art in the UK and the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. Using textiles as her medium, she began creating quilts in traditional designs. She quickly grew tired of creating quilts using repetitious blocks and discovered the work of quilter Ruth McDowell from her book Piecing: Expanding the Basics. Helen had never seen pictorial quilts such as hers; it was immediately apparent that quilting could be a medium for producing representative works of art.

Leeks by Helen Garland


Peas by Helen Garland


Cauliflower by Helen Garland


Eggplant by Helen Garland


Pumpkin by Helen Garland

Ruth McDowell had written a series of books explaining her techniques on designing, piecing, selecting fabrics and quilting in her unique style. Her books included specific patterns to help the novice begin creating and Helen began with these. The vegetable placemats were a great way to learn McDowell’s techniques of drafting and sewing together the pieces in sections.

Hollyhocks by Helen Garland


Hollyhocks by Helen Garland

While still learning, Helen began to modify McDowell’s published designs and moved components around to create her own personalized designs. The Hollyhock wallhanging is one example illustrating McDowell’s flower pattern arranged by Helen.

Trillium by Helen Garland
Trillium by Helen Garland









The Trillium quilts were one of the first designs Helen drafted and stitched from her own photograph. Creating a series of trillium quilts allowed Helen to play with colour and practice her free motion quilting. Each piece is decidedly different due to the colour and value choices, an important design aspect, which is covered in the course.

Campanula by Helen Garland


Campanula by Helen Garland

Learning how to piece curved seams, Y and even Z seams provides an opportunity to design quilt tops that look more detailed than they are.

Primroses by Helen Garland

The design process starts with either a photographic image or drawing. Using tracing paper over an enlarged copy of your photograph, lines are drawn to capture the essence of the image. Parts of the original photograph can be omitted or simplified, it’s up to the artist to decide what level of detail they want to include.  Fabrics choices can do a lot of the work in creating a realistic image.

Marsh Marigolds
Marsh Marigolds by Helen Garland

The Complex Design and Piecing workshop is a great opportunity to learn some new techniques, make new friends and enjoy a week with others artists at a great venue.

Helen has a beautiful piece at Quilt Canada in the National Juried Show called: Seaton Trail. You can see it there from today until Saturday (July 15-17)

Helen can be found online on instragram: @piece_by_piece.


Texture – tree bark

I have taken more than a few photos of trees. I am attracted to their shape, their colour but most of all their texture.

textures tree bark smooth

Some are smooth.

textures tree bark lichen

Some have interesting colour.

textures tree bark silver

Some have layers of strata.

textures tree bark hole

Some have interesting holes hidden inside.

textures tree bark driftwood

Some have the look of cooled molten lava.

texture barnboard

Some have been weathered into rags.
These beautiful textures offer a lot of design opportunities for the Abstracting from Nature class I will be taking with Jane Sassaman at Quilt Canada 2016 in a couple of weeks.



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