Embroidered and beaded quilt

Even though I have a couple of deadlines looming, Christmas presents to wrap, baking and cleaning, I began another project! This small wall hanging will be the second in a series using some embroidered and beaded samples that I created a many years ago.


I’ve pulled some fabrics that I used in the previous wall hanging and added more. I will be improvisationally piecing the top.

Embroidery with fabric choices
Embroidery with fabric choices

I plan on hand quilting with hand dyed perle cotton, adding more beads and using some beautiful silk ribbon created from recycled saris. I want to have it pieced before Christmas so that I have  a project I can pick up and work on while still hanging out with the family.


Placemats from orphan blocks

The traditional guild I belong to – Yorkshire Rose Quilters’ Guild of Toronto has asked for placemats to donate to the Meals on Wheels program. So I pulled a few partially completed blocks to start making some placemats.

Selection of scrap blocks
Selection of scrap blocks

These half square triangles were pieced together in a workshop I took last year. The instructor created beautiful scrap style quilts and taught us her quilting philosophy. She immediately cuts leftover fabric from her current project into various sizes of squares and strips. Similar shapes and sizes are stored together. When she wants to make another quilt, she just goes to the container with the size of scraps she needs and can start piecing immediately.

Selection of cotton backings
Selection of cotton backings

After that workshop, I went home and spent an entire afternoon cutting my scraps and organizing them.

Zig zag placemat
Zig zag placemat

This placemat was straight line quilted with a walking foot.

Teal green placemat
Teal green placemat

Using the same cotton with circles, makes the block disappear. I practiced free motion quilting on this mat.

Pink placemat
Pink placemat

I like how the the quilting is the focus in this pink placemat.

Tulips placemat
Tulips placemat

This last one was an attempt to make a placemat that wasn’t too girly! I free motion quilted columns of leaves.

Four placemats
Four placemats

I didn’t use the purple half square triangles because they were too long and for the size of placemat I wanted to make. So I will leave them for another project.

Meals on Wheels will give these placemats to their clients with their Holiday meal.

Buon appetit!

Pouch swap


The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild  is participating in a three-way swap with the Victoria and Maritime Modern Quilt Guilds. We were asked to make a pouch in any size and any style.

I selected some fabrics and orphan blocks to create one of the pouches.

pouch fabric


A beaded pull provides a sparkly finish.

orange pouch
Orange pouch – front

The quilting was done with a walking foot, including the curved petals.

orange pouch back
Orange pouch – back

This smaller green pouch has been free motioned quilted with loops. A small pocket is stitched to the lining.

green pouch open
Green pouch – front
Green pouch - back
Green pouch – back

I used the tutorial: Crazy about zippered pouches written by Elaine Theriault. It was one of many great articles found in the premiere issue of QUILTsocial ezine.

I also made a couple of luggage tags.

luggage tags

I hope the recipient enjoys using these items!

QUILTsocial – a new Canadian ezine, blog and more!

QUILTsocial Fall 2014 Premiere Issue

QUILTsocial is a new Canadian eZine for all of us obsessed with quilting. It’s a blog, a weekly bulletin, a monthly newsletter, and a quarterly e-magazine, from the publishers of Needle Pulling Thread.

QUILTsocial emagazine
QUILTsocial emagazine


The editor, Carla, asks: When does an obsession become therapy? If quilting is one of the releases we have from the stresses of life, it’s therapeutic isn’t it? Doing something creative takes us away from our ourselves and let’s us concentrate our energies into something we enjoy and gives us pleasure.

QUILTsocial magazine is for all levels of quilters, with patterns, tutorials, and showcasing new techniques.  Regular contributors as well as guest bloggers will share their knowledge and love of quilting.

I have already used the tutorial by Elaine Theriault: Crazy about zippered pouches to create a couple of bags for the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild pouch swap. It’s a three-way across Canada swap with the Victoria and Maritime Modern Quilt Guilds. I will also be using Jennifer Houlden’s On-the-Go place-mat tutorial to create some placemats for the Yorkshire Rose Quilters’ Guild Christmas outreach project for Meals on Wheels.

Chrysalis Awakening cards

I just received these beautiful greeting cards with the image of my “It’s Time for Colour” quilt donation – Chrysalis Awakening. Every quilt has been photographed and the images put onto a set of wonderful greeting cards.

Chrysalis Awakening greeting cards
Chrysalis Awakening greeting cards

You can see all the gorgeous quilts at the Canadian Quilting Association blog: It’s Time For Colour Gallery. All proceeds will go the Children’s Wish Foundation.

Some of the quilts have been purchased and these one-of-a-kind art quilts will find their way to their new owners next year. So, if the piece you love has been sold, you can still purchase the greeting card. Contact Laine Canivet at membership@canadianquilter.com for more information. These blank cards make great gifts!

Tiny Homes – Fusing Workshop

Recently, I took a workshop with Laura Wasilowski It was great fun – she has a wonderful sense of humour. We worked with kits made up of her gorgeous hand dyed fabrics and thread. With these we set out to create our very own “Tiny Homes”.

Tiny home hand dyed fabric

Laura explained how to make elements by free hand cutting into the fabric. Multiple elements can be fuse tacked together to create more intricate pieces.

Tiny home elements

These small units are then used to create your piece.

Tiny home placement

I don’t have my piece completed yet. I think I need a few more elements before I decide on the final layout. Once the pieces are all fused in place, the details are added with the hand dyed perle cotton.

Even though I didn’t complete my piece, I graduated with a degree in Architecture from the Chicago School of Fusing!

lauras hand dyed fabric

Of course, I couldn’t leave without a few pieces of her beautiful fabric and thread to take home for my stash! You can see some of the colours she hand dyes on her website.

lauras hand dyed fabric

More hand dyed fabric for quilting

Here are the rest of the hand dyed fabrics that I dyed in Malka’s workshop.

hand dyed fabrics folded

These were also stamped with a variety of tools to create the designs.

Hand Blocked Fish
Hand Blocked Fish

The fish were stamped with a woodcut block from Malka’s collection. The purple fabric below was stamped as well.

Hand Blocked Cross
Hand Blocked Cross

The following two pieces were created using a small paintbrush dipped in wax.

Hand dyed stripe
Hand dyed stripe
hand dyed pink fabric
Hand dyed pink stripe

This green hand dyed fabric had the wax applied with a plastic comb. It didn’t work out like I thought it would, but I like the effect anyway.

hand dyed green fabric
Hand dyed green fabric

Now they are ready to incorporate into a quilt!

Hand Dyed Fabrics For Quilting

I have finally gotten around to washing out the wax from the hand dyed fat quarters I made at Malka Dubrawsky’s class at QuiltCon in 2013!

hand dyed fabric folded

Malka taught a full day workshop teaching wax resist dyeing. You can see some of the beautiful pieces she creates on her website: A Stitch in Dye. All the information on creating your own hand dyed fabrics are available in her book.

Colour Your Cloth
Colour Your Cloth: a quilter’s guide to dyeing and patterning fabric by Malka Dubrawsky

These are just a few of the fabrics that I dyed that day.

hand dyed fabric for quilting

Can you guess what was used to make the designs?

hand dyed fabric for quilting

Potato masher

hand dyed fabric

green pepper

hand dyed green fabric

silicon barbecue brush

hand dyed fabric for quilting

cardboard tube

The rest of the fat quarters are in the wash. I’ll post these once they have all been prepared.

Inspiration – Whimsy Quilt

The Oxford English Dictionary defines Inspiration as:

  1. A breathing in or infusion of some idea, purpose, etc. into the mind; the suggestion, awakening, or creation of some feeling or impulse, esp. of an exalted kind

“inspiration, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 13 October 2014.

This sketch drawn by my 7 year old niece was the inspiration for my Whimsy quilt.  I knew immediately that I would use it in a quilt. I loved the design, it was fun and playful. With a minimum of lines a flower was suggested by a spiral in a circle.  Triangle shapes became leaves. I loved the curlicues sprouting from the hearts, they were so whimsical.

Pollys sketch

The sketch suggested many design opportunities.  Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s book 15 Minutes of Play: Improvisational Quilts, gave me many ideas to use in making the quilt.

15 Minutes of Play: Improvisational Quilts by Victoria Findlay Wolfe
15 Minutes of Play: Improvisational Quilts by Victoria Findlay Wolfe

I had a lot of scraps and this book gave me the inspiration to use them. Sorting through the scrap bins (yes plural!), I separated my scraps into reds, greens, and black/white piles. Using Victoria’s instructions I began to create pieces of fabric in each colour way. I enjoyed the process of playing with scraps, creating new and interesting pieces to work with. Once I had the centre portion completed, I auditioned fabric for the background. I had an idea of what fabric I wanted, but my first few choices didn’t really work.

Whimsy detail background 5 Whimsy detail background 4 Whimsy detail background 3 Whimsy detail background 2 Whimsy detail background 1

Some of the background fabrics were too close in colour to some of the elements and they disappeared into the background. Some fabrics overpowered the design. In the end I found a polka dot piece that seemed just right. It was colourful but with a white background, the centre portion stood out.

Whimsy by Doris Lovadina-Lee
Whimsy by Doris Lovadina-Lee

I added more black and white pieces in each of the corners and bound it in black. The entire quilt was free motion quilted. I really like this quilt, it is a different look for me. It was challenging to work outside of my comfort zone.

The original sketch is still pinned to my design wall and inspiring me. There are more ideas to extract from this sketch: more creativity, more quilts!

It’s Time For Colour – CQA Travelling Quilt Show

Chrysalis Awakening

The Canadian Quilter’s Association has asked award winning quilters to donate a small quilted piece to their themed show: “It’s Time for Colour“. 40 pieces will travel across Canada and be displayed in local venues from January 2015 to May 2015, ending in Lethbridge, Alberta for Quilt Canada in June 2015. Everyone will have the opportunity to purchase these beautiful 12” x 16” quilt hangings for $200.00 each (plus tax). The proceeds will be donated to the Children’s Wish Foundation.

You can sign up at the CQA blog to get more information and view some of the other pieces that will be included in this show. The quilters who are participating will be blogging about their  inspiration and techniques for their submissions.

My piece, Chrysalis Awakening is improvisationally pieced using a “wonky curves” method. My first step was to select some fabrics. I pulled the small print (Kaffe Fassette, I think)  and then fabrics to pick up on the colours of the  print. I knew I wanted to create a flower and a leaf.

Chrysalis Awakening fabric selection

I taught a tutorial at the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild on piecing circles. One of the techniques I demonstrated was piecing ‘wonky circles’. I really enjoyed making the samples and thought I could use this technique to create a colourful flower for my design.

Chrysalis Awakening flower

In this process you layer 4 fabrics right side up with edges aligned. A quarter circle is cut out of one corner of the stack. The fabrics are shuffled and stitched. You continue in this manner until the four blocks are completed. I originally saw this technique on The Quilting Edge Blog written by a very talented quilter Marianne. She has a great Wonky Curves tutorial that explains the process. For this quilt, I made the shapes very curvy to look like a flower.

Chrysalis Awakening Flowers

Every flower needs a leaf, so a selection of green fabrics were pieced to create the leaf. I layered batting, backing and machine quilted it to create a three-dimensional leaf.

Chrysalis Awakening Leaf Sandwich

The completed leaf was inserted into a beautiful piece of cotton ombre. The colours of the fabric change from red to purple.

Chrysalis Awakening leaf


The flower was appliquéd to the background.

Chrysalis Awakening Flower Applique

A surprise is hidden underneath the leaf.

Chrysalis Awakening Detail

The finished piece!

Chrysalis Awakening Quilt
Chrysalis Awakening Quilt

I love that there is a little surprise hiding behind the leaf. There are three flowers left and three other stages in the life cycle of a butterfly. I am going to have fun creating three more quilts to illustrate the other stages – look for the surprises!


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