Metamorphosis Series

Chrysalis Awakening was the quilt I created as part of the Canadian Quilters’ Association “It’s Time for Colour Show“. This piece was sold and the money is going the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. Those of you attending the Creativ Festival on April 24-25th will have the opportunity to see these beautiful one-of-a-kind quilts in person.

Chrysalis Awakening Quilt
Chrysalis Awakening

As soon as I finished this piece, I knew that I needed to create three more to complete the cycle. There are four stages in the life cycle of a butterfly: egg, larvae, chrysalis and adult. With Chrysalis Awakening, I had completed the pupa or chrysalis stage, where the larvae or caterpillar anchors itself to the underside of a leaf and transforms itself.

Metamorphosis leaves
Metamorphosis leaves

To create the other three stages, I pulled some green fabrics to create the leaves. These are improvisationally pieced and so much fun to make. The one on the right above is too big!

Metamorphosis leaf
Metamorphosis leaf being cut down

So, taking the leaf that was too wide and long, I cut a curved section out and will piece it back with smaller sections on each side. Below, I’ve stay stitched the area where I am going to insert the purple fabric to create the vein.

Metamorphosis leaf insert
Preparing leaf to insert purple fabric for vein

I’ve included just a few of the process pictures. I still need to individually back and free motion each leaf, insert the leaf into the background fabric, free motion quilt it, appliqué the flower and then quilt it, and bind each one of the quilts. Each leaf will also have a special surprise hiding underneath. The quilts will be similar but not identical, each having their own personality.

Metamorphosis leaves
Metamorphosis leaves with backing and flowers

Above, you can see that I’ve grouped the leaves with the backing fabric and flowers. I may switch them around again before they are finally pieced into the gorgeous cotton ombre fabric of the background. I will use the same piece of fabric I used in Chrysalis Awakening but each quilt will be a different colour, due to the gradation across the fabric.

The Vibrant Path chakra quilt

The Vibrant Path

This is the finished piece I submitted to the Sacred Threads Exhibition. It’s a chakra quilt based on the Kundalini serpent design. Kundalini is a Sanskrit word describing the life force or spiritual energy that resides in the body. I’ve been exploring the ideas of balance in our lives or more likely, imbalance in our lives! The Kundalini serpent represents the seven energy centres (chakras) awakening, rising up, activating each in turn until a whole, healthy and balanced state is achieved.

chakra art quilt the Vibrant Path by doris lovadina-lee toronto ontario canada quilter
The Vibrant Path by Doris Lovadina-Lee

This is a juried exhibition, so I won’t know until the end of April whether this quilt has been accepted. Below is a detail of the Throat Chakra, it is said to be located in the throat area and deals with communication, self-expression and the truth.detail of throat chakra in art quilt Vibrant Path detail by dorislovadinalee toronto artist

The Vibrant Path detail

All of the fabric is hand dyed, including the background. I followed the information on Robin Ferrier’s blog on flat dyeing.

wing detail of kundalini chakra quilt by doris lovadina-lee quilter toronto canada
The Vibrant Path wing detail

The top is a combination of raw edge appliqué – the wings and serpent, and satin stitched appliqué – the chakras. The quilt is machine quilted with a walking foot.

I encourage you to have a look at the Sacred Threads Exhibition website, they have a gallery of works from previous years along with the artists’ statements.


Pouch received!

The Toronto Modern Quilt Guild participated in a pouch swap with the Victoria and Maritime Modern Quilt Guilds.  It was fun creating the pouches and luggage tags, you can see the ones I made in this post. At our guild meeting this weekend we received the pouches made by the members of the VMQG.

Flower pouch
Flower pouch

Wow! They were all gorgeous – lots of time and effort went into making very individual bags. I chose a small round pouch with a beautiful flower on the front.

VMQG pouch back
back of flower pouch

Not only was the bag lovely, it was filled with loot!

VMQG loot
loot inside flower pouch

A panel printed with nostalgic sewing images tied with the tape measure ribbon, lovely smelling soap and a small bag of buttons and embellishments.

VMQG loot detail
Soap, buttons, ribbon and pin

The blue and yellow pin is from the Satin Moon Quilt Shop which I think would be the local quilt shop of the very talented quilter that made this gift. I especially like the tiny scissors and thimble.

VMQG pouch side
side view of pouch

This was the first exchange I participated in. I understand now, why they are so popular. It’s like Christmas and your birthday receiving a surprise gift. So much fun!

VMQG loot2

Have you participated in a swap?

Chakra quilt with hand dyed fabric

I dyed a piece of Hoffman PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric for a whole cloth quilt. This is a very good quality cotton with a lovely hand. The fabric was laid flat on a large table on top of a sheet of plastic. Each of the colours was mixed, and applied individually onto the wet cloth. Another sheet of plastic was laid on top and I used a paint roller to spread the dye into the cloth.

Chakra quilt by doris lovadina-lee with hand dyed whole cloth fabric
Whole cloth dyed the colours of the chakras

I left the fabric to cure overnight, then I rinsed it out, washed it and am happy with the results. Each of the seven colours on the cloth correspond to one of the seven chakras.

Hand dyed whole cloth for vibrant path chakra quilt dorislovadinalee canadian quilter
Chakra appliqués pinned to hand dyed whole cloth

The chakra symbols are constructed from two or more shades of hand dyed cottons. They pieces are cut, fused and satin stitched to the darker piece of fabric by Carol Bryer Fallaert. This fabric by Benartex is called Glacier Park, it is a beautiful deep purple that looks almost black. The kundalini serpent below is also made with this gorgeous fabric.

kundalini serepent on Hand dyed whole cloth for chakra quilt by doris lee toronto ontario quilter
Kundalini serpent appliquéd to hand dyed whole cloth

This quilt will be the fourth in a series of quilts I’ve created based on the chakra symbols.

applique chakras on kundalini serpent quilt hand dyed by doris lovadina artist
Appliques pinned to hand dyed whole cloth

I hope to enter this piece into the Sacred Threads Exhibition this year. This exhibition occurs every two years and features quilts that are based on “Expressions of Joy, Spirituality, Inspiration, Grief, Healing and Peace/Brotherhood”.  My quilt, Radiant Light was accepted into the exhibition in 2013. You can see it as well as a selection of other beautiful and inspirational quilts in the Sacred Threads gallery, as well as the first three of my chakra quilts on my website.

Dyeing with Kim Eichler-Messmer at QuiltCon

These are some of the delicious fabrics I brought home from Austin, Texas this February.

Shibori hand dyed fabrics
Shibori hand dyed fabrics

I took two fabric dyeing workshops at QuiltCon with Kim Eichler-Messmer. She is an excellent teacher: knowledgable, approachable and super talented.

Kim Eichler-Messmer teaching workshop at QuiltCon
Kim Eichler-Messmer teaching workshop at QuiltCon

Kim has written a book called Modern Color: An Illustrated Guide to Dyeing Fabric for Modern Quilts. I highly recommend this book for all of you who are interested in dyeing your own cloth. She outlines safety, setting up a dye studio at home, gives comprehensive instructions to create gorgeous fabric from just six basic colours and then shows you how to use the colourful fabric you’ve just created.

Modern Color by Kim Eichler-Messmer book cover
Modern Color: an Illustrated guide to dyeing fabric for modern quilts by Kim Eichler-Messmer

The first day was an introduction to dyeing and it was comprehensive. Below are some of the fabrics the class produced.

Hand dyed fabrics
Hand dyed fabrics drying

The second workshop we learned to create Shibori style hand dyed fabrics. These required folding, clamping between two pieces of plastic and adding the dye in small amounts. The parts of the fabric that were tightly in between the plastic resisted the dye and left the fabric in its original colour. There are an infinite combination of designs that can made with this technique.

Shibori hand dyed fabrics
Shibori hand dyed fabrics drying on fence

Not all of these gorgeous fabrics were mine, although I wish they were!

Shibori hand dyed fabrics
Shibori hand dyed fabrics
Shibori hand dyed fabrics
Shibori hand dyed fabrics
Shibori hand dyed fabrics
Shibori hand dyed fabrics drying on picnic table

I am looking forward to warmer weather here so I can get outside and dye some more fabric.

Kim Eichler-Messmer QuiltCon2
Shibori hand dyed fabric drying on fence

Now I need to actually use up these beautiful fabrics!

Spring in the City – President’s challenge quilt 2015 completed!

Spring in the City

I’ve completed the Yorkshire Rose Quilters’ Guild of Toronto President’s Challenge ahead of the deadline. I really enjoyed quilting and embellishing this piece.

Spring in the City Quilt
Spring in the City

This miniature quilt finishes at 12″x12″. I free-motion quilted densely in some areas, leaving other areas unquilted.

Spring in the City organza flower detail
Spring in the City organza flower detail

The large red flower at the top needed some embellishment. Red organza ribbon that had beautifully wrapped a gift was perfect. I gathered the ribbon and quilted it into place with a zig-zag stitch. The center of the flower was outlined with a row of yellow silk ribbon. It nicely finishes the edge and draws the eye to this focal point.

Spring in the City flower detail
Spring in the City flower detail

I added some hand dyed thread to the centre of the orange flower and quilted them into place.

Spring in the City flower detail
Spring in the City flower detail

The beginning of quilt started with this fabric: Always Blooming by Susy Pilgrim Waters. I can see so many more possibilities with this fabric.

Always blooming fabric by Susy Pilgrim Waters
Always blooming fabric by Susy Pilgrim Waters

I will be bringing Spring in the City to our next meeting for show and tell. How many of you are finished your President’s challenge?

President’s challenge quilt 2015

The president of the Yorkshire Rose of Quilters’ Guild of Toronto has issued a challenge! We are to make a 12 in square quilt using the world Spring as inspiration. I selected a beautiful fabric I purchased from Country Clothesline online store. Sylvia the owner has a wonderfully curated shop.

Always blooming fabric by Susy Pilgrim Waters
Always Blooming fabric by Susy Pilgrim Waters

I was attracted to the large scale print and bold colours of Always Blooming. It came home with me even though I didn’t know what I would do with it.

Always blooming fabric by Susy Pilgrim Waters
detail from Always Blooming fabric by Susy Pilgrim Waters

When the President’s Challenge was issued and the inspiration word spring was announced, definitions of the word were given to expand our ideas beyond the obvious. I must admit that the season was the first thought I had. Later, I looked up spring in the dictionary and thesaurus  for inspiration. I wanted to create something beyond the obvious but when I looked through my stash and came across this piece of fabric, I knew I had the beginning of my quilt.

Always blooming selections
Always Blooming with fabric selections

I isolated a small section of the print and pulled a selection of fabrics from my stash. As you can see below the piece is a rectangle, I inserted too many strips. The piece only needs to be 12 inches square when completed. I will be doing a bit of quilting, so that will shrink the quilt a bit, but I will need to crop off some of the outside edges.

Quilt top in process
Quilt top in process using Always Blooming fabric by Susy Pilgrim Waters

I’ve pieced the top and the next step is to quilt it. I plan on adding some embellishments, such as organza ribbon and maybe some beading. This challenge is due in May more work is needed before its done!


Thrift store scraps

My mom bought me a ziplock bag full of pre-cut squares of cotton from a local thrift shop for $4.00. The bag was full to bursting.

Thrift store scraps
Thrift store scraps

I pulled the squares out, counted the 1 1/2 inch squares and approximated the rest:

  • 266 – 1 1/2 inch squares
  • 220 – 2 1/2 inch squares
  • 260 – 3 inch squares
  • 200 – 4 inch squares
  • 100 – 5 inch squares

There is quite a variety of scraps: Kaffe Fassett, children’s prints, modern, calico prints, florals. They are all patterned, there are no solids.

Thrift store scraps
Thrift store scraps

I love using scraps. Quilts made from scraps have a wonderful sense of colour. They also remind me of how quilts were usually made by our ancestors.  Small pieces of clothing that were not too worn out, were repurposed into a quilt that would be used to keep the family warm.

For the moment, I will add these to my stash of scraps and ponder on what to do with them. How often do you use scraps in your quilts?

10 minute blocks

I decided that I one of my resolutions for 2015 was to improve my free motion quilting. So, I pulled out these large blocks and began.

10-min quilt blocks
10-min quilt blocks

These blocks have been pieced for at least 3 years! They are about 15 inches square with lots of space to practice free motion quilting.

10-min quilt block quilted
10-min quilt block quilted

In the block above I quilted a different free motion design in each quadrant.

  • top right: meander
  • bottom right: loops
  • bottom left: ribbon
  • top left: loops and flowers
Free motion quilting leaf
Free motion quilting leaf
Free motion quilting wood grain
Free motion quilting wood grain

I am happy with the stitching. There is improvement with each quadrant I work on.

Free motion quilting flame
Free motion quilting flame

The blocks are easy and quick to piece. I originally saw a demonstration at the Creative Festival in Toronto probably three years ago! I went straight home and made all the blocks. Suzanne McNeill has a YouTube tutorial that shows just how quickly you can piece these blocks.

Free motion quilting wave
Free motion quilting wave

Six blocks are quilted only nine more to go.

Did you make any resolutions for 2015?

More Hand Dyed Fat Quarters

These fat quarters were dyed using extra dyes left over from another project I worked on in the fall. It had been a while since the dyes were mixed and I wasn’t certain how the fabric would take the dye. I selected 6 pieces of PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric and put them in the dye baths with no expectations. These are the results.

Hand dyed fabrics folded 2015

My favourite piece is third from the left below. Both red and yellow dye were added to the container. The result is a watermelon pink with some yellow areas. The biggest surprise from the dye bath is the piece on the left. In the container it was a deep intense blue, after rinsing out the excess dye, the blue looks like a patch of frozen ice.

Hand dyed fabrics hanging 2015

I also dyed a piece of cheesecloth and am pleased with the colour and look of it. There is a lovely variation in the colour and the texture is scrumptious too!

Hand dyed cheescloth 2015 Hand dyed cheescloth roll 2015

I have a piece of silk velvet that is waiting to be dyed. I used hand dyed velvet, that I purchased, in the Icterine series and love the texture it gives to a piece. I haven’t decided what colour I want my velvet to be yet! What types of fabric have you tried dyeing?


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