Canadian Quilters Association Best of Show

Last week, the Canadian Quilters Association held their annual National Juried Show and conference in beautiful Penticton, British Columbia. I was absolutely thrilled to learn that my quilt Flourish on the Vine was chosen as Best of Show! This quilt has certainly brought me much joy – during the two years that I was working on it as well as during the recognition it has received since then.

Earlier this year, it won First Place in the Wall Quilts, Home Machine Quilted category at the American Quilter’s Society show in Lancaster, PA. Last year, it received a Second Place ribbon in the Traditional Large Wallhanging category at MQX East and a First Place ribbon in the Innovative Wall Appliqué category at Road to California. In 2011, it was chosen to receive the prestigious Founders Award from the International Quilt Association in Houston, TX. It was even featured on the cover of Quilters Newsletter!

I receive a lot of questions about this quilt and have even been interviewed a few times! So I thought I would share some of the more common ones with you here, but feel free to add your own questions in the Comments section below.

What was your design inspiration?
My initial inspiration was a Bible verse that says:  “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.  Apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).  To depict vines and branches, I was inspired by wrought ironwork.  The swags filled with all different kinds of fruit were inspired by the Roman Era decoration of festoons of fruit that were hung in the temples.

Why that particular color palette?
Green is my favorite color and there was no green in my last quilt (Instruments of Praise)!  I had in mind the color palette I remembered from some of Robyn Pandolph’s early fabric lines – soft sage-green, peach, salmon and gold – and set out to recreate that scheme.  I like to use a focus fabric to choose the fabrics for a quilt, but I didn’t initially have one that matched this scheme.  One of my first tasks was to find a focus fabric that fit the bill, and it ended up being a Christmas border print with poinsettias that is obviously not used anywhere in the quilt!

Were any special fabrics, threads or battings used? Do you have favorites you normally use in your quilting?
The quilt is made from commercial cotton fabrics that I collected or found in my stash.  I think the backing fabric is pretty special – and I came upon it when I wasn’t even looking for it!  For the hand appliqué, I used 50-weight Aurifil and 60-weight Mettler cotton thread.  For the machine quilting, I used a combination of 50-weight Aurifil cotton, invisible nylon, and Superior “The Bottom Line” polyester threads.  The batting is Hobbs Heirloom (80% cotton/20% polyester) with wool batting for the cut-away trapunto layer.

Were any unusual techniques incorporated? Anything that may be unique to your style of quilting?
The quilt has an embossed feel, which was created with a cut-away trapunto technique.  A layer of wool batting was placed under the quilt top and eighth-of-an-inch-wide vines were stitched using water-soluble thread in the sewing machine needle.  The excess batting was cut away close to the stitching.  The quilt was then layered with the cotton/polyester batting and the backing fabric, and the vines quilted again with cotton thread in the needle.  To further compress the background around the vines, I added tight stipple quilting using “The Bottom Line” polyester thread.  After the quilt was washed, the first layer of thread dissolved, leaving one layer of thread but two layers of batting.

The most unusual technique in the quilt would probably be the decorative edge finish of half-inch clamshells!  These were created individually, by sewing two layers of fabric right sides together, clipping, and turning right side out.  I basted them to strips of tear-away stabilizer to position them and make them easier to work with.  The strips of clamshells were stitched to the right side of the quilt top, turned out, and the backing fabric was turned under and stitched by hand to complete the knife-edge finish.

How was it quilted? Machine, Hand? Who quilted it?
I machine quilted it on my domestic sewing machine (a Bernina 170).

How does this quilt relate to other quilts you made? Is it similar in style or is it out of the ordinary when compared to the rest of your work?
The quilt is appliquéd, which is definitely my signature style.  I think this quilt is a progression from the other quilts that I have made and a culmination of what I have learned and mastered so far.  I would say it is similar in style to much of work – it “looks like me” – but it is also above and beyond anything I made before it.  For one thing, the appliqué is overlapping and connected – unlike much of my previous work where the patches lie side-by-side.  The quilting is also more elaborate, a trend I have been following along with many other quilters.

This quilt relates to other quilts that I have made in that it was inspired by Scripture.  Instruments of Praise depicts Psalm 150 and The Lord is my Shepherd uses imagery from the 23rd Psalm.  My work has really become an expression of my faith and my desire to glorify God in all that I do.

How long have you been quilting?
I started quilting in 1994, but I’ve been sewing since I was ten years old.  I had also done many other types of needlework (crewel embroidery, needlepoint, cross-stitch, knitting, crocheting) before I discovered quilting.

What prompted you to begin quilting?
A friend asked me to join her in taking a beginner sampler quilt class at a local quilt shop.  It was love at first sight and brought all the crafts that I enjoyed together into one art form!

What do you like about quilting?
Pretty much everything!  It never gets old; there is continually something different to try; there are always new challenges to tackle and designs to create.  I enjoy making things with my hands (and my sewing machine).  I take great delight in fabric and putting colors together.  I love the creative process.  It truly is about the journey for me, as opposed to the destination.  When people say to me that I must have so much patience, this is what I think they misunderstand.  Making quilts is pure joy to me – it is my passion.  I believe it is what I was created to do!

Pattern is available for $17.95 from my on-line store!

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  1. kkwylie says:

    Hi Dolores,
    The finished quilt measures 62″ x 73″. You can see more at or

    All the best,

  2. It’s a lovely quilt. What are the dimensions? I took a look at the pattern on your store page but was unable to find any mention of the size.

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