About Me

Phase 1:  Learning to Sew

When I was a wee lass growing up in rural Saskatchewan, all of my family participated in 4-H, in the beef club, showing 1 year old championship steers every June. Several factors combined to bring this beef club era for our family to an end, and I was old enough to sign up for 4-H just as the sewing club was forming. A very patient leader gave generously of her time and her spirit to teach a handful of us rowdy, or urchins my oldest sister might say, 10 year old girls to sew. Little did she know. . . Turns out I had some talent, and continued sewing in the 4-H club until I finished high school.

Phase 2:  Tailoring

After high school, I went off to tackle the big city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and landed a piece-work job on the sewing line.  Somehow I knew I wasn't cut out for sewing the same seam day after day. So this lasted a year, until I decided to return to school, where I studied tailoring at NAIT in Edmonton, Alberta.  I did  a lot of tailoring in the years after that, alterations, making shirts and suits and the like, much of it for other people, and some for myself.

Phase 3a:  Management

Some years later, another move took me across the country to Ryerson in Toronto, Ontario, where I studied the industrial side of the apparel industry.  I found myself back on the factory floor, this time as an industrial engineer.  It was more to my liking.  I was good at designing work stations, improving production flow, and teaching sewers how to make more efficient use of their hands.  The bonus was that I could use the machines at work to do my serging, buttonholing, and pressing. I made all of my own tailored pants, skirts, blouses, and jackets that I wore to work. This phase coincided with Phase 3b.

Phase 3b:  Kites

It was about this time that I discovered kites.  Time spent at Toronto's air-conditioned Reference Library one hot summer brought me to KiteLines magazine, and making kites soon followed. See my Kite-Flying Gallery link here . I made and flew award-winning kites for over a decade, staying up late at night to sew like mad to finish kite orders. I made nearly a thousand kites during this time.

Phase 4:  Quilts

Ancestral Jewel
Pieced Wool Quilt
Flannel Backing, no batting
The sewing industry in Canada was in a state of transformation in the 90's, and sewing factories were on the endangered species list.  I began to look outside the garment industry for employment, and found work at a company that required wearing a uniform.  The days of wearing my tailored outfits had come to an end, and I took great pleasure in cutting all of them up into small squares to make a blanket.  My ancestors had done just that.  I remember as a kid sleeping under quilts made of old suits that were heavy and warm. Thus began my quilting phase, a time that I am greatly enjoying, and in which I will hopefully spend a great many productive years.


  1. Ilene,
    What an amzing Website! There's so much to look at and your work is amazing.
    You are so talented.
    XO XO
    Your partner in crime!

    1. Thank you for that. It's been fun putting it together.

      Kitchener Quilter

  2. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading about you ... great stories here !

  3. Lovely quilts. Do you, or do you know anyone who would quilt someone else's quilts? I have a top that my Mother-in-law made that was left unquilted when she passed. I would really like to have it done.....either by hand or machine. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for the wonderful comment. You've not left a way for me to contact you. If you are checking back here, you may email me for a more complete answer. I have some ideas for you. I'm at atkins dot ilene at gmail dot com. I'd love to hear from you.


Thank you for stopping by to read about my quilting world. Your comments mean so much to me, so feel free to let me know what you think, about anything!