Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quilt Artist Terry Whyte from Kenogami, Ontario, Canada

Amidst the lush green forests and sparkling lakes of Northeastern Ontario, award-winning quilter Terry Whyte creates beautiful and intriguing quilts.  Terry began quilting about twenty years ago, and her favorite part of the craft is free-motion quilting. On her blog, Today In Kenogami, she documents her work and explains her techniques.  Today, we are featuring five of Terry's very accomplished works.

Night and Day Advanced Sampler, 58 x72, by Terry Whyte at Today in Kenogami

When we asked Terry what inspired her about quilting, she told us,  "There's nothing I love better than a challenge. I always give myself a challenge whenever making a quilt, no matter how big or small it is.   Whether it involves trying out new techniques, seeing how certain fabrics work together, even finishing UFOs with a bit of a twist or following the rules of a competition, it keeps things fresh and makes it fun."  The Night and Day Advanced Sampler above is an example of a challenge which Terry gave to herself.  In the summer of  2005, she wanted to practice making more intricate blocks. She chose monochromatic blues, along with browns, yellows, and whites, to make this twelve-block quilt with 2 versions each of 6 blocks, one on a dark background and one on a light background.

Close-Up of Garden Gate (Night Motif)  Block from Night and Day Advanced Sampler

For her Garden Gate blocks, Terry used Dilys Fronks' book, Enchanted Views: Quilts Inspired by Wrought Iron  Designs.  To give this quilt its cohesive effect, she used one dark background fabric throughout for the Nighttime blocks and one light background fabric throughout for the Daytime blocks.

Close-Up of Garden Gate (Day Motif) Block from Night and Day Advanced Sampler

In this Daytime block, you can see an example of the contemporary gold swirled fabric which is used as the anchor fabric for all the blocks. You also can see the graceful, lyrical,  appliqued lattice pattern which serves as the garden gate design. Note that Terry has included a bit of the Nighttime fabric in the day block, and a bit of the Daytime fabric in the Nighttime block, as a way of visually tying the twin blocks together.

Going In Circles, 35.5 x 35.5, by Terry Whyte at Today in Kenogami

Terry completed this lively shadow-themed quilt in January 2012 as a response to a UFO (unfinished object) challenge from Judy Laquidara's Patchwork Times. The large center shadow mirrors the shape of the smaller circles and creates an optical illusion of one solid dark center, even though it is really six medium-size circles. Terry used cotton and hand-dyed muslin in gray, brown, purple, red, coral, and pink to create the circles in different lighter tints and deeper shades, depending upon whether they are placed inside or outside the shadow. 

Close-Up of Going In Circles by Terry Whyte

Here's a great close-up of some of the raw edge appliqued concentric circles of this really fun quilt. We love this work, because Terry's original design is so inventive, and because it reminds us of the vibrantly colored op-art and pop-art movement of the 1960's.

Snail's Pace, 21 x19.5, by Terry Whyte at Today in Kenogami

Terry explains that this stunningly colored art quilt was made as an entry for a challenge issued by Mongrain Textile, New Liskeard in 2004. The flowered fabric in red, yellow, and blue was the challenge fabric, and Terry added three other fabrics of her own in the spiral shape. Terry pieced, raw-edge appliqued, and free-motion quilted this piece, and entered it into the Kirkland Lake Mile of Gold Quilter's Guild Annual Quilt Show in 2004.  "Snail's Pace " is so whimsical and energetic that it makes us smile. What a day brightener !

Under the Rainbow, 72 x 72, by Terry Whyte at Today in Kenogami

Terry explains that she won these vintage Amish Pinetree blocks at a quilt guild raffle, then challenged herself to develop an innovative setting for them. She was inspired by a picture of a quilt by Georgia Bonesteel to create a curved, contemporary sashing in cotton and hand-dyed muslin for the traditional blocks. She sandwiched the blocks individually to the batting and backing, quilted them,  then stitched and turned them using the pillowcase method. The curved edges of the rainbow sashing were then turned down and stitched into place. We are very impressed with this quilt, as we think it is an excellent and original  juxtaposition of traditional and modern shapes.

Close-Up of  Under the Rainbow by Terry Whyte

We really like the gently curved machine quilting that Terry has done on these blocks. It not only mirrors the curved edges, but also reminds us of the breeze blowing the pine trees back and forth, as a rainbow lights up the sky after a springtime shower.  Please note :  The back of this quilt is done in magnificent hand-dyed muslin;  click on Under the Rainbow to see the vividly-hued backing.

Neutral Sampler, 82 x82, by Terry Whyte at Today in Kenogami

Neutral Sampler won first place at the 2009 Temiskaming International Plowing Match and Rural Expo Quilt Competition in the Wall Quilt group. Terry used white, gray, brown, beige, and black fabric to create these blocks based on many different techniques, including applique, curved seams, and paper piecing. The central block is a 24 inch "Flying Swallows" variation from Judy Martin's The Block Book. Terry uses her Neutral Sampler in the classes she teaches on creating an album or sampler quilt. To give the quilt its eye-catching look,  she teaches her students to use one fabric for the background and one other main fabric for all the blocks. She then adds 3 to 6 other accent fabrics, ranging in values from light to dark. We love the outstanding three-dimensional effects created by set-in seams, the geometric piecing and the carefully mitered borders of the blocks surrounding the center medallion. 

 As you browse through these fabulous quilts, you will see Terry's theme of using a quilting challenge as an opportunity to grow in artistic understanding and to utilize her talents in new ways. That's a wonderful lesson for all of us, as we each have a skill which can be strengthened by meeting a challenge. We certainly look forward to seeing all the new challenges that Terry Whyte discovers, as we know that they will result in many more spectacular quilts from this gifted artist.

Image credits:  Images are shown with the generous permission of Terry Whyte.


  1. I'm not a fan of raw edge applique or machine quilting but I really like these creative designs.

  2. Thanks for featuring Terry's work, it's very lovely. I went over to enjoy her blog. I also enjoyed your series on bargello quilting. I thought it had simply gone out of style and been forgotten. You proved me wrong!
    best, nadia


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