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Superior Stars: Donna James

Posted: 14 August 2015 at 6 a.m.

W.O.W!  Have you seen incredible quilting like Donna James’ before?  We’re blown away by her talent.  Donna shares with us a little about herself and her award-winning quilt.

Spring Meditation

Spring Meditation

Spring Meditation

Spring Meditation is the fifth wholecloth that I have designed and completed in the last few years. I love the challenge of designing wholecloths because that lets me get to the quilting faster. Symmetry, a star within a star, and feathers are featured in all of them. I used three different colors of Kimono Silk thread in this quilt. My favourite part is how the micro-stippling makes the central star and feather wreath pop.

I was so excited to be juried into the World of Beauty show, in Houston, last year. You could have blown me over with a feather when I received the email notifying me that I was a ribbon winner. My Second Place ribbon in the Merit Quilting-Machine category was a ‘bucket list’ moment for me. My quilt also won a First Place ribbon in its category, at Road to California.  This was beyond my wildest dreams.

My mother taught me how to sew when I was 10 years old, on her Featherweight, which I now have in my studio. I made most of my clothes through high school and my early 20’s because there was no petite size clothing available at that time in Canada, and a bonus was that my clothes were never exactly the same as anyone else. I guess that is what I like about designing my own quilts. They are unique and different. Mom taught me that if you are going to do something, to do it right, and that attitude has carried over into my quilting.

Donna's Happy Place

I love my studio. It’s spacious and has tons of natural light. The long part of the ‘L’ houses my longarm and stash, while my sewing area gets the smaller area. My toy sewing machine collection and quilts on the wall help to make it inviting and comfortable. My husband teases me that if I had a microwave and coffee machine there, I would never need to leave!

Along the way, I have accumulated an embarrassingly large fabric stash, and I have acquired quite a collection of Superior threads, my favourites being So Fine! #50 (60+ cones) and Kimono Silk (40+ mini cones). Superior’s threads run very well in my longarm and those thread charts are da bomb!”

Images courtesy of Donna James

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  • 4. Nancy, Beaufort,NC (28 August 2015 at 6:11 a.m.)

    Hi Donna, I had the pleasure of seeing your wonderful Quilt at Houston last year. Your quilting is superb! My mom also taught me how to sew at an early age of 6. Santa delivered a tiny toy SInger sewing machine which I still have along with her 1945 Singer. I can identify with "if you're going to take your time to do it, you should go it right".
  • 3. Virginia Miller (17 August 2015 at 11:15 a.m.)

    Donna's quilts are amazing. As a life-long friend and colleague, I can tell you that they are a perfect reflection of her attention to detail. The punctuation is correct; the threads are buried.
  • 2. DOROTHY FERRILL (16 August 2015 at 8:39 p.m.)

    As her Mother,I am very proud of Donna`s accomplishments
  • 1. Janet-Lee Santeusanio (14 August 2015 at 3:17 p.m.)

    In addition, Donna is just as sweet as her work is beautiful.

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