Posted on 18 Comments

Staff Profile – Elaine Kelly

It is once again time to focus on one of the amazing staff members who helps me in so many ways behind the scenes here at the Studio. Today, I’d like you to meet Elaine Kelly.


Elaine in Tel Aviv earlier this year at the start of her family’s visit with her daughter Allison.


I first met Elaine when she came to my Hilton Head Seminar back in 2005. She made quite an impression on me and after Seminar ended that year, I asked her if she would like to be on the staff the following year. Elaine’s insight was invaluable in many ways and when I called a halt to those yearly events and focused on the Studio itself, she was right there helping me totally change the way we do our marketing. Now, Elaine has moved on to being the writer of my many patterns, taking the designs and presenting them to you with easy-to-follow directions.


This is a quilt that Elaine did for Jinny’s last seminar. She says about this quilt, “I tried to incorporate a large number of Jinny’s techniques (shading, fracturing) and raided my stash of Japanese taupe fabrics.”


Elaine was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, and began sewing, as many of you did, in home ec class in seventh grade. In one of her first sewing projects, a blue corduroy jumper with ruffles on the straps, the teacher told her she put enough pins in that if they were melted down they would provide enough metal for all the ammunition needed in World War II. Elaine is still a confirmed pinner to this day.

Her interest in quilting started when she attended Waterloo College in Ontario where she found nearby a large Mennonite community and their beautiful quilts. Determined to give quilting a try herself, she bought a book and, with no rulers or rotary cutters, she machine pieced and hand quilted her very first quilt.


Hillside is an original design based on an unattributed photograph from Pinterest.


Elaine is particularly drawn to antique quilts. She loves to figure out how they are made, what values to use and the best way to simply “make it work.” As another confirmed baseball fan, each year she starts a baseball quilt to work on by hand during the season while she watches our beloved Washington Nationals.


Baseball quilt-w
Baseball Quilt was Elaine’s hand-sewing project from last year. The center motif is from Ann Orr’s 1930’s Autumn Leaves design; the rest is original. She used vintage leaves, yo-yos and 9 patches from the 1930’s and 40’s, purchased on eBay.


This year, she has also been trying her hand at natural dyeing with products such as avocado skins, Queen Anne’s lace and goldenrod (which, unfortunately, turned her hands yellow this morning). She hopes to soon have enough hand-dyed fabrics to start a quilt.

Besides all of her work for the Studio and her time set aside for quilting, Elaine has a wonderful husband and two busy children both in college, plus, they are building a vacation home in rural Pennsylvania.


Buttons Valentine
Buttons’ Valentine is only about 6″ x 8″. It’s a thread painting of one of Elaine’s son’s stuffed “friends” from childhood, sent to him when he was away one Valentine’s Day.


Elaine is an amazingly talented woman and her expertise has been invaluable to me in so many ways. Most importantly, I am happy to have her as a friend………AND she is always willing to come pick excess veggies when my garden is overflowing. An excellent cook, she finds ways to use zucchini and cucumbers that you would never imagine.

18 thoughts on “Staff Profile – Elaine Kelly

  1. Is the first quilt available as a kit or even as a pattern?

    1. Elaine designed this quilt so there is not a pattern, find out more details about how she created this design on Facebook.

  2. OH my gosh I love Hillside , it reminds me of my hometown ..

    1. This is Izzy again, I was born in Vina Del Mar Chile which is right next to the old port of Valparaiso Chile . If you Google Valparaiso and see some of the artists renderings of the town it looks like your Hillside quilt !!

  3. I immediately recog0nized that quillt by Elaine Kelly from your last seminar. I was viewing all the quilts in the gallery.. They were all bright and colorful. I passed by her quilt because it seemed dull next to all the eye poppers. But someone around me mention that it was such a beautiful quilt. So I had to stop and study it. And take a picture of it. I soon decided that I loved it and it has been on my list to make since then. I have drawn a pattern from the photo, bought the batiks and it is getting to the top of my to do list for 2017.
    It is nice to know who made that quilt and I would like permission to make my version in batiks since I don’t have silks. So please share this with her and Thank her for making and sharing that wonderful quilt.
    And Thank you for the last eminar. I was my first but I have made serveral quilt from your patterns.
    They are always special and distinctive.

  4. Thank you for sharing this very special person with us…Elaine’s quilt designs are wonderful and I love the movement in them…I look forward to seeing more of her work,,and would love the pattern on the beige one she did in the photo on top…just wonderful…I live on the Central Coast of a very small town by the ocean…The one place I’ve always wanted to go is to Jenny’s shop and one of her quilt class’s,,,maybe one day this will be possible,,,but until then a girl can dream….

  5. How can I get hold of the pattern at the top of this page? The one using Jinny’s techniques of shading and fracturing and has the Japinese taupe fabrics? Elaine has done a fantastic job with this pattern, I love anything that looks to have movement in it. Does this pattern have a name?

  6. Hurrah for Elaine! Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  7. Hi,
    The quilts Elaine has made are truly awesome – a very dedicated quilter indeed.. I was wondering if there was a pattern for the taupe quilt featured in the letter….it is the most intriguing and interestingly swirled quilt I have ever seen. I would love to make a similar one for myself ??……. Thanks, Josia

  8. Hi,

    Just saw your beautiful quilt on Jinny’s site, so clicked onto your web page and saw how your quilt interest piqued in Waterloo, Ontario, no less! I live about 40 minutes from there! Just wondered if one of your first instructor’s may have been Kathleen Bissett? A lovely lady who shared so much of her quilt talent with so many quilter’s in the Waterloo and Oxford areas. She is a member of the Ingersoll Quilter’s Guild, a group of 175 members strong. I love your pattern!!! Is this something that you have turned into a purchaseable pattern, or will your’s be ‘one of a kind?’ Wishing you a nice day and many happy quilting days ahead!

    Alma Martin
    Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada

    1. Elaine designed this quilt so there is not a pattern. Find out more details about how she created this design on Facebook.

      1. Hi Jinny,
        There is s lot of interest in accessing a pattern for Elaine’s taupe quilt pattern…..please don’t forget the ‘older generation’ who do not use Face Book….is it possible for you to supply more information about this quilt for we non-IT quilters? Thanks……. Josia

      2. The idea for this quilt came about several years ago during a meeting for that year’s Hilton Head Seminar. Several staff members started discussing options in Photoshop such as pinching and twisting. Here is Elaine’s response to questions about the design which she put on Facebook:For those who are interested in the process (and why there is no pattern!), I modified a quilt block, enlarged it to about 30″, subdivided the patches (“fracturing” in Jinny’s terms) into smaller shapes, then skewed the whole block in Photoshop. Every single piece in the block is a unique template (I think there are 16 different templates for each of the eight light triangular background sections in each block.) The block repeats four times to make the central design.

      3. Thank you for the reply. Jinny. But this is far too difficult for a non IT person. I will have be content with just admiring Elaine’s wonderful work. Best wishes, Josia

  9. Elaine is such a sweet lady and friend. I was blessed to meet her at the seminars in Hilton Head, so very helpful and knowledgeable. I absolutely love your quilts and reading in your profile about the ones that inspired you.
    Hope to see you on one of my visits to the shop. Congratulations Elaine!!

    1. we always look forward to your visits Joyce.

  10. Where can I purchase Elaine Kelly’s Hillside house quilt pattern – I love it! I saw the picture on Pinterest and that has taken me to your website. Many thanks,
    Francine Giroux
    Toronto, Ontario

    1. This is an original design so there are no patterns for the quilt. Glad you enjoyed the photos!

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