The Saint John Telegraph Journal featured Solveig's upcoming memorial quilt show in their Salon section July 20, 2013
A guild member from Solveig's beloved Bay Oaks Guild in Mississippi began a project where he interviewed and wrote about members. She was interviewed in April of 2012. It can be downloaded in PDF format via this link:
Solveig's Interview

and you can read about other members here:
Bay Oaks Quilters' Stories
Solveig was extremely proud to have been featured in the American quilting magazine, The Quilt Life, which hit newsstands just two weeks before her death.
Solveig's daughter Tara wrote a memorial tribute to her mother for the summer 2013 issue of The Canadian Quilter's Association quarterly newsletter, The Canadian Quilter.
The best teacher and friend a girl could ask for
by Tara K Wells

On March 22nd, 2013, my mother, Solveig Wells, died quite unexpectedly. My heart was broken, but thankfully I had taken every opportunity I could in recent years to spend quality time with her, learning her craft and working alongside her, shopping for fabrics together… you know, mother-daughter quilter's stuff. 

She died on the same day that I was supposed to start interviewing her for an animated documentary I was going to make about her life, quilting career and specifically her unusually large fabric stash - is it still called a "stash" when it takes over most available space in two houses plus a large rental storage unit?

What I learned after her death was that I have one of her first two quilts that she made in the early seventies completely by hand - a red, blue and calico sampler, the other was a scrappy log cabin she made for my older brother - and that upon completing them in relatively short order was asked to begin teaching others how to do the same. She was part of the resurgence of the craft, and I am so glad she was, because not only was she a good teacher, she was a meticulously skilled craftswoman with an eye for colour. 

She made a few more quilts after ours, but her desire to finish them petered out because of the arduous labour of quilting by hand, which she was doing all by herself, save for us kids sitting under the frame cutting and waxing her threads. She had all but given up on her craft for nearly two decades when it came back to her with a vengeance. My father retired from his work in Canada and was immediately hired at a university in Mississippi. Suddenly she had a trifecta: access to inexpensive fabrics in the southern USA; better processing tools with rotary cutters, mats and rulers appearing on the market (no more saving up cereal boxes for templates, or tracing and cutting every piece of fabric individually), but most profoundly, she was introduced to long arm quilting. She had numerous old quilt tops which she had made throughout the years awaiting completion. At first she hired out the job until hurricane Katrina forced her trusted long arm friend Blanche out of business. Then my mother bought her own long arm machine, and that's when the rest of the world melted away and she took off quilting.

I had my own patchwork quilt top sitting in a box awaiting some distant and magical completion. I had made it while I was still living at home, and when my mother needed practice quilts to learn how to use her brand new long arm machine, I offered her that top. I had nothing to lose, but a quilt to gain. Because the quilt was quite basic with large patchwork squares, she decided to freehand little mini motifs and different styles in each square. I love what she did with it, so playful and whimsical. I recall as she was progressing how impressed she was that my corners all matched up so perfectly. I was very proud of myself when she mentioned that because she had such high standards in her work, and for me to impress her meant I was coming close. I have slept under that quilt every night since she finished it for me. It even travels with me. Although I have now helped to finish up a few of her projects - and have inherited a small fortune in UFOs - that quilt is the only project that we shared the work on, somewhat equally.

My mother was a very special lady in that she seemed able to do the work of twelve women without breaking a sweat. She has been this way in most every endeavour she has tackled. In recent years she has had some serious health issues, but they did not slow her down. In fact, if anything, she ramped it up. She devoted less and less time to silly things like housework and cooking so she could have more time to quilt. My father would offer to spirit her across the globe to some exotic locale, and she'd decline, saying "Been there. Done that. I'd rather stay home and quilt!". She was a woman on a mission. Just in the past two months preceding her death she was able to complete about a dozen quilt tops, and machine quilt, bind and label another half dozen. 

She had only just begun to realize the public value of her work in recent years. The Canadian Quilter published an article about her hurricane Katrina quilt project in the Winter of 2006. That project grew over the years and by the time she considered it complete in 2007, she had created 55 small quilts from storm damaged fabrics she had found in the aftermath of the hurricane. You can see the entire collection online at She also had the opportunity to meet with Ricky Timms last year, and subsequently had a six-page article about her project featured in the spring 2013 issue of The Quilt Life.  It hit the newsstands just days before she went into the hospital, and she was so proud to show that off to the nurses and doctors who were caring for her.

Even though quilting has been a lifelong passion, she had for the first time submitted just two of her quilts into a proper judged and juried show only last fall, and only at the incessant urging of her fellow guild members. She won two prizes - first and second. First prize for Art Quilts went to her stunning and large effort, !!Africa!!. It is an original design that she had based on an african mask motif, and employing a restricted palette of african inspired fabrics and animal prints. She also won second prize for the small themed quilt she submitted entitled Gecko Gathering. Geckos are a mainstay of gardens along the gulf coast, and mom was a big fan of the little critters. 

She belonged to a teaching guild on the gulf coast of Mississippi - The Bay Oaks Quilt Guild - that will be having a quilt show in April. My mom had gathered up the best of her recent quilts to submit - a paltry 29 of them will be considered for the show. Mind you, her very last quilt, a twisted log cabin UFO from a workshop five years ago, was her main concern in the week preceding her death. She was in hospital recovering from some unexpected surgery, and felt too weak and encumbered by tubes and monitors to tackle the binding. She asked me to help her finish up the quilt so she would make the deadline for the April show. I was honoured that she would ask. 

As I whipped the binding on, I would show her my stitches and she remarked that the student had surpassed the master. I found her label and sewed that on. She showed me how the hanging sleeve ought to be attached, and I followed her instruction, all the while, sitting with her in her hospital room while nurses would come and go, always amazed at the work she had created. When I finished that quilt, and it was apparent my mom was taking longer than expected to heal, I found another quilt in need of binding, and spent another two days sitting with her and sewing. This one had been made with "leftovers" from the Kaffe Fasset pattern entitled Jewel Squares. She had made the original quilt top in the late 90's, and it was one of the first she had hired out to be machine quilted. It's also the only other quilt of hers that I own. She and I had found the "leftovers" from my quilt while we were cleaning up one of her "stash" rooms last December. It turned out she had enough pieces cut and squares partially assembled to make eight more quilts, which is how she had spent most of January and February, and I was binding one of them. 

I decided not to complete anymore of her handwork because in her weakened state, I knew there would not be much else she could do when she came home. Instead I just sat and talked with her, and got her to show me a few more things. I had not yet taken to many traditionally designed quilt patterns, but had recently found myself in a position to contribute a block to a group quilt. The last thing she taught me, at least in regards to quilting, was how to make a friendship star.

My mother, Solveig Wells was hands down the best teacher and friend a girl could ask for, and I will miss her every single day. As we, her friends and family cope with her loss it's comforting to know that Solveig will forever be remembered, here, in this way. Thank you so much for letting me share my memories of my mom, my favourite quilter in the world, with you.

Tara K Wells is an artist and graphic designer based in Sackville, New Brunswick. Her mother Solveig was a member of the CQA, and although Tara is not a member herself, she does have a long-standing relationship with The Canadian Quilter as a layout designer. You can see some of Tara's quilts at


Parade Photos

The above link presents some photo slideshows of local Mardi Gras parades that David and Solveig enjoyed together.

North Beach Blvd. on Dec. 29, 2005

These photos in the above link were taken in Bay St Louis, our Mississippi home, four months to the day after Hurricane Katrina hit.