The Artistry of Sheena Norquay, Part 2 — The Beach Collection

Sheena Norquay’s Beach Collection was inspired by the colours of shells, stones, pebbles, sea glass and sand. It is a box of 12 Large Spools of 50wt thread.

The Colours are:
2524 (light blue/purple), 2564 (light pink/lilac), 4150 (yellow variegated)
1248 (dark blue/purple), 2311 (cream), 2375 (peach)
2610 ((dark grey/blue), 2312 (light beige), 2340 (light rust)
2615 (light grey), 2805 (light turquoise), 2326 (dark beige)

Please visit The Artistry of Sheena Norquay, Part 1 for more details + the full interview with Sheena.

To enter-to-win The Beach Collection by Sheena Norquay, please leave us a comment on this post letting us know which of Sheena’s pieces below is your favorite and why. Entry will close at 11:59pm on Friday, August 18 and a winner will be announced here on Saturday, August 19. This giveaway is open to all of our International friends!

Tell us about The Beach Collection. What inspired the designs and how did you go about selecting the colors?
One of my favourite things to do when I am not stitching, is to go beachcombing. I have collected shells, stones, seaglass, fragments of pottery etc over the years and so I looked at my collection for colour inspiration for the Beach Collection. The rocks and stones on the beaches where I go in Orkney are mainly of sandstone which has warm, gentle, subtle colours. The colours of some shells, seaglass and other stones are cooler but still soft. I tried to have a combination of warm and cool, light and dark in the collection.

Do you have a favorite project made with the collection?
I enjoyed making all of the samples but I think the wholecloth “Periwinkles in a Spin” shows off all the threads in the collection to best effect.

Sheena made a series of samples to showcase the threads in her Beach Collection.

Finished at 59 x 86cm
Created between January 17, 2016 & February 2, 2016
Total time: 29 hours 20 minutes

Pebblewave Grid by Sheena Norquay

Strip pieced using 12 colours of cotton fabrics matching the threads in the beach collection. Pebbles are printed and painted horizontally in shallow curves echoing the shape of the blue wave at the top. The curved horizontal lines of the grid are satin stitched. Wave shape at the top is twin needled, free motion quilted using swinging c curves and satin stitched in vertical lines in the same colours as the fabrics. Pebble shapes on the calico section at the bottom are fabric painted to match the fabrics and the backgrounds are quilted with colours matching the pebbles and adjacent strips. Backgrounds of the coloured strips are free motion quilted in pebble designs in horizontal bands using each of the 12 colours in the Beach collection.

Pebblewave Detail by Sheena Norquay

Finished at 39 x 88cm
Created between January 13, 2016 & January 19, 2016
Total time: 22hours 50 minutes

Scallops by Sheena Norquay

Squares were pieced in colours to match the Beach Collection. The background has 3 different cream and beige fabrics. Scallop shell shapes were free motion quilted in repeat, half drop, random, and overlapping patterns. Shells on the coloured fabric were painted with pearlescent paint. The background was quilted in 12 colours in different sizes of circles and curved lines.  Sheena used 2 layers of wadding – polyester Thermore + 80/20 cotton/polyester.

Details of Scallops by Sheena Norquay

Finished at 61 x 42cm
Created between January 21, 2016 & February 12, 2016
Total time: 15 hours

Detail of Periwinkles in a Spin by Sheena Norquay

Inspired by periwinkle shells. 12 small shell shapes are free motion quilted using Aurifil cotton no. 50 in 12 Beach Collection colours. The shells form a spiral which is then continued in swinging C curves between 2 lines to complete a larger periwinkle shape. Lines separating swinging C curves are satin stitched. The background is quilted in a water pattern. I used 50/50 cotton/polyester wadding behind the small shells, a layer of thin polyester Thermore behind the large, shell shape and 80/20 cotton/polyester for the main layer. It was quilted on a 1008 Bernina machine.

Finished at 61 x 42cm
Created between January 23, 2016 & February 13, 2016
Total time: 13 hours 15minutes

Periwinkle Spiral Patterns by Sheena Norquay

This piece was inspired by the periwinkle shell and its spiral shape. The shell is split into 12 sections and in each section Sheena free motion quilted 12 different spiral patterns using 12 different colours of Aurifil cotton no. 50 from the Beach Collection. She used 2 layers of wadding – 80/20  cotton/polyester + Hobbs Wool Tuscany.


Finished at 35.5 x 49.5cm
Created between January 13, 2016 & January 27, 2016
Total time: 12 hours 15 minutes

Detail of Periwinkle Borders by Sheena Norquay

Four sizes of periwinkle shapes were free motion quilted in horizontal borders in 12 colours of Aurifil no. 50 threads from the Beach collection. Backgrounds were free motion quilted in water, pebble, and sand patterns. Borders were separated with satin stitch. Sheena used cotton sateen and two layers of wadding – polyester thermore + 80/20 cotton/polyester.


Finished at 42.5 X 60.5cm
Created between January 1, 2016 and February 21, 2016

Blue Pebblewash with Mussels by Sheena Norquay

The blue pebbles were printed with a bathmat and Jacquard Lumiere fabric paints. Mussel shells were hand painted and hand appliqued. The water was hand painted. Cotton organdy was free motion embroidered, appliqued and quilted in wave and bubble shapes. Sheena used 2 layers of wadding – thin thermore polyester + 80/20 cotton/polyester. The piece was free motion quilted with Aurifil cotton no. 50 threads using some colours from the Beach collection. The patterns created by water on the sand were inspired by photos that Sheena took at Nairn Beach and the shells were inspired by some that she has collected from various beaches.

Detail of Blue Pebblewash with Mussels by Sheena Norquay


Sheena Norquay was born on the Orkney Islands, just off the Northern tip of Scotland. Though she began sewing as a child, it wasn’t until attending University in Aberdeen to gain a B.Ed degree that she truly dove into the world of sewing, quilting, and textiles. The degree included 2-dimensional design in textiles which inspired her interest in exploring the artistic potential of threads and fabrics.

Having been a Primary School teacher in Inverness for 30 years, Sheena is now a freelance quilting teacher and teaches workshops locally, all over the UK, and sometimes abroad. She also writes articles for magazines and her quilts have been featured in several books.

Sheena’s work has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally since 1981 and she has won many awards in competitive quilt shows. She sells her work, cards and postcards of her work, and also accept commissions.

Text and images courtesy of Sheena Norquay.


  1. Blue Pebblewash with Mussels is my favorite but love them all!
    Very unique art, I also love Aurifil cotton 50 weight. Beautiful thread to work with.
    Great work Sheena!!!

  2. Although all these pieces are amazing, I think the Blue Peblewash with Mussels is the most creative and unique. She is absolutely a gifted artist with color and design. Thanks for the chance to win this terrific giveaway. Helen

  3. I like the pebble wave grid. So beautiful! I like it because it really stands out to me! angielovesgary2 atgmail dotcom

  4. They are all so pretty, but Scallops is my favorite. I love how the top is all orderly and the same, but the bottom has some scallops that look like they were hit by waves, going every which way. Fun. I hadn’t noticed that the first time I looked.

  5. Pebble wave grid has to be my favorite, reminds me so much of our early trips to Oregon and bringing bags full of pretty beach pebbles in our luggage (before there were weight limits)! The blue mussels also remind me of some of our favorite Oregon beaches so I love that one too.

  6. Beautiful work, beautiful thread! Pebble Wave is my fav, I love stones and they are so alive in this quilt, wonderful!

  7. Oh my goodness!! I did not expect to see such beautiful and creative quilt pieces… truly pieces of art!! My favourite is Scallops with Pebble Wave Grid as a close runnner up!!

  8. A lovely giveaway thank you … I love all of Sheila’s pieces but the Pebblewave grid caught my eye because of the unusal shaping.

  9. I’m overawed by all of the samples that Sheena made to showcase the wonderful threads in her Beach Collection.
    My favorite is the Blue Pebblewash with Mussels. I love the colors, the 3D look of the various quilting textures used in the patterns of the sand, water and pebbles and to top it all – the hand appliquéd mussel shells!

  10. I love the scallops piece. It reminds me of a co-worker I had who used to go to the beach on her vacations. When she came back she would always leave a seashell on our desk for us so we could have a little bit of the beach, too. She usually gave me the scallop ones. Since she retired several years ago, I no longer get little bits of the beach. 🙂

  11. I really like the single periwinkle work of art. It’s a great piece for showcasing the shell as well as the different quilt patterns.

  12. Periwinkles in a Spin is my favorite, but they are all beautifully evocative of the sea and beach.

  13. I like the periwinkels the most. But also like the puffins in the first part of the interview. They both are wonderfull.

  14. wow these are pieces of art. its no wonder she has been winning awards for so long.
    all of these are gorgeous. I really love the Scallops piece. I love scallop shells and this piece is fun and active.

  15. BLUE PEBLEWASH WITH MUSSELS! It feels like you could actually walk through it and feel the water rush past your toes!

  16. I really like the Blue Pebblewash with Mussels, but they are all lovely and unique.

  17. I want to own the beach collection even if I don’t use them, they are so beautiful to look at. I love everything about the ocean and rocks. I love all the pieces, but to choose one I will go with blue penblewash. It reminds me of the beaches on Tinian, a small island in the Pacific. My daughter and I walking on the beach and collecting stones and sea glass. This collection captures all the colors we saw. Love it!

  18. Very difficult to pick a favorite here! If I must choose I would go with the Blue Pebblewash with Mussels.The full picture strikes me as very realistic of the very edge of waves on sand with the water receding in rivulets, leaving the stones and shells. The close up picture details the attention to detail. Amazing work.

  19. I like the Scallops because of the way it starts out all orderly, but then becomes a jumble in the lower right. All of her pieces are very inspirational!

  20. What beautiful art work! Stunning! I really love the Periwinkle Spiral quilt. I love non angular forms and the variety of stitches and subtle colours look beautiful.

  21. These are the colors i use most in quilts. They calm me, but mostly i use the most because they are my husbands favorites. He is my biggest supporter and always gets really involved in my quilting, I LOVE THAT 🙂

  22. Blue Pebblewash with Mussels and Scallops are my favorites…just couldn’t pick just one and her thread collection is gorgeous! Thanks for the chance to win!!

  23. I think they are all amazing but I really love BLUE PEBLEWASH WITH MUSSELS . It really pops and when I saw it the first thing I said was WOW. Her work is amazing!

  24. I like her Pebble Wave Grid. Wow! The texture is simply stunning. Thank you for sharing all of her beautiful projects.

  25. A tough choice… Pebblewave Grid!!! They are all so amazing!!
    My colors!!!
    Thank you.

  26. I like the scallop quilt. The orderly lines broken by color and then you see the lower right. A perfect metaphor for my quilting.

  27. Periwinkle Spiral is my favorite. I absolutely love this collection. Hoping it is my turn to win!

  28. All are beautiful! I like Scallops best. I love the white with just a little bit of shades of blue and colors of the sunset. Details are remarkable!

  29. I love them all, but my favorite is the scallops. I love the orderliness and then the randomness of the bottom shells…and the quilting is fabulous!

  30. I am totally blown away by all of these quilts. It truly is a series and her work is so inspiring. I love the Periwinkles in Spiral Quilt but then I really love them all. Thank you for showing this lovely collection and introducing us to Shandra!

  31. My favourite it the Pebble Wave Grid, love the way the colours move across the piece and the wonderful detailed quilting, looks like tiny bubbles wonderful use of the thread colours.

  32. I love the Periwinkle Spirals as it reminds meh of the spiral ammonites we found on beaches in Dorset on honeymoon many years ago and ably demonstrates Sheena’s fine quilting skills linked to a basic pattern from nature.

  33. Pebble wave grid love the colours amazing work in all of them but that is the one that speaks loudest to me x

  34. I like the Periwinkle Borders the best. Thank you for the opportunity to win. ljbisme at msn dot com

  35. The bird quilts in the header is my favorite, it looks like a real scene. The scallops would be my next choice, like the shape of the shell.

  36. Blue Peblewash With Mussels is definitely my favourite, in saying that they are all amazing. Straight away when I saw this one it brought back wonderful memories from my childhood at the beach. Not only that it’s very realistic and makes me feel that I’m at the beach and a very calm mood.

  37. All of them are beautiful and unique. I like Scallops the best. The colors and quilting are just lovely.

  38. The Blue Peblewash with Mussels is my favorite. It looks like you can just reach out and dip your hand in the water to pick up a stone. I want to go to the beach now.

  39. I love the grid (and the cow postcard!). I love organized info and I love that it’s made into a quilt! It’s given me so many ideas!

    Thanks! Such beautiful works!

  40. Wow, so original. A breath of fresh air. Pebble Wave Grid is my favorite. I always loved stones and how wonderful to have a quilt full of them. I’m lost in the colors of these pieces also. Dreamy. misty, just lovely.

  41. Beautiful works of art here.
    I love the BLUE PEBBLEWASH
    WITH MUSSELS piece. The
    waves and rocks are soothing
    to look at.
    Carla from Utah

  42. Periwinkle Spiral Patterns is my favorite of these shown. They are all superb and Sheena really shows her artistry in each one. I admire anyone who can take an image in their mind and create it with fabric and thread…just awesome!

  43. Oh, my, amazing! My favorite is BLUE PEBLEWASH WITH MUSSELS because of the amazing amount of texture she has created. I love the ocean and this beautiful quilt reminds me of my adventures.

  44. Amazing work. My favorite is the periwinkle in spirals quilt. The colors in this collection are so calming and beautiful. There is something about found objects on the beach that draws you in. I can’t resist sea glass and drift wood.

  45. I love every one of these pieces but the colors of the Wave Grid draw me right in. Love pebbles.

  46. Sheena’s work is magnificent! She is so incredibly talented. I think my favorite is Scallops – I just love her color combination and design on that, but every one of them is fabulous!! Thanks for the chance to win 🙂

  47. Blue Pebble Wash with Mussels. I love that it makes me feel I am at the beach and all the wonderful memories associated with that.

  48. I really love the Periwinkle Spiral Pattern. With the different colors and the different textures of the 12 sections. I just enjoy looking at it.
    tracinecharest at gmail dot com

  49. What a hard choice! Love them all, but Periwinkles in a Spin is probably my most favorite.

  50. Blue Peblewash with Mussels is my favourite. I love the movement within the shapes and the use of other media. Also there is a vague chance I could actually achieve and approximation of this beautiful work…

  51. Blue Pebblewash with Mussels is my favourite as the subtle range of colours and intricate quilting all give the piece interest and dimension. Her work is exquisite.

  52. Love the Periwinkle Spiral Patterns. It’s a simple but sophisticated design with beautiful textures created by the quilting. It’s hard to choose just one.

  53. I love the scallops shells the best, The colors and the textures created by the threadwork are beautiful, including the accents of the shells and what looks like grains of sand on a beach.

  54. Periwinkle spiral patterns is my favourite. It’s big and bold but subtle and understated at the same time – just gorgeous

  55. My favorite quilt is Pebble Wave Grid.
    I spent the day with my son at Glass Beach, Fort Bragg CA today and wondered how I could make a quilt to reflect the the pebbles, glass and stones along the beach. Then I saw this quilt and said ” that’s it”

  56. All of Sheena’s creations are exceptionally beautiful!! My favourite is Scallops, love the rhythm and gorgeous soft colours.

  57. The Scallops is my favorite. I love the strip of color and how the shells stand out and are jumbled at the bottom.

  58. So difficult to pick just one… I think the Scallops speaks most to me as I remember the thrill of finding that perfect shell washed up in the surf. The Aurifil colors in thic collection make my heart sing as i remember days at the beach in my childhood.

  59. I love the double showcase of the beautiful works of Sheena, I’m quite fond of all of them, but my favorite is the scallops, unless I can choose from the first post, then it’s the Puffins!!!

  60. I love the Periwinkle Spiral Patterns quilt. The ability to create so many different looking textures that work together in a single piece. Gotta get better at my quilting!!

  61. The Scallops piece is gorgeous, with its subtle use of color and its progression from orderly rows on one end to a more organic arrangement on the other. Also, the quilting is amazing! I also love the piece with the Scottish cows (shown in the last post) because those cows look just like the ones we saw in Scotland last summer. What gorgeous work Sheena does!

  62. Seriously..pick one? These pieces are all the dimension. If I have to pick one it would be the Blue Pebblewash with Mussels. I would love to see it in person. Love the colors in this Aurifil collection.

  63. Blue pebble wash with mussles is gorgeous. It was life like but very artistic The quilting interesting and unique. All were beautiful

  64. The Periwinkle Spiral is my favorite although they are all beautiful. I find the colors of shells and stones to be so soothing in decor. What an inspiration!

  65. I love the pebbleweave grid. The beautiful, peaceful colors flow into each other so well. Thanks for sharing Sheena’a artistry and thanks for the chance to win this beautiful Aurifil thread!

  66. Sheena is a very talented artist. It is hard to choose a favorite but I would have to say Scallops. It is an organized piece of art with a bit of disorganization in it. I love that. Thanks!

  67. I love the best SCALLOPS. So simple, yet complex, touch of colors, hint of movement and change. Very modern.

  68. I love the Pebble Wave Grid! I like the color wash/gradient effect she has created – I am hoping to try this technique in my own work. The color palette of this collection is really inspired – makes me feel I am at the beach!

  69. Scallops! The color gradations are beautiful and very true to life. Wonderful texture in the quilting. And as your eye roams you notice the whimsy of tilted scallops in the lower right section! Lovely piece of art!

  70. All pieces are so beautiful! My favorite, though, would have to be the Pebble wash with Mussels. The texture is so rich and color mix so flowing. I am in awe of the artistry involved!

  71. What talent Sheena has! Scallops jumped out at me as a favorite due to the feeling of serenity it imparts.

  72. My favorite is Blue Pebble Wash with Mussels. I love using paints as well and thought this was so creative and reminded me of a beach at Whitney Island WA. There is something so peaceful and calming that calls to me. I also love collecting rocks and sea glass and love all things ocean. Sheena artwork really shows her insight and artistry that she puts into each piece of art. I would love to take a class from her.
    Laura T

  73. My favorite is Scallops because I love the ways she used the colors and I have always liked the shape of a scallop shell.

  74. Scallops is my favorite, as it reminds me of all the hours I’ve spent beachcombing and enjoying the ocean.

  75. I live in San Francisco and I’m a quilter and I love love love your quilts. I would like to take a workshop from you but I’m not sure I’m good enough quilter to participate. Where could I go to find out about your workshops? thank you for posting these they are so unique and quite wonderful.

  76. These are beautiful. I love the design and colors. The amount of hard work you put into your quilts is evident in every piece. Awesome talent you have.

  77. Love love the ”BLUE PEBBLE WASH WITH MUSSELS ” quilt
    I was just sitting here this morning and it is a rainy miserable morning and saw this awesome piece.It has started my creative juices running again. thank you for inspiring me.
    am in Nova Scotia and there are always mussels on the beach with all their iridescent colours, they have always fascinated me but was never sure how I could duplicate them in a wall hanging , you have shown me that it can be done.
    thank you to both Auribuzzl and Sheena Norquay for inspiring me
    Nova Scotia

  78. Love them all but if I had to pick one I would choose BLUE PEBLEWASH WITH MUSSELS. I love the texture created and how Sheena creates the movement of the water.

  79. Loving Shiela’s work – Pebble Wave grid really speaks to me. Throughout my life, I collect stones from places I have been, beaches I have walked on. One of my favourite authors is George Mackay Brown, there’s a poem he wrote called ‘Time a Stone’ that I love also.

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