Monday, June 30, 2014

2014 Quilt Alliance Contest



This is my entry for the 2014 Quilt Alliance contest.

Grandmothers Garden flower was inspired by:

Speer, Julia Patterson. Grandmothers Flower Garden. 1930-1949. From Florida Quilt Project, Florida Quilt Project. Published in The Quilt Index,

I chose a design based on a hexagon. Hexagons are one of the most popular design being used by quilters in 2014.

The fabric for this was dyed in a hexagon shape and the shape was edited to fit into the 16” square format the contest required.

It was machine quilted to emphasize the details of the flower.

I have to admit it is one of my favorite all time quilts of the 396 quilts I have made.

It is a donation and the quilts will be auction on eBay in November to raise money for the Quilt Alliance.

The 3 winners of the contest will be determined by popular vote.  You must be a member of the alliance to vote.

The benefits of being a member far outweigh the $25 annual dues.

This link will take you to the page to join the Quilt Alliance:

There were a record 92 entries this year in the Inspired By contest.

Of course I hope you’ll vote for mine, but I also hope you’ll join the Quilt Alliance and enjoy all the benefits it offers.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Studio Interest And Most Popular Blog Posts

It seems each time I post about my studio there is a lot of interest.


Since I posted about my Working Studio a little over a week ago it has become the 9th most popular ever blog post I’ve written….all in this short time.

Still the most popular blog post ever is this one, along with the second one about the same quilt.

Tessellations by my students have also been one of the most visited.

Fabric dyeing always brings a lot of interest and this one about value gradations of dyed fabrics is another one that has created a lot of interest.


When I started Blogging I had no idea what or why I was doing it. Now 7 years later it has become my diary about my activities.

I include my art, activities, friends and family.

Thanks for visiting.

If you’d like to receive a notice each time I post all you have to do is go to my page and add your email where there is a space to do it.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

It’s A Working Studio–The Rest Of The Story

I had several people ask about my antique thread cabinet.


Just like almost every piece of furniture I have this does have a great story.

Before we started the the addition to our home  we had visited friends in their new home to get some ideas. They had a gorgeous antique thread cabinet I coveted. I hoped someday to find one, but was not having any luck.

When we were almost done building the addition  (which included the studio) I was having one of those days where it was just too much stress since the 3 month building project had dragged on for a year.

I decided I’d go visit my favorite antique shop which had just opened for the season.

Of course I was still on my quest for a thread cabinet but I did not expect to find one.

I walked in the door and not 10 feet in front of me was this cabinet.

I instantly fell in love with it but we were out of money from the building project.

I expressed my love for it to the owner. She said I could pay a small amount down and they’d hold it for me for a period of time. Of course I agreed to that.

I was so busy when the time was up I had not contacted her. She had lost my contact information.

She called the only quilter she knew who lived about 10 miles from me.

She didn’t know me but did remember her son was doing some wood work for my son – and then she looked out the window and her son had just drove up.

So she got the contact information from him and relayed it to the antique shop owner who was then able to call me.

We went the next day (I think it was Mother’s Day) and made the final payment.

They held it for me until the studio was in shape to move it in.

They delivered it and even took it up to the studio which was on the second floor.

It was meant to be and I love it even more today than I did when I bought it.

I filled the front of each drawer with old wooden spools that still had thread on them in a color run order. Of course the old thread is too weak to use so it is just for show.

Behind each wooden spool is my supply of thread, in a similar color order.

The drawers on the bottom hold large spools that are too large to fit in the top drawers.

This is just one of my life stories about how I found things I treasure.

Did you hear the one about my treadle sewing machine?

Or the one about Quilting Granny?

Or the one about the post office desk I store yarn in?

And there are many more stories too as I furnish my home with “new to me” finds.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It’s A Working Studio

In the past I’ve shared many pictures of my studio as I reorganized it.

Today I am going to share some pictures of what it looks like when I am in working mode.


In this picture you can see my entire design wall as well as a lot of areas of the studio.


Another view of a major portion of the studio with some projects I’m planning on working on soon.


I use this bed to store both finished quilts and works in progress. You can see some of both here, as well as one I need to photograph.


This area contains my hand dyed fabrics…mostly shibori and ice dyed pieces. In the background you see my yarn and books.


Here is the quilt I just finished quilting on my pressing table. On the wall is a HUGE quilt that just needs the top part of the design added and then it will be ready for quilting.


I’m just about ready to add the facings to this quilt.

You may think this is quite a mess, but it is really organized in a way that I know what I will be doing next. It also allows me to study works in progress to decide how I want to proceed on them.

If things get to the point where I am no longer organized then it is time to stop and straighten things out before I proceed. Fortunately the last studio reorganization has made it a lot easier to deal with projects as I finish them and put things I don’t need for what I will be working on where they belong.

It IS a pleasure to be working here now and I am making great progress finishing pieces I started anywhere from a year to 15-20 years ago.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Editing Quilts And Fabrics


I like to play with pictures of things on the computer and see what I can make from them.
Does anyone have any idea what I started with here?
Here’s another one using the same effect. I’m not telling where they came from.
Only one clue…….you’ve seen the original on my blog!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

I’m Multitasking Finishing Quilts!



I’m working on the quilting on this quilt. I DO love the quilting process. It adds another dimension to an already beautiful work.

I think this is going to take a while. It will be hard to stay away from this though as I am finding it so enjoyable.


I was also able to get this one trimmed evenly after I had blocked it. The strips are all cut and pressed and ready to finish the edges and make the casing.

Although I never make a quilt with a specific place for it in mind, this one does work beautifully in a guest room and will be hung as soon as it is finished.

I’m still on track with my priority finishing list!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Grandmother Connection

I’ve borrowed this title from Julie Silber’s emotional presentation.

Julie’s heartwarming lecture is about quilting and the connection between grandmothers and granddaughters.

My grandchildren have always been around my quilting in my studio and have all been introduced to sewing on the sewing machine or even by hand.

One of my 4 granddaughters enjoys quilting and has made two bed sized quilts as well as other smaller projects.

She also has a fabric collection!


This is the first quilt Dana made in a high school class. She did an excellent job matching seams and did not cut off points.

She also arranged the 2 different orientations of the stars in diagonal rows. I’m very proud of her and her workmanship and design skills.


This quilt is the second full sized one she made, also in a high school class.

She designed it on Excel! I use Excel but never realized it could be used for designing.

She had never heard the saying “Color gets all the credit, but value does all the work.”

She did a great job with value on this.


I converted the image to grayscale and the mastery of choosing values is even more obvious.

I will take official portraits of these quilts and hope to get them straighter using my tripod.

She also left my house last night with an armload of fabric. Some of it was fabric she selected and we bought years ago. Others were fabrics that will work into her current quilting style.

I am very proud of her.

Friday, June 13, 2014

I Know Where I’m Going!


This piece has been on my design wall for almost a year.  Late last night I finally was able to finish the piecing.

The yellow sections around the edges needed some trimming and adjusting to achieve my final vision.

It was a few minutes after midnight when I sewed the last stitch.

Yes, I will be trimming the edges, but I may not do that until after I quilt it….or I may do a slight trim before I quilt it.

The good news, when I took the pictures this morning the quilting design all became clear in my head.

When this happens I can’t wait to start working on the next step.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Perfection Or Procrastination?

Many years ago I took a fabric painting class from Hollis Chatelain who’s work I greatly admired.

Of course I didn’t want to make quilts that looked like they were done by her.

I wanted to learn the techniques she used.

She was an excellent teacher.


While going through drawers looking for something the other evening I found this piece I started in her class.

I usually work fast, but this technique didn’t allow me to finish this in the class time.

I put it away along with the fabric I had also hoped to paint for the borders and intended to finish painting it.

One of the problems was I didn’t even know what colors I had used. I was concerned that if I used different colors it would be so obvious and take away from the beauty of the piece.


The overall design on the piece is a tessellation I quickly created from an index card.


This close-up shows the area of the tessellated shape you saw in the last picture.


I broke the tessellated shapes into 5 different units. I hope you can see the pencils likes I drew on the fabric in this gray scale image.

When I unearthed this I decided that rather than finish painting this I could combine it with some of my hand dyed fabrics to create a more pleasing composition.


In this photo I am auditioning some possible fabrics I could use with it.

I believe this is going to be something that will take me a while to resolve.

This will remain on my design wall so I can look at it as I am working on other things in the near future.

When I resolve it you will be the first to know!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This Is A Secret So Please Don’t Tell!

Photo: What we do when we have no electricity in the office...have fun with Cooper Sorensen!

This is my 8 year old grandson Cooper along with Geri, one of his employees….he likes to be the boss at the office!

What a great picture of both of them!

He visited me two nights ago and was very interested in all my polymer clay work.

I had to show him the clay, the canes I have made and explain the process of making an amulet.

Then we looked at other things I had made with the clay and also the tools I used. He had a lot of good questions and seemed to really understand what I told him.

He did get a few extras to take home with him too.

When he saw the amulets I made for the first time he was only 4. He said he wanted to make some amulets.

I told him he had to be 8 because Katie was coming over to work with clay and she was 8.

He then told his Dad he wanted to be 8, right now!!!!!!

Well now he is 8 and I am not currently set up to do clay. I hope he doesn’t remember the conversation from 4 years ago!

I hope he isn’t disappointed when I do set up for clay work and he finds out there is a steep learning curve before he can make an amulet!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014



This is another one of my recently finished painted quilts that started with a piece of white silk.

I used various techniques on this, including at least 3 of my original design Thermofax stencils.

It is another multi year creation as I was waiting for it to tell me what to do.

Of course it is always a good feeling to complete a piece.

I love using this stitched edge finish when it is appropriate to the piece.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Golden Glow

This piece started with a piece of white silk.

My work often needs time to tell me what to do… I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to listen.


How much time  does it take to make a quilt? As long as it takes to create a piece I’d be pleased with and one I feel someone would be happy to own.


It’s not about doing something in the same manner as I may have done it before. Yet, all those years have given me the insight to listen when a quilt starts talking.


It’s about looking at what I have done so far and making a decision on what else it needs.


This looks like it might be done. As I look at it more I realize it needs something else.


Not only is this finished but I added some beads to it.

My BFF’s Mary Stori and Robbie Payne are both beading experts.

I don’t even consider myself a beading wannabe. I just added the beads because this piece needed it.

Each bead was sewn on individually with beading thread.

The Ah-ha moment when I know it’s finished and ready for the world!

I love it and I hope you do too!

You may notice a color difference in each of these photos. They were all taken in different places and with different lighting conditions.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Jeff Still Has It!

Dana Sorensen

14 hours ago via Instagram

Well he still got it. First race in 28 years and he gets third place for his age division. Way to go Dad!!! #prouddaughter #stillbeathimthough

Photo: Well he still got it. First race in 28 years and he gets third place for his age division. Way to go Dad!!! #prouddaughter #stillbeathimthough


I just borrowed this from my granddaughter’s Facebook post!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Throw Back Thursday–Part 2

I have been doing throw back Thursday posts on Facebook.

The problem with that is family members who are not my Facebook Friends can’t see them.

So I am sharing the most recent ones for you today.


Josephina Koeper, mother of my paternal grandfather Casper Koeper.


Matilda Gruenwald Koeper’s confirmation picture. My paternal grandmother.


Matilda Gruenwald Koeper with her some Jerome (Jerry) my uncle 1924


Alma Gruenwald Borkenhagen, my Great aunt.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Branching Out


Branching Out


Another quilt finished!

This one is  8 x 10 inches and has the impact of a much larger piece.

Layers and layers of pattern.

Beautifully stitched edge finish.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

INDIGO FIRE For Sale At A Special Price For A Limited Time

I  offer some of my quilts for sale at very low prices from time to time.

Of course this is on a first come basis.

If they do not sell within one week they will again go back to their regular price and be listed on my Quilts For Sale page.



31 inches wide by 32.5 inches high


This will be at home in any decorating style and with any colors you have in your room.

Remember, GREAT art doesn’t have to match the sofa! 

It is made with fabrics I have shibori dyed. The fabrics are 100% cottons along with a INDIGO dyed cotton/linen damask for the border which creates texture.

This quilt uses a secret shibori method I have developed for the fire fabrics.

The quilting emphasizes the pattern created by the shibori design process.

Regular price: $1395   Special price through June 10, 2014 11:59 p.m. $850.  

It has a rod pocket on the back to facilitate hanging to display it.

Prices do not include shipping.

I will accept PayPal or check.

If you would like more information about this  or would like to purchase it  please contact me at:

Monday, June 2, 2014

Indigo Fire


Indigo Fire is my most recently finished quilt. I dyed all the fabrics for it.

The fire panels are shibori dyed with my secret technique.

The borders are indigo dye on a cotton/linen damask which adds some great texture.

The quilting enhances the designs created by the shibori pattern.

Watch for information on the size and a special limited time price for this one.

It IS a beauty.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Grandmother/Granddaughter Collaborative Quilt


When my granddaughter Dana saw the quilt her older sister Heidi composed with my extra polyester double knit blocks she wanted to make a quilt too.

I was not about to make any more polyester double knit blocks, yet didn’t want to disappoint a 4 year old!

So I got out my unfinished blocks and let her compose them in a way that satisfied her. (Don’t tell her but I did have to add some spacer strips!)

Of course I sewed it together.


She chose the backing fabric.

We had a long arm quilter quilt it and I finished it with a binding.

This was made about 20 years ago.

I think she really loved that backing fabric.

About the same time I was making Glad Rags for my granddaughters.

She picked her own fabric and wanted it all made from just one fabric.


Since the time she was a baby she had watched me work on my design wall. I think she thought anything made from fabric belonged on the design wall.


Here is the jacket pinned on the design wall.


You can see how proud she was of putting this on the wall.

I don’t think she ever wore it as she must have somehow thought one didn’t wear things we put on the design wall!

She has created several quilts herself in the intervening years and I will share them with you soon.