Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wedding Flowers

Although I took almost no pictures at the wedding and reception I was able to take some of the flowers the next day.
This was my corsage. The ribbon is the color of the girls dresses. They were beautiful.
These two pictures show the bouquets of the bride and the wedding party. It was truly a gorgeous wedding!
I have posted 31 times in May, a month with 31 days. It's been a long time since I've done that in one month!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Next Quilt On The Finishing Agenda!


If you are a long time reader of my blog you may have seen this quilt two years ago.

I dyed the fabrics 4 and 5 years ago and it finally told me what to do with it two years ago.

So how long does it take to make a quilt?

As long as necessary.

The only thing left to do is add the facings to the edge and the casing for the rod.

The fabric is set aside for this and it will match the back of the quilt.

So it’s time to “Just Do It”!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Signed, Sealed And Ready To Deliver–Grandmother’s Garden Flower


I have finished my quilt for the Quilt Alliance contest and fund raiser. I am very pleased with it. Even my son said it looked like a flower when he saw it!

I will be sending it to them today and that will be the last time I will see it.

If you are a member of the QA I’d sure appreciate your vote. If you aren’t, it’s easy to join and a great way to celebrate the past and present history of quilting. Quilting is primarily a woman’s art. I know of no other woman’s art that has such a great history organization.

This link will take you to the page with membership information:


The back of the quilt with facings, a casing for a hanging rod and a custom label printed on fabric.  I always put beautiful backs on my quilts. The back, facing, and casings are also made from my hand dyed fabrics.


I printed this label on fabric and sewed it on the back.

The quilt will serve several purposes.

1. There will be a contest with fantastic prizes for the winners.

2. The quilts will tour and help raise awareness to the fact that there is a Quilt Alliance and also allow many people to see them in person.

3. The quilts will be auctioned on eBay to raise funds to support the Quilt Alliance.

If you love this quilt, you could become the proud owner sometime next fall. I will keep you aware of the dates for the auction.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Wedding To Remember

Katie Stelling's photo.

Blake and his ring bearer! He did such a great job as a ring bearer.

The reception was held at the historic Inwood Ballroom, built in 1922. What a fantastic facility with such a great history.

The section on the right is where the dinner was held. The 10 sided section on the left is the ballroom. Room enough for everyone to dance with booths around the edge to sit and visit, rest up between dances or watch the dancers.

I’m sharing this information about it’s history:

About Us

The small historical Czech town of Spillville is home to The Inwood Ballroom, built in 1922.  It is one of the few ballrooms still remaining in Iowa.
Its original purpose was to raise funds to build a memorial to the soldiers and sailors who served in World War I.
Over the years dance music has been provided by many bands and groups such as Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Guy Lombardo, Harry James, Glen Miller, Lawrence Welk, Louis Armstrong, The Byrds and Bobby Goldsboro, just to mention a few.
Many romances have blossomed, memories have been made and good times shared in the booths and on the dance floor throughout the years.
Music and times have changed but The Inwood still continues to cater to wedding receptions, dances, anniversaries, high school proms, family reunions and benefits from Easter to Halloween each year.
The Inwood is located in Riverside Park on the east edge of Spillville.  It features a 10 sided hard maple dance floor, cozy fireplaces and lattice ceilings.  There is a playground, horseshoe pits, lighted ball diamond, picnic areas/shelters and plenty of parking.
The Civic Improvement Association works hard to maintain the Riverside Park for festivals, special events and just plain old picnicking.

I was not aware places like this existed. I’d love to see a destination wedding here, rather than on a beach in the tropics!

I wish I had photos of the inside and the festivities. Maybe some of those who were there will share some so I can share them with you.

The newly weds are still smiling and winging their way to Spain and Portugal for their honeymoon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Blake and Stephanie’s Wedding–Candid Shots

Although I didn’t get a lot of pictures myself, I’m sharing some taken my other friends and family!

Prewedding shot!

White water turns pink!

First kiss as newly weds!

One of the first pictures of the married couple! I don’t think either of them stopped smiling the whole day and evening.

Can’t have too many bubble shots!


Another bubble shot!

As I write this post the newlyweds are on their way to Spain for their honeymoon!

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Happy Couple!



Stephanie and Blake Sorensen May 24, 2014

More pictures to follow, stay tuned!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Season’s Worth Of Ice Dyed Fabrics

I know I have showed you many of these fabrics before, but I thought you might enjoy seeing them in groups.

Even though I show them in a group, they might not have been done in the same batch.


Group 1



Group 2


Group 3


Group 4

I think they only ones I haven’t shown are the ones I’ve already used.

These fabrics have so much going on that they are a challenge to use.

I LOVE a challenge!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I Think It Is Done!

This is one of the painted quilts I did layers and layers of pattern on in Florida recently.


It has been quilted and the edge has been finished.

I still have the option of adding additional accents or elements if I chose to.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Studio At Work


This photo shows a part of my studio when I am working on a project.


This is a closeup of the project I am working on.

I will have to say I have become a little neater in my working habits now that I have enough storage for all my supplies and projects.

Of course I am not showing you a picture of the entire studio!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Blake Graduated From Iowa State!


This is my oldest grandson Blake. He graduated from Iowa State in Ames Iowa Mother’s Day weekend.

His degree is in Engineering. He will be working at 3M in Maplewood, MN.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Quilt Alliance, It’s Mission, Projects And Contests


I am creating this quilt for the Quilt Alliance contest and fund raiser. The theme this year is “Inspired By”.

Of course I’d love it if you would vote for my quilt if you are a member. If you are not a member yet you can join for only $25. If you are at all interested in quilting you are going to love being a member.

All the quilts that are made for the contest will be sold on eBay


What is the Quilt Alliance and what does it do?

This will give you a general idea of it’s projects and mission.

If you would like to know more about it go to:

Our Projects

Quilt Alliance links the world of quilts, scholarship, and the general public. We develop projects and carry them out in partnership with museums, universities, business partners and grassroots quilt guilds around the country.

Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories (Q.S.O.S.)

Our national grassroots oral histories capture the stories and culture of today's quilt makers. This project includes transcribed interviews and photographs and a downloadable, easy-to-use how-to manual. Hundreds of Q.S.O.S. interviews and transcripts are archived at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, where they are available for research.

Quilt Treasures

Oral history based "web portraits" document the lives, work, and influence of leaders of the American quilt revival of the 1960's and 1970's. This project was developed by Quilt Alliance in partnership with the Great Lakes Quilt Center at the Michigan State University Museum, MATRIX: Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online at Michigan State University, and the Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

The Quilt Index

This on-line repository provides access to documentation and digital images of individual quilts held privately or in public institutional collections. An estimated 50,000 quilts will be accessible through the Quilt Index by the end of 2009. The Quilt Index ( is a joint project of Quilt Alliance and Michigan State University through MATRIX and the MSU Museum. The Quilt Index is being implemented with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. Contributors from across the country are including their quilt images and documentation.

Boxes Under the Bed™

This project is designed to educate the public about the importance of identifying, preserving, and making accessible the archives and ephemera of quilt history. The project, currently being developed, will offer several methodologies, including a Boxes website tutorial about making quilt history documentation accessible for research in an institutional setting; sharing examples of quilt history ephemera through digital displays in a browsing gallery on the Boxes website; and training local researchers to identify and rescue quilt-related documentation in need of preservation. Quilt Alliance is partnering mainly with Winedale, The Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin and also with MSU Museum to develop this project.


This moderated online discussion list fosters and makes possible the continuous sharing among individuals engaged in quilting research and documentation. It provides a forum for raising issues, reporting findings, and sharing information about quilt exhibitions, collections, publications, research projects, and other topics within a virtual worldwide community of subscribers. This network, a community of H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences OnLine, was developed by Quilt Alliance with American Quilt Study Group and Michigan State University.


My story is on the Save Our Stories section of the Alliance and I am going to share it here with you.

Kay Sorensen

Quilt Alliance
Tape Number: WI53168-001

Kay Sorensen

Karen Musgrave

Kim Greene

Project Name:
The Wisconsin QSOS

Salem, Wisconsin


10:02 a.m.

Interview Image

Karen Musgrave (KM): This is Karen Musgrave and I'm conducting a Quilters' S.O.S. - Save Our Stories interview with Kay Sorensen. Kay is in Salem, Wisconsin and I'm in Naperville, Illinois so we are conducting this interview over the telephone. Today's date is October 8, 2009. It's now 10:02 in the morning. Kay, thank you for taking time out of your day to do this interview with me. Please tell me about your quilt "In Living Color."

Kay Sorensen (KS): When Jinny Beyer first came out with her palette fabrics I was so excited when I saw them that I had to design something to use them right away. I started out with the second round from the middle. Starting in the center, the star is the first round. The next round is where I began. I used all of the 100 colors. I only had a five inch square of each fabric so it didn't cover the entire square which then made it necessary to come up with something to fill in the hole and that's when I did the appliqué leaf design in the center. After I had made all these pieces I played with them for a while and came up with the idea of the star in the center, which was all appliquéd again using the palette fabric. About this time one of my students said, 'Gee, I know you like Jinny Beyer fabric and she's having a contest. I just saw it in a magazine.' So I found the magazine. I can't say my quilt was designed for the contest. It was almost like the contest was designed for my quilt. I finished the quilt, entered it in the competition and I won First Place Professional with the quilt.

KM: How do you use this quilt?

KS: Right now I have it in my studio and it is displayed on a round quilt hoop on a floor stand. I don't have it in the hoop, I just have it hanging over the hoop. I have so many quilts that a lot of them are not out on display, but this one is currently on display.

KM: Why did you choice this particular quilt for the interview?

KS: I think because it says a lot about me. I'm really all about color. Even before Jinny designed the palette I was using colors in what I call "a color flow order" and I love color. This really speaks of color. It speaks to just about everybody. I think the contrast between the blacks and the grays and the palette colors is what makes it so appealing.

KM: Is this typical of your style?

KS: My style is really all over the place. I've been quilting for over 50 years so I've developed different things as I've gone along. I do find that a lot of my most impressive pieces though do have a Mandala effect, in other words they radiate out from the center.

KM: This quilt is 42 inches by 42 inches, is that a typical size for you?

KS: I guess, again there's no typical size for me because I've done everything from the world's smallest quilt which was documented in Quilter's Newsletter up to the largest piece I've done was 118 inches by 118 inches. I do think my best work is probably in the 50 to 60 inch area for the most part, although two of my really exciting quilts are over 100 inches square.

KM: Tell me about the smallest quilt.

KS: When I was a somewhat beginning serious quilter I took a miniature class. I really didn't want to do miniatures, I didn't feel that was where my interest was but since this was only a half day class I thought, 'Okay, I can devote a half day to taking a class and then I can tell people why I don't like to do miniatures.' What happened was the instructor had us design on graph paper and all of a sudden a light went on in my head and I realized that I could sew on the graph paper and nobody else had done that before so I started a Double Irish Chain in that class and it did get finished. I also came up with two other techniques using graph paper and one of them used strips and although I started with graph paper I actually worked my way down to making my own graph paper with lines that were 1/42nd of an inch apart and that is how I did the very smallest quilt. It is 1.25 inches x 1.5 inches. There are two others that are almost as small.

KM: Tell me about your interest in quiltmaking.

KS: Quiltmaking is a big part of my life. It's allowed me to meet a lot of people. It also allows me to express myself. It just is a wonderful part of my life. I sometimes spend a great deal of time daily on quilting, other times I don't have as much time to devote to it. It just fulfills so many needs for me.

KM: You said you've been doing this for 50 years. How did you get started?

KS: I got started the way many, many quiltmakers get started. I was expecting my son and somebody gave me a kit for a quilt. Having more time than money I appliquéd the quilt. I didn't get it finished though because at that time it was hard to find backing, batting, and so forth, so I didn't get it finished until his birthday, his 29th birthday. [KM laughs.] Then the next quilt I did were quilts for my mother-in-law and father-in-law for their twin beds. Again having more time than money and also having a lot of scraps left from being a clothing sewer I made two twin size quilts that were made up of two by four inch finished size pieces and they were Patchwork on both sides and they were tied because I had no idea how to quilt. I used the plain old fashion Mountain Mist cotton batting in them. Fortunately my mother-in-law never used anything you gave her, because if she would have used them there would have been a ball of cotton inside them had they been washed. When my mother-in-law passed away, I again acquired these quilts I took them apart and they are still waiting to be reconfigured and put back together with Patchwork on just one side.

KM: What is your first quilt memory?

KS: My first quilt memory is probably the fact that I started a quilt when I was 13. I had just been sewing for a year or two and I had no idea how to put a quilt together so I just put all these pieces together, various different shapes and had no idea how to put them together and ended up with just a big mess. I can't even really remember the quilt. The only thing I can remember is the wastebasket I threw it in [laughs.].

KM: What made you decide to make a quilt at 13?

KS: Because I had scraps of fabric and that is what I thought you did with scraps of fabric. [laughs.]

KM: Where there quiltmakers in your family?

KS: Yes, and yet I probably wasn't aware of it. My grandmother and her sister each made a quilt tops probably in the 20's, possibly 30's and I do have both of those quilts now. My grandmother's quilt is partially quilted. Since I can no longer hand quilt, I've found a lady who did beautiful hand quilting and she started quilting it, but then her wrists gave out so it is only partially quilted. Her sister's quilt has been quilted. I wasn't real pleased with the quilting job that my quilter did on it so I still haven't bound it, although I will do that. My grandmother's quilt was responsible for reigniting the quilting fires in me. I was one of the quilters featured in Julie Silber's lecture, "The Grandmother Connection."

KM: Tell me about your creative process. How do you go about deciding what you are going to do?

KS: Actually it's the fabrics generally or some type of feeling that starts me off on a quilt. I have a 30 foot design wall and I'll just pull things out of my palette of fabrics and put them up on the design wall. Very often I will pull a whole group of fabrics and if I'm happy with those fabrics I'll start creating with them. I no longer work in a very planned format. Very often I just start designing on the wall. I may start sewing. I may start sewing strips together. I have a lot of strips that are already sewn together so that if I want to do something and I really don't have the energy or the desire to just start sewing things together, I'll just take some of those strips, cut them up and make something from them. It is a way to get me working when I really am not feeling like working.

KM: Describe your studio.

KS: My studio is a dream studio. [laughs.] It's about 1,250 square feet. It is the second floor of our home. My studio has a lot of windows, state of the art lighting, skylights, and a 30 foot movable design wall with 12 inch deep shelves behind it for my major fabric collections. There is space for my many sewing machines. I have many interesting cabinets to store my notions, threads, paints, yarn and tools. It also includes an office and a large storeroom.

KM: Do you belong to any art or quilt groups?

KS: I have belonged to them in the past. Right now I really am not because I live two different places. I belong to a small little guild where I live in Florida and another guild in Florida, but I'm not able to be active in either one of those. [in the past I have been a member of and was very active in Northwest Suburban Quilters in Illinois, Illinois Quilters, Wisconsin Quilters, Studio Art Quilt Associates, Inc., Friends of Fiber Art, and various other art/quilt organizations.]

KM: Whose works are you drawn to and why?

KS: I guess rather than saying I'm drawn to quilters' work, I have two favorite artists and one of them is Yaacov Agam and the other one is Victor Vasarely. Again, it's the color. It's the way they use color. It's the progressions. I'm also drawn to some ethnic art because of the ways they use color. When I was growing up my uncle was in the import/export business and he traveled around the world and he brought back a Guatemalan serape which my mother kept on top of the cedar chest. The beautiful colors and the way they flowed from shade to shade and color to color made an early imprint on me as far as the way I work with color.

KM: What does your family think of your quiltmaking?

KS: I think sometimes they're indifferent because it's something that I've probably done as long as they can remember. [my husband grew to appreciate what I was doing when I first took his advice and named a quilt "Jerry's Quilt."] I can remember my oldest son going to my first solo show and his only response was, 'Oh I didn't know you'd made so many quilts.' I think my other son is probably more appreciative and likes what I did, is more interested than the older son. The grandchildren at one time were very interested. They're at the stage now where they're just too busy with their own activities, although they did appreciate the quilts I did for each one of them for the Millennium.

KM: Why did you decide to make quilts for them for the Millennium?

KS: I had only gotten on the internet shortly before that and through some group there was a fabric trade where you would take 25 squares plus a signature square, send it to somebody and they would send you a similar packet. I thought that sounded like fun. I could have made the quilts without trading with anybody, but I think it just made it a lot more fun. [I traded with 350 people from around the world.] In each quilt I used 2 ½ inch cut size squares and of course I used 2,000 squares, each a different fabric, in each quilt to represent the Millennium. They were arranged in a pleasing color order. They're very exciting quilts and they're approximately king size. They are each finished with a Millennium fabric border that Jinny Beyer designed. The local grandchildren got theirs on Christmas Eve and because of the fear of computers shutting down my other son who ran the computer department for a large company could not leave so on Christmas Day we flew up to Minneapolis with the quilts. We bought three seats on the airplane. One for myself, one for my husband, and one for the quilts and we delivered the quilts to the children up there. The quilts are made for them to sleep under on New Years Eve and other special occasions. They're not every day quilts because I want them to have them for a long time. Along with each quilt they received a journal and the journals are to record where they were, who they were with, anything they'd like to about what they've done when they've slept under the quilts. I made a total of eight quilts because I had eight grandchildren at the time.

KM: Have they written in their journals?

KS: Well, one side of the family has, the other side I really doubt that they have. The ones that do write in it, their tradition is also to sleep under the quilts in the living room, not their bedrooms on New Years Eve, which is where they have the Christmas tree and they take pictures every year.

KM: Very nice. What advice would you offer someone starting out?

KS: I think my advice would be to possibly take a class. Just don't be afraid to do anything. You can only get better and every piece you make is going to be something that somebody is going to get joy out of. You're showing your love for people every time you make a quilt, whether it is for a specific person or whether it's just making a quilt and somebody is going to enjoy looking at it. As I look back at some of my first quilts, I love to share those with beginning quilters because I want people to realize that I didn't start where I am today. Most quilters that are starting today are starting several steps up from where I started. Of course, today quilters have so much more at their disposal. The rotary cutters, the wonderful fabrics, and all the other wonderful tools and things available to today's quilters. When I start thinking about my own quilting and I start getting kind of smug, 'Okay you've gotten so much better and your so much more wonderful than you used to be,' then I stop and tell myself, 'Okay it's the fabric, you couldn't have done that with the fabrics you had at your disposal way back then.' The fabrics and tools get a lot of the credit. Although I have also been working with a lot of hand dyed, hand painted fabrics that I've created recently. I still use a lot of commercial fabric.

KM: What do you think is the biggest challenge confronting quiltmakers today?

KS: The biggest challenge is probably deciding what to make, what fabrics to pick because there's just a million choices out there and I think that's possibly where the fact that a class can come in very handy because you've got some direction, you're learning specific things. You are told to do this, to do that, whatever. One of the things that I don't believe many classes are doing today, but I think it was a very valuable experience for the students I had 20 or more years ago was the Sampler quilt. Some people have decided, okay Sampler quilts aren't beautiful, and I don't think that is necessarily true. I think with a good choice of fabrics they can be a very wonderful quilt. Each block in a Sampler quilt hopefully will teach some new technique, some new way of putting fabrics together. Many Sampler quilts also have appliqué blocks. I can remember I had one student and probably she was the only one, she just loved the appliqué blocks. I asked her why she liked them and she said, 'Because when you finish an appliqué block it's the size it's supposed to be. When you finish a pieced block, it may not be the size it's supposed to be.' I think accuracy is important. I'm from the school where I want my work to be nicely done, nicely finished. I'll do whatever I have to do to make that happen and I hope I inspire students to do that too, although I'm not currently teaching.

KM: What did you like best about teaching?

KS: I think just sharing all my discoveries with students and seeing them create beautiful work. Of course the personal contact too. Quilters are the most wonderful people and I have met so many wonderful people through my quilting, both locally and in other parts of the country. This happens whether I was teaching, visiting shows, taking classes or participating in other quilting activities. There is just not a better group of people.

KM: What makes a great quilt?

KS: What makes a great quilt? Okay, that's a very good question. I think one of the things that makes a great quilt is color and I'm not saying any particular color, I'm not saying any particular combination of colors, but I'm saying the way people put the colors together. One thing that of that makes colors work is not a particular color but its value, which I think people have a hard time with. A beginner will probably pick fabrics that are too close in value. We all have particular likes and dislikes. I find it very hard myself to use very light colors. I'm drawn to the medium and the dark colors, but I know that I have to use those light colors and so sometimes it's just that little tiny bit that I wanted to take out but if I had taken that out the quilt would have died. If you ask anybody about the first quilt they saw that got them excited, the first thing they're going to tell you is, 'Oh I saw a red and black quilt,' or 'I saw a green and purple quilt.' They're not going to say I saw a quilt that was made with pattern X or pattern Y because color is the first thing we notice. That tends to be my strong area, working with color.

KM: How do you want to be remembered?

KS: I guess I want to be remembered as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a teacher, and an artist. And I would have never selected an artist when I was in high school because I was totally turned off to art because of my high school art teacher. When I got to college and had a wonderful design teacher my whole outlook changed, but of course it took me many years to be able to come to the point where I now consider myself an artist because in the intervening years there were other priorities in my life.

KM: Why is quiltmaking important to you?

KS: I think part of it is the love of fabric and the love of color, the way I can express myself. There's just, I guess there's a million reasons. There's nothing that gets me more excited than seeing a wonderful group of fabrics. I love to pull fabrics off the shelf and sometimes they will never make it into a project. Sometimes just putting them together is enough of an experience using them. They may get used for something else in a later project. I think the fabrics and the fact that I'm expressing myself are two of the main things that appeal to me about quilting.

KM: What are your plans for your quilts?

KS: That is a really good question because of course I've sold and given away many of my quilts but I still have a large collection of quilts. One of the things that I do think about right now is that when I'm no longer around where are my quilts going to go. There are far too many for my family to be caretakers for so I am currently thinking about where my quilts are going to go so that they would be preserved, appreciated, shown, etc. That's not to say that some of them still won't be sold or given away, but because there's such a large body of work I'm going to have to make some arrangements for the future.

KM: In what ways do you think quilts have special meaning for women's history?

KS: I think it's one of the few places where women have really had an important voice. Yes there were day to day chores, but nobody is going to remember a clean house, generally they're not going to remember the wonderful food women cook, they're not going to remember how the women helped their husbands in the field, all the other things, but a quilt is a tangible thing that a woman has done and that people can look at and say, 'Oh my goodness yes, didn't she do beautiful work, didn't she have a wonderful sense of color, didn't she love her family enough to make these beautiful quilts for them.'

KM: What do you think is your greatest achievement?

KS: I guess my greatest achievement probably isn't quilting, it would be my family and then quilting would come down the line from that.

KM: What is your greatest quilt achievement?

KS: Probably my greatest quilt achievement has been winning two international competitions. I don't enter a lot of competitions. At one time I did enter my work in a lot of juried art shows. I also entered quilt shows, but I came to the realization that I really didn't have time to do those types of things so I only would enter a competition if it had a prize I really wanted to win. [KM laughs.] I did enter "In Living Color" in Jinny Beyer's Palette competition and I did win a new sewing machine. I didn't realize how much I needed a new sewing machine but when I got it I was thrilled with it. About two years later I was also given another sewing machine by another company who wanted me to use their machine. The second international competition I won was Jinny Beyer's Border competition and for that competition the idea was to use her border fabric for a great percentage of the quilt and the prize for that was an all expense paid trip to her seminar at Hilton Head [South Carolina.]. Since I normally went to the seminar at Hilton Head anyhow, I thought well this would be a contest worth entering because everything would be paid for me. I figured if I could make a quilt in about a month for that competition and win I would do that and I did win that competition too. I won first place in large quilts. Those are two of the biggest accomplishments. The other two that would be right up there would be I've had two solo shows at the Anderson Arts Center in Kenosha, Wisconsin and I'm very proud of that because they always say that your own area is the last place you're recognized. Although my quilts have been shown all over the world, having two solo shows that were extremely well attended in my local area was a wonderful feeling. The first solo show I had was about 13 to 15 years ago and that one set the record for attendance at the Anderson Arts Center.

KM: What do you think of the future of quiltmaking?

KS: I think quiltmaking will continue to be very important. I think there's going to be high points and low points. One thing I see now is the younger people don't have the time to do it because so many young women, and when I say women I know men are quilters too, but the majority of quilters are women, are so busy earning a living and raising a family at the same time that it doesn't give them time to pursue leisure activities in the way that many of us who worked in a different way when we were younger did and I see that the average age of the quiltmaker has increased by quite a bit. Quilting is something I don't think will ever die. I can remember teaching out in, I don't know it was either Kansas or Missouri, and women there were using their grandmother's scrap bag, so quilting had never died in that area. At one time I had all these cotton fabrics and I gave them to somebody because I thought I'm not going to use these cotton fabrics that are left from my sewing days, we've got these wonderful polyester double knits, why would anybody want cotton. Well of course I was very sorry I did that when I became a serious quilter years later. [laughs.]

KM: Have you ever sold a piece and wished you hadn't?

KS: I don't think that I have because if I sold a piece I've sold it for what I feel like it was worth to sell and to be able to part with it. There are some quilts that either don't have a price tag or the price tag is very high and I guess if I would sell those I wouldn't be sorry either that they were in somebody else's possession, hoping that person valued the quilt. I do have a series of quilts that I showed in my last one-woman show that I will not sell unless I sell the entire series. It is called "The Colors of My Life." There are 20 quilts. The grand finale quilt number 20 is three-dimensional. I won't sell them individually. These quilts have a very high cumulative price. The only people who could afford them would be a very serious wealthy quilt collector, a hotel, a business, or a large corporation. There is a cohesiveness of the quilts that is one of the reasons they should stay together, also the fact that it really is the story of the colors of my life. The colors that I used, both the colors and the style and the way I put things together are a result of a lifetime of living and many, many different influences.

KM: Do you often work in a series?

KS: I do, yet some of the series stop after two quilts and then they may resume years later. I work in series. I also work individually. Generally there is a continuation. Even though I don't always work in a series, my work for the most part has my signature on it, people can, and I'm not saying that I signed the quilts, I'm saying it has my color signature, my design signature so people will look at it and they will say, 'Oh that is a Kay Sorensen quilt.'

KM: Is there anything you would like to share before we conclude that we haven't touched up?

KS: I think one of the things I would like to share is that I have completed 349 quilts and when I say completed, every last stitch has to be taken before I count them. I keep a record on an Excel spreadsheet that documents each quilt I've finished. So often people say, 'Oh gee, I don't get anything done,' but I think by having this list of what I've accomplished I know that even though I have other lists of things I'm working on, I know that I have accomplished a lot. I also, below the finished quilts on the spreadsheet I keep a record of what I call "works in progress" and I try to keep that list of "works in progress" below 100. Right now, it's at 85 which to many people would sound like a lot, but when you figured that I worked on these things over a long period of time everything doesn't get done, particularly when I was teaching and doing other work. The last two years I finished a lot of work. In the past two years I've finished 60 quilts. If my list tends to get close to 100 I have two more lists, one is called "rework or abandon" and the other list is "maybe I don't want to finish these." If things get moved to those lists I don't have to count them. Sometimes a quilt doesn't tell me what it needs right away, so it may get put away for a period of time. One of the most recent quilts I finished, I started sewing strips together and I thought this isn't going to work, my corners don't match, blah, blah, blah, well I finished it, the corners don't match, I repositioned things, and it's really a much more effective quilt then it would have been had things matched up. Another quilt I just finished was started 12 years ago and that one again I just wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do when it came to quilting it and all of a sudden it came to me and I did finish it. The other more recent quilts, one was just started a few months ago and the other one was probably started a year or two ago. I'm not in a rush to finish things. I wait until I know what the piece needs. I let my quilts talk to me.

KM: I want to thank you for taking time out of your day to share with me.

KS: You're welcome.

KM: We are going to conclude our interview at 10:45.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It’s Quilted!!!!!!


Before I started I had NO idea how I was going to quilt this.

Once I started it just happened and I was pleased with it.

Once the main section was done I was wondering what to do with the border and it too fell into place.

I seldom DO have a plan for the quilting until the needle hits the cloth. Once I start it’s ZEN.


The next step was to trim the edges so they were even. You never know how much a quilt will shrink from the quilting so I allowed extra. It was important this quilt finishes to 16 inches square as I am making it for the:

I will share more about this project soon.

If you are a member of the Alliance you can vote for my quilt to be the winner.

If you are not a member you can join for only $25.

The Quilt Alliance is doing an excellent  job documenting the quilts we create, our stories and  antique quilts.

It is an important link to our quilt present and history.

I also will be sharing where to find my story on the Quilt Alliance with you soon.


The quilt is trimmed and ready for facing the edges. this photo is a little too bright!

Monday, May 19, 2014

I’m Quilting It!


This is a close up of the center of the new quilt.


This is another section of the quilt.

I would say at this time I have almost half of the quilt quilted.

I’m hoping I can finish the quilting today.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A New Quilt Is Happening!


This quilt was inspired by one of the pieces of fabric I recently ice dyed.

It is a hexagon – although it is in a square format.

Hexies are so popular recently so this is my nod to one!

What next?  How do I quilt this? There is so much going on with the pattern created by the dyes.

It’s going to be a challenge to decide how to handle this one.

I’m going to have to see what threads work best for this.

Click to Mix and Solve

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Art Runs In The Family!


The artist who created this is my grandson Nicholas.

I loved this piece and worked a deal with him to get it. He valued it at somewhere between $5000 and $10,000!

My policy was there would be NO games on my iPad. The boys wanted me to put Fruit Ninja on the iPad.

After much dealing back and forth I agreed to put Fruit Ninja on the iPad in exchange for this piece of his art. Not only did I put it on the iPad but I had to put the one that you paid for to seal the deal.

It’s hanging in Jessica’s room. I am pleased with the framing as I think it really sets it off. And it is the only piece of art in my home with a value this high!

Friday, May 16, 2014

My Studio–What WIP’s Are Lurking There?


This should be an easy one to finish. All it needs is some simple quilting and a binding.


This Amish inspired quilt needs a narrow and a wide border and some special quilting.


Not a great picture but a great quilt. The thing that has held me off on finishing this one is it needs a lot of quilting and will need some special edge finishes.


Another not so good picture of a good quilt. It’s layered and ready to quilt but I haven’t decided how to quilt this one.

My goal this summer is to finish 11 quilts. Almost all of those will be from my Works In Progress list.

Since the list is back over 50 again I’m not sure if any of these will be the ones I’ll finish.

But as I look at them I still love each of these.

Guess it’s time to go up to the studio and get to work!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

One Can Never Have Too Much Money Or Too Many Ice Dyed Fabrics!


This ice dyed Mandala was folded into 16 sections. I think that is why the lower half is lighter.

To me that is not a problem but an opportunity.

I often have people ask “What are you going to do with this one?”

My stock answer is to let it wait until it tells me what it wants to be.

It has already started talking a little!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

One Of My Favorite Quilts!


Being without my computer for 4 days gave me a chance to spend more time with my iPhone and iPad seeing what I could do with them.

I took this picture with my iPhone. I was surprised how true the colors were since I took it inside under artificial light.

My Elusive Dream is a quilt I finished two years ago but had started and almost finished 15 years ago.

It has some great quilting but is hard to see in a photo because of the batik background fabric.

It’s in one of the guest bedrooms as the focal point of the room.  I almost never make a quilt with a certain place in mind, but seem to find perfect places for so many of them.

Of course some of them find perfect places in other peoples homes too!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Crap Apple Tree In Bloom


This tree only blooms occasionally and some years only a few branches have flowers.

This year it is blooming profusely. I am wondering it the severe winter has something to do with it?

Monday, May 12, 2014

More Beautiful Flowers


My son Jeff and family gave me these flowers for Mother's Day.

I had been wanting flowers for the deck so this was the perfect gift.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Beautiful Flowers


I received these beautiful flowers from Greg, Julie, Blake, Jessica, Nicholas and Jared for Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Love Tulips In The Spring!


It has been a few years since I have been here to see spring happen!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Honey, I’m Home And Look At This Surprise!


Is this beautiful or what?

It was installed while I was gone.

Seeing the window before it was installed it was ho hum. With the light coming through it and the background of the greenery in the yard it is spectacular.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

More Nice Ice!


This is similar to something I did before, but I handled it differently. The pattern worked out more evenly this time.


This was done on a print fabric with gray printing on white fabric. This was the bottom layer.


Same print fabric, top layer.

These fabrics are always such a surprise…because I just play. I couldn’t duplicate them if I tried!