Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Journey–The Quilt On My Blog Header


I had someone ask about the quilt on my header and I thought this would be a good time to share information about it.

This quilt is 18 1/2 inches wide and 320 inches long.

It is a two sided quilt made completely with hand dyed fabrics.


One side uses reds and it’s variations alternating with grays and blacks.


The other side uses greens, oranges and yellows alternating with browns and tans. I designed it with  a definite progression of colors.

As it swoops you see alternate sides…..which was my plan to show it off.

It was made for a competition but it didn’t photograph well in it’s original configuration where it only swooped about 3 times. For this reason it was never shown in a show or competition.

It was constructed in 1998. It remained in storage in my studio until I came up with this idea of how I could use it.

Our sunroom is almost a cube with plaster walls and tile floors which means poor acoustics.

As time went on I have added as many soft surfaces as possible.


The wall above the opening into the kitchen was a perfect place to hang this.

I experimented with the swooping on the tables in my studio to see if it would fit and work.

When I was satisfied it would I searched the internet for a strong and long enough pole to hang it.

We put it on the pole in the approximate configuration it would hang before putting the pole on the brackets.

It was then adjusted to hang in a pleasing manner.

If works well to add sound resistance as well as beauty to it’s surroundings.

Like all the quilts I hang it was not designed for a specific place but it eventually was the perfect quilt for a specific space.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Approaching Half A Million………

When I started this blog I had no idea how long I’d be doing it. I didn’t know if anyone would be interested in reading it.

Well sometime today or tomorrow I will be hitting half a million views of my blog.

I’ve talked about my quilts, color, my family, my activities, and anything else I want to keep a record of.

In reality it has become my diary that I share with anyone who wants to read it.

I am going to do a rerun of the first week of posts.

If you look carefully at these posts you will see there are some quilts that still aren’t finished.

You also may notice there has been a new direction with the work I am currently doing.

I am no longer teaching quilting or giving programs. I devote my time to my own work. I am finishing many of my works in progress and starting a few new ones along the way.

I’m also a few years older and happy to still be making art.

UPDATE: About 1 p.m. on July 29, 2014 I reached 500,000 views of my blog!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bolt of Color

This is a quilt which few people have seen. I have never exhibited it because it was sold right off my design wall within hours after I finished it.

The center section was painted with Procion dye. Fabric paint was applied over the dyed painted fabric to emphasize the shapes.
The fabric I used for the border was left from a larger piece I had dyed for another project. I was able to blur the division between center and border by carefully cutting the border so the colors blended together.
It is machine quilted. I used an iridescent thread to quilt lines to define the shapes.
Each section was then quilted with a unique design to emphasize the shape.

By clicking on either photo you can see a close up and the detail of some of the quilting.

Posted by Kay Koeper Sorensen at 9:36 PM 2 comments:

Labels: Fabric I dyed

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Multitasking Big Time

I spent this evening watching football, watching the Emmy Awards, monitoring incoming mail on my computer, writing this blog and finishing another one of my show quilts.
Since the football game and the Emmy Awards were on at the same time I was queen of the remote control with the aid of Tivo.
The game is over and now I'll finish watching the Emmy Awards.
It is always such a great feeling when I finish a quilt. It means I can move it to my finished list.

This is a section of the quilt that I showed you the prototype for.
I dyed all the fabrics for this quilt. Much of it is various types of shibori dye.
It is one of the June quilts that will be in my January-March 2009 show.
My solo show will include The Colors Of My Life series and my June series.

Posted by Kay Koeper Sorensen at 9:39 PM 2 comments:

Labels: Fabric I dyed, Quilts: Another Dimension, Shibori

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Introducing my studio assistant

How many times have you said "If I had a studio assistant I could accomplish so much more?"
I am very fortunate to have had a studio assistant for almost a quarter of a century and she does help me a lot.
I was glad to have her around today as I finished the quilting on another one of the quilts for my upcoming show.
One important thing when choosing a studio assistant is to find someone who does not expect you to talk to them all the time.
I also prefer someone who is a quilter themselves.
I don't feel they must have the same quilting style as I do, but they must be passionate about their quilting.
They have to be able to stay on task without your constantly telling them what to do.
She is not easily distracted. A few years ago my then 2 year old granddaughter thought my assistant was unfriendly. Heidi looked up at her and said "Hi!"
When my assistant didn't even answer her she got the strangest look on her face.
A positive attitude is another important atribute.
She never expresses a negative opinion not matter what I do.
She has never put things in a place that I can't find them.
She is older than I am so I can draw on her wisdom.
I would like to introduce you to my studio assistant.

She has a few more wrinkles than I do as you can see in her close-up.

"Quilting Granny" by Sara Baker 1984

Posted by Kay Koeper Sorensen at 7:14 PM 1 comment:

Labels: Studio

Friday, September 19, 2008

Amish Southwest Fusion

I love the simplicity and the colors of Amish quilts.
The use of dark or dull colors along with the clear brights is what makes those Amish quilts sing.
I find the Southwest a very inspirational place to visit.
I put the two loves together in this quilt and added prairie points for an unexpected accent.
The unexpected makes a good quilt great.
The simple diagonal quilting on the black background complements the quilting in the ditch in the pieced area.

Posted by Kay Koeper Sorensen at 10:20 PM No comments:

Labels: My original technique

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Eight Pointed Star for One Armed Quilter

Several years ago I was unable to use my left arm and was in considerable pain. I was not recovering and the pain medication was not doing it's job. I knew that doing something positive could help the healing process.
When I couldn't sleep I got up at 4 a.m. and thought about making a Lone Star quilt with strips I had already cut. I went to the computer and using the first colors on the palette designed a Lone Star.
I pulled out my box of strips and with one arm began sewing them together. As I did each step, I noticed I was improving enough to do the next step.
After making all the points I looked through my fabric collection and finally found the perfect fabric to finish the quilt.
After completing the first quilt top I realized I had the same background print in another color way.

I created this Broken Star using this fabric as my inspiration
I wanted to do this with a fabric that did not have a quarter circle design.

This quilt was done with a fabric with a linear color striation.
I will be teaching my Eight Pointed Star for One Armed Quilter at the Lighthouse Quilt Guild in Racine, Wisconsin on Monday September 29, 2008.

I will also be doing my lecture "Creating Spectacular Quilts" for them that evening.

Posted by Kay Koeper Sorensen at 7:16 PM 9 comments:

Labels: My original technique

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I love Shibori!

I did this prototype for a larger shibori piece. The larger piece is one of my show quilts.
The shibori fabrics talk to me and tell me what to do with them.
Prototypes also give me a chance to test quilting designs and quilting threads.
You can click on the photo to see the detail of the quilting.
A successful prototype stands on it's own as a finished work of art.

Posted by Kay Koeper Sorensen at 9:55 PM 1 comment:

Labels: Fabric I dyed, Shibori

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cubic Jubilee

This quilt is made from hand dyed fabrics. Even the black is hand dyed. Obtaining a deep dark black with Procion dyes is not the easiest thing to do as most dyers will attest to.
I did not dye the fabrics for this quilt.
It is 51 inches square.

Posted by Kay Koeper Sorensen at 11:28 PM 1 comment:

Labels: hand dyed fabric., My original design

Monday, September 15, 2008

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again

This quilt started out as a strip pieced quilt shading from roses through blues.
It then was cut into a curve shape and sewn together to create a new design.
It DIDN'T work. It was so bad I don't even have a photo of the original.
I had put a lot of time in it and I knew it was salvageable.
Step 1: I cut it into diagonal squares.
Step 2: I added one inch black strips between each square.
Step 3: I added a plain black border and some leftover piecing from the original strata to the left of the quilt.
It needed more.
Step 4: I went to my fabric collection and found a large tropical print. I cut pieces from it and laid them on the quilt in a pleasing arrangement. I appliqued them to the quilt.
It still needed something.
I spied the leftover pieces that resulted when I cut the original strata into the curve shape.
Step 5: I laid them on the quilt and VOILA - that was it!

Posted by Kay Koeper Sorensen at 11:39 PM 3 comments:

Labels: Quilting Problems

Quilts for the Millennium

I sometimes introduce myself by saying "My name is Kay, - I don't do bed quilts - Sorensen.
I made an exception to that for the Millennium. I made a king size charm quilt for each of my 8 grandchildren.
Each quilt has 2000 different fabrics with a Millennium Border Print.
I traded fabric with over 350 people from around the world to do the project.
The grandchildren are only allowed to sleep under them on New Year's Eve or other special occasions. Each quilt is accompanied by a Journal so they can record their activities, photos and share where they were each time they use the quilts.
They were started in April 1999 and finished on December 15, 1999.
This would not have been possible if I had not had Sandy Schilawski of Green Bay, Wisconsin quilt them. She did a fantastic job and I really appreciated it.
No one was more amazed than me that I finished all 8 in that period of time!
The photo shows only 1 quilt but there are REALLY 8 - each with different borders and backings, but all with similar color layouts.

Posted by Kay Koeper Sorensen at 1:04 AM 11 comments:

Labels: family, Millennium quilts

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Journey is the quilt you see on my header.
It is 18.5 x 320 inches.
It is made from hand dyed fabrics using reds, oranges and yellows alternating with blacks and shades of gray on one side.
The other side is greens, golds and yellows alternating with browns, tans and beiges.
Two years ago when doing some redecorating I realized I could hang it in an archway between my sunroom and kitchen.
This proved to be the perfect place to hang the quilt so you can appreciate both sides.

Posted by Kay Koeper Sorensen at 7:48 PM 1 comment:

Labels: My original technique

My Colorful Quilts

I love to create quilts - large quilts, small quilts, miniature quilts, art quilts, quilts made from fabric I've dyed or painted or both, odd shaped quilts, long quilts, three dimensional quilts, embellished quilts, post card quilts, altered playing card quilts, fused quilts, pieced quilts, appliqued quilts, hand quilted quilts, machine quilted quilts, even an occasional bed quilt.
What do they all have in common?
Think about the first quilt you remember seeing that impressed you.
How do you describe it?
Probably the first word you use is the color name.
We see the color of a quilt before we see the pattern or the workmanship.
I will be sharing some of the quilts I've made with you. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Layers And Layers……Of Quilts That Is!


As I am putting the studio back in some semblance of order I have put the quilts in a somewhat logical order.


The ones on top of the bed are mostly finished with a few exceptions.


Those on the rack at the end of the bed are some I’d like to finish sooner or later.


I have decided to send some of them out to be quilted. Many of them are candidates for long arm quilting.

I am also looking for a hand quilter who does exquisite work to finish quilting my grandmothers quilt. If you or anyone you know is capable of doing that please email me. There is a link to my email in my About Me section at the top left. The quilt is a basket quilt from the 20’s or 30’s. It is typical of the era and probably a pattern she got from the newspaper or Mountain Mist.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Organizing My Shibori and Ice Dyed Fabrics

I don’t need things in perfect order as I work in my studio.

Occasionally it does get to the point where I need to put things in some semblance of order.


This basket holds all of my ice dyed fabrics with the exception of the 3 mandalas I showed you yesterday.

It doesn’t look like there is quite so much when they are all neatly folded.


I keep my shibori dyed fabrics laid out on my library table. This makes it easy to see what I have, and also to see what I need to dye next.

Having them visible makes it so much easier to design something.

I am not really designing anything right now, as I am currently concentrating on finishing works in progress.

That does not mean I am not being inspired and getting ideas for the future from seeing these.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

3 Ice Dyed Mandalas


I know I have shown these 3 ice dyed mandalas before but I wanted to show them all together.


I rotated the picture so you can get a closer look at the detail in each one.

When I made these I had no idea what would happen with the design and the colors. They were a very pleasant surprise.

I have not decided how I will quilt these or if I will quilt them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Visit From A Quilter


I am sure many of you will recognize my visitor if you are a quilter.

Del Thomas was on her way home from Indiana and detoured to visit Wisconsin. She said it was one of the two states she had never visited.

Her travels put her in my part of Wisconsin in the late afternoon so we were able to connect.

She got to my house and we proceeded to Siebert’s Hotel for dinner.

We then came back to the house and she got a chance to see a few of my quilts and my studio.

We had never met before but when you put two quilters together they hit it off right away.

I really enjoyed meeting her and talking about quilts and other things. Of course we know many of the same people.

Hoping our paths cross again.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Glory Aura


Glory Aura is finished. I absolutely love it. My friend Shelly also said it was her favorite.

I mentioned to her I had no place to hang it in my house. After she left I realized I could hang it over the TV cabinet in the sunroom.

I am going to share several versions of this from the first attempt on the design wall! Of course there are many others I didn’t photograph.


This is where I started. Of course I had no idea where I was heading. But one has to start somewhere.


Then I tried this.


Now I’m heading in the right direction even though I have a long way to go.


I subtracted several pieces of fabric.


Getting close……but what can I use to border this with this irregular border?


I tried many things and these were the two most likely candidates.


The decision is made. Next decision was how to trim the borders. I decided I preferred it squared off to accent the original design.


I was not able to get the quilting to show up on the front of the quilt so I am again showing you the back.

The circles are the perfect compliment to the bold graphic design.