Dena Dale Crain


Dena Dale Crain relocated from the USA to Kenya in 1990. She has spent most of her time since then living on the shore of Lake Baringo, two hundred miles and a five-hour drive north of Nairobi, with husband Jonathan Leakey, eldest son of Louis and Mary Leakey, renowned paleontologists.

Dena saw patchwork quilting as a way to employ local women, taught herself the basics and began a small production quilting business in her home. With advanced degrees in design, anthropology, and textiles, she was uniquely positioned to help. As her experience and confidence increased, she began producing “one-off” works of art. Dena’s innovative and art quilts have been the subject of several solo art exhibitions and group quilt shows in Africa.

Dena helped found the Kenya Quilt Guild and continues to keep a pulse on its activities. She helps educate members of the society at large about quilts as art. She has written magazine articles and lectured at quilting and non-quilting functions.

Teaching in Cape Town, South Africa, for the Good Hope Quilters Guild National Quilt Festival in July 2002 moved Dena into the ranks of international quilting teachers. Since then, she has taught art quilting at such prestigious venues as the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, England; the European Patchwork Meeting in Val d'Argent, France; and the International Quilt Festivals in Houston and Chicago in the USA. In 2011, she earned South Africa National Quilt Guild certification as a qualified quilt judge and in 2018 she became a Recommended Teacher for the same guild.

In 2004 Dena joined the faculty of Quilt University, an online educational facility for patchwork quilters. She taught there for ten years before hosting online patchwork quilt design classes on QuiltEd Online. Today, her innovative and unusual classes are available through the Academy of Quilting. An inventive and creative mind coupled with top-notch sewing skills makes Dena Dale Crain an educator of high merit in the world of patchwork quilting.

Find links to Dena's patchwork quilt ebooks, online quilt classes and original pattern downloads on her website.

Smashwords Interview

What are you working on next?
I have several more online quilt classes I want to publish on the Academy of Quilting. Most of them are classes I taught for Quilt University or QuiltEd Online, but there are a few surprises coming!

New ebooks I write follow the same themes as my online quilt classes, but each one is a properly formatted ebook, not merely a copy of the online lessons.

My best recommendation is that you sign up for one of my online quilt classes and also buy the ebook. That’s the best way to gain insight into all the material covered in the ebook, experience firsthand my interpersonal teaching skills, and retain the information for your lifetime as a quilter.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I love what I'm doing! I have greatly enjoyed quilting, first as a hobby and then as a business. Changing circumstances in my personal life have given me an opportunity now to focus on writing and publishing the outcome of more than twenty years as an online and international quilt teacher, author and designer. It is rewarding to see my work in print, yes, but even more so to know that by publishing my work I leave a legacy for quilters to enjoy for generations to come.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Dena Dale Crain online


Dena Dale Crain's Art Quilt Portfolio
The art quilts of Dena Dale Crain--more than 20 years of patchwork quilt design and quilt making captured on film.

How to Make a Crystal Quilt
Follow the making of a Crystal Quilt, "Emerald," as I construct it from beginning to end. It looks so complicated, but it's not!


Darned Quilts
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 24,000. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2021. Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Crafts & Hobbies » Quilts & quilting
Play with identical shapes and color changes to create dynamic movement in abstract art wall hanging quilts—-fast, furious, and FUN! Build a gorgeous background from a carefully selected set of graded fabrics, augment it with a myriad of pretty sewing tricks, then chop and swap it to bits. Darn it all back together, and voilà!--you have a Darned Quilt!
Math for Quilters
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 48,790. Language: English. Published: November 25, 2019. Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Crafts & Hobbies » Quilts & quilting
Control design and improve the results of patchwork quilting as you master the mathematics of basic algebra, fractions, decimals, geometry, and scale. Learn to design, plan, layout, cost and price your original quilts with increased confidence. Chock full of information, illustrations and examples, Math for Quilters covers all aspects of patchwork quilting. Includes FAQ and printable pdf tables.
Structured Fabrics: Checks, Plaids and Stripes
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 30,970. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Crafts & Hobbies » Quilts & quilting, Nonfiction » Art, Architecture, Photography » Crafts - Needlework General
In this clever and fun art quilt ebook, Structured Fabrics: Checks, Stripes and Plaids, explore a creative way to give new life to previously unused fabrics, scraps and embellishments in your stash. Fast sewing, with a thoughtful eye to color and value, moves the work along quickly and successfully. Make ATCs, wearables, accessories or one-off works of art—the designs and choices are up to you!
Designer Pinwheels, Art Quilts with a Twist
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 34,750. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Crafts & Hobbies » Quilts & quilting
Designer Pinwheels are based on four-fold rotation of a tessellated right triangle. This e-book simplifies designing and piecing even the most difficult quilt patterns. Learn why and how to piece without unnecessary seams for beautiful results. Learn why, when and how to use embellishments to enhance the designs. Master some fun-to-do techniques, and create original Designer Pinwheels of your own!
Sudoku Quilts
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 6,480. Language: English. Published: August 16, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Crafts & Hobbies » Quilts & quilting, Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Crafts & Hobbies » Patchwork
Did you know that Sudoku puzzles can be used to design lovely patchwork quilts? This brief e-book, Sudoku Quilts, explains how basic Sudoku puzzles can be converted into designs and plans for patchwork quilts to suit any occasion. It's all here: straightforward instructions to become a patchwork quilt designer literally overnight!
Bind Quilts by Machine
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 21,080. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Crafts & Hobbies » Quilts & quilting
Bind Quilts by Machine offers patchwork quilters three easy methods to apply quilt bindings by machine: Fuss-Free, Seamless and Double-Fold Bindings. It also shows how to add Perfect Piping to bindings, borders, even patchwork. Finally, the book demystifies mock bindings, bagging, facing and raw edges for quilts. Bind Quilts by Machine is sure to become every patchwork quilter's handbook!
How to Make a Mosquito Net From Fully Illustrated Instructions
You set the price! Words: 7,700. Language: English. Published: January 13, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases, Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Crafts & Hobbies » Sewing
General discussion about malaria, the disease's treatment and its prevention, followed by complete instructions, illustrated with sketches and photographs, for sewing a recommended mosquito net made from cotton sheeting and nylon tulle, written by an experienced textile specialist and a twenty-year veteran of life in Africa.