Dena Dale Crain


Dena Dale Crain relocated from the USA to Kenya in 1990, then returned to the USA in 2023. She spent most of her time in Kenya, living on the shore of Lake Baringo, two hundred miles and a five-hour drive north of Nairobi, with her partner Jonathan Leakey.

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 art quilts were the subject of several solo art exhibitions and group quilt shows in Africa.

Dena helped found the Kenya Quilt Guild and keeps 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 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. In 2018 she became a Recommended Teacher for the same guild.

In 2004 Dena joined the faculty of Quilt University, the first major online educational facility for patchwork quilters, later teaching for QuiltEd Online and 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, live and virtual quilt classes, original pattern downloads, and more on her website.

Smashwords Interview

What are you working on next?
I am developing virtual online classes to answer the call from an increasingly digital and globalized market. Even as I progress with this work, I still have a couple of ebooks that I need to publish, including Reflections and Goodbye to the Grid (titles may change).
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I love what I'm doing! I enjoy quilting, both as a hobby and as a business. Changing circumstances in my personal life have given me an opportunity now to focus on videoing, 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, but even more so to know that by publishing, 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: 23,960. 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: 48,730. 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: 30,910. 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: 34,700. 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: 6,420. 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: 21,020. 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: 7,640. 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.