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 palaeontologists.

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.

In 2004 Dena joined the faculty of Quilt University, an online educational facility for patchwork quilters. She taught online for ten years before hosting her online patchwork quilt design classes on her own site. 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.

Smashwords Interview

What are you working on next?
Designer Pinwheels, Art Quilts with a Twist! This new e-book teaches quilters how to design and make their own, original, quilt designs--much easier than most people think.

A Designer Pinwheel uses four-fold rotation of a tessellated right triangle to make a square quilt design, suitable for a medallion quilt center, one of many panels in a larger quilt, or simply as a gorgeous stand-alone wall hanging or lap quilt. Designs can be as simple or as complex as you like. The e-book includes full instructions for making ANY Designer Pinwheel you can design. These methods are tried and true, guaranteed to work if you apply a little effort and patience. Designer Pinwheels are glorious; they're worth the extra output!

Luxurious and beautiful Designer Pinwheels quilts are within the range of every quilter's grasp, made particularly special because each quilter both designs and makes her own unique quilt top compositions.

Designer Pinwheels, Art Quilts with a Twist, is available now for pre-order from Apple, Kobo and Barnes and Nobel. Expected release date is September 13, 2015.
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.

Besides, I have a few more design ideas for new quilts, and a couple of new online classes I need to write and publish, so I really need to get my e-books done and out of the way!
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.


Structured Fabrics: Checks, Plaids and Stripes
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 30,570. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Crafts & Hobbies, 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: $9.99 USD. Words: 34,450. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Crafts & Hobbies
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: Free! Words: 6,050. Language: English. Published: August 16, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Crafts & Hobbies, Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Crafts & Hobbies
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: 20,670. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Crafts & Hobbies
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
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 7,240. Language: English. Published: January 13, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases, Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Crafts & Hobbies
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.

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