Moving Blanket: Stengle

September 3rd, 2012

My friend Sarah is an accomplished maker of things. If you know her, you know. We’ve had an ongoing appointment on certain Tuesday evenings to get together to work on projects. Over time many women have worked with us; fun is had by all. When Sarah decided to move, it became clear to me that the best way to prepare for this shift was to offer some of her nears and dears a chance to participate in the creation of a Moving Blanket especially for her.

This particular quilt includes fabric Sarah gave me: the pink striped shirt she would wear in the studio, a night watch plaid shirt that belonged to her Dad. Anticipating a Tuesday night devoted specifically to preparing this quilt, I pulled out fabric that had been donated by mutual friends. As is my custom, almost no instruction was given, and people improvised with what they brought and what was available.

An unusual addition to this mix was the use of denim. Normally I use shirt weight material but because Sarah and I both love the Gee’s Bend quilts, it seemed appropriate to include some Levi’s 501 jeans in homage to those compositions of workclothes, which visually resonate like the most evocative Abstract Expressionist color field paintings.




Moving Blankets

September 3rd, 2012

A new series of quilts is coming along.  Using a basic format of four foot by six foot, quilted with an undulating wave patterned after utilitarian packing blankets, these quilts can withstand serious use. Because I’ve been collecting for a long time, there’s a lot of patterns and colors to choose from. Rather than control the whole process from beginning to end, this series gives numerous other people an opportunity to participate. The best part, for me, is seeing how people identify with certain fabrics: their choices are a reflection of their own aesthetic.

At the Mercer County Teen Arts festival this year, I asked 40 students to select fabric from a big pile. They picked at random; ironing, cutting, pinning and joining their two fabrics with the available iron and sewing machine. They did all the work themselves, with supervision but little intervention on my part.

Here is the result: I added the blue fabric with the poppy print to help unify the composition.


The back is composed of fabric given to me by friends, which is both cheerful and funky with the repeating pattern of squirting tubes.


My friend Harriet completed her second quilt, and gave me the leftover fabric – including some 12″ squares she’d made following a checkerboard pattern in a distinctive palette including acid green, turquoise, harvest gold and lemon yellow. Alternate 12″ squares were pieced from my collection of curious scraps.


Marimekko back in two colorways:


This is another assemblage mostly using Harriet’s fabric, with a few unusual additions from my collection:


Michelle Post picked the backing, which is another cheerful Marimekko fabric:


Capital Health “Building Blocks” Completed

September 15th, 2011

To create the two “Building Blocks” quilts for the Oncology area, the staff was invited to contribute fabric with personal significance. The resultant sentinel quilts are composed of nearly 100 fabrics, many with floral and botanical motifs.  Viewed from afar, the patterns appear as a three-dimensional geometric construction with interlocking edges.  Viewed up close, the details of individual fabrics emerge, and the topstitching is a handwritten poem about the limitations of cancer, “What Cancer Cannot Do”.  This is a permanent installation, thanks to Lin Swensson, who commissioned the project as part of her holistic vision of incorporating healing art into the hospital’s environment.

Building Blocks

Lucky 13, Completed

September 14th, 2011

The blocks created on Friday May 13 at the Teens Arts Festival at Mercer County Community College were put together in time for the annual solstice celebration Art All Night in Trenton.  The quilt was hung at the Artworks table and credit was given to the collaborators: Samrah Ahmad, Evan Bedser, Laura Bentivegna, Iona Binnie, Meredith Bloomberg, Spencer Carrow, Lindsay Craig, Ariel Drossman, Laura Durr, Emma Freedman, Carolyn Fick, Genna Garlock, Rebecca George, Sarah Golobish, Stefanie Hernandez-Mendez, Ellen Klein, Janice Konadu, Metri Kumar, Jada Levine, Amy Loesberg, Ariel Lund, Olena Lymar, Sharon Mendez, Kyee Min J., Monica Naropanth, Caoimne O’Sullivan-Roche, Dhvani Patel, Naina Qayyum, Naita Rao, Ipsita Rar, Stephanie Retona, Kalilah Sabree, Niharika Sahay, J. Mikita Sashihara, Cheyanne Setnestica, Shivani Shah, Sarah Stengle, Keona White, Brittany Woodruff, Kim Woodruff, Camelia Wu, Elena Wu-Yan. (Please note that I copied this from a hand written list – if a name is not spelled correctly, let me know and I will make sure to correct it!)


Announcement for Quilt Making Class at ARTWORKS Trenton

May 26th, 2011

Kate Graves

Fine Art:

Quilt Website:


215 337-9399


Artist Biography


My mission is to make objects of beauty and utility.  As a teacher my role is to guide students in the process of designing and fabricating work that reflects their individuality and creativity. My fabric collection has grown over 20 years to include hundreds of materials that each have a story.  Adaptive reuse of Hawaiian shirts, batik skirts, and gifts from friends and family make my collection unique, a woven library of color and pattern.  The process of collecting fabrics, sharing stories while sewing, and making something meaningful is what keeps this tradition alive for me, and I enjoy sharing what I have learned along the way.


Course Schedule:


SIX CLASSES:             Mondays from 7-9

                                    June 6,13,20,27

                                    July 11,18


ENROLLMENT:            $125 for six classes           

5-person minimum, 10 people maximum


Course Description:


Using simple techniques, the process of making a quilt is broken down into steps. Each student is encouraged to design and build a project individually, with support and guidance in technique and fabric selection. Demonstrations and sharing of design resources will help each student to understand the most effective way to move forward in realization of a quilt.  Prospective students are welcome to contact the teacher with any questions about the class at  


May 26th, 2011

Beginning on Friday May 13 at the Mercer County Teen Arts Festival, a quilt made of 169 squares will be constructed in time for Art All Night Trenton 2011.  Over 40 teens participated in the process of stencil pattern making, tracing and painting individual 4″ squares with the number 13.  More to come about the progress of this collaborative effort!


Photo by Frank Jacobs

Healing Art: Quilts

March 10th, 2011

Capital Health in Hopewell will have work by many area artists, and we are all looking forward to seeing our projects installed later this year.  In addition to three interior sculptures, my commission includes the creation of two quilts for wall mounted presentation in the Oncology area.

To gather material for the project I requested donations of fabric from the staff, who did not disappoint. Numerous, diverse fabrics came in and Rona Remstein was kind enough to collect them for me. She also made a trek out to Pennington Quilt Works with a staff nurse, and together we gathered a bunch of batiks with floral and arboreal themes.

I am currently piecing the two “Tumbling Block” quilt tops.

Quilt Installation Mock-UpRaw Materials

Yogi & Boo Boo want one, too!

March 10th, 2011

For those who enjoy the pleasures of the pic-a-nic basket, here’s an idea: the custom made, washable, lightweight blanket.  My Mom sent me a bunch of pre-cut fabric squares and asked me to assemble them to fit a backing fabric with a Provencial print.  There were so many colors and patterns that a bit of order was imposed by repeating a nine patch block.  Happy hiking, Mom – don’t forget the mustard!

Picnic Blanket

HULA LADIES at the Jenkins Arboretum

January 13th, 2011

The “Hula Ladies” quilt will be included in the Celebrating Nature’s Beauty in Stitches 2011 Quilt Show at the Jenkins Arboretum & Gardens in Devon, PA.  A reception for the quilters will be held 7-9PM on Friday, February 4, 2011.  Please RSVP your attendance at the reception by e-mail to webinfo@jenkinsarboretum or calling 610 647-8870 by January 24, 2011.  There is no charge for the reception, and hors de oeuvres and drinks will be served.  I’m planning on going, and have room in the Volvo if anyone wants a ride (contact me via e-mail, please!).



September 6th, 2010

About eight years ago I bought a handmade quilt at the Mill Hill neighborhood sale.  It was in threadbare shape in places, and the rosebud pink backing fabric was very soft but had worn through around the edges. The fabrics are small prints, possibly from the 1930s.  The batting is a woven cotton blanket, so it has more weight than usual for its size.  It gets daily use on my kitchen couch, and has been run through the wash multiple times.  As a result, a lot of the white squares are failing, the cotton has become whisper thin and tears easily.  As sad as it looked, the quilt was important enough to me that I devised a way to re-invigorate it.

Aunt Denise passed along some fabric that had belonged to her mother.  The hexagonal shapes are all hand hemmed and sewn into clusters.  Using an iron-on product I was able to make patches to cover the worst of the damaged areas, which are now being further secured with delicate hand stitching.  The old backing was removed completely, and replaced with a light cotton featuring a repeat pattern of a boquet of poppies.  The new backing is doubled up and overlaps to provide a one inch border on the front, which has been hand stitched around the perimeter of the front of the quilt.Here is a picture of the result.mended quilt