About jeanswenson

My granny taught me to sew when I was 4-years old, and after 50+ years of sewing, and many sewing projects - including my eldest daughter's wedding dress - my favorite thing to sew are quilt tops!


February 2020

Here’s my latest quanket, done in a chandelier quilt pattern. All of the fabrics were pulled from my stash and scraps.

When I began this journey over seven years ago of making quilts for kids in the foster system, it had been my intention to use up the large stash of fabrics I had inherited from my Mom. While many of these have been depleted over the past seven years, I still have a few that persist, mostly because they are unusual – either in color or design, or both. In this quilt, I was able to incorporate one such fabric: it is sort of teal in color, but tending more toward green, with large-scale printed seashells. While I was able to use up some of it, I still have about two more yards. Back to the thinking board on how I can use this one! 🙂

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in June 2020.

Sarasaland Princess

Sarasaland Princess
December 2019

The jumping off point and inspiration for this quilt was the daisy motif pillowcase in the (somewhat) center. It is a vintage Vera Neumann design, from the 1970’s, in yellow ombré. I had it in some things inherited from my Mom, and from its near perfect condition, I suspect she never used it. So after being stashed away for forty-plus years, it was time for these pretty daisies to come out of storage and be enjoyed.

I had two objectives for the design: I wanted to use an ombré effect in the pieced section around the pillowcase, and wanted the daisy pillowcase to be the focal point of the quilt. I settled on the rail fence pattern for the pieced section as it works well in supporting the ombré effect I was going for, and I feel its simplicity doesn’t become a distraction to the daisy centerpiece. Most of the fabrics for the pieced section were from my stash or scraps bins. I typically tie my quilts to finish, but was concerned that the pillowcase section, which is roughly 18″x27″, would be too flimsy. To add structural strength, I backed this piece with white flannel, and quilted it with stitching that continued the rail fence design. The flannel added just the right amount of stability to the pillowcase piece so that when the completed top was backed with fleece and tied, this centerpiece section lays quite nicely.

As for the name Sarasaland Princess, you’ll need to figure that out on your own 🙂

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in December, 2019.


November 2019

Random is defined as “made or occurring without definite aim, reason, or pattern”. As much as I attempt randomization in some of my quilts, I struggle with letting them be completely random.

I had three objectives in making Ziggy: I had been wanting to do a string quilt to clear-up space in my reds and browns scraps bins; I wanted to experiment with foundation piecing; and I wanted to try (once again) to make a randomly pieced quilt. While the colorway was not completely random (strike 1), the pieces were different widths, ranging anywhere from 1″ to 3″. I began by tossing all the scraps next to the sewing machine, figuring I would just pick-up a scrap from the pile without any forethought, sew it to the block, and continue in this manner. I had gotten about eight blocks completed and on the design wall when I decided that ‘random’ wasn’t working for me. There was way too much color chaos!

I liked how the diagonal seams were working for a chevron pattern, but the randomness in the fabric placement was not supporting the chevron look. I then separated the fabrics I had tossed next to the sewing machine into their color values (strike 2), and was more attentive to the placement on each block (strike 3 and out). This was no longer going to be a random design. While I only accomplished two of my three objectives, in the end, I am happy with the final design. And ultimately, shouldn’t that be the biggest objective of anything we create?

What I learned along the way

  1. Foundation piecing – this was my first attempt at foundation piecing. I used dryer sheets, which worked really well (make sure to use either previously used dryer sheets, or wash new ones before using to remove the chemicals).
  2. Taking a black and white photo helps to visualize color saturation distribution. I got this tip from someone in Jacquelynne Steves Facebook group and it worked great! Once I had moved past this being a ‘random’ design, I really wanted to ensure the zig zags of the chevrons translated into the final design, and using the black and white photo technique helped in showing me where I needed to make adjustments to fabric placement.
  3. I learned a new word – stochastic. In my trying to understand why I have such a difficult time doing ‘random’ quilts, I came across Kristin Brenneman’s work on Chance in Art, where she defines stochastic as “a sequence which combines random components with a selective process so that only certain outcomes of the random are allowed to endure”. So while it is not a completely random quilt, I believe I can say with a fair amount of certainty that this is a stochastic quilt 🙂

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in December, 2019.


September 2019

I’ve been making quilts for years, but mostly toppers that I bind and then tie to fleece backing. I haven’t done much in the way of machine or hand quilting, and in the last year have begun experimenting with machine quilting. I began cautiously, first on two table runners for last year’s Christmas and then in my Hoplon quilt project from earlier this year. I also have a QAYG project in the works. Overall, I’m enjoying the learning process.

My Palahdee quilt is a Labyrinth Quilt Block which I thought would work well as a baby quilt. Mypatchworld offers a nice tutorial on this block pattern. I don’t often make baby quilts, but felt it would be a good size to further practice my machine quilting. I tried out three different quilting designs: around the center star and the flower border I stitched in the ditch and then did a 1/4″ stitch away from the ditch; I did straight lines on the blue, using 1″ blue painters tape as my ruler; and on the elephants, I made my own freehand template that sort of looks like an elephant’s trunk.

The elephant fabric was the main star for this quilt, which was also the inspiration for the name. The blue fabric was from a duvet cover someone had given me many years ago and the small flower fabric was something I bought several years ago from the Latimer Quilt and Textile Center in Tillamook, a great place to visit if you’re in that area.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in December, 2019.

Super Nova

Super Nova
August 2019

Do you have a fabric in your stash that sits there day-in and day-out, month-after-month, year-after-year, taunting you to make something of it? Challenging you to do something to let it be the shining star it is? But, in your eyes, it lacks. It won’t play well with others. It doesn’t have a pretty motif, it isn’t modern, and its colors are juxtaposed in an odd way.

The plaid binding fabric in my Super Nova quanket was this fabric. It is one I probably would not have picked out in the store. I’m not sure if you can zoom in enough to see it clearly, so I’ll try my best to describe it. It is a very small plaid print that seems to want to be a Christmas fabric, but the red is closer to magenta and the green is so dark that from afar, it is difficult to discern as green at all. I had acquired it from a donation several years ago, and it has sat in my stash patiently waiting its turn to be used. Well, its day has come! It, along with several other homespun plaids, and magenta and dark green scraps have been used in this Bursting Star quilt. If you are interested in this pattern, you can download it for free from Bluprint here. *I revised the pattern slightly, around the central star.

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in August 2019.

Be Dazzled

Be Dazzled
May 2019

The star of this quanket is the zebra fabric blocks which are alternated with a medley of grey blocks. The zebra fabric represents zebras not only as black and white – or white and black 😉 – but also as rainbow striped.

When my kids were little, they enjoyed the poems of Shel Silverstein, and this particular poem is representative of many of the thoughts I had while creating this quilt, and thinking about those rainbow zebras. The message that I took from the poem and the rainbow zebras is that we are all different, and that’s okay! We should respect each person’s choices and individuality, and not question what makes them tick. We shouldn’t worry about what others choose to do with their lives. The only thing that matters, is what we do with ours, and to make it as dazzling as we possibly can!

Zebra Question
~ by Shel Silverstein
I asked the zebra
Are you black with white stripes?
Or white with black stripes?
And the zebra asked me,
Are you good with bad habits?
Or are you bad with good habits?
Are you noisy with quiet times?
Or are you quiet with noisy times?
Are you happy with some sad days?
Or are you sad with some happy days?
Are you neat with some sloppy ways?
Or are you sloppy with some neat ways?
And on and on and on and on
And on and on he went.
I’ll never ask a zebra
About stripes

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services for a child in foster care in August, 2019.

Land’s Edge

Land’s Edge
March 2019

Back in January I tackled my blue scraps bin and created the Bargello twist and turn quilt I named 3273 K. Of the 500 scrappy blue rectangles I cut for that project, I still had about 100 left. So instead of trying to cram them back into my scraps bin, I pulled out all my skinny blue and brown string scraps and made this! No pattern, just winging it 😉

There are so many different fabrics in this quanket, I wouldn’t know where to start to list which ones are “pieces of the past” – heck, I guess they’re all technically “pieces of the past” since they’re all from past projects! I plan to link this to the weekly linky party over at Quilting is more fun than Housework. Pop over to see all the other great scappy projects others have been working on.

Quilting is more fun than Housework

This was donated to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services in March 2019, for a foster child.


February 2019

Early this year, we got devastating news: our youngest daughter was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer. At 31 years old, life has dealt her some harsh knocks. Yet while the justice scales seem quite out-of-whack where she is concerned, she has faced the challenges that life has thrown at her head-on, with such resolve and a fighting spirit. She is truly a modern day Spartan warrior! That is where the name I chose comes from: a hoplon was the warriors shield.

Before she began chemo treatments in mid-February, I made this quilt for her. I intended it to be symbolic of the hoplon, shielding her in the tremendous amount of love her family and friends have for her. The center LOVE is quilted while the outer blocks (Clay’s Choice) are tied. The sashing between each of the outer blocks have written messages of hope, love, strength and healing from family and friends.


3273 K

3273 K
January 2019

What do you do when the scraps get out of control? Make a quilt of course! In the process of putting away my latest project’s scraps, I found I could no longer squeeze scraps into my blues bin. It was like packing a really full suitcase, but even if I had sat on it, I was just not going to be able to cram even one more teeny weeny scrap in it.

So I dumped the scraps onto my cutting table and started by cutting 2.5″ x 3.5″ rectangles from every piece of fabric that was big enough, ending up with close to 500 rectangles. My original plan was to just join them randomly: since there were so many different fabrics, this would work well. As I began organizing and grouping them by their color values, the idea of doing this scrappy quilt as a twist and turn Bargello came to me – an idea that had been tickling at the back of my brain for awhile.

A couple years ago, I had made my first Bargello quilt based off a pattern I had from a 1993 issue of a Quilters Newsletter magazine. During the process of making it, I Google searched Bargello quilts and was awed by the twist and turn Bargello quilt designs. At that time, I was ready to move onto something different, but the idea of doing a twist and turn Bargello quilt at some future time seemed appealing.

I sometimes like to use obscure names for my quilts: sometimes they are something personally meaningful to me, but sometimes, I just like quirky. I typically don’t divulge the deeper meaning, but I think even a Google search on this one would be challenging to find what 3273 K is. This is 3273 Kelvin, the temperature at which a flame burns blue, creating a pinpoint blue flame (also one of my favorite David Grey songs).

This was donated in March 2019 to the County of Ventura, Children & Family Services, for a foster child.