QuiltEd Online: Crystal Quilts

Jewel of Africa, a Crystal Quilt by Dena Dale Crain

Jewel of Africa, a Crystal Quilt by Dena Dale Crain


Check out the new course offering at QuiltEd Online! First take a peek at my gallery and enjoy seeing my Crystal Quilts. Then go to QuiltEd Online, read the blog post there, and have a look at the student work. Then, come join me for the course – Crystal Quilts!

In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy seeing my video, How to Make a Crystal Quilt!


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Safari to Turkana Basin Institute

In 1960, young Jonathan Leakey spent a summer digging at Olduvai Gorge under the blazing Tanzanian sun. He selected a spot and began excavating it with the assistance of a student. Soon after, he recognized the fossilized remains of a saber-tooth tiger, the digging became more serious and attracted the attention of Jonathan’s mother, Mary Leakey. Long tedious hours later, Jonathan’s finds were catalogued and roughly reassembled. What he had uncovered in the hard packed dirt were the remains of a creature never seen before. It was given a name: homo habilis, one of many other specimens destined to help prove or disprove the evolutionary descent of humankind from the apes.

Homo habilis fossilized skull

Homo habilis fossilized skull

A few weeks ago, we received from Mary’s second son Richard Leakey an invitation to visit the Turkana Basin Institute, so that Jonathan could be present for the opening of a conference to re-examine the evidence provided by homo habilis fossil remains. On Tuesday of this week, we flew to the Institute, about halfway between Lodwar and the western shore of Lake Turkana in northern Kenya, to be present for that event. For me, it was a dream of a lifetime!

Many years ago, I studied cultural anthropology at the University of Cincinnati and at the University of Maryland, College Park. I logged enough graduate hours to earn a master’s degree in the field, but textiles were my first love and life led me down that different path instead. Nevertheless, to visit a place I had only dreamed of in those early years of study, was certainly a special treat for me!

We arrived late in the afternoon, after a relatively quick (1 1/2 hours) and smooth flight in an airplane Jonathan and I knew very well; it had once been his and we had spent many hours in it flying all over Kenya.

We settled in and joined the conference attendees for a very pleasant dinner. Some 35 or so researchers, scholars and authors were on hand for the conference, so we made a good-sized and very sociable group that evening. One notable we had the pleasure of meeting for yet a third time was Dr. Lawrence Martin, Dean of the Graduate School at Stony Brook University and now Director of TBI, a genial and likeable fellow who also helped us feel right at home.

The next morning, Richard Leakey showed us around the facilities that house the Turkana Basin Institute Field School and the Institute itself. With a student dormitory and mess to cater for 10-week sessions of visiting students from all over the world, extensive laboratories and storage facilities, conference rooms, accommodations for guests and staff quarters, the compound is quite large and well-planned. Turkana Basin Institute buildings are ventilated naturally by large windows to permit air flow in the sometimes severe heat of the day, and the site is equipped with eco-friendly programs and equipment to provide utilities like electricity and water. Comfortable, but efficient, these buildings suit the local geography while they minimize impact on the environment and cut unnecessary costs of living there.

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Later that morning, after Jonathan met briefly with the conference attendees to answer any questions they had, we flew across Lake Turkana from the Turkwel Research Facility to visit the dig sites and facilities at Ileret. The pilot was careful to fly right over Kenya’s Central Island National Park with its three crater lakes, Crocodile, Flamingo and Tilapia. We had a very pleasant lunch at Ileret before being flown back for a second evening spent in quiet conversation and dinner with Richard and Meave Leakey in their quarters. The next morning, we received a guided tour by one of their special field assistants, a young woman we know quite well. Then we flew home to Baringo, dusty and tired, but having had a truly wonderful time!

Learn more about the Turkana Basin Institute and its active Field School at http://www.turkanabasin.org/. Discover many more photos of the area on Google Images. Find out more about homo habilis on your own, but don’t believe everything you read. The jury, it seems, is still out . . .



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QuiltEd Online FREE COURSE Offer

QuiltEd Online has opened with a bang! The FREE course offer celebrating the site’s opening has brought in a large number of enrollments. I’m teaching online again, and it feels great! School is definitely in session!

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QuiltEd Online is clean and sophisticated. Communications are easy, with Comments boxes all over the place. The Student Project Albums are beautiful – slick and clutter-free venues for displaying and discussing work in progress, easily shared with fellow classmates.

There are forums for the social chatter, separate from the teaching and critique offered in the Student Project Albums. There is one forum for general topics, one for pet stories, one for fav recipes, and one serves as a classified ads forum, putting students in touch with each other for swapping or selling materials, tools and equipment. There’s something at QuiltEd Online for everyone!

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Lessons are modular, brief forays into content that take about 10-15 minutes to read before setting to work. The Quilt Galleries present slide shows of student work for the courses on offer. You, too, could be making such beautiful quilts!

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Check out the QuiltEd Online General Information page for complete information about how the classes work and how to navigate the site – very useful!! Enrollments are continuous – no scheduling, no exams, no pressures, no hassles. Just plenty of great education for patchwork quilters to enjoy from the privacy of their own homes!

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We’ve had a few little glitches with the coupon for the FREE course offer. These were my fault because I failed to tell everyone where to find the coupon and instructions for using it – ON THE HOMEPAGE!! And some folks had difficulty with their registration passwords, but that problem has definitely been sorted out. Otherwise, all is working smoothly, and I’m delighted!

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Come and see me at QuiltEd Online. Sign up today for your FREE course. If you don’t have time to take an online course now, no worries. With continuous, unscheduled enrollment, you can come back when you find the time and pick up where you left off.

Hurry! Time is running out . . .

Oh, and if you are thinking about teaching online, we want to hear from you. Click the Teach button.

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Quilt Classes Free at QuiltEd Online

The newest site for online education for patchwork quilters, QuiltEd Online, is only a few days away from launch! After six months of hard work revising, editing, uploading and formatting courses, the site stands ready for business, except for a little last-minute tweaking. We anticipate launching the site within the next few days.

Dena Crain Teaching

Dena Crain Teaching

Courses run continuously, with open registration available to all at any time. With personalized attention from your instructor, the freedom to study online at any time without the hassles of travel, and an affordable pricing structure, QuiltEd Online courses promise to satisfy most quilters’ needs when it comes to learning more about patchwork quilting. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced quilter, we hope that in time there will be something for everyone at QuiltEd Online.

For the moment, however, the good news is that, for a limited time only, each new visitor to QuiltEd Online is entitled to enroll in one (1) course FREE OF CHARGE!! As an introductory offer, this opening celebratory discount of 100% off the price of one course, any course of your choice, is our way of attracting your attention, giving you a chance to sample the quality of teaching presented by QuiltEd Online, and letting you tell us more about what you want from online education for patchwork quilters. All we ask is that you take the course, learn from it and then tell all your quilting friends about it.

Patchwork Quilt Courses at QuiltEd Online

Patchwork Quilt Courses at QuiltEd Online

This generous offer of one FREE course will run only for the first week after the site opens. If you have not yet signed up for the QuiltEd Online newsletter, do so NOW so you will not miss the chance to enroll in the course of your choice, for FREE!

By the way, we accept PayPal and all major credit cards – this, just in case you want to take more than one course!


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QuiltEd Online Going Live Soon!

I’m so excited – my new Web site, QuiltEd Online, is nearly ready for launch! Just back from a wonderful month’s visit to the US, I spent last week reviewing the site itself to make sure all is well. It is!
QuiltEd Online
All that remains to be done is for me to finish the final editing of my courses. I have reworked and improved every one – Structured Fabrics, Math for Quilters, Goodbye to the Grid, and Designer Pinwheels. Better structure, some new graphics and a little grammatical tweaking should make for a much-improved student experience.

Soon after the site goes live, I will begin putting another four courses online – Darned Quilts, Reflections, Crystal Quilts and a brand new one called Alternative Methods. Once that’s done, I have another four waiting in the wings to be written!

I’m really pleased with the look and function of the site. A clever theme pasted into a WordPress blog allows me to feel right at home, while simultaneously allowing patchwork quilters to move right in!

To make QuiltEd Online more welcoming and cozy, social forums are included. There is a general Kaffeeklatsch for meeting new friends, sharing the latest news and having a laugh. We have an ongoing Pet Show, a place for sharing photos of studio mascots, and What’s Cooking for all our foodie friends. There is a Faculty Forum, limited to teachers, of course, but the best news is that there is a continuous Jumble Sale! In the Jumble Sale, students can post photos and descriptions of overstocked fabrics, used tools and unwanted equipment they want to sell. The Jumble Sale works like a classified ads section in a newspaper – only better!

And the really good news is that I am in communication with more than 50 other teachers who think possibly to teach from QuiltEd Online, a number of big name established teachers as well as some exciting new faces! Online education for patchwork quilters is my business, and this new site promises to bring some of the best instruction available into the homes and studios of quilters around the world.

If you have not yet done so, please sign up on QuiltEd Online to receive the newsletter that will notify you when the site opens and keep you informed as new teachers and courses appear!

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