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My Quilts

This is a quilt I made for my father for his birthday in 1997. It's called Hugs and Kisses.

This is a 1996 challenge piece using a wild Hoffman fabric called "Love In." Going along with the "theme" I decided to make a 70's op art quilt using a Marilyn Doheny pattern called Cubic Ribbons. After much urging by Mary Beth Goodman, I sent it to her NYQuilts! show where, much to my surprise, it earned a third place ribbon. This is my first show entry. My husband says it gives him a headache, so it's aptly named Honey I've Got a Headache. (So much for the love in.)

When I first started quilting I did several small wallhangings. The first "cuddle" quilt I made was in 1995 and was a crib sized quilt for my youngest sister's first baby, Madison. The ribbons turned out to be a piecing nightmare for me and I decided I better learn to piece well if I was going to continue in my new hobby.

I never really was much for sewing prior to discovering quilt making, so in 1995 in an effort to learn better piecing techniques I took a sampler class at a local quilt shop. I wasn't excited so much about the sampler itself, but rather than waste the effort I promised the quilt to my son Skyler. This Pandora's Box Sampler is slightly larger than twin sized.

My daughter Chelsea has not spent a day of her life without her "blankie" someplace nearby. The one she had as an infant disintegrated into not much more than a string. When she was 11, she asked would I please make her a new "blankie" for Christmas '95. She loves her Hearts Quilt and carries it AND her "string" around!

In 1996 when I belonged to InterQuilt, an on-line quilt list, there was a lot of interest in making a quilt called Chop Suey. This is my version.

Watercolor quilts had never really appealed to me until I saw a Trip Around the World version that I liked. This one is called Trip Around the Garden ('96).

When my youngest brother got married in 1997 I didn't have much time to make them something, so I looked for a simple pattern. My version of Trudie Hughes' Rails and Square is called Baroque. This was also the first machine quilting I've done that I'm really proud of. Wish the pictures showed it better. Here's a closer shot of Baroque.

While at Sisters in 97 I took a mystery class from Lawry Thorn. Bed of Roses is completely handquilted.

Here is another one of my early ('95) quilts made as a baby shower gift for my friend's first grandchild. The pattern is called Bits and Pieces.

Another baby quilt for a friend; it's a snails trail pattern, but I've called this one Candy Trails ('97).

Many of my friends have participated in mystery quilts and have been very successful with them. Here are two I participated in with lesser degrees of success. The first one is a mystery class I took with Billy Lauder who is a member of my guild. Its name is Summertime ('97).

This next one is a truly ugly mystery quilt from Merry May. For several reasons, I call it Metamorphosis ('97).

A very dear on-line friend, Bonnie Elliott, spent a year spoiling me rotten as my Secret Sewing Sister. Her final gift to me is very, very special. It's called There's No Such Place As Far Away. Too bad you can't see the stunning quilting she has done on this piece.

I was trying to come up with some ideas for a gift and threw together another colorwash trip around the world. This small one isn't named.

One of my earliest quilting efforts, in fact I think it was my second effort, was a small angel wallhanging. I ended up making 12 of them as Christmas gifts in 1994, all with different fabrics, and now it is my tradition to make a different "month" wallhanging every year as gifts for the extended family.

The following year, 1995, I made the mistake of appliqueing and handquilting 12 Turkeys as Christmas gifts.

I got smarter after that: 1996 August wallhanging; 1997 February wallhanging; 1998 July wallhanging.

I fell in love with a quilt in the 97 November/December QNL and made one for myself. It's Partridge and Pears.

I also put together an angel top that hangs over the mantle and creche scene at Christmas.

As a take along hand project I worked on That Plaid Thing for probably two years. I finished it in 1997!

The 1998 ET Squishey Challenge was lots of fun. We were given 5 very bright and busy fabrics and allowed to add only two fabrics to the pile. I call mine Don't Worry, Be Happy because every time I look at it, it brings a smile to my face.

I made this top from Margaret Miller's book "Easy Pieces". I want to add a pieced border to it before I call it finished.

This is my Pickles and Petals quilt so far. I am in the process of adding an appliqued border of jacobean style flowers. This is one of the quilt patterns I teach at my local shop.

I really love this quilt I call Beveled Glass. ('99) I intended it to be a study in neutrals and it came out much more "colorful" than I imagined, but I'm very pleased.

Gumdrops is actually much more purple and pink than this picture shows. It is machine quilted and was given to my niece Hannah for her Christmas present ('99).

I made Bottles of Bugs for Chase for a special friend of mine who is very fond of bugs ('99). And Jordan's Hearts was made for his sister ('99).

The Stack and Wack quilts became quite popular at the shop where I occasionally work. Jacobean Wheels is my version ('99).

First Born Dream ('99) is the quilt I made for my son Nick in honor of his highschool graduation. It's a half square log cabin quilt using Sharyn Craig's methods. Another view.

The class I took at Sisters in 1999 was Hidden Wells. When I got home I decided to make a large one for my bed. This one I sent out for quilting.  Quilted

This is my "millenium" quilt that I call Winding up the 20th Century. It's a pattern known as Wheel of Mystery or Winding Ways and it features some of the new millenial prints on the front and back. Finally got it quilted!

Christmas 1999's project was a wallhanging for June. Something for Dad!

My daughter Natalie graduated from high school, Class of 2000. She is a jazz trombonist. I used fabric with music motifs to create her graduation quilt.

One of Natalie's best friends is Kevin Nanaumi, a jazz trumpet player and leader of their band "Bad Mojo". She wanted to give him something special as a graduation gift so I used the music motif fabrics I had planed to use on the back of her quilt to create a top for him. She called it A Musical Friendship

Christmas 2000's project was a wallhanging for May.

My Ragtime quilt. A quick flannel project, fun to put together!

Generally done in Japanese fabrics, I made this traditional Pinebark quilt using some of my extensive collection of leaf print fabrics. The photo does not do it justice. The borders are a deep maroon and green paisley print.

My brother Joe and his wife Whitney had their first baby! I made this quilt for Ian.

2001 Christmas wallhangings were kites for March! Of course I was so pleased with these cute wall hangings I made myself a bigger version.

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Empty Spools Seminar at Asilomar in Pacific Grove March 2001. I was able to spend a delightful week with Mary Lou Weidman. I created Family Tree, which I completed in August 2002. It finishes 53"x63". This is probably my favorite quilt yet. Quilt detail.

After the horrific events of September 11th many of us were inspired by patriotic images. Judy Martin offered a free quilt pattern on line and I loved it. This is my patriotic 9/11 tribute quilt.

New Years brings resolution: finish UFOs! Here's one I found in the closet. This was a "round robin" I did with two friends. I did the tree of life, they added to it. It needed borders and I had the perfect batik. Finally finished March of 02.

Another UFO finally finished: When my on-line quilting friends mine came to stay with me and attend the World Quilt and Textile show in Pasadena in 1997 they gave me a wonderful signature quilt which I've now quilted and bound in April of 02.

In 1997-1998 a group of my on line friends and I participated in a "row by row" and I am delighted with the results of my Needleville round robin, now quilted and bound in April of 02.

May 2002 A baby quilt for a friend's new baby.

While at Sisters this year (2002), I learned a new faux chenille technique and made this chenille wallhanging. Fun, huh?

Under the heading of "Finally Finished" comes this Red and White Quilt. I pieced the top a number of years ago at a retreat my friends surprised me with. I finally broke down and sent it out to be quilted. You can see I still haven't sewn the binding down yet. :)

The 2002 Christmas gift wall hangings came out great! These are January Chickadees.

Do you think November 2002 is too late to finish a quilt for a June '02 graduate? I started Chelsea's graduation quilt at Sisters in July of 2001. I took it back with me in July of 2002 and finally finished it. She loves it.

I went back to Asilomar in March, 2003 to create another story quilt. This one is called "Marie the Mighty" and is for a very dear friend.

The 2003 Christmas gift wall hangings are the traditional schoolhouse block, done in homespun plaids and muslin for September.

Made for my son Nick's wedding to Jamie on January 13, 2004 Celestial Dreams.

My storyquilt begun in Mary Lou's class at Asilomar, 2004, this is my daughter Natalie and is called I Do It!. 8/04

A quilt for my new nephew Ryan MacDougall 8/04.

This is an opportunity quilt I donated to the Calabasas High School Music Program for the years of service to Onken children. I call it Tuxedo Junction 8/04.

This Circle Quilt begun at the quilt show in Sisters, Oregon in 2003 came back from the quilter this year (1/05).

Skyler's graduation quilt is a card trick block with a star sashed setting to celebrate his graduation last June (6/04).

I took a break from grad school and sneaked in another class with Mary Lou Weidman at Asilomar this year and came home with a story about my daughter Chelsea. It is called I am Not a Wimp . This story also honors the memory of her "puppy" Oliver who died this year at the ripe old age of 14. A close up of her face. (3 to 9/05).

And the Christmas 2004 wallhanging was a Halloween treat, showing a cat, a bat and a pumpkin (10/04).

Christmas 2005 wall hanging project was the final in a 12 year (month) series. This is April.

 After missing the 2006 Asilomar trip, I was able to joyfully reunite with my fabric and friends in February 2007.  The result is this quilt honoring my friendship with Carolyn and Marie (of Marie the Mighty) who left us in November of 2006.  It is called Sailing On. Be sure to place your cursor over the hidden area to see the label details.

  I also managed to work on a quilt top in 2007 based on a Doreen Speckman pattern that an internet quilter graciously mailed to me a long time ago Nosegays.

My 2008 Asilomar trip resulted in a story quilt I made for my husband Martin to honor his special relationship with our little 4 lb. Yorkie, Scooter. Puppy Love might better be entitled "Wrapped around his little paw!"

Mary Lou Weidman asked a group of us to try a new challenge in 2008. She asked us to create a "short story quilt" and gave us limitations on dimensions to make a small storyquilt. This one is about 18x22 and you can see what I was anxiously anticipating in Nana in Waiting.

Every grandchild needs a quilt to lay on the floor, this great fabric inspired Transportation Quilt my first grandchild's first quilt. (2009)

Because no grandchild should have just one quilt, next came the Turtle Quilt.

In keeping with my committment to finishing up UFO's, this Bear's Paw quilt was made in a class in 2002 at Sisters (back when I still went every year!).

Another quilt too big for a full photo, Cabo Dreaming was made for my daughter Chelsea's wedding to Trenton Pierson in May of 2008.

I'm posting photos of my quilts on my blog now but here are some links: Lucky me was blessed with another grandson. I made a quilt for him and a duplicate for a friend's baby: Walker's quilt 2011.

Walker's quilt was so fun, I tried out the Magic Triangle pattern again for a friend's baby:Quilt for Miles 2011.

A friend's husband surprised her with a big birthday party. This was my gift to her:Celebrate! 2011.

Chelsea and Trent have a little apartment which meant a little crib. I made the crib set. Walker's crib quilt. 2011.

I made 4 of these fun baby quilts, one for Sadie and the others went as gifts for friends and their new babies: Black & White, Lots of Color, All of them.2010.

Too big for a full picture, here's a small section of Skyler and Sarah's wedding quilt 2009.

My Quilt Adventures

When some of my on-line friends came to visit April 1997, we headed to a quilt show in Ventura. This picture was taken at the beach there. Back row, left to right: Kathe Rich, Gwen Williams, Leslie Coe. Front row: Genie Jayne, Lynda Carswell, Kate Hardy.

My daughter Natalie and I went on a trip to Sisters, Oregon July 1997 for the big quilt show and a mini-Electric Threads get together. Lynda has some great pictures of this adventure. Natalie took a beginning class from Ursula Searles. She had a great time piecing her sampler. Natalie and I had such a good time at the Quilters Affair in Sisters that we go back almost every year!

My itinerate quilting teacher/friend Lynda Carswell decided I needed another addiction. She came down from San Francisco with her dyes and got me in the fun. You can see us in our lovely dyeing costumes and the results of some of Lynda's efforts spread on my kitchen table.

Jane Pecorella came to Los Angeles on business and spent a day with me. Of course we had to fondle fabric at Q is for Quilts in Burbank. While Jane was here she fell in love with Oliver and she took this picture of me.

When the kids and I took a road trip in August of 98, we stopped for a visit with the Kansas gals. That's Sharon Neuer, then the Onken crew, and Lois Sierra. Julie Swords is behind the camera.


My Family

I've debated taking out old photos and replacing them with new, but it's fun to see the family change over time so I'm leaving most of the old ones here. I've updated a few and deleted a few. I've tried to date them where I could. To see anything more recent than 2009, you'll have to check out the family blog or browse the Flickr account!.

I am the lucky mom of four terrific kids. They are Nicholas, Natalie, Chelsea and Skyler. This picture was taken at Nick's wedding, January 2004.

And then of course there is the love of my life Martin.

1998's Christmas picture of thefamily.

Nick and his friend Apryl at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor. Nick and Apryl ready for senior prom (5/99).

Chelsea cheering for the Coyotes!

Natalie with her date Michael at the prom (5/00).

The family reunited after Nick's return from his mission in Venezuela February 24, 2002.

Chelsea and Bryan ready for Chelsea's prom, May 2002.

The 2002 Christmas photo of the family.

Skyler and his date for Vice March 2003.

Chelsea and Bryan at Bryan's Prom May, 2003.

Skyler and his friend Allison at her prom May, 2003.

Nick's and Jamie's wedding announcement photo (1/13/04)

The happy couple
Hawaiian Romance
My beautiful children!
Martin and me

My baby goes to the prom! Skyler and Jen
Pretty dress
Into the limo.

I haven't done a very good job of keeping up family photos. Here's a quick link to a few more recent photos from 2008: Me and the Kids in May of 2008 at Chelsea's wedding.

The happy couple.

Andrew Nicholas Onken born October 5, 2008.

And they don't get much cuter than this Andrew at 8 months.

Stay tuned for wedding photos for this happy couple, Skyler and Sarah to be married in just a few weeks (August 15, 2009).


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Web Page by Debi Onken
Updated January 13, 2012