Quilters' Guild of North Dakota

Kim Stenehjem

We seem to collect Kim’s in our guild, which is a good thing. All of them have served in various offices and committees. Kim Andrea Stenehjem (sten’ jum) was chair of the ISQSC several times, and now she is in charge of our new show, the Metro Quilt Expo.

Kim’s first quilt show entry was Bird and Blossom. It began as a pillow in one of Virginia Dambach’s applique classes in 1996, but soon grew to 84″ square. As the quilt show deadline approached, only the outline quilting was finished, not the background. But Kim added a binding and entered it anyway. She was surprised to win a 3rd place ribbon.

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Her very first “quilt,” however, was made when she was 11. It’s actually a felt bedspread for her Barbie doll. Those who know Kim’s passion for bling will not be surprised to see sequins attached!

Kim has made plenty of large quilts, usually for gifts. This Follow Your Star was made as a graduation present in 2001.

Peg’s Pinwheels was given to sister-in-law Peg later that year.

An earlier version of this pattern is Dakota Sunset, a gift for Kim’s mother.

Lady of the Lake was a wedding gift for nephew Nathan. Kim and her friends were all impressed that this quilt was actually done in time for the wedding!

Starry Nights and Sweet Dreams (detail) was made for a very special occasion: the wedding of Kim’s daughter, Kari, to Ian Furness. It wasn’t completely finished for the wedding, but it did hang behind the officiant at the ceremony.

Travis’s Sunrise is another wedding gift. It’s paper pieced and machine quilted.

Preserved in Kim’s quilt scrapbook is one of the arcs that didn’t get into the finished quilt. Kim noted that the paper piecing gives lovely sharp points, but the curved piecing by machine was extremely difficult.

Actually, there are several scrapbooks which record Kim’s quilts, their stories and their fabrics. Need I point out that she is a very organized person? Organization and planning are necessary skills for her day job as a producer at Prairie Public TV. Her award-winning documentaries include I Am A Person, Uganda: Sustainable Tourism, Steamboats on the Red, Prairie Churches and more.

Hugs and Kisses from Grandma was made for Kim’s first grandchild, Stephen. The pattern is from Little Quilts Company, but Kim didn’t like one of their blocks, so she designed a replacement.

Continuing to modify existing designs, Kim made Blackberry Wreath from a border pattern, curving the pieces into a wreath for the center. As you can see, she’s not afraid to tackle applique.

Victorian Roses began in a class to learn how to make wired ribbon roses. The frame on this picture features trapunto.

These days, Kim freely designs her own work, including this Oxygen eleven-inch quilt from Fiber Artists Look at the Periodic Table, a group effort by the Designing Quilters.

Can you tell what fabric is used for the tree trunk? Yes, it’s pantyhose!

Other elements feature discharge and over-dyeing.

Kim has combined her loves of beading, embroidery and bling in many crazy quilt projects.

Abundant Peacocks, above, and detail below.

Not Crazy About Yellow was part of another DQ project, Singing in the Choir.

Her Octopus’s Garden pincushion took a prize in a Piecework magazine contest.

Another Stenehjem specialty is fancy handbags.

Clutch made for Kim Baird features chickens.

A current goal is to finish the pile of “WIP’s” (works in progress) stashed in her sewing room. One of these became Boundless as the Sea. It hung at the History Center in Bismarck during their Shaking Up Shakespeare exhibit this summer, at the Firehall Theatre in Grand Forks and the Red Door Gallery in Wahpeton.

Kim says of the original quilt top, “After my father suffered a massive stroke, my sister and I sat on a Florida beach and laughed, and cried, and talked about how much we were going to miss him. But as we watched the waves in the moonlight, I thought the ocean is so symbolic of love. It ebbs. It flows. Some times it crashes over you and sometimes it withdraws. But it is always there—deep and enduring.”

She later added the whitecaps and named it for these lines from Romeo and Juliet:

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,

My love as deep. The more I give to thee,

The more I have, for both are infinite.

The WIP above will become Kim’s entry in a new DQ project, quilts inspired by The St. John’s Bible.

Back in September of 2000, Kim wrote in her scrapbook, “I don’t know if I’ll ever make another quilt that I love as much as I do this one.”

When I asked her, in 2016, which is her favorite of the quilts she has made, she replied with no hesitation that Falling Leaves is still her favorite.

As to what Kim will enter in the Metro Quilt Expo, I think I know: she has been working on a wool crazy quilt, featuring embroidery and needle felting, that is rich and gorgeous. The body is complete, and below is a preview of the borders. You’re gonna love this one!