Faculty: Lennie Honcoop

Lennie Honcoop

Lennie is teaching a class using her Hot Ribbon Technique. The class is already full, so be sure to drop by her booth (No. 1805-1807) in the ballroom to watch her demonstrations.

More about Lennie:

Carolyn: How many years have you been quilting?
Lennie: I started quilting in 1993.

Carolyn: What motivated you to start quilting?
Lennie: Ever since I was child, I had loved art and would paint and draw. As an adult, I shared my love for art by teaching fine arts (painting, drawing, etc.) at several local elementary and high schools for a number of years. A neck injury from a fall resulted in a loss of my fine motor skills. A physical therapist suggested I do cross stitching as a means of building up my fine motor skills. I protested strongly as I felt cross stitching was only for “old ladies.” However, when I finished my first project, I was quite proud of my creation. But I drew the line at putting the finished project in a frame. I wanted to display my project in a more artistic fashion, with a fabric border. I went to the local outlet of a national fabric store chain, picked out some fabrics, made my borders, and was “blown away” when saw that I had created a piece of fabric art. I was hooked! I went to the local quilt shop and met quilters who showed me the basics – rotary cutter, rulers, cutting mats. I started with the traditional quilt patterns but soon felt too limited. I was looking “something” that would feed my need to be more creative. I discovered that “something” when I saw Lorraine Stangness teaching a class on landscape piecing and immediately saw the possibilities for using pieces of fabric to create pictures. As they say, “the rest is history!”

Carolyn: Where have you traveled in your quilting teaching career?
Lennie: I started my teaching in quilt stores in the area around my home town of Elk Grove, CA. Since then, I have held workshops up and down the West Coast – in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona – and in Houston, Texas at the International Quilt Market. While on vacation in The Netherlands, I taught a class on the Hot Ribbon technique.

Carolyn: What is the most unusual, frightening, funny, frustrating experience you have had in your quilting career?
Lennie: I have to admit that I have had a number of “interesting” experiences. The most “unusual” was probably the night I spent at another quilter’s home and discovered that I was to share a bed with a homeless woman that this quilter had taken in. Not only did the bed sag in my direction, it was quite obvious that this person’s personal hygiene was lacking! I did not sleep much that night. The most “frightening” experience occurred during a class I was teaching where one of the women nearly cut off her thumb with a rotary cutter! While someone was calling 911, we quickly placed the women’s hand in a plastic bag with milk from someone’s lunch and then put all that in ice. (The women had her thumb reattached and subsequently was able to use it.) My “funny” experience is not a single incident, but is on-going. The name of my business is Dutch Quilter because I immigrated from The Netherlands, but from time to time, someone will ask me what is “Dutch quilting!” Finally, one of my more frustrating experiences occurred when I was teaching a class on the Hot Ribbon technique which requires the attendees to have a mini iron. However, the class organizers forgot to provide electricity! No one could practice what I was teaching.

Carolyn: Does anyone else in your family quilt?
Lennie: When I was growing up, we were not expected to sew – if we needed to have something sewn, someone was hired to do that. So none of my siblings quilt. As for my family now, my oldest daughter quilted for a short while. However, everyone in the extended family has put in an order for their personal quilt which I often give as a gift for Christmas or some other special occasion.

Carolyn: What is your birth order – only child, first, second, third, or?
Lennie: I am the oldest child in my family and have one brother and two sisters.

Where did you grow up?
Lennie: I was born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and although I was very young at the time, I remember seeing Canadian soldiers who liberated our city. I probably remember that experience because they gave me my first banana and piece of chocolate.

Carolyn: Do you have children, grandchildren?
Lennie: We have 7 children who range in age from 47 to 19. We also have 9 grandchildren (number 10 will be here in December!).

Do you have any pets?
Lennie: I have 3 pets – Duke, a black Lab-Doberman-German Shepherd mix, who is the best natured big dog I’ve had. My other dog, Sir Rudolph Theodore (or Rudy) is a miniature Schnauzer who is so much fun to have around. And last but not least, is my cat, Stitches (or as my husband calls him – Stitch it – since he is neutered!). Stitches earned his name, when as a kitten, he would sleep under the plexi-glass table of my sewing machine. Stitches is a typical cat in that he (it) makes it very clear that I am only a visitor in his world!

Carolyn: What is your favorite food?
Lennie: That’s a tough choice – I love Alaskan King Crab but also Nasi Goreng, an Indonesian rice dish. I am also hopelessly addicted to Gummi Bears!

Carolyn: What would be on your “bucket list” (like the movie) if you could do anything and money was no object?
Lennie: My “bucket list” is mostly travel-related. I have always been fascinated with the Far East and would visit China to see how silk fabrics are made and Indonesia/Bali to see how batiks are made (and eat their wonderful cuisine!). I would also take my entire family to The Netherlands to show them where I grew up. I would spend time in Italy so my husband would understand why I love the Italian lifestyle. I would teach quilting classes (Hot Ribbon) in Australia and New Zealand. Finally, I would spend a summer driving to and through Alaska with our RV to enjoy the spectacular scenery and wildlife. Between trips, I would come home to my dream house in the mountains (out of the California Central Valley heat!) that has a studio large enough to hold all my fabrics, my Nolting longarm, and a workstation where I could do my designs without having to clear a work space first.

Carolyn: Do you have any other hobbies besides quilting?
Lennie: Absolutely! I knit when I can; if I had more time, I would do more drawing; I love photography and am always “clicking” away at virtually every flower I see; I like to fill my yard with beautiful flowers; and I love to decorate my home.

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