Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Celebration 2017

Induction of 

Dr. Virginia Gunn 


The Quilters Hall of Fame

By Karen B. Alexander

Dr. Virginia Gunn’s diverse background in the decorative arts -- far wider than just quilts -- enables her to frame historical quilts from any era within a broader historical context and a wider human narrative. The fact that she settled on quilt history as one of the major focuses has broadened the field of quilt history enormously.

In 1980 when the American Quilt Study Group was founded, there were no graduate programs offering degrees in quilt history; no academic gatherings in which to present scholarly papers on quilts; no journals dedicated  specifically to the history of the quilt in which to publish scholarly research. All three conditions have changed dramatically since 1980. Dr. Virginia (Ginny) Gunn has played a vital role in the reordering of this disparity within the academic world since the days of such desert conditions for quilt scholarship. Many of us who know Ginny personally were thrilled to learn in 2016 that she would be inducted into The Quilters Hall of Fame in July 2017.

Those of us lucky enough to be able to attend Ginny’s induction July 20-22 (2017) in Marion, IN were treated to an exciting array of lectures by Ginny, not the least of which was a wonderful overview of her own life story.  Presented below are just a few highlights of her induction week.

You know how quilt historians love to know more about the personal stories behind the lives that have so greatly impacted quilt history in the 20th century. Ginny supplied it in spades in her lecture luncheon, My Textile Journey.

I for one am very grateful that Ginny shared slides of her personal odyssey that reflected the ever-expanding popularity of the needlearts revival of the 50s-70s era; of her pursuit of her educational dreams and goals of first a Master's and then a Ph.D; plus the challenges of raising a family of two boys, all at the same time.

Along the way came learning how to quilt, discovery of the American Quilt Study Group, teaching, writing and lecturing.

Gunn served on the Board of AQSG from 1984-1993, and as President 1990-1993

Of course, collecting quilts was soon woven into everything!

Following her personal story, Gunn then shared her in-depth academic knowledge on the Red & Green Quilt Era as well as the Quilts of the Modern Era.  Her three slide lectures were exciting and substantive, as they always are at AQSG as well, and I personally had a number of questions I had been pondering for some time, answered.

That Gunn has a diverse background in the decorative arts far wider than just quilts, has enabled her to set the quilts of any era into a much broader historical context. That she settled on quilt history as one of the major focuses of her career and personal love has broadened quilt history enormously. My notes from these three lectures are a very brief overview of them.

Inspiration and interpretation! 

Inspiration and interpretation! Isn’t this the nuts and bolts of every design era change no matter the subject? Some fascinating questions Gunn examined: what was behind the shift from piecing to appliqué beginning in the 2nd quarter of the 19th century? 

Just how did changing design preferences — in women’s fashion (flowering dress prints), home furnishings (cartouches and scrolls), furniture (curved legs) and architecture — influence quilts at that time? When did the “Romantic Revival” era replace Neo-Classical and how did the curves of this new design era influence the look of quilts?  

How did the artists of the era influence the Jacquard weavers and conversely how did their patterns influence quilt designs? How did migration routes influence disbursement of quilt patterns? This is just a small taste of all that Gunn shared in her Red & Green Quilt Era slide lecture! 

Ginny’s 3rd Lecture

Gunn's 3rd lecture Quilts of the Modern Era addressed the fast paced industrial changes in the first 40 years of the 20th century, among other things, as well as the shift of design influences from German to French due to the alliances of WWI. Gunn also went to some length to share the changes within fabrics, dyes and print styles as well as the beginnings of the commercialization of the quilt industry. In the late 30s, as war rose again in Europe, she pointed out the noticeable design shifts that arose once more, this time from French to South American. 

Using *slides as well as actual examples from her collection, Gunn gave a very graphic and helpful sense of the subtle color changes within fabrics that took place in the mid-1920s as well as mid-1930s, making it much easier for yours truly go home and reevaluate the quilts in her collection from those decades.

*Photos were taken during Gunn's slide lectures.

A personal anecdote about Ginny Gunn shared at Celebration

I first met Ginny Gunn when I attended my first AQSG Seminar in 1985 in San Rafael, California.  In those days, we did not have bid numbers at the Silent Auction. We simply had bid-sheets on which we wrote our name and bid amount.  I happen to outbid Ginny on an old segment of what I think is Eastern European embroidery.  (I'll have to ask Ginny!) Being the pack rat I am who must document everything (just ask my family), I still have the bid sheet as well as the antique piece of embroidery.

Other Lectures at Celebration 2017

The quilt history lecture selections at this year’s TQHF Celebration also included AQSG members Xenia Cord, Sue Reich and Honoree Merikay Waldvogel. All in all, the combined shared knowledge by these four quilt historians stitched together the first 40 years of the fabrics of the 20th century in great depth.  

Stay tuned for more recaps from Celebration 2017!  If you enjoy quilt and textile history, I highly encourage you to join both TQHF and AQSG both!

Also visit The Quilters Hall of Fame on Facebook for more photos!

I know we can all look forward to a similar rich offering next year when textile historian and folklorist  Xenia Cord is inducted into The Quilters Hall of Fame next July (19-21) so mark you calendars now.

Happy quilting and please support those organizations recording quilt history!

Here are a few Gunn articles from 
the published Research Papers of the 
American Quilt Study Group

"Victorian Silk Template Patchwork in American Periodicals 1850-1875," by Gunn, Virginia, in Uncoverings 1983, pages 9-25.

"Quilts for Union Soldiers in the Civil War" by Gunn, Virginia, in Uncoverings 1985, pages 95-122.

"Yo-Yo or Bed-of-Roses Quilts: Nineteenth-Century Origins," by Gunn, Virginia, in Uncoverings 1987, pages 129-46.

"Quilts at Nineteenth Century State and County Fairs: An Ohio Study," by Gunn, Virginia, in Uncoverings 1988, pages 105-28.

"Quilts for Milady's Boudoir," Gunn, Virginia, in Uncoverings 1989, pages 81-101

"The Gingham Dog or the Calico Cat: Grassroots Quilts of the Early Twentieth Century" by: Gunn, Virginia, in Uncoverings, 2007, pages 1-26.

"Reflections on Quilt History: Accomplishments and Challenges" by: Gunn, Virginia, in Uncoverings 2009, pages 171-190.

"McCall's Role in the Early Twentieth-Century Quilt Revival" by: Gunn, Virginia, in Uncoverings 2010, pages 11-64.

For a complete listing of articles and publications by Dr. Virginia Gunn, google  Click on the item at the top of the list and a PDF file will automatically download.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi to be Inducted in 2016

Photo courtesy of Carolyn Mazloomi

The Quilters Hall of Fame is pleased to announce 
the selection of Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi 
as its 2016 Inductee. 

A Remarkable Woman 

  by Karen B. Alexander
Historian, Curator, Author, Lecturer, Artist, Mentor, Founder, and Facilitator — the remarkable and indefatigable Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi has left her mark on many lives. Trained as an aerospace engineer, Carolyn Mazloomi turned her sights and considerable talents and efforts in the 1980s to bring the many unrecognized contributions of African American quilt artists to the attention of the American people as well as the international art communities.

From the founding of the African-American Quilt Guild of Los Angles in 1981 to the 1985 founding of the Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN), Mazloomi has been at the forefront of educating the public about the diversity of interpretation, styles and techniques among African American quilters as well as educating a younger generation of African Americans about their own history through the quilts the WCQN members create.

A major force as an artist in her own right, Carolyn Mazloomi’s quilts have been exhibited extensively in venues such as the Mint Museum, American Folk Art  Museum in New York City, National Civil Rights Museum, Museum of Art and  Design, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum, and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian  Institution in Washington. Her pictorial narrative quilts make plain her personal themes: family life, women’s rights, political freedom, and musical legacy. Her own quilts have been included in over 70 exhibits and she herself has curated 17 extensive exhibits of quilts made by members of the Women of Color Quilters Network, many of them traveling exhibits.

Among the many exhibitions she has curated is “Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations”, which visually surveys 400 years of African American history.  It is the largest traveling exhibit of African American quilts ever mounted and will travel for four years.  In 2014 Mazloomi, along with co-curator Dr. Marsha MacDowell of Michigan State University Museum, presented an exhibition to honor Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Mazloomi's quilts on exhibit at Oulu Museum in Finland  

Dr. Mazloomi’s quilts can be found in private collections around the world as well in distinguished museum collections in the United States. Mazloomi made a significant donation from her personal collection of quilts made by herself as well as by members of the Women of Color Quilters Network to Michigan State University Museum in November 2014. An endowment accompanied the donation and a future donation of additional quilts will eventually follow.

To date Dr. Mazloomi has published eight books. All her books, except Threads of Faith, are inclusive of African American artists not in WCQN. Her artistic work, as well as her defense of solid research, has disrupted long-standing myths about African American quilts, myths much debated among quilt historians and quilters alike, and thus moved the conversation about African American quilt history forward to more a solid academic footing.


Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi has been the recipient of many state and national honors, among them the 2003 Ohio Heritage Fellowship Award, the first such award for any Ohio citizen; in 2014 she was named a National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts, one of the most prestigious national arts awards an American citizen can receive; also in 2014 she was awarded the Distinguished Scholar & Celebrated Artist Lifetime Achievement Award by Faith Ringgold's Anyone Can Fly Foundation, Inc.

Please join us in Marion, Indiana, July 14-16, 2016 to celebrate and honor the art and career of Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi.

 Karen B. Alexander has been a member of the American Quilt Study Group since 1981 and is a Past President of The Quilters Hall of Fame.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mimi Dietrich Interveiw - 2015 TQHF Honoree

The Baltimore Quilt Revival started in Maryland and Mimi Dietrich played a large part in it. With her encouragement, her students formed the Baltimore Applique Society, a group that has promoted Baltimore Album quilts and raised money donated to museums to restore and display the quilts of this style.” AQSG member Phyllis Hatcher Twigg 

Quilting with Mimi Dietrich

Interview by Karen B. Alexander

It's hard to realize just how many years have passed since the exhibit "Baltimore Album Quilts"  debuted, first at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas (November 18, 1980 - January 11, 1981); then The Metropolitan Museum of Fine Art, New York ( June 30 - August 30, 1981) and finally at the Baltimore Museum of Art (December 13, 1981 - February 7, 1982).  The Baltimore Museum of Art published its catalogue of the exhibit under the same title, Baltimore Album Quilts. The exhibit and book were produced by Dena Katzenburg(If you are lucky, you may be able to find a copy for less than $75.00.)

The first person to research and document this particular style of quilt was male and 
among the first 5 people inducted into The Quilters Hall of Fame in 1979 - 
Dr. William Rush Dunton of Baltimore.

The Honorees of The Quilters Hall of Fame are an amazing group of people, yet they are each unique as individuals. I like to attempt to present more than one side of an Honoree when I research and write about them. Doing a live interview offers me this opportunity. 

An oral interview is “in the moment” and though questions are prepared ahead, one never knows where an interview will actually go if you let it remain spontaneous. Mimi Dietrich is a joyful person and I hope the interview reflects that. In a future article about Mimi, I hope to share more about her endeavors for she is indeed one very accomplished woman!  So on with the Show! 

 Quilting with Mimi Dietrich

Mimi, how and when did you become interested in quilting?

When I graduated from college, I became a middle school teacher. In 1972, I discovered a store called Stretch and Sew and decided to quit my real job and go to work there. It was the best decision I ever made.  We were trained in some incredible sewing techniques with stretch fabrics. The owner, Vicki Drammis, taught me so much more than basic sewing: how to teach adults, how to adjust pattern sizes, and even marketing skills. While I was working there, three of us became pregnant at the same time, and we decided we would make quilts.  I had never made one before but thought “If they can do it, I can do it.”  That was 1974.  One made a Hawaiian quilt, one made a patchwork quilt, and I made an applique quilt, Sunbonnet Sue and Bill. 

I went for quilts with “things” on them, rather than abstract designs.  I was influenced by some of the magazines on the market at the time.  Good Housekeeping comes to mind.  I found Sunbonnet Sue there, and I really wanted a little girl, but I had to put the boy figures on, too, since I didn’t know if the baby I was expecting was boy or girl.

Did your mother or other family members get you started in textile arts?

My great grandmother made quilts in the 1930s for my mom’s family.  There were 8 children in my mom’s family and each had a quilt made for them.  My Mom's quilt was a Dresden Plate and I slept under it growing up.  I remember picking apart some of the stitches, wondering how they were made.  Mom embroidered, but she did not quilt.  The lady next door sewed and she really got me started in sewing.

My 16-year old niece and 10-year old granddaughter are friends with the 13 and 16-year old next door, and they are all learning how to sew from “Grammy”.  Now they can all reach the foot pedal, but at the beginning, my Bernina has a neat button that let them sew without the pedal. They love it!

What was the next step toward your teaching?

I tried to stay working at Stretch and Sell, but it didn’t work out.  After having children, I decided I couldn’t be a full-time employee.  But I did have some other jobs, like teaching people how to use sewing machines at Sears.  I had no fear of trying to take a sewing machine apart to see how it works.  I was always wondering what I would be when I grow up.  I was thinking of going back to be recertified as a middle school teacher when someone said how would I like to teach 4-year-olds? I loved the experience!  

Then I read the book “What Color is Your Parachute?”  As I answered the questions, it led me in the direction of realizing “I want to write a book!”

My friend Dallas Clautice owned a quilt shop, Quilt Heaven, and asked me if I would teach a class on finishing quilts, called “Happy Endings,” and it wound up being the title of my first book.  I took my children’s Fisher Price tape recorder to the shop and taped the class.  What I had was a fabulous outline of how the book would go.  I also captured the questions people asked during class, and that helped organize the book.  I thought of taking a notebook, but a tape recorder worked much better.

Who are some of your early influences in quilting?

In 1977 I read that Jinny Beyer won the Good Housekeeping quilting contest, so I went to Washington DC and took a drafting class with her. She was a great teacher. By the end of the class, I felt like I could draw any pattern you could think of.  The other influence was Bonnie Leman of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine. Anna Holland and Ann Oliver’s quilts (both of Northern Virginia) also had a great impact on me.  My reaction to their quilts was “Wow!  Who would think to do that?”   I also met Hazel Carter about this same time, the founder of the Continental Quilting Congress in 1978 and a year later she founded The Quilters Hall of Fame. How wonderful that she imagined bringing quilters together to share their ideas and show their quilts….and made it all happen!

What were some of your key decisions that led you to enter the quilt world?

First, giving up middle-school teaching and learning how to sew at Stretch and Sew. The second was the Fisher Price tape recording of my class at the quilt shop.  But the third was the Baltimore Museum of Art exhibit in the early 1980s.  It was amazing.  I’d seen quilt exhibits before that, but this one blew me away, partly because it was applique, partly the colors (reds and greens), the details of the stitches. And it was all in my hometown!  

The Baltimore Museum of Art published its catalogue of the exhibit 
(Dec 13, 1981 - Feb 7, 1982) under the same title, Baltimore Album Quilts. 
The exhibit and book were produced by Dena Katzenburg.

1846-47 - the Samuel Williams Quilt (Click here for the history researched and written
by Debby Cooney of the Baltimore Applique Society)

I especially remember the blocks that looked like 
paper-cut doilies
Mimi Dietrich with Emily Pleton, "my quilter's apprentice" says Mimi. The red heart block in the above quilt is an example of a paper cut doilie reverse appliqué quilt block.

I especially remember the blocks that looked like paper-cut doilies, a type of reverse applique. These were made in the 1840s and 1850s, when people didn’t have the light, the technology or the free time we enjoy today. 

There were nine of us that saw that exhibit together. One was Dallas Clautice, the quilt shop owner. We looked at each other and said, “if women in Baltimore over 100 years ago could do this, we can, too.”  Then we set out to create a wide array of designs and made 9 copies of each block and swapped. 

The women who made the first album with me — Barbara,
Margaret, me, Dottie, Norma, Laurie, Dallas Clautice about 1984.

Dallas Clautice, the woman who owned the quilt shop I mentioned earlier, said “Why don’t you teach a class?”  That inspired me to design a Baltimore pattern that was simpler than the traditional ones. I taught that class in 1986. That class launched me into the teaching of Baltimore Album applique.  I started with a little block, loosely based on antique blocks, with each block having Baltimore elements, like flowers, leaves, baskets, wreaths. 

In 1989 I was then asked to teach at another quilt shop, Seminole Sampler, from Elly Sienkiewicz’s book, “Baltimore’s Beauties and Beyond”.  The first time I taught the class we had five sessions with fifteen students in each session....that's 75 students. I had a blast teaching them. Baltimore quilts are traditionally red and green, but some students didn’t like red and green so I told them to pick a color or design they did like. Some students even used batik fabrics. I told them, “It's your quilt! Use the colors and designs you like!"

I remember thinking back then that “I need to make one of every type of quilt.”  Eventually I did make many of them.

(above) Jennifer Goldsborough, curator; Jeana Kimball, Mimi Dietrich, Karen Ringrose
The meeting at the Maryland Historical Society that started the 

Who was your most trusted advisor?

Friends in the quilt guilds I belong to! So many wonderful friends!
A Baltimore Bouquet class in the 1990s

"Our first raffle quilt  'City Springs' 1993. Note the t-shirts that match the quilt border!"
 (Elly Sienkiewicz in the dark outfit with Mimi Dietrich to her left.)

At what point did your work become a business?

When I wrote my second book, I knew this was serious. The person responsible for that is Nancy Martin. (She published my first book, too.)  After my first book, at Quilt Market, she put her hand on my shoulder and said, “What is Mimi going to do next?”  I thought that I had said all I wanted to say in “Happy Endings”, but then I thought about the next book and the next. I have stayed with Martingale and Company - That Patchwork Place through 17 books now.  

I wrote three Baltimore books, beginning with “Baltimore Bouquets” (1992). The latest is "Baltimore Blocks for Beginners".  My students like dimensional appliqué techniques.  “Baltimore Bouquets” had about 20 blocks, smaller blocks, so they could trace patterns right off of the page. That’s kind of my style – smaller blocks with fewer pieces, to simplify the process and get people started.  A lot of students are satisfied with that, while others want more, but I provide them with the starting point.  Some of my students have gone on to teach classes. Marylou McDonald is one of them. I think technology has made a big difference in how quilters share today.

Speaking of new technology, how do you feel it has affected your business?

The Internet has made a lot of opportunities possible for teachers like myself that weren’t available to earlier generations. I now work with Craftsy, which is an on-line platform with classes in quilting, knitting and crocheting plus other subjects, like woodworking.  They’re only about 3-4 years old, based in Denver. A cameraman at Craftsy said that the business has really taken off due to new technology – like portable tablets. Some classes are free. In paid classes, the teacher will even get back to you if you type in questions.  I emailed and said I would like to teach an applique class.  They wanted me to do a finishing class, but I wanted to do an applique class.  Then they mentioned scallops.  I ended up doing “Finishing School,” starting with the back of the quilt, binding, etc.

I did this just over a year ago, and there have been 21,000 students so far.  The students’ questions have not been overwhelming at all.  Most of the common questions are already answered.  This technology makes it possible for me to teach over 20,000 without leaving home!  That’s equivalent to over 1,000 classes in my previous style of teaching. It's really amazing!

Eventually I flew out to Denver a second time and got to tape the applique class I had wanted to do in the first place.  I had a wonderful time doing it.  They are in the process of editing it now.  You think you cover everything, but then I got a question from them, “do you wash your fabric first?” And I realized I had forgotten to say that!  "Hand Appliqué Made Easy” now also has more students than I could ever imagine….what a great way to teach!

"Welcome to Baltimore" - 1994 - 31" x 31"
From my book "The Easy Art of Applique"
Have you encountered any “lone” quilters via your on-line classes that don’t belong to a guild?

From the questions people ask, I can tell who is trying to do it all alone.  I expected questions rather than testimonials, but I heard wonderful feedback from people who were very thankful to learn this craft. The classes cost $30 or $40 but they have sales all the time.  Marketing is via Facebook, email blasts, and blogs.  If you sign up with them, you’ll hear from them every day.  Their marketing is incredible!

What about The Modern Quilt Movement? Why do you think they felt the need to start a whole new quilt conference?

Because most of them are younger and they had a new vision – cleaner, simpler designs, fast and easy because of time.  The next generation of quilters want to live more simply, minimalistic.  They don’t have lots of magazines, clutter, etc.  It’s kind of a revolution against a quilt filled with so many different design elements.  They have given the design “space”. And they can make this type of quilt without a lot of free time. It's important to listen to and inspire younger quilters!

"Baltimore Basics" – 2006 - 56"x 56"
From the book "Mimi Dietrich's Baltimore Basics"

Do you ever get asked to teach teens, or college-age groups?

Yes.  My major was American Studies.  It was the perfect preparation for quilting.  The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) was founded in 1966, when I graduated from high school and I went there when it opened.  One of the things I did several years ago was go back to UMBC and asked if they had ever taught quilting, which they called “material culture” (a neat term), so I taught a class for mostly older (returning) students but my favorite students were women's basketball players and art students.  I taught about Baltimore history, got a grant from NQA, to take them shopping at the quilt shop to buy anything they wanted — colors, good fabric.  The women and the girls in the class were so excited.

Could you share an anecdote from your years of teaching?

I've been teaching my year-long Baltimore class for 20+ years.  Very often, people finish a quilt.  Others come without much to show or tell and nothing to finish.  I find out later that they took the class because they had a loss in their life.  Those who lost a child often can’t talk about it then, but I find out later.  Then they say something like “Taking your class got me through.”  That’s when you can believe in the power of what you do.  I later met stitchers who worked on the Star-Spangled Banner Flag Project who were using that to get through a bad time.

Many people feel a unique since of history embedded in a quilt because others have touched it through the generations – “grandma touched this.” Like Walt Disney said (in the new Tom Hanks movie): “Isn’t life magic?” Quilts are magic to me.

Years ago, when I had young boys who ate my cooking or messed up my cleaning, I really treasured my quilting stitches. When I was quilting, I often thought, “Nobody can take this away from me.”   

"Baltimore Hon" – 2012 - 41" x41"
Made in a class with MaryLou Weidman

Tell me about the Fort McHenry Star-Spangled Banner Replica Flag Project. I understand you were very involved in the project that duplicated the original flag that flew over Fort Henry?

Mimi Dietrich with Kristen Schenning and Beverly Schenning 
from the Stitching History project.

2014 is the 200th anniversary of the poem Francis Scott Key wrote after watching the bombardment of Fort Henry from a British ship in Baltimore Harbor. As the sun came up, he could still see the 30 feet by 42 feet flag waving over Fort McHenry.  That’s what inspired our National Anthem. That flag is now in the Smithsonian.  Last year was the 200th anniversary of the making of that flag by Mary Pickersgill.  Kristin Shenning, the education director at the Maryland Historical Society, decided to make a reproduction of that flag.  About 200 volunteers signed up to work on the flag, it was very much like making a quilt.

Kristin’s mom, Beverly Schenning, was in charge of the stripes.  I was in charge of the stars.  We started on July 4, 2013.  By the end of July we were ready for the canton with the stars. The appliquéd stars were two feet wide, made of kona cotton.  The flag itself is wool.  Stitching on wool is like stitching on gauzy fabric.  We were able to accomplish 17 threads per inch on the stars, so they did not tear the wool. We cut away the blue behind the stars, appliqueing the raw the edges, in a form of reverse appliqué.  It was challenging, fun, exciting, it was a social experience – 200 people working on a big project, and more than 1000 people taking stitches in the flag. Amazing!

In 1814 Mary Pickersgill made the original flag by August 22.  Only we had air conditioning and a huge room and 200 volunteers and 1000 people coming through on “public stitching days,” making one or two stitches.  The news coverage was incredible. We had politicians, the mayor of Baltimore and TV reporters.  Last year on September 14 (2013), known as Defenders' Day in Baltimore, they flew this flag over Fort McHenry.  We all got to go inside and hold the flag, becoming a part of history.

This year (2014), with the Star Spangled 200 celebration, we had Tall Ships and Blue Angels flying over.  To the minute, our flag went up the pole again.  It was shown at the Milwaukee American Quilt Study Group conference and it thrilled everyone, made chills run up your spine.  The project was called “Stitching History”. Two ladies who were descendants of Mary Pickersgill were part of the celebration, coming up from Texas.

A ranger at Fort McHenry talked about “the power of place.”  I almost didn’t go to the celebration this year, and that ranger called me to urge me to come. I am ever so glad I did.

"Baltimore circa 2008" - finished in 2008 - 84" x 84"

You just mentioned you are getting ready for another teaching trip.  How far ahead do you prepare for a program?

Bags are packed way ahead of time for the class needs itself because that, to me, is the easy part.  If you’re teaching a class, you have a class check-list and that makes packing very easy to manage, but ‘what clothes will I wear on the trip’ is a more difficult last-minute decision. 

Do you write a blog?

I started writing it on July 4, 2013, at the start of the Star-Spangled Banner flag project in Baltimore, so a lot of it has to do with the flag project.  Now, I write once or twice a month.

One thing I need to say before we close —  it’s amazing to be recognized for just doing something I love.  It’s overwhelming.

Yes, Mimi Dietrich, stitches do stay put and leave a legacy!  You are a living proof of that adage. 

It has been my great pleasure to interview you for The Quilters Hall of Fame, Mimi. 

Thank you for your time and your open heart!

Karen B. Alexander

Interviewer's final notes:

Mimi Dietrich has also been an inspiration to many a cancer survivor. To read her inspirational writings be sure to visit her blog by clicking here Mimi’s Cancer Journey and see her book Pink Ribbon Quilts: A Book Because of Breast Cancer by Mimi Dietrich, published 1999 by Martingale And Company.

I hope many quilt lovers plan to attend Mimi Deitrich's induction in Marion, Indiana, July 16-18, 2015. Click on Mimi's name to learn more about attending.

The 1851 Mary Mannikee Quilt is on exhibit at the DAR in Washington D.C. until Sept. 5 2015 in the DAR Museum's exhibit "Eye on Elegance: Early Quilts of Md and Va" along with their other album quilts. Visit them at

Some of the quilts that inspired Mimi Dietrich at the Baltimore Museum of Art back in 1982 are seen below.

(Click here for the history researched and written 
by Debby Cooney of the Baltimore Applique Society)

Baltimore album Quilt made for Miss Elizabeth Sliver in the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art. Gift of the Friends of the American wing (BMA 76.93)