I love applique! It's my favorite quilting technique- maybe because it's so relaxing. I love to sit in my favorite chair, with my favorite light, my favorite silver thimble, my favorite fabrics, and a big glass of ice water and create pictures with fabric!
The very first quilt I ever made was an appliqued quilt. I made it in 1975 for my son Jon when he was born. Then I made a quilt for Ryan who was born in 1978. And one for my husband Bob... and now for my grandchildren Julia and Andrew!
I live in Catonsville, Maryland, which is just outside the city of Baltimore.
I've been teaching quilting Baltimore Album classes here in Baltimore for more than 20 years. My favorite class is my year-long class at the local quilt shop, Seminole Sampler. I love watching my students get excited as they make Baltimore blocks, and I love getting to know the students as the year goes on. It's great to see finished quilts- I feel like we are recreating history in Baltimore.
Quilting has also taken me on a wonderful journey out of Baltimore. I've taught in most of the United States- and in Canada- and in Bermuda! It's great to meet wonderful friendly quilters in classes at guilds and conferences. I've taught on cruises to Alaska- and I'm going to New England in 2009 with Quilt Camp at Sea.
I've written 17 quilting books. I'm most proud of the first one - Happy Endings written in 1988. It's still in print and that's a long life for a quilting book. In all, my books have sold over a half million copies. My favorites are the applique books- especially the Baltimore ones. The one that has touched the hearts of many quilters is Pink Ribbon Quilts: A Book Because of Breast Cancer. And there's Mimi Dietrich's Favorite Applique Quilts- nicknamed Mimi's Greatest Hits! But an author's most treasured book is usually the latest- so take a look at A Quilter's Diary, and find out how you can write your life story as you make a quilt!
Last year, I had a fabulous experience teaching a quilting class at UMBC- the University of Maryland Baltimore County. The class was in the American Studies department and my students made a Baltimore quilt from start to finish, along with studying history and sociology about Baltimore. We had a grant from NQA (the National Quilting Association) that paid for a shopping spree at the local quilt shop. My students got the opportunity to use quality fabrics and supplies as they made their first quilts. We had a quilt show the last week of classes and it was great to see the finished quilts- many of them stitched in untraditional colors!
I taped two TV shows for Simply Quilts. One of them was about quilts from my book Quilts from the Smithsonian that were adapted from quilts in the museum collection. The other one was titled Artful Applique and was taped in my living room.
Speaking of museums, one of my favorite projects was designing fabric based on a quilt in the Baltimore Museum of Art. The signature pieces were "reproduction blocks" based on designs and borders in the Williams quilt in the collection.
Of all the experiences in the quilt world, I think that belonging to a guild is very important. I went to my first meeting when my kids were very young. I'm one of the "Founding Mothers" of The Village Quilters in Catonsville and the Baltimore Applique Society. It's great to meet other quilters and share ideas, fabrics, tools, and techniques- and keep learning about quilting.
Have fun looking at my web site. There's a gallery of quilts to show you my quilts- and lectures and workshops that I love to teach. I teach basic techniques for applique and hope to inspire quilters to love applique as much as I do!