Who’s the Quilters Hall of Fame inductee for 2015? (+ giveaway!)

From Baltimore Blocks for BeginnersWho’s the Quilters Hall of Fame inductee for 2015? Let’s see if you can guess:

  • She started out with a dream to write a single quilt book. That first book has sold nearly 250,000 copies and is Martingale’s best-selling book of all time. She’s written 15 more books during her career.
  • She’s a master appliqué teacher, and she’s taught her techniques to quilters around the United States for more than 20 years.
  • She is the “founding mother” of the Baltimore Appliqué Society.

That first quilt book was Happy Endings, and the 2015 Quilters Hall of Fame inductee is…Mimi Dietrich!

On July 1618, 2015, the Quilters Hall of Fame in Marion, Indiana, will honor Mimi’s many accomplishments with a weekend of quiltmaking fun. We got in touch with Mimi to ask her about the upcoming celebration. Here’s what she had to say.

Mimi Dietrich“When I learned that I would be inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame, they asked me to exhibit my quilts. Of course, I accepted. My granddaughter said, ‘Grammy, you just need to go upstairs and get them!’ But I also asked for a second exhibit…my students’ quilts! Because I’m a teacher, I felt that my students should be honored with me. I teach classes that introduce quilters to the basics of appliqué and Baltimore Album quilts. Many of my students fall in love with the techniques, and then take their quiltmaking skills to higher levels. It’s so much fun to see what they accomplish. Many of them are coming to Indiana to celebrate my induction. I just wouldn’t be there without them!”

How does it feel to be inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame, and what does it mean to you?

Mimi: I feel overwhelmed! When I look at the list of honorees before me, I realize that many of them are teachers that got me started (in person and on TV), magazine editors that brought quilts into my home, and quilters who brought the quilt world together. My favorite honoree is the very first, Dr. William Rush Dunton. He wrote a book about Baltimore Album quilts, and he lived in my hometown. I feel grateful and blessed to be honored for doing something I love. It’s amazing!

Tell us about a few of your favorites over the years:

Favorite book?
Mimi: My books with a Baltimore theme are my favorites because I live in Baltimore. My Pink Ribbon Quilts book is also a favorite because it touched quilters with breast cancer. My A Quilter’s Diary book is right up there, too, because it got quilters to think about their lives and how to tell personal stories with quilt blocks.

Books by Mimi Dietrich

Favorite class to teach?
Mimi: I teach a yearlong Baltimore appliqué class. I love it because the students really get to know each other and become friends. I feel like we’re re-creating history in the place where these quilts were first made. Oh, and my students also learn a great variety of appliqué techniques!

You’re a world-renowned quiltmaking teacher—in fact, you were named Teacher of the Year in 2013 by Professional Quilter magazine. In all your years of teaching, what one experience stands out as the best? The worst? The funniest?

Mimi: The best moments are when when I realize that quilting is more than just stitching, when I realize that students take my class to help them get through bad times in their lives, and when I realize that I have made a difference in their lives—and they have made a difference in mine!

The worst moment was when too many quilters showed up for a class at a guild. There were not enough chairs, tables, or handouts. Nobody would admit they hadn’t signed up. We just got off to a rocky start. I like to be organized!

The funniest moment: the night my friend and I were teaching at Quilt Odyssey, wearing our cute little pink quilter’s shirts, and we got into a hotel elevator. We were surrounded by big men in black leather and tattoos…the Lynyrd Skynyrd rock band! We talked about their grandmothers making quilts. It was a great story to tell in classes.

You were quilting before it was cool—and now it’s ultra-cool! What do you think of the new surge of modern quilters who have caught the quilting bug?

Mimi: I love the modern quilters and their designs! They still use traditional elements but design patterns that make it easy to create quilts in this busy world.

From a Quilter's DiaryWhat do you see in your future as a quiltmaker, and what do you see for the future of quilting?

Mimi: I’m not traveling much anymore, but I’m still teaching my yearlong classes in the Baltimore area. I want to keep this beautiful tradition alive in the place where it started.

It’s hard to imagine what’s next in the future of quilting. I think traditional quilts will always be with us and will inspire new designs. Lately, I’ve been amazed at hexies and English paper piecing designs—love those Millefiore designs—and they’re really all based on the quilts I know as the traditional Grandmother’s Flower Garden. It’s wonderful to see what new creative ideas are out there!

We send many congratulations to Mimi for receiving this honor from the Quilters Hall of Fame. Thank you for continuing to inspire us all these years!

The mission of The Quilters Hall of Fame is to celebrate quilting by honoring the accomplishments of people who have made outstanding contributions to the world of quilting. You can learn more about the organization here.

You can visit Mimi online at mimidietrich.com.

Have you taken a class, bought a book, or been inspired by Mimi in some way? Leave your stories and congratulations for Mimi in the comments and you could win a copy of two of Mimi’s popular books: Happy Endings and Baltimore Blocks for Beginners! We’ll choose a random winner one week from today and let you know by email if you win.

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Thanks to all who entered the drawing! The winner is Linda, who says:

“I have never had the opportunity to take a class from Mimi, but I feel so inspired just looking at the cover of Baltimore Blocks for Beginners! Congratulations Mimi!!!!”

Linda, we’ll email you about your prize. Congratulations!

Win these books by Mimi Dietrich!

More from Mimi:
SO many ways!: finishing binding on quilts
Re-creating the star-spangled banner

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