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Mary Ellen von Holt of Little Quilts

I’m thrilled to be featured as a guest blogger! Quilting has always been such a relaxing past time for me. In 1976 I was working on a needle point picture of Mickey Mouse commemorating the 500 year anniversary of the bicentennial. I was flipping through Family Circle magazine and came across a picture of a quilt made by Jinny Beyer called “Rising Sun.” The magazine had quilt blocks in it and I started making 9 patch and half square triangle blocks mimicking the ones shown in the magazine. I followed the magazine for months and taught myself how to cut squares and triangles and figured out how to turn them into patchwork blocks. I continued to make patchwork from the magazine and bought whatever books I could find on patchwork. I sewed blocks until we moved to Atlanta in 1981. I guess you could say the rest is history.

Little Quilts started with Alice Berg, Sylvia Johnson and myself. Alice, Sylvia and I started making little quilts to sell in the early 1980s. We saw a room setting in one of our country decorating magazines that had small doll quilts hanging on walls or as accents in cupboards or end tables. We loved the look and feel these small doll quilts created, however, they were very expensive so we decided to study books that had antique doll quilts and try to make them ourselves. We made them for ourselves, gave them away as gifts to our friends and we sold them at antique fairs and festivals.

sorority-booth

We set up an outdoor clothes line that had the quilts hanging on it and tagged each one with a little story about how they came to be. Over the years we sold more than 500 of these doll quilts. They were not miniature quilts. They were made with squares of fabric never smaller than 1″ and usually the quilt blocks were about 5″. In miniature quilts, the block are usually 3″ or smaller.

In order to make the little quilts look old we developed “magic fabrics” which are the colors we saw in old quilts…black, brown, golds, bubble gum pinks, purples, plaids and stripes, and tan “nothing” looking prints. These along with other colors combined correctly could make patchwork and appliquĂ© appear old. We even tea dyed them after they were sewn, hand quilted, and bound, to give them an aged, authentic or worn look.

When we stopped making these quilts to sell, we decided to put fabrics together in kits and sell them to quilt shops and gift shops around the country. The first kit was a Little Heart Quilt kit and it was available in Blueberry, Country Rose, Navy Brick, and Country Mix. We also had Little Flag kits and Little House kits. Some of these early kits are on display in the “Little Museum” in our store in Marietta, Georgia.

Over the years I’ve made too many quilts to count! Here is one of my quilts that was featured in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. I made this as a wedding gift for my daughter and son in law. My daughter loved toile, and their bedroom was reds and blues. I also made another one similar to this in blues and browns for my son and daughter in law when they were married. I’ve got three wonderful grandchildren, all of which have quilts from me as well. Little Quilts keeps me quite busy, but never too busy to work on my own projects.

laura-quilt

I’ve also developed a love for rug hooking and needle punch as well. I made this rug for my grandson, Liam when he was born. He had a sailboat themed nursery and his daddy loves soccer. My daughter had his middle name picked out for quite some time but her and my son in law decided they were going to wait until they “met” the little guy before they picked his first name. They narrowed it down to 3 names.

liam-rug

I was trying to have the rug finished before he arrived so I had everything done except the top block letter. I brought all of my supplies with me to the hospital. As soon as he was born my first question was, “Well, what’s the little stinker’s name?” They chose Liam and I went right to work. I remember sitting in the rocking chair of my daughter’s hospital room hooking away! I made this rug “Today Is Your Best Day” for Liam’s younger brother Rylen.

rylen-rug

Now that my son had a baby girl last December, I’m thrilled to be working on some pink projects. After 7 years of boys and blue, I’m having lots of fun with pinks and greens which is what her nursery colors are.

Quilting has been a passion of mine for so long and I enjoy sharing that passion with others.

Happy Quilting!

Mary Ellen von Holt
www.littlequilts.blogspot.com
www.littlequilts.com

Posted: March 31st, 2010

Topics: Guest Bloggers, Quilt Gallery

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One Response to “Mary Ellen von Holt of Little Quilts”

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