Mimi’s Grad School

Once upon a time a long time ago, Mimi Dietrich began teaching a year long Baltimore Album applique class at her local quilt shop. The participants enjoyed the class so much they didn’t want to stop meeting. So, they continued to meet once a month at Seminole Sampler in Catonsville, MD. This is also my local quilt shop.

In 1998, Genie (co-worker and Sew & Tell member) talked about wanting to take the class. At the time, it was thought that it would be the last time Mimi taught the class. Turns out it wasn’t. Mimi is still teaching the class every year except for time out for cancer treatment.

Genie and I signed up. She only knew that Mimi was a famous quilter who had written some books and taught classes. When she walked into class the first day, Mimi said “Regina!”. Genie said, “You’re not Mimi Dietrich. You’re Mary Ann So-and-so! (or something like that – I don’t remember the actual name)” Turns out they were high school classmates.

When our class ended in 1999, Mimi invited all of us to join her grad school class. There are 2 requirements to get into the group: 1) take Mimi’s year long class or have equivalent applique experience and 2) be invited to join by Mimi. We meet on a Monday so I have to use vacation time to attend but I try never to miss it. We never know exactly what’s going to happen but we  know we’ll have fun.

Have I finished my Baltimore Album? No. But, I’m in good company because several of the people in the very first class haven’t finished theirs, either.

Although we call it a class, it isn’t really. It’s very informal. Mimi calls us to order and talks about whatever business she has on her agenda. We do show and tell. We shop. We eat lunch.

In 2000 we added an hour-long afternoon session Mimi called PHD class for projects piled higher and deeper. The group decides on a project for the next year or so and those who want to participate stay for the afternoon session. We show what we’ve done on the project since the last meeting. One of the group presents a block or some other sort of presentation relevant to the project. I have yet to finish a single one of these projects. I don’t know why I can’t keep up.

I’m in awe of the talent in this group. Some of the women do museum quality work. I’m not one of them. But, man, you should hear the whining if they have to piece anything. It’s hilarious! I’m an equal opportunity quilter, applique or piecing, it’s all the same to me.

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