The Dinosaur Quilt Guild In Heaven, 11-5-20

We old quilters who have been around for what seems like forever have been dubbed the dinosaurs by Mary Ellen Von Holt of Little Quilts. We began our businesses in the 80’s and 90’s and both of us had books published by That Patchwork Place in the early 90’s. We only saw each other at spring and fall markets but we’ve been friends for years.

Little Quilts’ team was made up of (from left to right) Sylvia Johnson, Alice Berg, and Mary Ellen Von Holt and they introduced “small quilts” as “dessert for the quilter”. How could we all have survived all these years without “little quilts”? We couldnt! Connie and I still find small quilts the most rewarding projects we could make!

Sylvia died a couple days ago of cancer and as Mary Ellen says, “We have an Angel in Heaven doing the bookkeeping for the Dinosaur Quilt Guild in Heaven”. Sympathy to Alice and Mary Ellen and Sylvia’s family.

Here are today’s Dirty Dozen quilts:

And here is my finished “Knock Your Socks Off” which is going to my niece’s granddaughter who just turned 12 years old. This is for you, Bailey!

And the back.

Once again I have failed to get the avocado seed to grow! I used to do this all the time and now I just cannot get it to sprout. I’m going to give up and throw it away – unless somebody can tell me what I’m doing wrong!

Another beautiful day here – 75+ degrees and no wind. The leaves are almost finished and next week when it gets cold we’ll be glad we worked so hard.

This afternoon Telly and Hazel had an adventure inside a big tree in the grove. Here’s both of them inside the hollow part – we should cut this down now before it falls on the fence.

Just. So. Much. Fun!!!!

Thank you, Lora Jans, for the sweet Be Still necklace. I actually have it on and this was the best picture I could get. I love it!

Sweet Hazel napping.

Because I’ve had a persistent cough for over two weeks both Rick and I were tested yesterday for Covid – both of us were negative! I thought the nose swab for 8 seconds in each nostril was nasty! Ricks nurse just put it in his nostril, twirled once and removed it. Mine counted to 8! And it not only was painful, it brought tears to my eyes!

That’s it for me! Time to close up the barn for the night! Be still.

69 thoughts on “The Dinosaur Quilt Guild In Heaven, 11-5-20

  1. Mandy Stewart

    I love the “Little Quilts” books and still have mine. Love working on the small quilts since I’m about maxed out on large quilts.

  2. Laurie Mosley

    Back in the 1070’s when I first became a nurse, I worked in the ICU. We had an outbreak of the bacteria staphlococcus aureus so all personnel had to be tested. The head laboratory tech came up and tested each of us with a swab up each side of the nose. I know what you mean about “it hurts and made my eyes water”! That was my experience as well. I put it this way – it felt like a peacock flew up my nose!

    1. Mary Ellen Von Holt

      Thanks for the sweet post about Little Quilts! We started in the 1980’s along with The late Mary Ellen Hopkins, (program chairperson of the Dinosaur Quilt Guild in heaven), Marti Michell, Nancy Smith & Linda Milligan of Great American Quilt Factory, Ali Strebel & Sally Korte of Kindred Spirits, Jo Morton and others; plus some of the forerunners of those modern quilters – Virginia Avery, Jane Sasserman, Katie Pasquini, and others

      1. Moe Baly

        I remember all of them Mary Ellen! My idols. Feel so lucky to have grown up in the quilting world led by all of you. Country Threads, Little Quilts, and so many more. I’m about to retire from my full time job, looking forward to finishing my many UFO’s! Will bring back a lot of memories.

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Moe Baly – and you, Moe, are part of my memories from those past days! Your bus visits were a highlight for all of us. I just told someone else that “those were the days”, weren’t they?

      2. Sue in Marion, IN

        Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about Sylvia! You and Alice taught the first quilt class I ever took at Quilt America in 199? 1992 or 3, I think. I had been sewing since I was 11 and was a self-taught quilter. Your class was so much fun. I have all your books and almost all your patterns…in fact, I was looking at some of them a few days ago. Time to make some new Little Quilts!
        P.S. I have two little pillows you donated to an early Quilters’ Hall of Fame auction, along with your first book. I was the successful bidder, kept the pillows and re-donated the book as I already had it. Still love those little pillows!

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Sue in Marion, IN – oh my gosh, I had almost forgotten about Quilt America! What was the class we taught? And I absolutely don’t remember the pillows – weren’t those great days for us quilters? It will never be that way again since we all have internet and we’re all getting old. Thanks for the memories!

          1. Sue in Marion, IN

            You taught the little sawtooth stars quilt in your first book. I still use mine, even though the navy blues I used have faded. I was so slow! It was an all-day class and I only got half of the 9 stars done. Xenia Cord and her friends put on Quilt America for 9 years, 1990-99. Xenia was inducted into TQHF 3 years ago. She was a founder of the Midwest Fabric Study Group, an offshoot of AQSG. Our fall meeting was supposed to be this weekend, but….fall meeting is at the Blue Gate Inn in Shipshewana, Indiana…always a favorite spot!

  3. Lois Ann Johnson

    I was tested for Covid-19 a week ago, too. (It was a “pre-op” test.) It was negative. The technician who administered it told me to sit on my hands. I thought that was a strange thing to tell me, but she said the natural reaction for the patient is to grab onto the person giving the test! It didn’t really hurt–but it was a “bad” tickle!

    1. Dana Nemecek

      I still have the “Little Quilts” book, too! It’s always been one of my favorites!

    2. CountryThreads Post author

      Lois Ann – I actually thought it was painful – I was sitting in the driver’s seat and kept backing my head up and the nurse just kept twirling that dang swab!

  4. MartyCae

    I love the pics of the dogs. Such adventures!
    Always enjoyed the Little Quilt books. Guess I am part of that “older” quilt group! I like being this age minus the aches and pains. Sad when an old friend departs.

  5. michele

    Now this will be hard to believe but I started my avocado pit in the dirt, outside, in my veggie garden. It was an experiment and it worked. I had a basket of dirt with my potato pieces in the bottom and just poked the avocado pit in, leaving some of the tip showing. When I went to harvest the potatoes I was surprised to see the avocado had rooted. It has been replanted into a pot, brought indoors for the winter and is now about 1 foot high.

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Michele – I’ve been very successful with pineapples in the past – I should do it again – I did always plant them directly in dirt.

  6. Cheryl

    I have that book and loved it. There is a small quilt on my bedside table. Thanks for this reminder

  7. Cathy

    I am one of the dinosaurs. I started quilting in 1981. For 13 years I was in charge of teachers for the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show & had the privilege of getting to know many of the well known teachers. Several of them have joined that heavenly quilters guild. Mary Ellen Hopkins & Pat Campbell come to mind right away & we’ve lost Jean Ray Laury, Yvonne Porcella as well. Mary Ellen was hard to keep track of 😀 but Pat was just the sweetest person ever. I have several patterns & the book from Little Quilts & love them. So sad to hear about Sylvia.

  8. Marcia

    Avocado sprouting…I think the growers or someone in the food chain does something to prevent sprouting, probably to lengthen the “shelf life”. I was a teacher for 41 years and when studying plants I’d sprout avocados, sweet potatoes, carrots, and more. Eventually they wouldn’t sprout, so just sharing my thoughts on this.

  9. Margie Fisher in CA

    So sad to hear about Sylvia. LITTLE QUILTS and COUNTRY THREADS were/are a huge part of my life, then
    and now and forever. I still have all the books and patterns, to do someday…but at almost 89, time is
    shorter now. They– AND YOU TWO TOO– are much loved by all of us out here. So called MODERN will never take your place, so there!!! Love to you all, Sylvia and Mary Ellen and Alice, Connie and Mary,
    hugs across the miles !

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Margie Fisher – what a sweet comment – my thanks from all of us! You readers are just the best!

  10. debby

    I’ve sprouted a few avocado pits over the years, it takes SO long for them to do anything. Just keep it wet on the bottom and check it once a week or so, it just takes time. I saw someone had placed one in a bulb forcing vase (the ones used for paper whites and crocus) so the roots could stay wet and they didn’t have to put any toothpicks in it.

  11. Lisa Bass

    I’m so sorry to hear about your sweet friend:(
    I peel the thin brown skin off the avocado and then wrap it in a moist paper towel, seal it in ziplock baggie and throw it in a drawer for a few weeks until it cracks open and has a root peeking through. Then I put it in water like you’ve shown. I’ve had really good luck this way!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Lisa Bass – thank you! This is amazing that I can ask my readers just about anything and somebody has an answer – I’m going to take it out of water now and start again – I’ve got nothing to lose!

  12. Rita in Iowa

    Bet if I look I will find this book also. Lol we have to remember at our age each day is a blessing. I too having been working hard to finish things outside. Getting it done. Fingers are sore from all the thorns from the Multiflora rose I have been cutting.
    For those who have not heard there is an organization called They are located in various locations throughout the US. My daughter in Texas keep watching for one to spring up in Eastern Iowa. This spring she found one that is set up in Cedar Rapids. For those who have not heard of them, they have a website were you can sign up to receive baskets of 50% fruit and 50% vegetables. They also have add ons of various items. The costs is $18, unless you get an add on. There is a sign up fee for the first basket of $3 (on time fee) and a additional fee each time you order of $1.20. You can choose to order or not depending on what is going on with your schedule and eating habits. Because of where we live we order every other week on Monday/Tuesday and pick it up on Friday. I will take a picture tomorrow so you can see what is available in Iowa. I also order a basket for my sister so if you want you can just have one pick up. My daughter in Texas gets other products than we get in Iowa. If you have any questions let me know.

  13. Sharon Lowy

    I have been tested twice for Covid..neither were painful!

    So we are Dinosaurs..who cares? I have no desire to do those modern “quilts”. I make quilts for warm and comfortable sleeping and napping. Do what you love.❤️

  14. Judith Ann Jaques

    That particular (little quilts) book is the first one I ever bought. Still have it.
    Long time friends. We are blessed to have them, and so very sad when they are gone from this life.
    The yard guy was here today. Hosta cut off and leaves all picked up. Good till spring.

    I have a question for you all. Do you put kitchen veg. food scraps in the compost in the winter.I know those with chickens are lucky to have a source to dispose of the scrapes. I did ,always put mine in the garden compost but no longer have a veg. garden.
    I did start a compost by the fence out back and wonder if it will draw critters I don’t want close to the house. j

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Judith Ann – I have no compost pile – everything goes to my chickens who run to greet me hoping I have some scraps for them.

  15. Julie D.

    Besides all of the Country Threads books and patterns that I own the “Little Quilts all through the House” books is still one of my favorites! I love small quilts as well. Great to see a final product in a short amount of time. Those two dogs probably had a raccoon up the middle of that tree. And all of the Dirty Dozen projects are so awesome. I’m still finishing up October! Going to try machine stippling it myself. Just a wall hanging. My November DD is an easy one so I should be back on track by the end of the month. So very sad that Sylvia has passed away. Those three ladies just exude friendship! Great designers as are you and Connie!!

  16. Diane Bauer

    So sorry to hear of Sylvia’s battle with cancer and the loss her death brings to those who loved her. I have the book you posted plus one other Little Quilts book along with many, many quilts made from those books (almost certainly made from fabric purchased at Country Threads).

    I’m holding off on sending a Dirty Dozen photo as I finished four tops last month but all are with my quilter now. I will send photos when they are bound and truly finished.

    Checked off a Bucket List item today and absolutely LOVED my hot air balloon ride. Wondering tonight if my next opportunities as a chase crew team member may lead to a retirement career as a pilot???? Who knows?!?!?!?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane Bauer – you are very brave! I hate heights so you wouldn’t convince ME to get in a hot air balloon! But nice you could check something off your bucket list.

  17. Carla J in Michigan

    I have the Little Quilt book also. I had the pleasure of visiting the shop a couple of times while I lived in Georgia. I know the first visit was March 1996 as four of us traveled from Valdosta GA to see the Olympic Quilts on display before they were presented during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
    The second visit was on a trip back to Valdosta after visiting our families in Michigan. I nicely offered to drive, after we had gassed up our van. An hour or so later I asked if he would mind if I stopped at a quilt shop on the way. He told me later he was shocked that I drove directly into the parking lot, like I did it regularly, lol. They had a lovely shop and I have fond memories of my visits.

  18. Sharon

    I have three of the Little Quilts books and I love them! Had them for years and still look at them,I’ve made a lot of the little quilts too.sorry to hear about her passing.

  19. Marian

    The Little Quilts book is one of my treasures to always keep. The pictures of the quilts posted by you are fun to see…folks getting things done during a pandemic! Hazel is a love 💕

  20. Carol Rife

    I was so lucky to get to visit the Little Quilt Store near Atlanta. Such a wonderful place! And so sad when they closed.

    Love your sock quilt!

  21. Arrowhead Gramma

    Mary, I have that Little Quilt book and I believe another one or two of theirs. May God comfort Sylvia’s family and all her many friends.

    With the avocado, take a knife and make an “X” on the bottom where it hits the water. Think this is what my Mom used to do. Good luck.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Lora Jans – I still have the necklace on – I think I’ll just keep it on as a reminder to “Be Still” – the election coverage is enough to make all of us disgusted and anxious, isn’t it?

  22. Jeanine

    I also have that Little Quilts book. It was one of the first quilt books I bought. I still like that style of quilts. I so enjoy seeing the DD’s—-all are so nice.

  23. Kathy in western NY

    Wasn’t there Little Quilts fabric too? I seem to think I have some sweet prints with that name on the selvage in my stash. It’s too late for me to go look now for it but I will look tomorrow. It is one of my first quilting memories admiring their small quilts.
    My grandkids have All had covid tests between school and college positive cases but none complained about it. One nurse told my grandson to lean his head back on the wall as the reaction is to jerk your head back so this way it wouldn’t hurt. My husband had a test too and said it was fine. But you were smart to go for a test either way Mary. It was the right thing to do.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy in NY – yes, there were several fabric lines – I’ll bet you have some!

  24. Jo in Wyoming

    I, too, love the Little Quilts book collection. I hung about a dozen of them in the guest bathroom. They started many conversations. So sorry to lose another quilting jewel.

    I did chuckle when I saw Hazel’s fanny in that tree. She and Telly have the best time searching for clues. They sleep well after a day so busy.

    Thanks gals for the DD pictures, we all enjoy them.

  25. Sue in Oregon

    I once found an avocado pit in my compost bin that was beginning to grow. I fished it out and planted it and what do you know?? It grew very fast. I grew it into a little tree for about 2 years when finally it froze in my unheated greenhouse during a very cold spell. I know…I should have brought it in the house.
    I am so sorry about Mary Ellen, may she rest in peace. The book you posted looks wonderful. I love small quilts.
    Beautiful quilts, everyone.

  26. Sandy

    Hi mary, lucky, lucky Diane Bauer, a hot air balloon is my bucket desire, but costs 600 dollars in new Zealand, so just had to make do with the amazing flight from queenstown, up through the southern alps and over all the lakes!great quilt finishes, needto go back for second look,best wishes everyone from sandy

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sandy – $600 to pay for terror wouldn’t happen in my book! I’d be scared to death to go up in a hot air balloon!

  27. Charlotte Shira

    I love seeing the DDs completed. Got to get busy on mine! My son and daughter-in-law planted an avocado tree from a seed in the front yard of their old house but never had an avocado before they moved. I hope the new owners enjoy the avocados. I think I’ll try to get one to sprout.
    I love your necklace. Be Still.

  28. Karen in Florida

    I, too, have the Little Quilts book and have made several quilts from it.
    I had a Co-Vid test last Friday as pre-op procedure and it was an oral test. The nurse swabbed the back of my throat on each side. Easy and pain-free. I was so glad it was done this way. Came back negative. Had surgery on my right thumb yesterday to get arthritis scraped out of the joint. Yikes! Can’t wait to be able to get back to quilting.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Karen in Florida – tell me more about scraping the arthritis out of your thumb joint – I’ve thought about this for my poor fingers and have wondered if I could have that done around here. I suppose I’d have to go to Mayo in Rochester, MN but it would be worth it.

      1. Mary Says Sew!

        Mary, you might try Voltaren for your the arthritis in your hands. It’s now available over the counter. It helps mine.

          1. Mary Says Sew!

            Consider wearing rubber gloves for a little while after applying Voltaren. That will warm up your hands a bit and you can do some things after applying it. It can be a little watery.

            I have one arthritic finger that I use Voltaren on. I put a small amount in a finger cot and wear the finger cot for a while.

          2. Mary Says Sew!

            I looked Voltaren up, and it does come as a pill, and also as eye drops, but I have used the gel. The pill and eye drops may be by prescription.

            I also learned Voltaren is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, like aspirin, ibuprofen and other similar drugs. So, if you’re allergic to NSAIDs, don’t use Voltaren.

            A pharmacist can certainly advise you on the ins and outs of any drug, prescription or over-the-counter. Pharmacists are a great resource!

  29. Linda baker

    One of my favorite books, I’ve made many of the quilts over the years. I was able to visit the Little Quilts shop in Marietta and it was lovely. So sad to hear of the passing of Sylvia, my sympathy goes to her family and the two other gals of Little Quilts.
    Mary, love the Sock It To Me quilt, and the fabrics are so appropriate for a young girl. I’m sure she will love it.
    Those dogs provide entertainment for you and all of us readers, had to laugh when I saw them in that tree!

  30. Moe baly

    Thank you for writing about Little Quilts. Loved those ladies and sorry to hear about Sylvias passing. I have all their books and made many little quilts! Love the idea of you ladies who led us on our quilting journey back in the 80’s and 90’s being in a Dinosaur Guild.

  31. Wendy T.

    Hi Mary-

    That “Little Quilts” book was one of my favorites. I used to borrow it from the library all the time! The quilt you made Bailey is very pretty and sweet. I’m sure she will love it. Thanks again for all the stories and pics you put on the blog. I always appreciate seeing a new post.

  32. KathyG from Oak Creek, WI

    I have the Little Quilts book and I still use it!
    Sorry for your bad Covid test experience, my neighbor tested negative twice before he got the positive result – he just knew he had it! I hope that doesn’t happen to you.
    Best Wishes!

  33. Diane in WI

    I am so sorry to hear about Sylvia. I love their quilt books. I made some small pillows. They are addicting;I couldn’t make just one. It is another warm day here in Wisconsin. All of our corn and soybeans are safely harvested. Is that a good feeling! When it snowed last year on Halloween, our crops ended up staying in the fields until spring. Loved the pictures of Hazel and Telly having a good time. There are many talented people reading your blog. Enjoy the day.

  34. Polly Perkins

    I have the Little Quilts book and need to get it out and see what else I can do that I have not done already. Love it and little projects.

    The COVID test I had to have done before going into the surgery room for a procedure made my eyes water too. It was still easier than the anesthesia aftereffects! Glad you did not have COVID.

  35. Kate

    I sold Little Quilt books in my store back in the 90’s and have made so many quilts from their books. So sorry to hear about Sylvia’s death. I guess none of us are getting any younger. Have to tell you something funny. We have two Lab puppies who greet me every day at the door and one of them likes to nip my behind. She bit a hole in my pants yesterday and I thought of you when Hazel tore your pants off at the pet store. I hope that doesn’t happen to me, but I do have a biter that I’m trying to train. Those little teeth are sharp!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kate – I had forgotten that incident at the pet store! These days her incisor teeth are ground off flat on top because she hangs off the feed room door! I’ve tried everything to break her of this habit- to no avail. Good luck with your puppies! Sorry about your pants!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Penny – I am thrilled to hear from you after many years! I always loved when you visited Country Threads because you always had a dog waiting in the car, didn’t you? I’m going to email you right now!

    2. CountryThreads Post author

      Penny – I wrote you a long email and it came back as undeliverable- please give me the correct address.

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