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Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Quilt Show by the Founders of the Mountain Laural Quilt Guild

Warning: Get a Big Cup of Joe and prepare yourself for this wonderful adventure.  Because there are so many photos...I'm going to do this in a two part blog post.  I'll post about the first presenter and then I'll post about the second presenter.


The main reason I "went fishing" a few weeks ago was to be present of the presentation by the Co-Founders of the Mountain Laural Quilt Guild in Wellsboro, PA.  This was very exciting for me because I'm a member and I'm fortunate enough to have both of these gals as my friends. 

The meeting is held at the Gmeiner Art and Cultural Center.  We arrived very early that night to set up all the quilts.  Oh heck, before I go into that....let me tell you who the co-founders are...good idea ay? 

They were introduced as the "Founding Mothers" and their names are Mary Jane Ehlich and Madalene Murphy.    What I think is really cool about these two ladies is they have very different styles.  Mary Jane is a traditionalist and Madalene is an art quilter. 

Mary Jane presented first:

This is Mary Jane's first quilt, Churn Dash (1984).  It was made from stash fabric and Mary Jane said she didn't know about sashing back then.

Yes, of course it is hand quilted...they all are.  Mary Jane not only is a master hand quilter but also is a master at needle turn applique.  I don't know if you can see the stitches very well...I'm telling you they are beautifully even.
Also in 1984, Mary Jane made this "Ruffled Tulip." She had joined the Charlotte NC, Quilt Guild and took an applique class from Dot Brickman who designed the pattern. She used polyester fabric and poly batting.

This was just her second quilt and she began taking ribbons with it. How exciting is that? Your second quilt and you are getting ribbons. All I have to say is....IMPRESSIVE!

1986 rolled around and Mary Jane made this "Dutch Girl" quilt that she had copied the pattern from a quilt her mother had made for her when she was young
It hangs in the hallway upstairs, right next to the room I get to sleep in...and while I'm bragging a little...I sleep with as many quilts as I need to stay warm!  Ok, I'm done now...can you tell I adore Mary Jane?  Yep, I do!

The next one was made in 1988, "Grandma's Bridal Quilt" has a matching long pillow sham.  Mary Jane took a class from Sue Carter who designed this pattern.  The quilt was chosen to represent the state of North Carolina in an exhibit "America Makes Quilts" in the Houston Quilt Festival in 1988.  It was juried into the American Quilter's Society Show in Paducah KY in 1989 and it has received a number of awards throughout North Carolina. 

The second quilt takes a collection of ribbons and her 4th goes to Houston and Paducah....isn't that amazing?  And wonderful?  I sure think so :)

I should tell you, between the lighting and was difficult to get really good photos of all of the quilts that were shown.  I did my best to fill in a bit of light.  Ya' all know I'm not a professional photographer right? 

 Made in 1988, and titled, "Rings of Joy" also was a big hit.  The center block was from a pattern in Quilter's Newsletter then she choose other patterns that she liked to built this quilt by enlarging patterns the the size she wanted. "Rings of Joy" was juried into the Paducah show in 1989 and chosen to be featured in the 1991 Quilt Art Calendar for December. It received several awards as well.

I took the close up so you could see the beautiful hand quilting.

This "Doll Dresden Plate I" made in 1990, is one of my favorite quilts made by Mary Jane. I see it when I come down the stairs. Mary Jane had made several large Dresden Plate quilts and she used her scraps to make this little one for herself. She gave the larger ones to loved ones.

"President's Wreath" (1991) received the judge's choice award a the North Carolina Quilt Symposium in Raleigh, NC in 1994.  The border was Mary Jane's own design. 
This one has an interesting story.  "Needle in a Basket" (1995) was made from Liberty of London fabric while traveling to Australia. 
The day after finishing the quilting, Mary Jane felt pain in her arm.  While at the doctors office she asked him to look at her arm.  Guess what was in her arm?  Yep, you guessed it, a needle...yikes!  Hence the name, "Needle in a Basket."

"Mother's Frustration" was completed in 2001.  Mary Jane's mother had started this quilt over 35 years before and she never finished it.  Apparently it would not lay flat so it just went unfinished.  Mary Jane took it all apart except for the arcs and made a template to re0cut the arcs and replaced the white background fabric.  She hand quilted and finished this heirloom quilt.

It sure lays flat now doesn't it?

This photo does absolutely no justice to this quilt, "Cross Country Plates" (2004).  When it is on Mary Jane's bed it is absolutely breath taking.  She made it for her husband, Bill and collected the fabric while traveling to Oregon.  Bill is very patient when waiting for Mary Jane to stop at quilt shops.
Look at the quilting....the blows my mind that Mary Jane patiently marks her quilts and proceeds to hand quilt all of her quilts.  I can't even begin to imagine the amount of thread used.

In 2004, Mary Jane made her "Lynchburg Pineapple 3."  This is her own design. 

The light here doesn't show the colors as well as the photo below.  This is "Ponchatoula Oak Leaves" made in 2007.  Mary Jane bought the pattern in Ponchatoula Louiasiana and made some changes to the pattern.  She started the quilt in Jan. 2007 and finished in in Oct. 2007.  She used 790 yards of quilting thread.  So much for quilt in a day ay?
I think this photo shows the colors much better.

While in Texas, Mary Jane slept under a quilt just like this one.  She was so impressed she made one for herself and it was made with 100% hand stitching, including the binding.

Made in 2009, "Christmas Coxcomb & Currants" was a pattern Mary Jane took from Quilters Newsletter Dec. 2004.  She started in it Feb. 2008 and finished in in December 2008.  There is 640 yards of thread used to hand quilt this beauty.
Again, I think the colors are better in this photo.

"Trapunto Red Bird" was made in 2009.  Mary Jane fell in love with the fabric so she fussy cut the birds and trapuntoed behind them.  It is her own design.
I know you are probably tired of all these photos...but once again, the close up is better!
I had the good fortune to watch Mary Jane while she was making parts of this beautiful quilt.  "MJ's Flower Baskets" was made in 2010.  The baskets are hand pieced with needle turn applique.  The pattern is by Lori Smith.  It was a pattern for a wall hanging but Mary Jane had it re-sized for a bed quilt.

"Tuesday's Baltimore" was finished this year.  I remember when our Tuesday group said they wanted to make a Baltimore Album and Mary Jane politely suggested I not participate.  She knows me well!  I would still be working on the first or second block and be frustrated that it wasn't as beautiful as the other gals blocks.
This was the last quilt revealed and you should have heard the gals whispering.  People were saying how different it looked hanging on a quilt hanger.  We had all seen it (long time IHAN blog followers probably remember my posting these blocks in their early stages)....but on a wall it was stunning.

After 6 or 7 hours now...I'm taking a break.  I didn't proof read this if you see anything strange...just pretend it belongs there...I'll be sure to return the favor :)  I'll be back with Madalene's Quilts soon.   If you are still with me, thanks so much for spending your time with me...and my friends too!



  1. There sure is a lot of quilt goodness here in this post! Oh my, what beauties. And to think you have more for us!

  2. I enjoy hearing about a seasoned quilter's journey, and am bookmarking this post in my reader for keeps.

  3. Wonderful quilt show, so many beautiful quilts and applique work.


  4. Good grief. All hand quilted. I have enough trouble with machine quilting let alone hand quilting. Her quilts are beautiful works of art.

  5. What a terrific show of traditional, hand quilted quilts. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. She does phenomenally beautiful work! Wow!!!!!

  7. Oh my, I almost just wanted to cry, these quilts were all so beautiful...and each one seemed to be more gorgeous than the prior (if that was possible). The Trapunto Red Bird quilt was stunning. How lucky you are to have such gifted quilters in your guild! I can't wait to see the "art" quilts!! :)

  8. OMG These are absolutely gorgeous. No wonder they won sew many awards. Somebody loves to challenge herself.

  9. These are all beautiful and the handquilting is spectacular. Thank you for sharing. Love them all.


  10. I am utterly gobsmacked - what an AMAZING quilter! I can't pick a favorite, they're all breathtaking. I know how long it takes me to do things by hand - not sure I would have made so many! Wow Kelly!

  11. What an awesome post! I was just right there with you! Did you see me? I so admire Mary Jane. She has to be the most patient person in the world! Her work is gorgeous! I loved all her quilts! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Love the Dresden Plate - Gorgeous ;)

  13. Wow, they are all fantastic.....and you can never have too many beautiful photos.

  14. What a visual feast! Thank you!

  15. Absolutely, completely unbeieveable! The hand quilting is stunning! I would think that 2 or 3 or these beauties in a lifetime would be outstanding! How on earth does she make 1 or even 2 per year?!!! Thanks for sharing the photos! Wish I was there in the "flesh"!!

  16. If a body can go into diabetic coma from eye candy, now's the chance. O.M.G. And I don't *ever* say that. Absolutely breathtaking. I'm pretty sure there aren't enough adjectives to accurately describe how gorgeous those quilts are. And then to think they've all been done BY HAND, by ONE lady. My, my, my, what a lady! What an artist!

    And what a doll you are for sharing such goodness with all of us!!! Sure beats smelly ole fish!

  17. Beautiful quilts. Thank you. I am also a hand quilter, but, I don't get that much done. Beautiful work.


Thank you for reading the IHAN Blog. I love getting and reading every comment that is left here; however I may not be able to respond to all comments left during giveaways. There are times when I am juggling many tasks at one time and may not reply to all comments. Please e-mail me at if you need a reply quickly. I thank you for your understanding and-
More Later-Beth


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