In The Studio

December 1, 2022

Well, it’s official. We have purchased a building in the historic district of Chestertown MD at 329 Cannon Street.

329 Cannon Street

The building has quite a history, previously being used by a wood worker and when we purchased it, the back space was being used as a workout gym.

We are turning it into The Skipjack Art Studios. And it will be home to a group of fine artists known as The Blueberry Pie and Art Society, and a Studio area for myself and my husband Tom.

Our new space will be on the upper floor of the building. We have a lot of work to do to get it ready. Paint on all the walls, new flooring, moving and hanging all of my quilts and Tom’s photos. And also relocating the Long Arm from the Afton Studio.

Future home of Dream Castle Quilt Studio and Tom Dietz Photography.

My new company will be called Dream Castle Quilt Studio. The studio area will house my long arm machine and all of my fabric, thread and regular sewing machine. I have been gathering my quilts, getting ready for the move.

Whew! What a stack of quilts.

Tom will open a studio for his photography called Thomas Dietz Photography. As you can see, there is plenty of wall space to hang my quilts and Tom’s photos.

The building also has a second floor, one bedroom apartment, first floor front room office space, and a commercial kitchen located in the older portion of the house. All of these are rented except for the kitchen area.

It’s taking some time, but by January we are hoping to have our studios finished and be up and running.

I will be closing down the Quilt Studio in Afton. It was a fun space and a great sewing area. But it was out of the way and too remote to attract visitors. I will set up a new website and Facebook page. When it’s all ready to go, I’ll post that new information and links on this site, so you can follow me.

We have just fallen completely in love with Chestertown MD. It has a vibrant art scene, anchored by the Chestertown River Arts group and supported by the Town of Chestertown. Parts of the downtown area are a designated Arts and Entertainment Area and so it offers some tax benefits to local artists. Our building is located in the A&E district.

As if we were not busy enough, at the beginning of last month, Tom and I traveled with Linblad/National Geographic to Panama and Columbia. We went from South to North (Pacific to Atlantic) through to Panama Canal and then made stops in Panama and Columbia arriving in Cartagena.

The ship was small, just 100 passengers and for this trip only 55 passengers. We had lots of time with the Naturalists and Photographers and learned a lot about the area.

I won’t bore you with all of my photos (and I took quite a few).

Of interest to my quilting friends was an island where the locals made Molas, by hand.

Their work was amazing. I had to purchase some, of course.

Molas by a man named Vanancio

And I am always fascinated by tile floors. Here are some that struck me as beautiful and would make unique quilt blocks.

Needless to say, I did not get much of my own sewing done this month. I am still horribly behind on my Temperature Quilt. Only just now working on August!

I promise to keep everyone updated on our new adventure.

In The Studio

November 1, 2022

Oh my. Another month has flown by! We will have exciting news that I will not be able to share until the middle of the month. So stay tuned.


The borders are on the Flight of Fancy Quilt. The back has been pieced and it’s waiting to be quilted.

Flight of Fancy Quilt

Only one border pieced on the Beach Medallion Quilt ….lots of points to match!!!! But at least I got a bit of it done.

Beach Medallion Quilt

One more month, JULY, added to the Temperature Quilt. I better get moving if it’s gonna get done by the end of the year.

Temperature Quilt

And I finally, got the issues with the Bernina Q24 figured out. It was the needles all along. I was using some titanium coated needles. They were too big for the size thread and would not pick up the bobbin thread, causing lots of skipped stitches. Once I went back to regular Schmetz Microtex size 80 needle all was fine again.

So I quickly finished off this “Cheddar Block Challenge Quilt” which will be given to our local Hospice center this month.

Cheddar Block Challenge Quilt

And today I had some extra time, so I played with some Delectable Mountain Blocks. Trying out different size blocks.

Needs a little more tweaking before I’m happy….

Until next time….Happy Quilting!


In The Studio

October 2, 2022.

I took some time off in August and September.

We visited friends at the beach in Avalon NJ and had fun celebrating one of our friend’s 70th trip around the sun.

In September, we spent a lot of weekends traveling back and forth from Afton VA to Chestertown MD trying to line up designers and builders to renovate our historic home on Queen Street.

And then, it was time to bring in the grapes. We had a great harvest this year. We sold some of our grapes to local enthusiasts, and we still have over 200 lbs of red and 150 lbs of white, which will make about 15 gallons of red and 7 gallons of white.

We were lucky to have some friends from Colorado visit and help us bring in our harvest!

And now, on this rainy weekend, I have finally had time to get back up to my sewing studio. All of the blocks representing the states we have lived in are finally finished. I need to come up with a name for this one.

I love the look of this Pennsylvania Block…highlighting it’s nickname of the Keystone State.

And the blocks, sashing and borders are assembled into a “flimsy” (completed top). This one heads over to the long arm.

Since this Quilt Top in a Shoe Box is out of the box….I have picked a new one to get started on.

Oh look. It’s mcKenna Ryan’s pattern for coffee cups “Expresso” Such a beautiful pattern. I have a rather large collection of fabrics for this one….I may make two or three!! Nice gifts for Christmas.

The Beach Medallion Quilt is another UFO that is moving along nicely, round two is finished.

Lots of paper piecing, and trimming for round 3.

Here I am auditioning the next border and final border… Hoping I have enough fabric!

I should have more time this month to get some quilting done. Stay tuned. I promise to keep you updated on my progress.

Don’t forget to look in the shop and see if you’d like to buy a quilt to decorate for the holidays…or as a gift to give.

Betty Tucker Dietz

In The Studio

August 1, 2022

Chocolates for My Valentine

This Piece will be hanging at the Chestertown River Arts Gallery during the month of August as part of the Epicure Exhibit.

It’s the first time I’ve ever entered a piece of Fiber Art in an exhibit. Pretty exciting!!

And on September 11 you can come to Chestertown for the River Arts Fair called Imagine. I will be showing my work, alongside my husband Tom and his photos, in our own booth.

We had two busy months in June and July. After losing Tom’s dad suddenly to a heart attack and then clearing out his home of 45 years we were all pretty bummed out.

But then came some good news, our daughter and her boyfriend got engaged! The wedding is planned for July 1 of next year and will be held in Virginia at a local winery. I had better get to work on the wedding quilt!

Just this past weekend my husband and I celebrated our 45th wedding anniversary…yes we were babies ( just out of college) when we were married.

I’m going to take bits of my gown and make some wedding day jewelry for our daughter to wear as her “something old”. And maybe I’ll even create a ruffled collar for their dog, who will be part of the ceremony.

I did get some work done for me…I moved along the Beach Medallion Quilt.

And I got the month of May done on the Temperature Quilt…wow I’m two months behind.

This past week I worked on a group quilt that my guild will give away to a local hospice center. We each made a block using some “cheddar” fabric that was purchased for another quilt but just did not work out.

In The Studio

June 1, 2022

Exciting news to share.

My husband,Tom, and I are purchasing a second home on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s located in the Historic Area of Chestertown MD. This town has roots that go back before the American Revolution.

Washington College is located there, and the town has a wonderful, walkable downtown with restaurants, cute little shops and offers many opportunities to enjoy music and the arts.

We will be splitting our time between the mountain home in Afton VA and the river house in Chestertown MD. So I’ve dropped regular hours at The Quilt Studio in Afton, but if I’m at home there, you are welcome to drop in. Please call or text first.

I hope to someday offer quilt classes and host retreats at this new home.

Maryland Block

It’s fitting that I finished the Maryland State block this week, since we will be living there part-time once again.

We previously owned a home in Deal Island MD that we rented out and later turned into a B&B. We gave it up when we moved to the mountains. The six hour drive was just too long.

I think we were both missing the Bay and all it has to offer. And the new location is just a four hour drive and will be a great stopover spot as we make our way up to see family in Delaware and New Jersey. I’m looking forward to living near the Chesapeake Bay once again and I’m especially excited about getting some local fresh blue crab.

Beach Medallion Quilt

I was only able to add one more round to the Beach Medallion Quilt.

But I got a start on the next round which will be Paper Pieced. All cut out and set up to sew.

May Blocks for Temperature Quilt

I made a little headway with the May blocks for the Temperature Quilts. This photo shows how I set up the little rectangles…being sure to get the correct fabric pieces for each days average temperature.

Chain piecing Temperature Quilt Blocks
Trimming blocks
My Mother’s Sewing Machine

I was lucky enough to inherit the sewing machine on which both my sister and I learned to sew.

My mother was never much of a seamstress, but my older sister was. When it was time for me to take Home Ec in 7th grade I was glad to have this machine to learn on. Who knew that those first lessons would lead me to my quilting passion.

The serial number on the machine dates it back to 1956.

It’s a real treasure, still in working order. I plan to take it down to the Chestertown house.

In the Studio

May 19, 2022

It’s been a tough week for the Dietz Family. On Tuesday, we lost our beloved patriarch, Gordon Dietz, my husband’s father. He had a long and happy life, staying feisty and vibrant right up to the last day of his 95 years.

Tom and Gordon Dietz

This was my design wall about two weeks ago…

Temperature Quilt

I finished January through April on the temperature quilt. I think the geese in 2020 look “warmer” than those in 1955. Do you?


This is a Zentangle that I made while on retreat with VCQ (Virginia Consortium of Quilters)

The outlines are drawn with archival ink marker…then the designs are stitched with black thread. The last step requires one to color in the black highlighted areas with more ink marker. I challenged myself to make one of these, and I like it, but I’m not sure Zentangle is my thing.

Compass Star

While looking through items for a donation table for the VCQ retreat, I found this UFO. I couldn’t part with it and so I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole…designing borders to finish this one.

Paper Pieced flying geese for Compass Star Border


Maryland Block

And I’m working on the Maryland Block for the States Quilt. This is a very complicated block, and because the block is 12 1/2″ this 5×5 block has weird cutting sizes. So I’m also paper piecing this one!

Black and White and Red All Over

And Finally, off the machine and bound…my Black and White and Red all over Quilt is finished!

In The Studio

May 1, 2022

This past weekend I attended the VCQ Celebrations! 2022 retreat at the 4H Center near Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.

I brought along this collection of fabrics, Playa by Jinny Beyer, for a class by Barbara Black.

This is the bright version of her Five Easy Pieces quilt. The one I will be making.

And here is Barbara Black with her darker version of the quilt. This was a reproduction copy of a quilt top she got for $5.00 at a yard sale. Barbara and I got to know one another over the weekend and bonded over our shared quilting experiences. I’m sure ours will become a lifelong friendship!

In class Barbara gave us some great instructions and wonderful tips on how to make perfect flying geese with paper foundations. I’m hoping to get this quilt made before the next VCQ Celebration! In 2024.

You can follow Barbara Black on her blog here:

I also had a lot of fun in a Zentangle class. We learned to make a few Zentangles on a single tile, using special pens.

Here are some samples and some equipment needed for this process.

After following her instructions, I learned to draw a bigger design, and stitch it out on cotton.

Here is Marisela Rumberg my very talented and energetic Certified Zentangle Instructor.

Click here for her website:

I am thoroughly exhausted after a wonderful VCQ Celebration weekend. We had Show and Tell, Block lotto, Square Dance, and Strip Party, to keep us all entertained, and vendors, Silent Auction, Peddlers Table and the scissor sharpening guy to take our money! I met two wonderful quilters who were my assigned roommates and became my new friends by the end of the weekend.

If you want to have this much fun think about joining VCQ, The Virginia Consortium of Quilters or your local guild. It’s a great way to meet other quilters and share ideas.

The Virginia Consortium of Quilters

In The Studio

April 18, 2022

Phew…finally finished the March rows for my two temperature quilts. I can see a definite warming trend in 2020 vs 1955. Let’s see what happens this month!

The Fly Away Home Quilt is finally basted and under the needle today. I managed to get a round of Stitch in the Ditch along the inner borders. This will help stabilize the quilt as I have some thread play fun in the center.

Look at these luscious thread colors. I’ll be using spools from my Sulky Collection on the Fly Away Home Quilt.

Well, I finished one version of the New Jersey block for my States quilt…hmm I’m not happy with the corner sections.

So here I’m auditioning a few….

Oh. The dark blue looks nice…with just some of the blue print showing.

Ah…this is much better!

At our VCQ (Virginia Consortium of Quilters) Celebration Retreat later this month, I will be taking a workshop called Five Easy Pieces with Barbara Black. These are the group of fat quarters that I want to use, all washed and pressed. They are from the Playa Collection by Jinny Beyer. I’m so excited to be going on a retreat again. Look for more news and photos!

And Finally….at our CAQG (Charlottesville Area Quilters Guild) quilt show last weekend, I was awarded a viewer’s choice second place ribbon in the Medium Pieced Category for “Keeping Our Distance”. I was so surprised and thrilled when I got an email announcing me as a winner. At this show we had over 180 quilts, everything from Small Pieced, Appliqued, and Art Quilts to Large Pieced and Appliqued and everything in between. All of the quilts are winners in my book.

In The Studio

April 1, 2022

It’s coming!

The CAQG Quilt Show will be held April 9-10. Over 180 quilts on display, vendors, demos, boutique, the Shoppe at the Show, raffle baskets, our raffle quilt and food trucks, don’t miss it!

I’m still working on the March Temperature Quilt. The 1955 column is finished…still working on the 2020 column.

I was able to move along the Quilt Top in a Shoe Box… Blocks of States we lived in. I’m auditioning fabrics for sashing and border fabrics.

And the next block Maryland is on my cutting table.

In The Studio

March 17, 2022

We have been traveling almost the whole month since February 17. We met up with our son and his girlfriend in California. Then we had 10 great days on a Baja Sur adventure. Traveling on a 100 year old boat The Westward. We took lots of photos of whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds, and whale fish. I have some great ideas for new quilts.

After we stopped home for a few days, we were off again to New Jersey to deliver some furniture and visit with our daughter and her boyfriend.

Next, we attended some important meetings on sustainability at the University of Delaware. More on this to come later.

We arrived home to find out that our chicken coops had been tossed about in a wind storm…but the chicks all survived!

So of course, I have not had much time for quilting. I did change over the quilts in the Studio…


And today I made a block that will ultimately go into a comfort quilt headed for Ukraine.

And finally today, I chose some fabrics to go into a sign for the “Community Quilts” table at our upcoming (April 9-10) CAQG Quilt Show. We will have over 180 Quilts on display, made by our members. Make plans to attend.

You can find more information about the show here.