Dierdra McElroy

professional quilt artist


Tahitian Applique

The Tifaifai is Dierdra's singular passion because it exudes complexity when, in reality, its simplicity is unrivaled in the applique world.  Students leave the class with enthusiasm and confidence. This free-form applique method requires no pins, ironing, spray startch, or major preparation.  Just grab your project, little supply bag, and take along to the doctor's office waiting room with you!

Students are treated to accounts of childhood in Tahiti during class and entertained with cultural differences, in addition to some history if a lecture is not booked to go along with the class.  The secrets of laying out the applique piece (which is cut while folded like a paper snowflake) onto the base fabric is shared and practiced in class. Students experience and learn about grain lines, warps and wefts of fabric weave and then baste their design with Roxanne Glue-Baste-It which Dierdra invented expressly for this technique. It cuts basting time down by quite a bit from the traditional ancient methods of sew basting.  After all the cutting and basting is done the class enjoys an 'after lunch' Show 'N Tell to show off their fabric and pattern choices.  The afternoon is then dedicated to learning the five basic elements of Needleturn Applique and Dierdra's tricks for easy precision.  Lots of individual attention is given so that everyone can learn the techniques easily. This class is designed to be FUN and promotes INDIVIDUALITY!

  • Six hour workshop
  •  Three Hour (half day) workshop
That Perfect Stitch

Never before has such a collection of research and testing been compiled and offered to students while learning how to make the quilting stitch!  This phenomenally popular class analyzes every movement and product that goes into achieving That Perfect Stitch. Most students improve their stitches by at least three stitches per inch within just a couple of hours because Dierdra personally watches and offers suggestions throughout the class. Invidual attention is the emphasis in this program.

The real value of the class is the in-depth review of the currently available and widely used brand-name productts. Each of which can directly affect the hand quilting stitch and therefore the value of the finished quilt.  Class discussion includes how to decide on the purpose of your quilt and what national quilt appraisors and judges are looking for. Even expert quilters will learn something new in this class!

Students are provided with a kit that is assembled with maximum quilting success in mind and hand traced by Dierdra.  To help motivate the quilters there are up to a dozen different designs to choose from, making it a class project to be proud of!

  • Six Hour Workshop
Japanese Gingko

For centuries the Japanese have had family emblems they embroidered on clothing to designate family units.  The students in my class will choose one of the five Gingko leaf blocks that Roxanne adapted to applique from a book on ancient Japanese Family Crests.  The advantage to the 6 hour class is that extra time can be invested on perfecting needle-turn applique  techniques. Students will be exposed to reverse applique and channel applique and they will come close to finishing the entire block in the all-day class!

  •  Six hour workshop
  • Three hour workshop (half day)



Channel Applique

A very specialized type of reverse applique that has opened up a whole new world to appliquers!  This technique has been used for hundreds of years by many different groups of people around the world, but was never given an official name.  The Kuna Indians in Panama call their work "Mola" but this name is associated with the final product rather than the actual technique. The same holds true for the "Pandau" work of Vietnam and Philippines.  In Tahiti, the Tifaifai uses this technique to achieve added detail to their designs.

Roxanne McElroy brought this technique to the quilting world in the '90's and coined the term Channel Applique because she felt she was just channeling around in the top layer of fabric.  It can be used as an overall design to reproduce a line drawing in fabric form or just to add detail to another design.  A very versatile and intriguing technique for a seasoned needle-turn appliquers.  Students will leave with their wall hangings well in progress, and their needle-turn skills finely honed.

  •  Six hour workshop
  • Three hour workshop (half day)