The Passing of Mary Ellen Hopkins

July 11, 2013

Below is a wonderful sentiment about Mary Ellen Hopkins, who passed away on July 9th, sent via Kay England from Diana Marshall.

This is from Diana Marshall who like myself in the US, took care of all Mary Ellen’s Australia lectures. Wonderful sentiment..

Dear Quilt Sitters & others

The wonderful Mary Ellen Hopkins passed away, July 9 after having a stroke about a week ago. She was with her beloved son David at the time. I think she was 83yrs old, remembering age was her funny secret.

Mary Ellen was a gift to the world of patchwork, she changed the approach to allow us to make quilts for now and to be used by everyone. You could certainly sit and touch all of her quilts. She took a refreshing approach to the everyday quilter. She allowed us to use our own Personal Private Measurement, to use a connector to make triangles easier, she never said the corners had to meet, points took holidays and our blocks would always go together. She relaxed the rules on colours and tone and print. She gave ugly fabric a new leash of life and had an amazing ability to make what appeared an odd stash of prints into a truly exotic quilt.

Mary Ellen was an entertainer who used an amazing range of stories from her life, her shop, her customers, her students and her life that kept everyone in stitches even if we had heard them before. She loved performing, teaching, people and life and we all loved her.
Her philosophies appear in my quilts constantly, I often think Mary Ellen would use this fabric or would barn raise that block or this is a bell block. On my travels with Mary Ellen she showed me know to look at tiles and windows as quilt blocks whether it was at QVB or hotel foyer or a bathroom floor or architecture magazine. We say ‘Art’ at the onstage with David Wenham, a hilarious play about how a blank white canvas can be so many things to so many people. She said the same applied to her quilts and fabric choice and more importantly why there should be no two quilts alike

Mary Ellen has touched us all and for those who attended her lectures or workshops I know her legacy as a great woman who quilted will live on forever.

Helen Savet-Buck & Diana Marshall

She will be greatly missed. RIP Mary Ellen Hopkins
Mary Ellen Hopkins
“All reds go together.”  One of my faves.  Her books were easy to follow and so well done.
Thoughts and sympathy cards for Mary Ellen Hopkins can be sent to her son
David Hopkins
946 Woodgrove Drive
Cardiff by the Sea, Ca 92007

And the family is planning a memorial service later this summer.

Leave a comment


  1. Kate

     /  July 12, 2013

    To quilt in eternity.. go with God Dear Mary Ellen! With Gratitude, Kate

  2. Sandy

     /  July 21, 2013

    The quilt world has lost another great one.

  3. Lois barker

     /  July 27, 2013

    Yes, I posted on Facebook, she made me laugh till my sides ached. I hear her voice every time I am sewing……odd man out, every red goes with every other red, don’t cut off the corner – it will help you line it up……..they go on and on. Special lady who will be greatly missed.

  4. Marilyn Stewart

     /  August 19, 2013

    Thank goodness for memories … Mary Ellen is a constant in my everyday working life.

  5. Melinda Capozza

     /  September 17, 2013

    I attended her seminars in Indpls for several years; golly, I learned so much from her. If nothing else, I learned not to be afrraid to try something different, and to ignore ‘the quilt police’.She was incredibly talented,creative,and great fun.I came to be very fond of her; she was a survivor.Every time I start auditioning fabrics,for another project, and wondering if they’ll work, I can hear her saying “Wing it!”

  6. Jennifer

     /  January 10, 2015

    Thank you for posting this wonderful video of Mar Ellen’s life. I learned to quilt from her classes in the 1980s in California. I have enjoyed quilting since then and even made a living quilting for about four years. Her joy, humor and love of quilting has forever changed my life. Thank you Mary Ellen. Jennifer


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