Demonstrations and Student Work with Pinecone Quilts

Demonstrations and Student Work with Pinecone Quilts

Posted by Betty Ford-Smith on Sep 8th 2023

Hello! I'm Betty Ford-Smith, author of Pinecone Quilts. I've held many demonstrations and I've seen a lot of wonderful work from students. 

In 2018, I participated in the White Springs 3-day Quilt Show where I met quilters from all over, including France. Luckily, we were inside because it rained for 3 days. You never know how many people will turn out when the weather is bad and a hurricane is threatening the area but it is hard to keep quilters home when there is an opportunity to see and learn something new. 

I felt really honored to be the Guest Speaker, displaying the quilts, demonstrating the technique, lecturing and teaching men and women about this old technique in the Stephen Foster Cultural Museum among Stephen Fosters pianos with many of his tunes playing in the background -Stephen Collins Foster, known as "the father of American music", was an American composer known primarily for his parlor and minstrel music during the Romantic period. He wrote more than 200 songs.

I also had the great privilege of teaching at the Florida Maritime Museum and Folk School in Cortez, Florida in Manatee County. The classes took place in the middle of the museum and when visitors would come in they would stop and watch us work. A display was always set up during class so the visitors could see a finished quilt or pine cone block. The classes eventually moved over to the newly renovated Folk School Building in 2018.

We did 3 workshops and a show & tell in Southern France. Everyone was very receptive and l loved seeing all their beautiful quilts and handwork. In fact, some of the women can do work so small that I was presented with a pine cone pin that was 3 1/2 inches in diameter. I am still trying to make one that small. Another gift was a pine cone wall hanging 5 inches in diameter made by several of the women. They also made cloth tea cup holders, placemats, bags to keep your needles and what nots and cloth place settings for lunch to use when going to meetings. There is no trash when they finish because they bring real silverware, real cups, real plates and cloth napkins. Everything goes back home to be washed and dried, not thrown out. I have to mention there was food at every meeting and every house that we went to and more cheese than I have seen in my life.

As we sat around the table talking, eating and drinking a little wine I did a lot of chatting for a person that does not speak French. We compared stitches, needles that worked best, needle holders, types of thimbles, and fingers with arthritis, surgeries and some do’s and don’t to save your hands. We even started comparing bones in our feet that have become enlarged, swollen, stiff and painful. At the end of this trip, I came back with a bag full of gifts from the quilters, orders for my picture books and friends to remember for the rest of my life.


Betty Ford-Smith began making Pine Cone Quilts in 2004 under the apprenticeship of Miss Sue (Arlene Dennis), a 92-year-old African American woman in Sebring, Florida. After Miss Sue's passing in 2010, Betty went on to share the art form through lectures, exhibits, classes, museums, and consumer shows. Visit her website for more

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