Monique Dillard’s Ballyseede Quilt

The Jan/Feb issue of Quiltmaker features a quilt called Ballyseede by Monique Dillard of Open Gate Quilts. We asked Monique to tell us about the quilt’s inspiration.

QMMP 110200 bally 350 195x300 Monique Dillards Ballyseede Quilt

Ballyseede by Monique Dillard from Quiltmaker Jan/Feb 2011

Ballyseede is an unusual name for a quilt. What is its origin?

castles100 225x300 Monique Dillards Ballyseede Quilt

A couple of years ago, a friend and I traveled to Ireland for a tour of the country.  We stayed in a castle in Tralee and the castle’s name is Ballyseede.

castles2a Monique Dillards Ballyseede Quilt

The tile floor in the entryway had a beautiful design.  I thought it was perfect inspiration for a quilt.

Please tell us a little about the trip: its purpose, your traveling companions, places you visited.

The purpose of the trip was purely pleasure.  I lived in Germany for two years.  My parents taught for the military and were based in Lahr in the Black Forest about 30 miles from Strasbourg, France. I had many opportunities to travel in the main part of Europe but not Ireland. I had always wanted to go there and definitely want to return.

About three years before we went, my friend Sue and I started saving for the trip. We planned for months and gathered opinions from friends who had been there. First we spent 3 days in London and then we flew to Dublin and headed straight for the countryside.

One of the things I like to do when I visit another country is to bring small handmade gifts for people that we meet. If they are particularly helpful or friendly, we will give them a gift. The first time that I did this, my friend and I made small wool table mats and for this trip to Ireland, we made pillowcases.  The recipients were very pleased with their gifts and it felt good to show our appreciation.

What did you find inspiring during the trip and how are those inspirations finding their way into your quilts?

The tile works and scenery were so inspiring!  The beautiful greens of the countryside were admirable. There were tile floors all over and the possibilities were endless. I have named several of my quilts after places that we visited in Ireland. The town of Kinsale was inspiration for one of my quilts.

Our favorite village, Inistioge, was also an inspiration for our Block of the Month book. Up the hill from Inistioge is Woodstock Gardens. We named one of the quilts after this stunning place. The trees, shrubs, flowers and grass areas were unbelievable.

What travel recommendations would you make for others going to the same places? What would you recommend that people not miss?

Stay in B & B’s so that you can talk to the owners of the establishments and learn the best places to go. Take time to stop and have a beer and talk to the locals. I loved the small towns, the history and the scenery. If you are brave enough to drive, do it! The roads are very narrow but it is worth being able to go wherever you want. We saw many things that would be hard to see from a train. There were times when we stopped just to take a picture or wander around.

Places that shouldn’t be missed: Adare, Kinsale, Kenmare, Dingle, Inistioge, and Doolin. Sites not to miss: Woodstock Gardens, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula, Wicklow Mountains and the Irish Countryside views.

Anything else about the quilt, your work or yourself you’d like our readers to know?

I grew up sewing with my aunt and I loved Home Ec. I was born in Canada. When I was 21 and I moved to the U.S. to marry my husband, I told him I wanted two things: to get my degree and to get an Old English Sheepdog. I did both.

My degree in mathematics plays an important role in my quilting career. I use math in my patterns to figure yardage, cutting and the geometry of the quilts. I have designed three rulers and math plays an important part in designing them.

I have designed over 75 patterns, three block of the month books with my friend Sue, one baby book and a line of fabric with Maywood Studio. My love of antique textiles, tapestries and tiles gave me inspiration to design my fabric line, Olde World Style. Traveling throughout Europe and seeing the beautiful architecture has been inspirational.

castles3 300x225 Monique Dillards Ballyseede Quilt

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email:
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5 Responses to Monique Dillard’s Ballyseede Quilt

  1. Linda F. says:

    My favorite pattern in the current issue. Already purchased some delectable green- thank you for sharing!

  2. Andrea R. says:

    What an inspiring interview. My mom was from France and I’ve longed to go to Europe to discover all the old world inspirations you shared with us. With each passing year I find my draw to Europe grows and I love your goft idea for your B & B hosts and other helpful meetings. Thank you for sharing where you obtain new quilt ideas. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and yours.
    Avondale, AZ

  3. Marcia W. says:

    Ballyseede by Monique is a beautiful pattern with an equally beautiful inspiration of the tile floor from the castle. Thank you for the interview with Monique.

  4. Jocelyn says:

    I saw this pattern in the new Quiltmaker magazine. So beautiful! Thanks for the interview.

  5. Nicole says:

    Sensational interview! My son is moving to Ireland this January, so I know there will be many visits there for my husband and I. We have traveled there in the past, and loved Dingle and Kinsale, but some of the other towns mentioned are new to me.
    Ballyseede is a gorgeous quilt! I love seeing the tile inspiration for it.

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