Helen Frost



Image Introducing Helen Young Frost of Tucson
I began quilting in the early 1970s when all cotton fabrics were few and far between and most were garish calicoes in red, blue, and yellow. Except for a couple of new quilt books, quilters had to rely on reprints from the 1930s for their patterns. Templates were made from graph paper glued to poster board. All pieces were cut with scissors.

But oh how exciting! The Bicentennial was coming and women wanted to make quilts! Not long after I began quilting, I began teaching (I didn’t know much, but I knew more than the students) for adult education in Southern California. I taught a quilt-as-you-go sampler quilt with 12" blocks to several classes, each with about 45 students. 

My mother, Blanche Young, and I had developed some innovative strip-piecing methods for the Lone Star, Sunshine & Shadow, and Trip Around the World quilts. We published several books on these techniques in the late 70s and early 1980s. We soon were teaching all over the country at guilds and conferences. I was delighted to teach in Holland, enabling me to add the word “international” to my resumé.

After moving to Arizona in 1988, I became involved with the Arizona Quilt Project and was the co-author, with Pam Knight Stevenson, of the resulting book, Grand Endeavors: Vintage Arizona Quilts and Their Makers. Researching the quilters’ stories was a crash course in Arizona history but very enjoyable.

All these years later, I am still making Lone Star variations, still fascinated by the design potential. I’m also still in love with the Sunshine & Shadow pattern and its symmetry. In 2008, I coauthored a book with Catherine Skow, Radiant Sunshine & Shadow: 23 Quilts with Nine-Patch Sparkle (C&T Publishing). These quilts feature Nine-Patch blocks arranged into the Sunshine & Shadow design. They are very intricate-looking but very easy to make!

Another long-time love is hand appliqué. My response to the tragic events of September 11, 2001 was to spend the next year designing and making a Revolutionary War alphabet quilt. Each person, event, or symbol depicted on my quilt, American Primer, reaffirms that the spirit of 1776 continues today. My next hand appliqué project is a quilt to celebrate Arizona’s upcoming 100th birthday. I make a lot of quilts to warm the body, as shown by the quilts on all the beds in my home, but I find the most joy in making quilts that warm the heart.  

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January's Featured Quiltmaker: May Baker
February's Featured Quiltmaker: Jean Biddick
March's Featured Quiltmaker: Lois Embree Arnold
April's Featured Quiltmaker: Alyce Leach
May's Featured Quiltmaker: Margit Kagerer
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September's Featured Quiltmaker: Karen G. Fisher
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December's Featured Quiltmaker: Marla Hattabaugh

January's Featured Quiltmaker: Helen Frost
February's Featured Quiltmaker: Linda Erickson
March's Featured Quiltmaker: Reni Dieball
April's Featured Quiltmaker: Nancy Arseneault
May's Featured Quiltmaker: Donna Sylvia
June's Featured Quiltmaker: Linda Caringella
July's Featured Quiltmaker: Carol Collett
August's Featured Quiltmaker: Carol Hood
September's Featured Quiltmaker: Barb Janson
October's Featured Quiltmaker: Hartley Bennett
November's Featured Quiltmaker: Lenna DeMarco
December's Featured Quiltmaker: Wendy Wetzel