I would VERY MUCH love to take one of your classes, 2 days or a week, it doesn’t really matter.

I live in Southern California. Do you have a schedule of locations where you are teaching classes in 2016? I see the dates for your retreats in North Carolina, but I was wondering if you are teaching something closer to Los Angeles?

Thank you.



How wonderful! I was born and raised in California myself – Long Beach to be exact.

I can travel to California to lecture for guilds and teach for them as well – shops often hire me for dynamic classes too!

At this time, because of establishing my Quilting Retreat Center in Tryon, North Carolina – I am busy!

I have great retreat dates being offered at my Melrose Inn, with private rooms and private bathrooms too. Three gourmet meals a day – plus goodies like wine and chocolates!

These events are 7 days of amazing production and skill building. Just go to www.melrose-inn.com or www.dohenybooks.com. The retreat dates are listed on both web addresses, with photos of the inn as well.

This would be the best possibility. My rates are very reasonable (everyone says so!) and you can share a room with another quilter if you like and save $200.

Other than that, if a guild or shop books me I will travel to California or anywhere actually. I have been all over the world teaching and lecturing and have experienced an amazing journey of sharing and delight!

We have great, close airports with fantastic fares – under $400 round trip from Seattle and Los Angeles, and they might be even less depending on the timing and specials!

If you want to talk live, please call me at (828) 859-0234.



More questions about the retreats: When people fly, what do they do about their sewing machines? I have a Bernina 780 and can’t imagine flying with it. Do people rent machines from local quilt stores? I’m just trying to look at all my options.



I definitely agree with you – do not bring your machine. I have 7 machines to borrow and one is a Bernina. I reserve the machines on a first come/first registered basis. Our demands during the retreat on a machine are slight, just simple seams, straight stitching.



I purchased your 25 inch wedge ruler, and am interested in making the Drop Shift Spiral pattern. The instructions for the 18 inch ruler indicate I need a different version of the pattern for the larger ruler. Could you send me the pattern instructions for the 25″ ruler? Thanks,


The technique for creating a full wedge spiral fan is the same no matter what ruler size is used. Several fans are created to complete a 40 wedge circle. Every strata creates 2 fans – They Are Not The Same, They Are Not Identical, They Are “Equal Opposites” Of Each Other. Each fan belongs to the creation of a different circle. Two fans get created from each strata and several strata need to be created to yield enough fans for a 40 wedge circle:  ultimately 2 circles are created.

Four things change depending upon the ruler being used:

  1. The strata height
  2. The number of strata to make – NOTE:  all strata are identical
  3. The number of inches dropped – wedge to wedge – as each wedge is cut, from the top of the strata to the bottom
  4. The number of wedges a strata unit will yield – which means the number of wedges that will be in each spiral fan and hence the number of fans in the full circle spiral
  • For the 25” ruler the strata height needs to be 38” tall
  • Make 5 identical strata units
  • Drop 2” per wedge cut
  • Take 8 wedges per strata for up-cuts and also 8 wedges for down-cuts

(5 strata X 8 wedges each strata = 40 wedges for a full circle). You will create 2 full circles.

The strata units will allow you to cut 9 wedges. If you are making spiral fans with no intention of creating a circle, then 9 wedges are desired. However, increase the strata height to 40” in order to get the 9 wedges. Enjoy!

Marilyn Doheny

Hi Marilyn! I took several of your classes at Hershey several years ago. One was Instant Garden Fun. I see you now offer a class on the critters, but nowhere near me. Is it at all possible to purchase a handout with the construction instructions for the various critters? It’s been so long, but I really want to finish that project. I’d appreciate it! Thanks!!


How lovely to hear from you and have a reminder of many fond memories.

There is no hand out for Critters and their body parts; they are very simple shapes. We work hands on with paper bag cutouts of assorted shapes and then convert paper shapes into fabric selections and use any appliqué technique desired.

Look up some of the quilts with critters and you will not see any at all–elaborate shapes for bodies, heads, antenna, feet and such–just hints!

In my week-long Over The Top retreats at my Melrose Inn in Tryon N.C., we do take the fans and make a full garden–flowers, critters and such. We have a full week to make the fans in each technique and then arrange a garden using them, finalizing with flowers and bug critter elements.



Just got the 18 inch 9 degree ruler thinking I could use it on a project that uses a 14 inch 9 degree. But it does not seem to line up the same as it’s not truly 18 inches. Can this be done or do I have to buy a 14” also. My thoughts were that the smaller sizes could be cut with the larger ruler also, or did I just waste my money on a poorly designed ruler?


You are correct that any use of the tool–keeping the small end involved and ignoring, or not using inches (as desired) from the larger, wider end is a perfect way to proceed.

All five sizes of the “MAGNIFICENTLY” DESIGNED, INGENIOUSLY INVENTED 9 DEGREE CIRCLE WEDGE RULERS are simply shorter and or taller versions of the same angle.

Each ruler can produce the same designs–infinite designs–on a smaller or larger scale as desired.

What changes is the math when a smaller or larger ruler is selected.

The instructions that come with the purchase of each tool specify how tall a strata needs to be for each design and how many to create to yield 40 wedges….for each circle.

You could mix and match wedge sizes in a circle easily: they are all 9 degrees.

The reason the rulers are individually identified by 9”, 14”, 18”, 25”, and 37” extension is because that is the size fan they will make. And if 40 wedges are joined together into a circle the circles will be twice the size of the ruler used…for instance the 18” ruler will make 36” fans.

You are correct that the 18” ruler is not 18” tall plastic tip to plastic tip. It is 3 inches shorter than the size of the large end. This is because if the walls of the ruler did go to a point at the small end, they would do so adding 3“ to the actual length/height of the ruler. However the bottom 3 inches were eliminated when I designed it in order to make a useful tool that could have ¼” seam allowances taken–40 of them–and still create a flat manageable center.

Your tool is perfectly designed; a simple misunderstanding caused you to see the tool as poorly designed. IT IS MASTERFULLY DESIGNED AND EASY TO USE! Enjoy with confidence. If you have any specific questions about wedge designs or use, please let me know.

Marilyn Doheny


What my main question was, how can you use the 18 inch ruler to cut as a 14. Do I just set the bottom? In my thoughts when buying I assumed the larger sizes would still cut the same as all others below it but no instructions cover how. Thanks.


In order to make wedges a certain size – simply use only that much of the ruler.

For your specific desire – use only the 14” area to cut, starting with the small end and cutting up to the 14 ¼” mark. The added ¼” allows for turning under the outer edge when you appliqué or finish.

All of the instructions for the 14” ruler–all 20+ wedge designs, are specifically identified as to strata height and number of strata to create. They are included in the 14” instruction board and also as part of the Trio instruction sheet which covers 9”, 14”, and 18” ruler sizes.

Instruction information is available online for a $5.00 download fee for each.

With the Trio instructions you get all 20 patterns (wedge designs) in all three sizes which is 60 patterns–a great value for $5.00!

Or you could just ‘wing it’ as to strata heights or cut widths. Read the 18” instructions for any specific design and make the strata a bit shorter or the cut width a bit more narrow! Then use only the 14” amount of the ruler when cutting. Does this help?



I’m not great on computers either, or scanners, but here is what I have so far. On the strata instructions there are only 6 not 7; they messed that up also. They have one set of instructions and then an added set of instructions and they recommend your 14 inch ruler. I tried to put the added instructions under the regular ones so I hope you can figure it out. Thanks again; my wife is the quilter that wanted to do this, yet she doesn’t do computers or the cutting on these things.


I would love to see what instructions you are negotiating. I never got any via the e-mail. Can you try again or direct me to the source? Thanks.



We brought a kit block and it specifies your 14 inch ruler, but the lady at the store said they had the wrong ruler and she had the 18 inch. On her instructions she stated the top of ruler should be lined with top strata and bottom at the 3 inch line. But she did not specify what ruler she used or-the strata height. She specified to get 23 wedges and I’m not finding math to justify her instructions. And yes, I failed geometry. Thanks for all your help I think I have it now but will practice on scraps first.


 We are a good/great team because I was tested as “math genius” where geometry is concerned. I still do not know all of my algebra tables!

Marilyn Doheny


I just reviewed the instructions again and found the problems. The block is using a half circle for a rainbow which would be 180 degrees and only need 20 blocks not 23. I was in error reading the wide part of ruler touching the top of the strata when it touches the edge not the top. If lining up the 18 inch with the 3 inch line at the bottom, it comes up to the 12 inch line (21/2 inches) and cutting 20 of them out of 44 wide strata gives me the 180 degrees I need. Thanks again; my 72 year old mind is beginning to fade. Thanks for all the help and I will recommend your rulers to all I know. Thanks again.


Bravo! I’d love a photo.



Marilyn promised to let me have instructions for making the seahorse using the 9 degree wedge ruler. I’d still really like to make this–can you possibly send me instructions, please? Many thanks

Alison Vosahlo

Yes! I am Marilyn and will send off what I have. You will be making Drop Shift (full wedge) spiral fans, pivoting the individual fans into the shape of your Sea Horse then carving away for the head shape and tail shape. I’ll send what I have written so far.

This is not one of my published patterns–there are no graphics. Use the Drop Shift Spiral Technique (free online at my website www.dohenybooks.com) and the photograph of the 90” tall Sea Horse made by Dianne R. a student of mine.

Marilyn Doheny


I purchased the 25″ 9 degree ruler with the intent of making the Dropped Spiral, only to be disappointed when I learned the pattern was written for an 18″ ruler. The note attached to the instructions state if I contact you, the information to accommodate the ruler I am using will be gladly provided.

Please provide me with the Dropped Spiral pattern for the 25″ 9 degree ruler. I am very excited to make it, and already have fabric selected, with hopes to have it completed before Christmas! Thank you very much!


Yes, lovely indeed. There are only four changes to the technique when you decide to change a ruler size. All 5 ruler sizes work and any part of any ruler works too!

For creating the Full Wedge 25” Drop Shift Spiral and create full circle spirals, you will need to:

  1. Have strata height be 38–40” tall
  2. You will make 5 identical strata
  3. You will take 8 wedges per strata in as you drop/sweep top to bottom
  4. You will drop 2” each successive wedge

Note: There will be 5 spiral fans with 8 wedges each, creating the 40 wedges for a circle.

Note: The leftovers from each strata join up and make an entire 2nd set of 8 wedges (5 times) for a different spiral circle.

If this is not clear enough please let me know. I can talk you through whatever is not clear.


P.S. There is also a Spiro Graphic graph paper available, so anyone (even a child) can chart Spirals that are quite complex looking yet ‘silly simple’ to sew and make.


I have the 9 degree ruler and am confused about how to make the Design Idea #20-Infinity Spirals. I need help with the instructions. Thanks.


Wonderful! Go online to my website www.dohenybooks.com. There you will find free items; the instructions for spirals can involve graph paper for Spiro-Graphic Spirals or just a technique (free) called Drop-Shift Spirals. The instructions are for the 18” ruler. Contact me for the necessary changes to use your 25” ruler; the changes involve strata height and numbers of wedges to take from one strata and the amount of “drop”.


I am interested in purchasing the detailed patterns for some of the tree skirts utilizing the 9 degree wedge ruler. I found free patterns on your blog, but they do not contain enough detail for me or specify which of the 9 degree wedge rulers should be used.


Wonderful questions and easily attainable goals, making lots of diverse tree skirts quickly!

There are 2 rulers that can be effectively used. You can use the 25” 9 Degree Circle Wedge Ruler by itself and make 50“circles for tree skirts.

You can also use the 25” 9 Degree Circle Wedge Ruler with the 9 Degree Extension Wedge and make 74” circles for tree skirts.

The original 25” 9 Degree Circle Wedge Ruler will make 50” tree skirts in over 20 different patterns. If you use the 25” plus the Extension Wedge – designed to be used “with” the 25” and extending it to a 37” length – you can make a full circle tree skirt 74”, with the same 20+ diverse patterns.

All Wedge Designs And Instructions Come With The Purchase Of Both Tools.

The 50” circle is lovely, however, after many years of making tree skirts and teaching others to do so, I think you should consider how big the base of your tree might be. I have found that a 45” tree base, which is not that big actually, leaves very little of my beautiful tree skirt to be seen. On the other hand, a 74” tree skirt seems huge by itself, but once the tree is in place it seems just right!

I have free instructions on line for using the 25” Wedge to make blank wedges of red, green, white, or anything desired, while using the extension wedge for the dramatic wedge designs – the 20+ indicated. This is called Halo Math Tree Skirts.

This way the tree itself is not covering up any beautiful elaborate wedge design, only the last 12 inches of the 37” wedge has drama; the first 25” Wedge is a wedge of plain fabric. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

Marilyn Doheny