Tuesday, June 29, 2010


My love of Woolfelt and bamboo/rayon felt continues to keep me inspired. Horsetail is a reedy plant that grows in damp soil.....some say it's a nuisance plant.....but since we've been unable to grow it here in the mountains of NC, I don't agree! The color is a bright green with rust and black horizontal stripes. When cut, the green dries to a beautiful tortoise color.

So....in honor of this eye catching plant.....I created a small wall quilt.

First I stabilized a rectangle of bamboo/rayon felt with non-fusible interfacing and added some machine quilting for texture. The stabilizer had been marked with a road map of how I wanted to place my beadwork......you can see above some of the basting lines that served to transfer the pattern from the back to the front.

The beading was done using a combination of bugle and seed beads.

After the design was completely beaded, I squared the fabric and machine stitched it to a larger piece of 100% (wool) Woolfelt. Both of these fabrics are manufactured by National Nonwovens and are available on their website.

To create a visual frame for the motifs and attractively cover the edges, I fused Wonder-Under to black 80/20 (rayon/wool) Woolfelt, cut narrow strips and then fused in position.

Beading was added to the strips for embellishment and to further secure the fabric. Before trimming the edges of the green backing.....I 'bead appliqued' various sizes of matching Woolfelt circles. (See final photo for a closer view.)

Next, the edges were trimmed and beaded which completed the piece less than 2 weeks ago.


Here Cynthia (a student in one of my workshops at VQF) is bonding with her new piece.....I couldn't be happier that it has a new home in Vermont!

Monday, June 28, 2010

VQF Farewell

Saying goodbye is always a little sad........but good memories of a wonderful show and great students will remain.

I was the lucky judge who was assigned the youth quilts......their talent gives me a lot of hope for the future of the quilt world.

At the opening night event, each entrant was invited on stage to receive a special ribbon to honor their quilt. They were beaming!

As judges we knew what was coming next. A dolly was wheeled out filled with boxes, covered by a quilt. Then the announcement.....thanks to a local shop and Janome.....each entrant received a sewing machine. There wasn't a dry eye in the place!

"The husband" is a fan of BMW motorcycles......so this bike, parked in front of the teacher's dorm, caught my eye.

But the sticker caught everyone's attention...... creep as it is!

Sorry this photo is fuzzy.....a local chocolate factory had lovely young ladies roaming the show passing out their delicious candy on opening night. I can spot beads a mile away......yup....those are beads on the back of this gal's dress. Neat!!

The biggest reason for my flirtation with retirement from bookings that involve airline travel can be seen above. The yellow means that flight was cancelled or delayed.......teachers traveling through Chicago both going to Burlington and returning home had to dig deep for extra patience. Because I needed to arrive 2 days early due to the judging duties, I lucked out on my flights that day. The return trip however was a challenge, but not as much as some of my buddies. I'm glad to be home, better late then never!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


After two days of judging and 3 days of workshops.....I'm on my way home......well sort of....currently I'm holed up in an airline club, waiting for the thunderstorms to pass through Chicago!

Thought it'd be a good chance to share some of the astonishing quilts displayed at VQF. This is not a juried show.....the first 200 quilts entered are given the honor of being hung. There are no monetary awards. I was pleasantly surprised at the very high quality of work....it was an honor to judge the show.

My show booklet is in my checked baggage so I can't quote many of the specific awards these pieces received.......but they were all winners in my eye!

FEATHERS AGLOW by Judith Thompson, Wenonah, NJ

NENANA SPRING by Pamela Druhen, Northfield, VT
I'm not sure exactly what the name of this award was....but it was equivalent to what we think of as the Best Wall Quilt. It was created on a traditional sewing machine and was breathtaking.


IN MY GARDEN by Nadine E. Thompson, Springfield, MO

OLD WORLD SANTAS by Jo Timko, Millville, NJ
Best Hand Thread Work


This is a wonderful show to attend........well organized, great vendors, in a lovely setting.....consider adding it to your 2011 show list!

VQF - Students on fast forward

Today was my 3rd workshop for VQF......."What Goes Around" (beaded scissors sheaths). The students were certainly among the most self starting I've ever had the pleasure to guide in a class.

The process of learning an even count peyote stitch is time consuming and involves patiences......everyone was dedicated and determined to complete their project. Here are some photos of the pieces in progress.

Friday, June 25, 2010


After two full days of judging the Vermont Quilt Festival.......the opening of the show was held last night. I'll be posting photos of the winners shortly. The judging panel is below......these gals made the process positive and enjoyable.

(left to right) Cindy Erickson, Kimbery Einmo, Mary Stori, Barbara Broushous

"Come and Follow Me" by Domnique Ehrmann, Ste. Sophie, Quebec

I awarded my judge's choice ribbon to this incredible piece.......the talk of the show.....
It's an elaborate, amazingly detailed free-standing 3-D piece. It contains 2 separate layers that invite the viewer to visually walk into the piece.

No detail was overlooked.....the tree trunks were made with tucked fabric.

This is a side view of the 3 layers of the piece.

The main character was suspended with a clear heavy duty wire.

Aren't the details of these last couple of photos astonishing? Although, some shows have not accepted this type of work because it doesn't fall into a 'quilt' category.........the crowds around it during the opening were pleased that VQF did.

I was able to sign & personally present my judge's ribbon to the maker......

This has been a very hectic show....with one more class to teach tomorrow and Show and Tell event tomorrow evening......I have more photos to share.....and will do that as soon as possible.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I hope you've enjoyed these short peaks into the NQA Show.......here's the last batch of photos I was able to take. Rightly or wrongly, I've pretty much categorized this show as more of a traditional quilt display......but this year the art quilt movement was definitely visible.

"On Drawing II: A Little Stitching Madness" by Brooke Atherton - Billings Montana
She said: "Trying to eliminate painful hand work, I explored machine stitching effects mixed with pencil sketching. From limitations comes a joyful and exciting new direction."

"Window III" by Deborah Weir - Rolling Hills Estates CA
She said: "A mysterious image warps the window panes and melts into the foreground."


"Jet Trails" by Marcia DeCamp - Palmyra, NY

She said: "I love watching the patterns of the jet trails in the western skies from my studio windows and capturing them in fabric."

"Exuberance" by Cynthia St. Charles - Billings, Montana

She said: "Creative opportunity returned to my life after an extended period of family distractions. "Exuberance reflects the simple joy of working with colors and shapes."

Currently I'm at VQF, (Vermont Quilt Festival) with one day down and another to go judging the show. For a show os this size, it's a bit unusual since it's not juried, nor are there any monetary awards, which is startling.........the caliber of entries is amazingly high.

It's getting fairly rare to find hand appliqued and hand quilted quilts.......happily there are many in the show to admire. I'd say in general though, the majority of quilts are machine quilted....most by long arm machines. Overall the quality of both workmanship and design is very good.

I going to ask permission to photograph some of my favorites for my blog and will post after the opening on Thursday night. I could hardly drag myself away from one quilt in particular....... a free-standing, 3-D, piece that can't be described w/o a photo......sorry I'm leading you on.....but I will do my best to post it.......it blew my mind.

Well....with sore feet....I must haul myself out of bed and get ready for day two of judging. The show organizer are such a pleasure to work with......they are supremely organized and have an abundance of volunteers which makes my duty so much easier!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The quilts on display at the NQA Show were wonderful......one observation I had was that the number of art quilts seemed to outweigh traditional quilt by at least 2 to 1. Design impact was generally very good as was the construction on all entries.

"Bamboo Tiger" by Karen Silvers - Wisconsin - a 2nd place ribbon winner in the small quilt category. Stunning....... visit her blog to see more photos.

Her very clever use of fussy cut print fabric to create the tiger's stripes was brilliant.

"Interwoven" by Carol Larson - Petaluma, CA

She says - "As a former hand-weaver, I was captivated by this thrift shop sampler. Oh, the possibilities of what a little dye and paint can do!"

"Himalayan Garden" by Pat Holy - Ann Arbor, MI
"An old embroidery from India inspired me to design this completely machine appliqued and quilted miniature to honor amazing textiles from around the world."

Note from Mary: If you get a chance to see this in person.....don't pass it up.........Pat can't be human......honestly it blew me away....her skill is so excellent. I'm sure she can make her sewing machine stand up and walk across the floor and take a bow! Pat is a sister of Sue Nickels, who often team up to create their masterpiece quilts.


"Pond's Edge" by Denise Linet - Center Harbor, New Hampshire

She says" "Living so near to nature has a direct influence upon my work, not only as direct imagery but as soft geometric shapes, random gestural marks and layered surfaces."

More to come....stay tuned.....