Thursday, September 30, 2010


Do you get frustrated too when life gets in the way of quilting? Gosh, it seems like forever since I've been able to create..... However, I was able to sqeeze in a few hours here and there recently to begin another wool project.

Normally, I like to post photos after the quilt is finished, but I'm feeling so guilty about my lack of quilting related posts......that I decided to share what I've completed so far. The color in photo #3 is probably the most true.

Last month the members of Fiber Junkies (a small bee I helped to organize about a year ago) gathered to dye fabric. This 100% wool felt started out as a rather boring tan color. I've been searching for a way to add more texture for the backgrounds of my wool this case the bronze and orange dye I used helped to achieve that goal.

As fall approaches here in the mountains, the trees begin their slow color change.....greens become paler and yellows start popping out. So, that was my inspiration for this piece. Soon the trees will display brilliant red, orange, & yellow leaves, perhaps this can become a series!

The wool background fabric has been stabilized, and using templates from a drawing I made, I cut wool motifs and fused them onto the background. Next I added small branches by machine stitching with Rayon thread. Note the trees at each end on the bottom row. My original idea was to use a border to visually frame the design because I liked the idea of the trees sort of trailing off on the sides.

However, after struggling to find the right color and design choice for finishing the edge.....I had to admit it wasn't working.

Plan B....... I spent 2 hours carefully picking out the machine stitching and removing the original end tree sections. I replaced them with new trees with curved edges.

I've now begun embroidering random 'chicken scratchings' on the background, again to add more depth and texture to the piece.

Here's a detail......once that's completed I'll trim the edges, add a backing and decorative beading along the edge......or perhaps just more embroidery. Let's see what this piece tells me to do.

I have a super busy next 9 hang with me.....I'll update you when it's finished.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


We've been lax about taking enough R & R time in the beautiful surroundings of the Blue Ridge Mountain area where we reside.....

Yesterday was what mountain living is all about.......the crisp morning evolved into a sunny warm day. Unlike me......"The husband" is not directionally challenged.....he travels all the back roads on his motorcycle and decided to share one of his favorite rides with me. (In a car....I won't do the motorcycle thing).

This is just one of the numerous small waterfalls that can be seen along the road to Wayah Bald in the Nantahala National Forest.

The John Byrne Memorial Tower is undergoing renovation at the top of the Bald. In 1931, John Byrne became the Forest Supervisor for the forest.

The tower is no longer a wooden's going to be a handsome stone observation tower. I was stunned how remote this area is.......even now......but when I reflected about how isolated the forest service employees were when they manned the tower, watching for forest fires, it's astonishing that they could get anyone up there for weeks at a time, traveling only by horse or motorcycle. Later a better road was built and a bumpy auto ride was possible.

And look at this can see for miles. Obviously, a perfect place for fire watchers at elevation of 5,300 feet.

When the inevitable fires occurred......both forest employees and volunteers gathered to fight them. Look at the gear they are wearing and using to fight the must have been very dangerous!

Small world.....our UPS delivery man's grandfather was Grady Siler.....who was the Forest's first district Ranger. He lived in this house with his wife from 1917-1918. It's located at about the halfway point from the top of the bald.

With all this sightseeing.....we needed energy. 'The husband' is a huge chocolate fan and often stops at Mountainside Chocolates which has some of the best. It's located on Highway 441, North of Franklin, NC

Monday, September 27, 2010


Traveling Together is a wonderful specialty travel company who I've worked with for years doing my cruises and tours. This August we did the first Great Smoky Mountain Quilting Tour.......if you are a frequent reader of this blog, you've learned all about it.

If you've ever wondered what kind of activities our trips feature.....I invite you to visit here to see photos of the tour. I hope it will peak your interest and that you will browse further on the website and download the brochure for my Sept. 2011 New England/Canada Quilting Cruise. I guarantee great sights, great food, great workshops and great fun.


GO PACKERS.........


Saturday, September 25, 2010


After a knuckle gripping drive in Atlanta traffic to teach for the Cherokee Rose Quilt Guild, I met my hostess Emma and her wonderful husband for dinner.

Yummmmm, Thai spring rolls.....

Today it was a thrill to lead a classroom full of entusastic students......

It's always such an unexpected pleasure to have a male in class....girls Ted has this beading thing down!!

Linda proudly displays her sampler from the afternoon portion of the class.

And a personal note to Susan......who will now be the keeper of two of my bead embellished wool quilts. I'm always so happy to know who will give my work a happy home.

Thank you Susan!

Thursday, September 23, 2010


I'm heading to Georgia to share my beading techniques with the members of the Cherokee Rose Quilt Guild. It's always so rewarding to watch the students make the transition from excited yet anxious about learning to bead on fiber, to enthusiastically embracing the fun and confidence knowing that they CAN add bead embellishments to their quilt projects.

I'll be teaching the beading basics in the morning.....then we progress to creating this sampler of decorative beading techniques in the afternoon.

This sample, "Sunshine In My Garden" utilizes one of my favorite beading techniques.....'bead applique'. Here, silk ribbon, silk leaves, and silk flowers are attached to the quilt with beads....a tidy and decorative way to attach motifs to fiber.

The small 12" quilt is an example of some of the basic stitches covered in the morning session....the single bead back stitch, scatter stitching, and a lace stitch (barely visible in this photo on the binding.) These techniques and more are available in my books and instructional DVD. To order, click here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The speaker(s) at the Asheville Quilt Guild's meeting yesterday were George & Virginia Siciliano from Lebanon, PA.

He's made his name creating the most unbelievably pieced quilts......which are becoming smaller and smaller. Some of his micro-minis contain 1" blocks with 32 patches......stitched on the sewing machine!

This is his 2nd quilt........okay shoot me now....

I believe this was his 3rd or 4th..... you can see.....he made an immediate jump to smaller and smaller pieces. His supportive wife (mentor/instructor/inspiration) is shown holding one of these two quilts. They contain something like 1,000 pieces. What's truly astonishing is that these two quilts have the identical blocks......only the colors and settings were changed.

This visual stunner was one of my favorites. George tells a funny story about how a business owner next to the music shop that George and Virgina owned suggested the value would be about $10.00 and that she'd like him to make 5 more. Why? She thought they were place mats and clearly did not understand the talent and time involved in creating this masterpiece.

I believe this small piece had something like 3,000 pieces.......he kept saying his technique was 'easy'.......hummmmm. One of our PTA fiber group members (an excellent piecer) is attending the workshop today......we'll see if she has any hair left on her head after class.

So....when is small enough and how many pieces does it take?? It's not a question I've ever contemplated......but I was happy George did!

UPDATE: Here's two comments from folks who've taken George's workshop:

#1. Don't know if easy is the right word. I think he simply has identified tips and steps to make foundation piecing more manageable and designed a seam allowance guide to help with the stitching process. And he and his wife use double sided tape instead of pins.

#2. I took a class from George a few years ago, after seeing his work in exhibits. Easy for him to say the technique is easy. I found it utterly nerve-wracking. One good thing: George doesn't have to spend a fortune on fabric. Virginia does that. She makes exquisite full-size quilts; at the time I met her she favored Willliam Morris prints. She is a hand-quilter, and her work is as utter perfection as his is. I think I last saw them around 2002 or 2004.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I'M OUT!!!!!

DARN IT!!! I thought I was playing it safe.....I picked Dallas in the Suicide Pool this and 12 others who are also moaning....week #2.....we are out!

The worst part is that their loss gives the Bears a second win.......we are NOT Bear fans......way not Bear fans.

'The husband' picked the Colts....but they don't play till 8:30 PM.......not sure I can bear to watch it.....nail biting time. Yes, it would have been great to win the pool of over $1,000......but it's really the fun of being in the 'game' that adds to the interest in each weeks game. This is the earliest I've gone out....3 members of my brother's family also picked Dallas....their track record is notoriously pitiful.....and now mine is too.

BUT....hey the Packers won.....and cheering for them is a given no matter what.

UPDATE.....The Colts 'the husband' remains in the pool, I'll now live vicariously through his weekly picks!


Yesterday was a beautiful fall day here in the we hopped in the car with our new neighbors (welcome Lonnie and Irene) and headed to Marshall, NC. The promise of pottery shops didn't materialize but this quaint old town still provided plenty of interest.

Yup.....sometimes I forget.....we are in the South......

It's great to see a quilt block on a building along main street.

'The husband' often eats lunch at this small Italian restaurant when he's out on his bike. His favorite chicken sandwich wasn't on the menu yesterday, but with puppy dog eyes......the waitress accommodated his request.

Some areas of the short downtown section are somewhat rural in appearance. Native mountain wildflowers added lovely touches.

Believe it or not, this is right smack in downtown Marshall......just a few steps off the main road...... Get out and enjoy the sights of wherever you live.....


Friday, September 17, 2010


It's fall in the mountains......the landscape is changing........the low foliage is dying back yet the land remains beautiful with its new colors.

Some of these plants have really inspired me.......and will be the subject of new projects I'm planning to tackle very soon. First, I have two teaching trips in the next two I need to be patient for a bit longer. Thank you all for hanging in here with me.....despite such pitifully few posts about stitching!

I'm afraid I'm fairly ignorant about most of these unfamiliar plants.......and I'm struck by their simple beauty.......

I must comment about this one.......what the heck is it? Seriously, the leaves are at least 15"-20" in diameter. It appears tropical, due to its size; yet it's growing at about 4,000 feet elevation. It seems like one day it wasn't there, the next it was.

Update.....I must confess, I did know the Pokeweed plant......folks tell us that it's poisionous to mammals but does not adversely affect birds when eating the berries. Thank you Wendy for the info!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010



This new announcement, posted in a Chicago Tribune article is the very reason why my days traveling the quilting highway may be limited!

I'm not airline is actually getting ready to torture passengers with these saddle seats......half standing/half sitting. Just shoot me!


A quick look back at my recent Wisconsin trip......(cause I just found these photos on my camera!)......

Sadly, there wasn't an opportunity to enjoy one of my favorite WI foods. Yes, Culvers Chocolate Concrete Malt, which should be categorized as a single food group! However, this was Wisconsin where dairy products (and brats) of course there was ice cream to be had.

The funny thing about it.....I actually saw someone purchasing an ice cream cone at 7:53 AM, when I was on my way to my classroom the last day of my visit. I don't know what's more amazing....the fact that this stand was open at that hour or that someone was already enjoying ice cream!?!

To complete my visit on the last night in Madison......many thanks goes to Nora Rader who took me to Uno's for Pizza.....yes, this is a Chicago style deep fav. Certainly with all the cheese on it, Wisconsin can adopt it as their own.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


It was a lovely day for an outing yesterday......which fit in with my need to drive to South Carolina to drop off quilts for Fiber Fantasy 2010....

This is the home of the Blue Ridge Arts Council, 111 E. South 2nd St. Seneca, SC, where the show will be held Sept. 17 - Nov. 4. Hours are 1-5 pm - Tues.-Fri.

My friend Judy Simmons has a nice blurb on her blog about this event and several others in the area. Patsy Thompson will also have pieces in the Fiber Fantasy will I. One of my three pieces is shown below.....

Heart To Heart - by Mary Stori 42" x 36"
This original design features hand appliqued hearts enhanced with hand embroidery, hand quilting and beadwork which frames the quilt. The cotton fabrics are hand dyed. This piece is for sale at the exhibit.

Monday, September 13, 2010



For those of you who are still with me...... look what 'the husband' captured.......okay it's small (on the left side of this bucket).....but it is a Copper Head..... = poisonous! As the weather cools down at this time of the year in the mountains, occasionally we'll find snakes sunning themselves on the warm roadways......or in this case on our driveway....eyeing the entrance to our garage so it had to be moved...

PS - Whoopie.......the Packers won!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The 2010 Suicide Pool has begun......... my pick of the week to win their game is the NY Giants.....the husband has the Titans.....that means if either of these teams lose.....we are out of the pool. Each week you select ONE team to WIN........but you can never select that team again throughout the season......and the last man standing in this pool of 54 wins the pot which is over $1,000! Fingers crossed!!!

But the team we always want to win is the PACKERS....our flag is up and flying already this here's our big Wisconsin Cheesehead cheer.......GOOOOOO PACKERS!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Remember 9-11
United We Stand - original design by Mary Stori