Thursday, October 28, 2010


It's a glorious fall in Western North Carolina.......I've pressed pause to enjoy a few days with family who've made the trek to the mountains to see us..... Seeing what this area has to offer through the eyes of others makes us appreciate where we live!

I'll join you back here very soon.......

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


IT'S HUNG!! I'm adjusting to the different color scheme on this wall.....but appreciate the dramatic effect it provides for such a large space.

Betty's Batiks 72" x 90"
Made by Mary Stori 2010

It's all in the family........the top consists mostly of vintage authentic batik fabrics from my Mother-in-Law's collection which I inherited several years ago. The backing fabrics were a gift from our son and his wife, purchased on their many trips to Asia.

Monday, October 25, 2010


PACKERS WIN, PACKERS WIN!!! aren't a football fan?? This isn't the post for you.....

Packer fans are undoubtedly the most loyal fans in the world.......the only thing better about the exciting win last night would have been a complete blow out which would have saved my nerves!

It's sad seeing Brett Farve in a Minnesota Vikings uniform......the man who, over these last few years, has blemished his reputation so much. But ya gotta admit.....he understands the game better than most & can throw a football. (I especially liked his interceptions last night!)

Our man.....Aaron Rogers showed us he can take the team all the way if he gets the protection he needs. Really, this was one exciting seemed that whoever had the ball last was going to win.......and it literally came down to the last 28 seconds! I stayed up way past my bedtime......and got up later than normal so I must now hit the ground running myself.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


The Alliance for American Quilts "New From Old" challenge quilts begins on eBay October 25th. Each auction week starts and ends on Monday at 9 PM. Click here and search for the keyword "alliance for american quilts".

The bidding for each quilt begins at $50.00. All proceeds will support AAQ and its projects.

"Penny Rug Revisited" 16" x 16", by Mary Stori

My donation piece will be in this first auction week. It was constructed using hand dyed woolfet, hand and machine embroidery and bead embellishment. A hanging sleeve is attached.

I hope you will consider helping this worthy organization.

Friday, October 22, 2010


What would we do without the support of our quilting friends? I for one wouldn't have had the opportunity to learn the ABC's of long arm quilting while personally quilting a large authentic vintage batik quilt that I could never have hand needled nor managed to cram through the small opening of my home sewing machine.

Many, many thanks Kate for your generosity, excellent tutoring, patience, and girlfriend time!

I traveled to South Carolina to the home of my pal for a two day marathon quilt lesson. Before we actually tackled my quilt, she wisely had a practice piece in her long arm, marked with diagonal lines to allow me to get acquainted with the machine and the direction that I'd begin my stitching (like about 32 times).

After some practice and a lot of cheer leading by Kate.....we were ready to load the machine with my quilt. First the backing was pinned onto a fabric leader. She has it set up with a zipper which allows her to unzip one in-process project and reload with another without having to pin again. This photo shows my backing attached.

Next the batting is placed on the backing and basted in position.

Now my quilt top was's carefully measured across the entire width of the quilt to be sure the blocks (vertically and horizontally) are straight. I'm a stickler for good is Kate. She explained and demonstrated how carefully each task is completed before moving to the next step which assures the results yield a flat, pucker free, and square finished product.

In keeping with quality work, Kate uses a nifty tool to check the bobbin tension....and we all know how darn important thread tension is! I am....palms sweating as I begin carefully trying to guide the needle of this big machine to quilt in the ditch along each side of the black sashings. The orange ruler is a tool she uses to help keep the head moving smoothly along a line. Of course that means one can control both the ruler and the arm of the machine! Yikes...... I know quilting in the ditch is a very difficult skill to conquer....on any machine.....but seriously I'd score myself a C- or D with my attempts.

I got better with practice and just when I thought I had a good grip on the control disappeared and I'd be bobbing from side to side. This was such a good reminder for me. I encourage my students in my hand quilting classes to practice, practice, practice and not to get I was at the receiving end of that advice.

The diagonal quilting was completed first, then horizontally through the patchwork blocks and finally vertically. My respect for long arm quilters has risen tremendously. This photo shows the very last pass.

We didn't keep track of the time I spent.....but I'd guess it was about 20 hours. Kate was there with me every step of the way, advancing the quilt, constantly checking that it remained square, checking the quality of the stitches....even crawling on the floor beneath the quilt using a flash light to see the backing as I worked!!


I'm now back home and the quilt is resting on my guest room floor. I can't wait to get the binding on and hang the finished quilt on our stairwell wall.......

Most of the fabric was inherited from my dear, dear Mother-in-law's stash, acquired from her many trips to Asia in the 1960's and early 70's. The pieced backing fabrics were gifts from the 'perfect child' who has also traveled to Asia many times. We now have a wonderful family memento.....and I have fond memories of two great days with my friend Kate!


Okay....this post won't mean anything you 99% of you faithful readers......but this is a warning to the members of PTA (a small fiber group of which I'm a member.)

When we met last week.......Georgia Bonesteel quietly placed this canvas bag in my trunk.....saying it contained some silk scraps she thought Judy Simmons and I might enjoy.
We'd had a full day visiting exhibits and we didn't look at it until we got back to our carpool location.

I took the bag out and handed it to Judy.........who yelped.....

"It's THE BIRD"!! I can't remember the story behind THE's been told to me several times but none seem to be consistant! Apparently for years and years a bird (stuffed or ceramic??) got passed around to unsuspecting members of the group in very clever methods. Then someone broke it.....again....the details are very sketchy....... So, it went to BIRD heaven.

Somehow there is now a new BIRD....... No one can remember who got stuck with it last because it may be months and months before it appears again.

However, (I think thanks to Georgia) it's now sporting a necklace. Well, I got stuck with it as Judy immediately dropped the bag back into my trunk after retrieving her own stuff and quickly headed to her car. Beware PTA members........THE BIRD is looking for a new resting place.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Our fiber group had an outing the other day to visit several exhibits. I want to share one of the pieces we saw, made by my friend Judy Simmons, who will be my guest instructor on my New England/Canada Quilting Cruise, Sept. 1-11, 2011. You'll love learning her amazing and varied techniques!!

This is titled 'Trees 1 - Winter'. She's incorporated many images that were photographed, manipulated in Photo Shop Elements and then printed on fabric.

I love the use vintage rice sack fabric which she obtained on a teaching trip to Japan.

Judy often uses faces in her work, both from scanned or photographs she's taken or ones her talented son draws......this image has been placed behind some screening material which adds so much interest.

You can learn more about our fun filled Fall cruise by clicking on the link at the top of this blog. Download the PDF brochure that contains the workshop descriptions, prices of the cruise which includes all the workshops and kits.......and then sign up!! You won't want to miss this one.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Our PTA (Piecer's Talker's & Appliquer's) group had an outing this month to visit a couple of fiber exhibits. But, of course for this very productive and tell was still on the agenda.

Gen (on the left) just finished this intricate machine pieced and machine quilted large quilts. She is an expert at just about every needle skill.....and can make her sewing machine stand up, walk across the room and take a bow.....

Linda Cantrell has switched gears from her charming & humorous 'people/story' quilts to conquering really great abstract art. We all are loving her new direction.

....and another.....

Georgia Bonesteel brought this piece, which is not only a part of our PTA 2010 Challenge - Sunrise/Sunset quilts......but also an example for Charlotte Warr Anderson's upcoming book which focuses on a really nifty way to machine quilt using reference marks.

Here's our darling Kate, who captured the essence of our challenge perfectly.

Barbara shared her challenge piece which still needs quilting......we all loved how she incorporated both abstract and some what realistic design into her work.

Our challenge quilts will be on display at the Biltmore Estate, in the foyer of the Deerpark Restaurant from Nov. 1, 2010 - Jan. 2, 2011.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


.......continuing our play day, learning a novel way to screen print.......

While our screens were drying in the sun.....we set up our printing stations. We used Val's garage which was already set up with padded tables, covered with muslin. Using 'T" pins, we secured our fabric to the table top.

This is my screen....which looked awesome when I first spread the thickened dye paste over pine needles placed on piece of corrugated cardboard. Unfortunately, (and Judy didn't know why this happened) the image of the pine needles which was originally sharp, faded to nothing. So she suggested that I place the needles back on the screen and let it dry that way......

What a great solution. Look at the images I got once I began printing. The first printing is on the upper left.....the last on the bottom right. Each time you print, a different amount of dye is released, yielding sometimes slightly different prints, and sometimes drastically different. This fabric is still wet.

Once the entire section of fabric is needs to cure. Here Judy is demonstrating how to roll it up in a large black plastic bag to 'cook' for a minimum of 24 hrs. indoors, or place in the sun to dry for faster results.

Fiber Junkie Nancy experimented by drying small pieces in Val's microwave (used only for dyeing purposes). She managed to burn some really neat looking holes in one piece. Guess the timing thing needs to be perfected!

48 hrs. later at home, I rinsed my fabric in cold water, twice. Then twice in warm water, then a final soak in Synthrapol (a special detergent used to remove unattached excess dye). The fabric has now been dried and pressed.

So....what will I do with it? Hummmm........I've been so stuck on wool felt in the past several years, this will be an excellent challenge for me.

Carol used a lot of textures.....and printed using several colors. It's interesting to see the difference between her first print (on the left) and her second.

Here's more of Carol's printing.....some of these are the results after the dye is all but used she merely painted more dyes directly on the fabric over the areas that printed blank. (The center two on the bottom row.) **Carol, if I'm not remembering this correctly, please enlighten me!

Here's more of my fabric. The first print is on the left. I wasn't terribly pleased with the initial look because I didn't have enough texture......therefore I got a very uneven amount of dye transfer when I printed. So, I too went back over the areas that were pale with a different color dye.....applying it using a plastic hotel key card.....a great tool for this task.

I can't wait to begin playing with this fabric to see where this might take my designs. All of us ended the day very hyped........and grateful to Judy for her guidance and Val for the use of her facilities.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Judy Simmons led our group through the steps of deconstructive screen printing. Frankly, I didn't even understand what that meant. So....let me share what I learned (as I understood it). Traditional screen printing involves burning an image into a silk (or poly) screen and pulling dye through the screen onto prepared fabric. Very precise images can be obtained using this method.

Deconstructive printing involves using objects/texture beneath the screen (to create images) and pulling thickened dyes through the screen. The image is retained on the back side of the screen and when a release agent is used, the images are printed onto prepared fabric. Each swipe of the releasing agent yields a print with a different appearance. This was soooo much fun.

The inside edges of the framed screens are taped to protect the wood from warping because a lot of moisture is used during this process.

Val used these items to create texture on her print.....we worked in her garage.....look at the bug that landed on her hand!

Patsy had such a clever idea.....she brought shredded paper......which worked great.

I selected some crushed and then flattened tin foil, bubble wrap, tissue paper and ferns.

Here's my arrangement, just prior to adding the dyes.

The thickened dye is spooned onto the inside of the screen.

......and pulled through the screen.......

The items are removed, the screen is left to dry. The next step is to position the screen over the prepared fabric. A release agent is spooned into the screen......

.....and pulled through the fabric. Each print will look different, depending upon how much dye is released......

Hang in there....more to come tomorrow......

Friday, October 15, 2010


Wow....I've had a couple of very busy days......there are lots of photos to share..... I'll begin with examples of just a few of the fabulous work of the Fiber Junkie's October Show and Tell. Our meeting this month focused on learning deconstructive screen printing techniques........I'll be posting these head is still spinning.....

Carol Sloan made this charming and modern book......yes, of course she not only made the cover, she made the actual book too.

Some of her adorable drawings inside.....

Patsy Thompson, master of machine quilting, shared her newest piece....... LOVE IT!!

Val dazzled us with the amazing results she achieved when we dyed fabric last month. Most of our fabrics were still wet when we departed so this was a great chance to see the results of our play day. I marveled at the texture and color she got....

Nancy loves to felt......and has been busy making Christmas gifts to sell at an upcoming gallery event. Isn't this pin cushion to die for??

Nancy also made this embellished felt ornament.

During our dye day, I tried dyeing some 100% wool that I'd felted. I had more than I could dye so I gave the balance to Nancy. In turn......she dyed several pieces for me when she got home........I'm blown away by the multicolor results she got.......mine look soooo boring in comparison. Thank you Nancy, you are always so generous!

Here's a better view of one of the pieces. I'm not sure I'll be able to cut this apart to use's very thick so it will hold up to my embellishing without any problem.....hummmm, now my hands are itching to start a project.

Patsy gave us all some cheesecloth to experiment's a sample of Nancy's dyeing skills.

No, she didn't stop there.......she dyed numerous pieces using a variety of colors and then wet felted them into scarves that she will be selling......

I'll be repeating this every time I chat about the Fiber Junkies.........The talent and generous nature of every member of our small group is so special.....grab some friends and start your own small group!!

Next I'll be posting the many, many photos of this new screen printing methods we learned from Judy Simmons.