Monday, February 28, 2011


I'm calling this finished......well....the top is complete but all of us know that only constitutes half the job when making a quilt. Because the sashing got wider than originally planned, I'm going to skip the borders and just bind it in the white/black polka dot.

Naturally, I wasted too much time digging through my stash searching for a large enough piece of appropriate backing fabric. Ya, ya...I know I could have pieced one in the time I spent uncovering, unfolding, then refolding and replacing hunks of me single minded!!

But, happily there was one piece large enough that is actually quite perfect for the backing. My batting is unfolded and at rest so the wrinkles disappear before I begin to baste. I enjoy hand quilting but this one will be done on the machine......

Now that I'm gazing at the top, I believe the sashing is a bit too wide......the idea was to add more interest (compensate) for the plain blocks....and perhaps that worked a little too well as it now overpowers the patchwork. I'm okay with's a lap quilt for goodness sakes.... And it reinforces my ever growing appreciation of those of you who create art with their patchwork.

I'm drawn to traditional patchwork quilts....the old indigo blues, blacks, reds, pinks.....which I have on display in our home. Newer homes offer bigger windows/brighter rooms and despite having UV ray protection on our quilts have suffered. It may be time to make some replacements so this was good practice!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Today I'd like to share a link that was posted to the Fiber Arts Alliance message board informal Asheville, NC, fiber group that meets the first Tuesday of the month. It's great to have contact with so many creative stitchers who share so much with each other!

Click the link above and you'll find a tribute to patchwork quilting via an abstract animated film that uses computer and experimental techniques to choreography quilt motifs and designs to music.

It's presented by the National Film Board of Canada whose missions is to make independent films available to the public. I love how we can find quilter's influences in so many unexpected places.


After much standing in front of the design wall....hemming and occurred to me that this is a lap quilt.....a race focused lap quilt......get a grip Mary......make up your mind and start sewing.

So I did. This is the setting I selected. In part, during way more time auditioning fabrics then reasonable....I realized I was avoiding some setting ideas (and frankly, the notion of adding more applique motifs) simply because I am impatient when working at the machine.

Yes, the person who can bead or hand quilt for hours and hours can not make herself sit at her sewing machine and piece for any extended length of time. Part of this is comfort....after many lower back operations I still have issues executing some body positions if they are prolonged. vision sure isn't as good as it once was, even with cheater glasses once the machine needle starts moving. Frankly, patchwork is often a struggle for me so I need to keep it simple. This isn't an art's a token from the heart.....

Hope to do some stitching today......however we are being treated with spring like's expected to be sunny and 70 degrees!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I continue my quest to make great artisan bread......such as those made by Tartine in San Francisco.

My DIL sent me this link about Tartine's owner......though no specific secrets are disclosed, I found it interesting.

Jane Moxey, the producer of my DVD "Mary Stori Teaches Beading on Fabric" and now friend.....has also been playing with this kind of bread. By adding yeast to her dough, therefore not depending solely on the sour dough starter to leaven the bread....she's had more success.

I too used yeast in my sour dough recipes years ago when I was totally committed to cooking and running my small cooking school in the Chicago area. I may experiment with that addition again......I suspect our mountain elevation, dryer climate, and perhaps chiller indoor environment all are affecting my results.

Yes....yes....I am aware and have made the well known 'no-knead' is very good.....however, I'm looking for more flavor.....which can be developed using sour dough starter..... So back to the drawing board.....oops....I mean back to the kitchen!!

Friday, February 25, 2011


It's interesting that when one works in a specific medium for a long my case woolfelt and beads.....ya kinda lose touch with other construction least I have!

I'm finding it really challenging (a good thing) to work with this simple applique patchwork design. Okay....I admit...I'm trying to rush this along and not really embracing the process as I would with my other designs.

And....that's where girlfriends come in...... Yesterday the Fiber Junkies met at my house for a beading lesson which provide me with fresh eyes. Perhaps I was bemoaning about this piece? Well...yes I was. The design was too skimpy, yet I didn't want to fill every block in with applique and didn't have enough fabric to patchwork the plain blocks. And the goal is to use the fabric I already have on my shelves which are visually buckling from the weight....I do not want a repeat of my recent mess with wire closet shelves collapsing.

My plan had been to sash the blocks (2" finished onto 9" finished blocks) using a variety of black prints with a 4" black outer border. Boring.... Val and Judy suggested using the check (flag) fabric..... gulp....great idea....but (a.) I don't have enough (b.) after using it previously...I knew it wasn't printed on grain...which would make it difficult to use as a sashing.

Then they floated the idea of a polka dot.... YES, YES......unfortunately...the only one I have is symmetrical.....rather than random all over dots which would translate better for a sashing.
Maybe I'll try black corner stones to tone it down??? Or....

Maybe I'll go back to using black and use the check for corner is wonderful with so many options.....

I hope your day has time for sewing with lots of options to challenge and inspire the artist in you!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


My friend Connie Brown alerted me about this site and the announcement that the American Folk Art Museum's exhibit of the Red & White collection of Joanna S. Rose - March 25-30, 2011.

Check it out to enjoy wonderful old red and white beauties!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Oh I out of my element...... Like many of you, I started quilting by making patchwork quilts.....then got really brave and added some applique. I've forgotten more than I ever knew about this construction approach!!!

Because we attend so many car races......and anything with a motor is the theme of 'the husband's' man cave.....I've decided to make a lap quilt.

The other morning we were awakened by the VERY loud noise of my wire shelving collapsing in my closet (hummmm...does that mean I overloaded it??)

With that in mind....I've always been concerned about the weight on the shelves in my fabric for this project, I'm determined to use the fabric I already own and have been storing for years.

I'm going to sash the blocks with narrow strips of black....but after beginning to layout the's clear to me that I won't have the patience to machine applique EACH of the planned 30 blocks. Onto Plan B......not sure what that is....but not every block will feature a motif....that's for sure!

Don't forget to put in your auction bid on two of my published quilts as seen here. One of the pieces has a high bid VERY close to its reserve, the other has a little way to go. They are priced VERY wholesale jump in. I'm hoping this will be a good way for many pieces in my collection to find new homes. Bidding ends at 8:00 PM EST on March 24th.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Soon after we moved to Western North Carolina, we learned about an annual Bluegrass Festival, held every February in Asheville. Unlike most, it's held inside. Tickets are limited to 800 people to hear the best groups in Bluegrass today for about 12 hours each day.

For those folks staying at the host hotel.....they can and do hear it 24 hours a day as there are non-stop jam sessions in the hotel rooms, lobbies, and because our weather was so mild this weekend....even on balconies and patios. This is the place to be each year if you are a Bluegrass fan!

As we walked to the entrance.....our FAVORITE group, Dailey & Vincent's bus was just pulling up. Yes, they really are bigger than life!

I know I've mentioned this same thing here before....but seriously, I can't get over how excellent they are. Each show is different and better than the last, it seems humanly impossible.

Each group plays for about an hour....though the as the night draws to an end.....the groups tend to play longer and longer.....and of course no one complains about that!

Here are the Grascal's....... Normally, each group plays twice each the afternoon and evening. Only the headliner (this year - Dailey & Vincent) plays both days.

Rhonda Vincent & The Rage (sister to Darrin Vincent of Dailey & Vincent) has played at each of the 5 years we've attended. She's HIGH energy.....and it touched my heart to see the generosity she a 7 year old boy the opportunity to play with the group.

This wasn't JUST any 7 year old....this kid has talent. I'm frustrated with myself for not remembering his name......but I know I'll be hearing it again because he got 3 standing ovations!

Between sets, it's entertaining to watch the sound crew set up for the next group.... Here, Michael Cleveland's band is getting ready to play. His list of awards is long......2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year, to name a few! He's on the right with the fiddle......

This is the group that got me hooked on Bluegrass....they've been around since 1971, originally made up of professionals (such as a doctor, graphic artist etc.) from the DC area who played together on weekends...therefore were Seldom Scene.

Another high energy group featuring fantastic vocals.

I have no idea how the band members of any of these groups can keep their energy level as high as required to maintain their grueling show schedules.....take a peek at any one of them on the links provided. So when you think your work load is too much.....just imagine what their days are like!! I'm soooo happy they continue to get on their buses....seeing live shows is an incredible experience and treat!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Most any group of 12 quilters could probably make 36 blocks AND put the quilts together in one day.....however....PTA members are easily distracted.

Of course before we begin sewing, we must have Show and coffee and treats, then we work for an hour or so. Then we break for lunch, where (this time) an A/V surprise awaited...... read on.....

Judy Simmons shared her newest piece....inspired by some deconstructive fabric she made. Judy explains the process here.

Mary B. shared this quilt....which was her inspiration for........

........her own English paper pieced Grandmother's Garden quilt......

Gen is our resident master of any and all crafts. We all admired and modeled her fingerless gloves.....
.....note her fancy stitches.....seriously....there's no technique she hasn't conquered.....

Dort, yet again, wowed us with another fabulous landscape quilt.......

Then......during lunch....Connie had us rolling on the floor when she surprised us with a JibJab video. I wasn't familiar with this silliness.......but you better believe I'll be playing with it soon.

Basically, JibJab allows you to place a photo 'head shot' onto a this case Christmas Elfs that are dancing and generally acting silly. Connie created our own PTA short subject movie. Apparently this can be done as a e-greeting card as well. The Elfs will be back as Christmas 2011 draws near. Click here and here for more info......

This might be one of those.....'you really had to be there things'......and I'm sorry you weren't because it was about the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. Thank you Connie Brown for your creativity!!

In you can understand why it took our group all day to make 3 small quilts....of which the block had already been sewn! Each of the quilts was taken home by a volunteer to finish.....which they will be.........but don't we have a good time?!?


PTA (Piecer's Talker's and Appliquer's) is the first small group to warmly welcome me after I moved to the Asheville area. We are 13 strong.....sadly one member now lives in Memphis so she's missing from this nearly monumental photo of the almost entire group taken today.

Row 1, seated L to R: Janice, Judy, Dort, Lynne, Mary S. Gen,
Row 2 standing: Mary B., Linda, Connie, Cathy, Barbara, Georgia, Kate

We gathered to make several 'community quilts' which will be donated by the Asheville Quilt Guild to a worthy organization. We try to be less self-serving at least once a year.....grinning!!

Guild members donated fabrics and made the blocks......our group put them together. This is such an effective, yet easy block, which features a 'conversation' style center square, surrounded by a print that appears somewhat solid. A wonderful choice for a child's quilt.

Janice, our hostess for the day, organized this unruly group by prearranging the blocks for each quilt, along with a selection of fabrics for the borders and backing. We do tend to get off track when we are all her preparation was a brilliant move!

We divided into groups, each tackling one of the three quilts. This is the one I worked on.....rebels that we were......we chose TWO different fabrics for our borders. Of course, that normally wouldn't be something to brag about.....but believe me.....with all the talking and interruptions we experience......that's a feat!

Because these quilts will be utilitarian, we finished the edges using the envelope method.....which after turning we put the slackers of our group to work with needle and embroidery floss to tie the layers together...... just KIDDING girls!!

Oh my.....I guess we weren't as clever as we thought with our border.....another group had the nerve to use a directional fabric and corner stones...... A fun and productive day was had by all.....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Cabin fever resulting from another bad winter drove me out yesterday to lunch with friends.....

A final stop at a coffee/pastry/candy shop on the way home yielded this amazing eye candy. No, I didn't have any.....well.....not this one, but I did have a peanut butter/chocolate pie treat!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


It's been a rewarding time developing a piece featuring a simple design that (hopefully) is still successful and holds one's interest.

I've blogged its progress on Feb. 3, 7, &'s the finished piece.

CAPTURED 9" x 9"
Felted wool, machine stitching, featuring a cabochon, captured with a bead netting.
$125 (includes insured shipping)
email me via comment section or Contact Link on right info bar


FYI......the method used to attach the stone will be the focus of my Fall New England/Canada Quilting Cruise workshops. There are many variations to keep you interested and having fun....and best of all, it only looks difficult! To register now go to Traveling Together.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Heart images are the theme of the day......and like many quilters, it's one I've used numerous times.

I'm going to try something auction! After the reserve price has been met, the highest bidder will own the quilt. A $10.00 shipping and insurance fee to anywhere in the continental US will be added to the final winning bid price.

Additional photos will gladly be provided......just contact me....

BIDDING BEGINS NOW and ends @ 8:00 PM EST - February 24th. You may bid using the comment section if you wish to keep this auction lively, or privately by using the link in the Contact Mary section, just below my photo. Remember, after the reserve price has been met......the highest bidder wins the quilt! Also, to keep it competitive, once the reserve price has been met, I'll notify everyone by updating this post.


Heart to Heart 32" x 46"
Skillfully hand appliqued, hand quilted, & hand embroidered on hand-dyed cotton fabrics, featuring a beaded binding.



Best Friends 21" x 17"
Machine applique & quilted, beaded motifs enhance the heart designs on hand-dyed and commerical cotton fabrics. This piece is the original quilt featured in Mary's book "The Stori of Beaded Embellishment", published by Martingale.


LET THE FUN BEGIN......You have 10 days....beginning now......

Sunday, February 13, 2011


OH....I think I'm re-domesticating myself! Now that I have a sour dough starter, which requires attention, I've been baking more than I have in years.

One of my favorite sour dough recipes came from Sunset Magazine....YEARRRRS ago. = English Muffins. Here my dough has risen to more than double and is ready for the next step.

It's rolled out and cut into rounds and placed to rise again on cornmeal covered baking sheets.

60+ minutes later....these too have doubled in size and are ready to bake.

English Muffins do not bake in the oven....rather, they are cooked on a hot griddle. And there's where I had my problem. I used my brand new Panini grill and griddle. Despite turning the heat up all the simply wasn't as hot enough. I used to cook English Muffins using a gas stove on a cast iron griddle.

Does anyone else notice that appliances do not get hot enough anymore? I can name: my coffee maker, our electric frying pan (used to cook fish outside when I don't want the smell in the house!), and this darn $$ new grill (there's no way it could cook hamburgers as stated in the owner's'd take all day!!)

Due to the low heat....they look paler then I'd like.

The nooks and crannys aren't as large as they should be either. That too comes from heat that is too low. If they bake too slowly.....the dough has a tendency to collapse....making the product denser than it should be. However.....the muffins were still flavorful and yummy.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


My friend Jackie has the magic touch in the greeting card department. I can't begin to tell you how many bovine related cards she's sent to me from Colorado Springs over the years..... She must be on a constant search.....each and every one has been precious!

So, of course I ADORE this one.......the greeting says "Got Love?" toooooo cute.....

Hope all of you will be with your sweeties on Monday....... Mine told me he was going to bring home a dog from the local shelter for me.......NOT!!! Dinner would be more like it!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


This doesn't seem like much to show for a days' work......but if your household is like's rare when I can devote the entire day to work in my studio!

The stone is now permanently attached with this bead cage. My overall goal was for simplicity. At this point, I'm still not sure if I'll add any other elements or go ahead and start the edge finishing process....which will in itself add more design.....

That's why we love creating isn't it? It's like a, run, run.......and then the pay off is the finish line. I am NOT a sprinter......I prefer the marathon approach......what's the rush? The satisfaction for me is to finish with a piece I'm proud of......

Photographing bead work, esp. against matte fiber such as woolfelt usually doesn't provide accurate color renditions.....but perhaps you'll get the idea anyway.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Well....after an exciting Super feet are just beginning to touch the ground....thank you all for cheering along with me..... We needed all that help! The Steeler's proved to be a difficult team to beat (as expected). One thing that really struck me was the overall good sportsman like conduct. Sure there were some 'oops', what was I thinking penalties on both teams, but the chippy, bad boy stuff was thankfully left on the school yard playground!

So.....onto what this blog is really all about....creating with fiber......

I posted about this new pieces a few days ago - here - and since have gone onto the next step. As I mentioned, simplifying, while many quilters are going the opposite direction via the mixed-media format, has become appealing to me.

This 8" x 8" will feature simple machine stitching........

..........and hopefully, one awesome major design element. It's made with 80/20 National Nonwovens Woolfelt. The background is stabilized in my usual manner using a lightweight non-fusible interfacing, while the pale lavender spot of color has been fused in position. The 'bead' is glued in place to hold it during the beading process.

Watch what happens....