Thursday, March 31, 2011


Our 3rd annual January PTA retreat was canceled TWICE due to bad weather......but of course we rescheduled......and I've just returned from 3 fun filled, productive days.

It's held at a retreat center in the mountains near Canton, NC. Peaceful and beautiful.

We rent a large home plus a huge sewing room in the administrative lodge. They cater to several quilt groups, is treated with quilts on display everywhere. What better back drop can hungry quilters have for their workroom snack table!?!

They provide coffee/tea and all the fixings.......

and this amazingly thoughtful touch......coolers of ice for chilled water. One gets very thirsty with all the gabbing we do.

The meals are excellent.......we waltz in......dine.....and waltz dishes to do...... This is Heaven!!

Here's a section of our work space. The first year, 3 of us made this pod unit to make it easier to pool our conversation type fabric to make baby quilts. We work well side by side so we've continued our table arrangement.

This is my space....I took control of a podium to hold my pre-cut strings that I used for my project this year.

Today most of us spent a very frustrating 30 mins. looking for my thread clips that vanished. The obvious place to look was the the floor, food table, then the iron was ridiculous....we couldn't find it anywhere....including the trash cans. Then, after Mary B. lent me hers to use......sure enough, they turned up. I found the clip stuck in the channel on the wrong side of my rotary cutter. What a hoot.....

Because we have lots of breaks, several demos, and general disruptions that are typical at these events......finishing a project is a rarity. String piecing.....even with pre-cut strings took much longer than I expected. I pressed as I pieced which meant getting up constantly before adding the next strings. I worked two blocks at a time to lessen the trek back and forth....but it was still time consuming. I rationalized that as exercise to balance all the extra calories I consumed. No worries......I'll make a few block now and again and soon it will be completed and I'll share a photo when it is.

More to come......

Monday, March 28, 2011


After surviving my last 'out of my comfort zone' project. It seemed like a good time to keep the creativity going.

Back in Oct., the Fiber Junkie's spent a day learning deconstructive screen printing. You can read about it here.

I came away with some terrific fabric, but really no clue how to integrate it into my work. The material doesn't look 'that' busy....but for someone who has worked pretty much exclusively for the last several years with solid or gently mottled wool felt, the textures really made me think.

Then....recently on our daily morning 90 minute 'forced march' (directed by 'the husband....opting out isn't acceptable), I picked up this evergreen sprig from the roadway.

I wondered if I could reproduce the look using beads. Even though I do not draw......after lots of pencil to paper (along with an eraser), I came up with this sketch.

The main 'branches' were transferred to lightweight paper and machine stitched using a heavy thread. The paper was removed after the main design lines were transferred.

Next, batting was basted beneath the top and secured into a Q-snap frame.....a MUST to keep the background fabric from distorting during the beading process.

So far I'm satisfied with the results and am having fun. I'll keep you posted as this piece proceeds. But.....that won't be for several days. I'm heading off to our 3rd Annual PTA Fiber Art Group retreat for 3 days. Internet and cell service is iffy at our location. I'm sure there will be lots to share......unless it's a case of what happens there, needs to stay there.......

Hey, grab some friends and plan your own retreat......everyone needs at least one each year!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


You've probably heard the buzz about the incredible 651 red and white quilt display, "Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts" on display in New York City, organized by the American Folk Art Museum.....but seeing them in person must be.....well.....incredible!

To see and read about the Joanna Rose Collection, follow these links. Thank you goes to my friend Connie Brown for gathering all them.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It's gratifying to know some of you are actually looking forward to my much so that you worry when I don't.

No, there's nothing wrong.....just unusually busy with domestic duties..... However, I have also been in the studio a lot.....having big fun.

You may recall a previous post about our 2011 PTA challenge project. Here's another peak at my painter inspired piece....the yellow lines have now been hand appliqued and the circle basted in position will be next. The background here in this photo looks sort of pale's actually white.....

I'll keep showing these milestones and will be interested to see if anyone can guess who my inspiration was. Though...I'm not terribly hopeful since 'the husband', when told the artists' name, actually suggested it should be someone else. Go figure.....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Several months ago, the Fiber Junkies spent a day at member Val's home, learning to screen print.

Yikes......this was out of my comfort zone....though I loved every minute of it!! Reflectly now, this was so positive. The outcome has influenced some new directions to pursue. It's introduced me to unfamiliar design & construction concepts (okay scary too).....but isn't that how we learn?

Using Val's silk screen, I printed this abstract design onto a coarsely woven silk/cotton remnant.

Next I began auditioning various embellishments.

The design reminded me of a stepping stone path so I considered adding nature items such as small wood sticks, wrapped with bead strings. Oh seems I STILL need to label motifs/design concepts into a theme or subject!!

Though, somewhat undecided, I 'hooped' up the fabric (now basted to batting to provide extra stability) and began beading. I'm using sterling silver seeds and bugles. I resisted cleaning them to their shiny state in favor of keeping the nice aged patina.

Some interesting foreign coins in my stash of embellishment materials were also incorporated. Fiber Junkie Nancy Bruce is incredibly generous with the Perle cottons, floss, and other embroidery materials she dyes.......luckily.......I'm beginning to have a nice stash which I used here.

11" x 14" Framed
$175 (includes insurance and shipping)
Email me at link upper right side bar.

I puzzled for days about how to finish/display this piece. Framing highlighted the design best, I hope you'll agree.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Motivation has hit.........three projects are in process and I'm a happy camper.

The main focus: It's been a little over a week since our PTA fiber group decided the theme of our 2011 Challenge......and my mind hasn't stopped since. Our rules are simple:

Size: 24" x 30"
Design: inspired by a famous (or not so famous) painter. The piece is not to be a reproduction, of their work, rather a design in our own style that is inspired by the artist.

After much pondering/research/deciding and then changing my mind.....I've settled on one. It's been sort of my practice to post step-by-step photos of my projects after the piece is complete or nearly so.....

But this time I'm changing that up a's a sneak peak of my 'challenge' piece.

Yup......I'm approaching my construction the old-fashioned way.......traditional hand applique. I'm old school, once the motifs have been positioned and documented with small silk pins, I prefer to hand baste them to the foundation. I find I can achieve smoother edges and a better stitch using this procedure.

I'll post my progress from time to time.......let's see if and when any of you will be able to guess my artist.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Yup, I think old man winter has left the state......

We've been relishing the beautiful blue skies and warm temperatures.....

......not to mention the splashes of color as the trees and shrubs begin to bloom.

......the wild flowers are up and BBQ's are out. This pleasant view was taken at the home of friends who live at about 3,200 feet elevation. After having some trees removed, they cleverly had the tree trimmer leave a stump higher than usual. Then they hired a chain saw artist who carved it into an eagle....which is MUCH bigger than it appears in this photo. I'm guessing it's about 5-6' tall.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Amy Milne, Executive Director of AAQ shares all 119 entries for their 2011 contest at the AAQ YouTube channel. Proceeds from the sale of these quilts support AAQ's mandate of documenting, preserving, and sharing our quilts.

This charming piece was made and donated by Sheila Rauen, who has contributed to all five contests!

You may also want to visit the AAQ Website for their tribute to Jean Ray Laury (March 2, 2011), a key figure in the American Quilt movement which began in the early 1970's. Her colorful quilts always earned a smile.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Mark your calenders: March 30 -April 30, 2011 - L.I.N.T. EXHIBIT at Gallery 86 (Haywood County Arts Council) 86 N. Main Street, Waynesville, NC.

The 'Ladies In New Textiles', of which I'm a member exhibit will feature a full array of fabulous fiber arts.

Pine Ridge At Dawn 32" x 42"
by Mary Stori

If you are in the area, please attend the artist reception on April 1, 2011 6:00-8:00 PM.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Sour dough artisan bread success........moral of the stori.......don't give up.....

Now pass the butter.....

Monday, March 14, 2011


Here's Nali......the BEST black lab in the world.......she's basking in the San Francisco sun......

Sunday, March 13, 2011


What do artists do if given wire and household objects???

'The husband' found these (and a lot more) while surfing the net....what fun......

Saturday, March 12, 2011


My blog has never really addressed soul searching, political statements, or frankly, any deep subjects at all. There is a time and place for those discussions, but not here.

However, I thought this subject might be worth blogging about: Competitive Quilting....

I came across a post on Tall Grass Prairie Studio's blog; "Is Quilting A Competitive Sport?"

The spirit in which this question was presented was so thoughtful and frankly, freshing. Likewise the 55 comments provided a worthwhile conversation.

My take on the subject (if you aren't's okay to say goodbye for today).....has changed over the years. That change is directly related to just HOW competitive quilting has become.

I've judged nearly all of the largest shows in this country as well as countless medium to small guild events. It's always an honor which also comes with great responsibility. Certainly one can agree that these judged shows have contributed to raising the bar as far as quality in both construction and design in our industry. New techniques have spawned new and faster methods to achieve better results for all quilters.

Winning a top prize at a big show not only can come with respectable prize money but recognition as well. I'm not unaware nor unappreciative of the benefits I gained by my Best of Show ribbon at the AQS/Hobbs Fashion show. I truly believe it opened the door (wide) for my first quilt related book.

The trouble is..... when someone wins a big award, does that mean they are immediately prepared to be an author, lecturer, workshop leader? NO, of course not.....heck, some quilters don't even want to pursue that path, rather they like having the competition incentive to energize themselves.

As a judge, the aspect of the judging process that bothers me the most is the lack of time allowed for the judges to formulate thoughtful, appropriate comments that can perhaps enlightened the maker with where (the judge thinks) her/his strengths are and what areas they might considering concentrating further in order to maintain the competitive edge.

Bottom line.....if winning awards isn't important......and you wish to share your work through exhibits....that's WONDERFUL and so much appreciated by audiences everywhere. If it's the competition that drives you...then try to remember, most often, judges have less than a minute to judge your quilt, make comments and move on. So, after you spent a year making your you really think a judge can tell you much more than what you probably already know??

I've been saying this to my audiences/students for the last 24+ years: Quilting is a hobby for 90% of quilters (even if their goal is to make it a fulltime business)....chances are, financially it may still rank as a hobby. If that's the case.....then just go have fun doing what you like to do....don't let the pursuit of winning ribbons ruined that fun!

Friday, March 11, 2011


After reading my blog for awhile, you might wonder how I have time to do anything besides playing with my girlfriends......but, it's these pals that inspire me and keep me motivated.

Our group had plans for a gallery hopping day yesterday, but our rainy, cold weather changed all that. So, PTA member Barbara graciously suggested we all gather at her house instead......and we did.....12 of us..... (We missed you Leigh Anne!)

Ya, if the truth be told.....we are an enthusiastic, energetic, and LOUD group. So.....when a discussion that involves all of us is's difficult to say the least. Here's our new approach (somewhat successful but you know.....asking 12 women to keep our mouth's shut is asking for a miracle).

Barbara is demonstrating 'spoon speak'....the idea can't speak unless YOU have the spoon.......giggles are sure to follow.

Our show and tell is always a treat..... Here Georgia Bonesteel shares a wonderful traditional log cabin know, those oldies are just as fantastic now as they've always been.

Dort always has us gushing over her designs.....even when they are in progress.

Connie Brown had gone to a tag sale and found some goodies. She's a certified AQS Quilt Appraiser and is always interested in research to challenge her knowledge. She's going to bring this to an upcoming appraiser meeting for others to see. It's either a vintage folk art piece OR it's a piece made to sell to tourist imitating an antique.

She also found some amazing batik pieces....table cloths and napkins that will be fun to work with.
Kate Weston has a real knack for finding 'feature' fabrics that she highlights when its incorporated into string her pieced panels. She makes many of these small quilts as charity quilts and uses the opportunity to keep her machine quilting skills sharp.

Here's one of the 4 finished baby quilts our group made last month which will be turned over to the Asheville Quilt Guild next week to be shared in the community.

We all loved this book......I'm not sure to thank for bringing it....... This is just one of the many reasons it's so important to find a group of compatible gal pals to play with.......each time I come away learning about a variety of subjects my path may never have crossed without their wide range of interests.

Ya'll have a nice matter where you are.......and a BIG Congrats. to Linda Cantree, Barbara Swinea, Kate Weston, and Dort Lee, who all have received acceptance letters for Paducah!!! You will do our group proud!!