Sunday, July 31, 2011


I'm heading out to lecture and teach at the Lake and Mountain Quilt Guild in NW South Carolina. If you are in the area.....I'd love to meet be sure to introduce yourself if you attend either presentation.

When I drive I have the luxury of bringing more samples with me, many of which I now offer for sale. However the drive is always drama filled since I'm THE MOST directionally challenged person in the world.....and no a GPS doesn't even help!

Here are two of my newer pieces that are available for sale......

Influences 11" x 14"
Bead embellished screen printing on linen, framed.

Blackbird 12" x 16"
Bead embellished wool felt.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative, is a national, grassroots charity whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. It was founded by Ami Sims in 2006, and has raised over $570,000 of which $407,755 has been awarded.

From August 1-10 the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) will be offering 20 quilts that were part of the "Alzheimer's: Forgetting Piece by Piece" exhibit in an online auction like no other.

Quilts made by Sue Nickels, Diane Gaudynski, Marsha McCloskey, Nancy Brenan Daniel, Melody Crust, Mary Stori, Elsie Campbell, Debbie Bowles and others will be auctioned. This is a rare opportunity to acquire quilts by nationally acclaimed quilters who rarely sell their work.

My piece is shown below......I hope someone will purchase this quilt and love it, knowing their donation will be going to a great cause.

Brain Cramps by Mary Stori
30" x 30"

Both my Mother and my Mother-in-law suffered from Alzheimer's. My Mom never did accept the diagnosis...... instead when she found her self worrying excessively or not remembering, she simply stated she was having Brain Cramps!

Watch faces embellish this quilt to signify the lost time Alzheimer's patients and those who love them endure.

Please visit the AAQI auction site....add a truly special quilt to your collection and help in the fight against Alzheimer's!!

Friday, July 29, 2011


I doubt that any of you faithful readers woke up this morning wondering how the outcome of my fabric search for the binding of my Calder quilt came out.....but just in a case's the details.

Gosh, this sounds so self-serving doesn't all have lives and can't possibly give a hoot what my decision is......but that's all that's on my mind at the me compulsive!

We don't have a lot of quilt shops in our area....Asheville Cotton is by far the largest. It's staffed with helpful employees and has enough fabric to bust most quilter's budgets. However, finding the perfect fabric was a bit more challenging....esp. a white with some black and preferably something that would echo/compliment the many circular designs of the quilt. Almost all the white fabrics with black designs were too strong and the ones where the greater percentage was white would have had big problems with the black design shadowing through.

This all over polka dot will be much easier to achieve good motif placement on a narrow binding then the previous one I tried, however, in the shop it didn't look like shadowing would be a problem....but now that I have it at home in good light, I suspect it will.

So my option would probably be to add a very thin interfacing to the wrong side and then perhaps depending upon the weight of this 'new' fabric......use a single fold binding method. I much prefer double fold because I believe it helps to support the edges better....allowing the quilt to hang straighter/flatter.

Before I even headed out on my shopping trip, I considered another fall back idea. I'd use the same white fabric as the quilt's background and then doing a Mary Stori trademark, I'd bead the units of beads to create circles......

........or randomly spaced single beads to read as dots. These last two examples used fabric that is much wider than a typical binding.....but you get the idea.......

If you are like me, when you get to this part of a quilt, you want to finish and move on to another one of the zillion ideas on the 'to-do' list. However, even stumbling a bit on this binding is just one of those things......not good but certainly not earth shattering. The goal is to create the best possible piece....every part of it. So, the extra challenge to overcome a part that didn't work as planned is okay with me. I still look forward to the 'happy dance' that will follow the very last stitch!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011


My jury duty is over for the week, in fact.....I can't be called again for another 2 years. Would you believe that out of 65-70 potential jurors, my name was the 5th one called to actually sit on a jury! I've never even been in a jury poll before, much less sit on a jury. It was a fascinating experience.

The thing that impressed me most was that not one of the jurors whose names were called tried to get out of their duty/responsibility. It seemed to me that the judge offered a lot of opportunities to get excused.

It was a criminal case......and not as black and white as you see on TV. I don't know what the law is elsewhere but here, all 12 jurors had to agree upon the verdict or else it would be a hung jury. I expected there might be long discussions.....but the diliberation went fairly quickly. To everyone's credit, we decided to discuss some of the irregularities BEFORE voting. In the end however, the defendant was declared guility on one count and not guilty on the other. What was scary was knowing there was a lot of info we weren't/couldn't be told....therefore we had to read between the lines. I can clearly see how if one side was respresented by an incompetent or indifferent lawyer, it could make a huge difference on the outcome.

So now.....back to quilting. I thought long and hard whether I was going to share this with you all.....BECAUSE the person who purchased this piece reads this blog too (and she bought it before it was even finished....thank you for your faith in my work Kay!!) I sure didn't want her to get nervous about the outcome. I am a true perfectionist and believe in doing the best workmanship possible. At this moment, it isn't. Hopefully, you all will be encouraged to know that everyone has those oops moments too.

I completed the hand quilting on this Calder inspired wall quilt....and rapidly, too rapidly moved on to the task of binding. It's actually something I enjoy doing. I LOVE the way the polka dot fabric works....when it works..... But I'm sure I don't have to point out the problem with I?

The dots aren't printed in a straight line on the fabric.....I spent a lot of time trying to cut my strips so the black polka dots would line up on the front. Thought it was going to work but it just didn't and worst of can see the shadowing of the dots on the other side of the double fold binding.

DARN IT ALL.......and stupid me....I thought I had it right and just went along my merry way and hand sewed it all down before really LOOKING at it. must come off and be replaced.

So....I dug into my stash, (which isn't as large as you might expect.) Nothing....there is nothing that will work. I have this swirly black and white print....but fear that is a bit too strong for the piece...but maybe not.

We have very limited resources here to purchase fabric, but I'm going out to see what I can find today. You know what sewing activity I'll be doing tonight don't you? I wonder how long it will take to remove the binding? Far less I expect than attaching it!

Don't worry Kay.......I'm on it and if you like the above black and white fabric.....I'll use it.....but me thinks I should find something with less black.

Monday, July 25, 2011

IT'S FINISHED!!'s 'Banksy' artist inspired wall quilt is now complete. It will hang in a special PTA fiber group exhibit at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton, VA in February 2012. Each of our 13 members will exhibit 1 piece inspired by a famous artist and another one of their quilts to represent their own personal style. It should be a fun exhibit to view.

Our 'artist' inspired pieces were required to be 24" x 30"....which is rather small to depict the side of a building displaying art (or some might call it graffiti). In keeping with the goal of the design, I felt the motifs needed to be big and bold, rather than incorporating a smaller scale building into a scenic background. When I reached finishing the edges, I realized a traditional binding wasn't appropriate so I chose to use a facing instead. I've never finished a quilt with this method before......and hey..... no matter how long one has been quilting, there's always something new to learn!

Wash Day 30" x24"
Inspired by Banksy - UK's famous street stencil artist

P.S. My original artist inspired (Alexander Calder) piece is nearing completion as well.....and will soon be on its way to the new owner....thanks Kay for providing me with the opportunity/need to make another piece. They were both such fun to create!!

I'm on jury duty all this week so I don't know how much sewing I'll be getting accomplished, and doubt I can take pictures of what goes on in the courtroom to post! But hang in there...I'll be back before you even miss me.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Besides all the art available for purchase (or drooling over) when visiting any of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild'll enjoy learning how many of these items are made.

For a simple plant such as flax is turned into a material we know as linen.

....and this is not a simple or fast process.....but it all begins with this humble, yet sturdy plant.

........Which is broken down using what can look like tools of torture!

.....and ultimately woven into stunning coverlets.....

.....and of course we are in the mountains so toe tappin' Blue Grass entertainment is a given!

The Fair concludes this afternoon but watch for announcements about their Oct. 2011 Fair, held at Asheville's Civic Center.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Twice a year (July and Oct.) the Southern Highland Craft Guild holds a fair at the Asheville Civic Center. Approximately 200 of their 900 members exhibit their art for sale. The fair will continue Sun. this weekend. Visit here for more info.

You can see everything from stunning pottery.....lots and lots of beautiful pottery...and I'm a sucker for pottery!

.....and stained glass. These window corners, by Magriuder Glass are such a clever idea......

Wood carvers and turned wood objects were everywhere....each artist had their own was fascinating to see all these different techniques and visions a simple piece of wood generates.

I LOVED everything in this booth by potter Kyle Carpenter. Seriously, if my pocket book would have allowed......several of his pieces would have come home with me.

Jewelry booths seemed to be in the majority, most featured metal work. There wasn't very much beadwork, in fact I only saw one booth that seemed to feature that craft. Here's an example.

And another....these vessels appeared to be created with wire....using large seed beads (size 6 I'd guess). Though the photo doesn't show it.....what made them interesting is the almost fabric like draping that was somehow incorporated into the beadwork.

Several booths did a wonderful job of not only displaying their art for sale, but educating customers as well. Jim McPhail - 'small world' was amazing. On the left you see a stack of thin layers of various color/types of wood. 2nd from left photo they have been glued together and a circular form has been marked on the top layer. Next that unit has been rough cut and finally you can see the finished tiny bowl (appx. 3" diameter). These pieces sell for about $180.....and after seeing the process, I'm not surprised.

This Lacewood table literally took my breath away....made from Wenge, Australian Sily Oak. My photo makes it appear a bit flasher then it really was.....honestly it was stunning.


I got a kick out of these chairs......the artist incorporated all sorts of unusual (yet often natural) materials into them...such as moose & deer antlers.

Treat yourself to some serious eye candy this weekend if you are near Asheville...and of course visit the many fiber booths where many of my fiber friends that you read about on my blog have their work on display.....

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I'm trying to spend about 4+ hrs. daily hand quilting my Calder 'artist inspired' piece and happily nearing completion. Like most hand quilters, I work from the center of the quilt to the outside edges, however depending upon the quilting pattern, that process sometimes can get interrupted. So, today I'd like to share a technique I use to make the quilting more seamless.

The color of these photos aren't the best....not sure what the problem was....but hopefully you'll be able to follow along anyway. You might try clicking on the photos to get a closer view.

As you can quilting is now reaching the outside edge of my quilt.....which is pinned onto a sleeve attached to an 11" x 17" Qsnap frame. This helps to prevent distortion and waveness along those unstable sides of the quilt.

I'm echo quilting around my beginning my line of stitching on the left side of that outer edge, working in would seem practical. However, those stitches can, ever so slightly, pull the fabric toward the center and cause ripples.

Instead, I insert my needle threaded with a long length of UNKNOTTED thread where I wish the next line of stitching to begin. In this case that's near the center of the area I'm quilting.

.......and exit with half the thread remaining at the point of entry and the other half at the point of exit.

At that point of exit I begin stitching. Here I'm working right to left until I get to the corner and THEN I'll be in position to work toward the outside edge and tie off. I come back to the very first stitch in that row and using my unthreaded needle as a tool....I remove that stitch.

I rethread my needle with the remaining thread and quilt in the opposite direction until I get to the outside edge and tie off and repeat the process with the next row.

Of course one could simply begin with a shorter length of knotted thread, but I like the ability to realign and space the stitches when I begin again in the opposite direction which wouldn't be possible if the end was knotted.

As I teach in my hand quilting's often just little adjustments that can help to make your hand quilted projects more successful.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


The loss of a quilt is a concern every one of us has when we share our quilts through shows, exhibits, displays, name it. If it's out of your hands there is a small risk.

Unfortunately, 4 quilts displayed in the C & T booth at Salt Lake City's market can not be located. Three of the four are 'cover' quilts made by C & T authors.

The company is taking major steps to locate them, one of which is offering a $4,000, no questions asked reward for their safe return. If one quilt is returned, the reward will be based upon the appraised value of the quilt. Information or inquiries should be directed to Amy Marson at C & T Publishing.

Please keep your eyes open whether on the internet or other places quilts are sold, hopefully they will be uncovered.

Allie Aller's cover quilt, Crazy in the Garden, fromAllie Aller's Crazy Quilting (46" x 46")

Joyce Becker's cover quilt, Dryer Lint, Etc., fromQuick Little Landscape Quilts (18" x 18")

Deborah Kemball's cover quilt, Floral Sampler, fromBeautiful Botanicals (28" x 42.5")

Sweetwater's, Gathered Table Runner, from Fresh Fabric Treats (42.5" x 16")

Sunday, July 17, 2011


This morning I'd like to brag on the rest of our group, whose quilts contributed to our 3rd. place win at the AQS Knoxville show.

We shooed everyone out of our aisle and quickly took photos of the 8 pieces that made up our Sunrise/Sunset challenge.

Mary Berry couldn't make the trip to the show to see her wonderful piece hanging......but here it is for you all to enjoy.

Here's Janice Maddox & her quilt.

Linda Cantrell & her African inspired piece.

Dort Lee & her charming quilt featuring a farm family preparing for sunrise milking duties.

A fun day was had by all.....thought exhausting for us all as corralling 11 quilters all day can be a challenge!

Friday, July 15, 2011


While I'm struggling to machine quilt my 'Banksy' artist piece......stitching and ripping is more like it.....I thought I'd report about the July Fiber Art Alliance meeting.

My good pal Judy Simmons volunteered to demonstrate her method of marbling fabric. She should 1999 she wrote "Creative Marbling on Fabric", published by Fiber Studio Press, a division of Martingale & Company. Though it's out of print, try to find a copy.

It's a huge undertaking setting up all the equipment for a workshop such as this but in Judy's typical generous and organized style.....everyone learned so much from her detailed instruction.

Using various supplies such as Alum, ammonia, methyl cellulose, buckets, dye trays etc. a recipe of marbling base is prepared. A variety dye colors are 'suspended' (float) over the base.

Next, different size 'rakes' are selected and drawn through the dye.......

....which creates the most amazing patterns...... Prepared fabrics of all types of materials can then be lowered onto the dye...picking up the pattern. The following are some of Judy's samples:

The final one is marbled and then stamped to add another dimension. Judy has marbled everything from fabric yardage for quilts and clothing to canvas sneakers and is an inspiration to us all.