Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mary Lou's Workshops and What Is Wrong with your Stash - it's fun

See the LIGHT!!! Sew with Light!!
I teach my students the seven styles of fabric and we go through their stashes to find what is missing and how it can make an OK quilt a GREAT quilt!
 One thing that many people do not know about is "Light giver" fabric. This is MY original term and I have used it since 1988. 
A lightgivers is a print with light, medium and dark all built into one fabric.
I came trim a painting background and owned a studio with my Father. 
Most painters know that your number one goal is to create light in your paintings. Light pulls your eye into the surface of any art piece, 
Somehow quilters do not know this lesson.
When I purchase fabrics my number one goal is to find light givers tp go with my other fabrics. The fabric above was designed by Sherill Kahn. She has light in most of the things she designs and I have used loads of it. I chose it to go on a special ,large quilt for a church because it looked like stained glass. Great light in this fabric and as you can see all three values in one fabric.
Fossil fern fabric is great because of the values and light.
Plaids often have a lot of light in them and so they pull your eye into the areas you choose to place them. Finding plaids is not easy but when you do, they can make a huge difference.
Notice  the cat faces and how the ones with three values pull your eye in.
This fabric is one I designed. Notice there are 9 colors. Now notice there are multiple shades of the same colors. This gives it a water colors look and brings value and light into it. Look for many dots on the selvage- 14 or more is really great but make sure they are not every cor under the rainbow. You want multiples of the same fabrics. There are 6 blues in thefabric  above that I designed.
See the light?
Above is a new fabric fr Benartex. I bought this in every color. Look at the built in light! 
Here is another fabric I designed. It made a happy background for quilts. Sadly it is out of stock by a few years. I find it online sometimes on EBay. It came in six beautiful colors. See all
Of the values and shades of turquoise. Compare it to a fabric with only three dots (in turquoise) and uou will see how flat it is.
Students ask
What companies I like for buying lightgivers fabrics. First of all the fabric needs many of the same color family on the selvage and then you look
At it for light second and changing of values. Lay a flat fabric next to it and see the light come forth.
My favorite three companies for light givers are Timeless Treasures, Alexander Henry and Benartex. Keep in
Mind other companies do these and Hoffman and Robert Kaufman can also be quite good. Batiks naturally can be light givers but avoid tones and fabric with white mixed in.
There are many other secrets to
Sewing with a cute stash and tge reverts of light and color.
Wanna learn more?
Join us at my retreat in June- Happy Hen's Retreat  my website below-
Or at Cedar Lakes West Virginia in Apr 
or at Asilomar (full
This year.) check my schedule for other opportunities !
Write to     To be a Part of our fun retreat. We have a couple openings for happy quilters! 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saying Goodbye to My Chickens and My Fun Retreat with New Techniques in June!

This week I had my daughter take a photo of me and goldilocks who laid double yolk eggs all of the time- they were huge!!!
Ethel (of Fred and Ethel) lays there waiting for her turn to be picked up
Tilly the chicken above was not the smartest but she was very pretty!
I ordered these chicken shoes and they arrived the day after the chickens left. Bad timing. But they are comfy and cute.
Tilly loves eating worms and I picked her up kind of late.
Above is the head chicken and top of the pecking order- her name is Loretta. She is feisty.
I had to give the chickens to my good friend with a chicken farm. She has lots of room and a nice family. I was traveling a lot and having to ask neighbor's to watch them and it was a hassle. They were someone to love and care for with Mark being gone. I kept them almost a year and I got tons of beautiful eggs. I learned lots about chickens too. 
This is one of my chicken wallhangings about my Grandmother.
     My retreat in June will have chickens as a theme. look at the retreat post at the top and click on it for information. We need four more students. I have lots of fun prizes and beautiful chicken fabrics and patterns.
Additionally I plan to give everyone a pattern of a girl and instructions for putting things on her head on a hat. I hope to do a book challenge of this. I will give everyone a pattern they can put flowers, birds, chickens, items of all kinds and see what people come up with. I think this will make an awesome book and challenge for a fun quilt. At the retreat you can do this or your own Story Quilt or Flower Power quilt. It is going to be Put of the Box and lots of great fun! 
Hope you can make it and help us fill
Those last four spots!
A lady with a hat )idea for a creative and different quilt)
Another sample of a lady's hat , chicken and fish and all. Hoping that some of my friends will
Take the challenge and come to the retreat. Miss Tina from LA will be flying in to cook for us and provide a cookbook. She is awesome. To sign up for the retreat write to me at

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Stories, Angels, Kids quilts and a Workshop Opportunity in West Virginia!

This is an angel quilt made by Rose from Houston area. I taught an angel workshop there or in Galveston and she took my class and made this darling angel with a tea pot. 😊

Here is a nice photo above of the whole beautiful quilt. I just love it and imagine this hanging in your home. Very creative and love the asymmetrical  borders. 
I taught a workshop this week on doing quilts from children's art. I loved the drawings people brought in and also some that did their own. Such fun! So creative.
This darling girl took my class a couple of years ago and came back to do more and to share some of her work. I know her name starts with an "M" and if she sees this I hope she helps me out. Today I cannot remember my own name! Aren't these kitties cute?
And below a cat on a sewing machine is always great!
This was at show and tell and I loved the colors and designs though I never do this kind of work myself.
Below is the quilt made from the adorable drawing. We worked on borders that enhance and making them free form and fun. Love the colors in this!! Such fun!
Below is another wonderful story quilt from Peggy Clayton (I cannot remember her middle name today- nuts!) - but it is a wedding quilt for her Minister and it will be wonderful- note the hearts across the top (hoochy style). The cake in between them will have a bride and a groom on it. Peggy loves color! 
Below is the newest in the kitty quilts. Shecdidctgevhoochy borders and got a fish bowl in there and the cats tail will hold a fishing pole with a wirm over the bowl! Haha.
Below is a story quilt that will be wonderful- she is going to be tossing things in the air and her hair will be glowing and made out of Rick rack that was her Mothers. The skirt is going to be something else when it's done. She has a list of winderful and happy happy ideas.
Story quilts make for happy endorphins! No cranky girls in this atmosphere. Only happy with lots of laughs and new friendships. Inlove it!

Awesome colors!!!!
Such a darling design. What child would not LOVE a handmade quilt to keep
The rest of their  lives. And what Mother or Grabdmother or Aunt would not love this?
If you would like to take s fun Story quilt class for 4 1/2 days I am teaching in April at Cedar Lakes in West Virginia. It is a beautiful place that inspires because of its beauty. We stay in the same building as our workroom and Gloria who runs the programs is really wonderful. April 24th to 29th.
It is the most economic longer Workshop for stories that I teach. Right now there are openings and we would love to have you! We usually have one evening for horsderves and anyone who wants to show a craft or something cool. It is really fun! Most people come there from out of State and that part is really fun too!
Hope to see some of you there.