Monday, December 28, 2009

Quilt Artist, His Work & Mary Jo's...

Last week we featured an article about "Artful Quilting" and we received quite a few responses. Ben Hollingsworth from Georgia sent in a photo, his blog address and a lovely note. Read on...

"I retired from teaching in 2006 and shortly after
that I started quilting. My wife got me involved with two quilt
guilds. I am actively involved with both and have worked on the show committee for both guild's shows. Fortunately, they alternate with one show in even numbered years and the other in odd numbered years.

In 2008 I had 5 quilts in the Chattahoochee Evening Stars show and
won two first place ribbons and the Viewer's Choice award for my
landscape quilt "Reflections Along the Chattahoochee". That quilt was
also accepted in the Houston International Quilt Festival in October.
I am attaching a photo of that quilt to this email as well as a link
to my blog about the show.

About three months ago I finished my latest art quilt which I hope to
enter in the Houston show next year. It is called "Sunbonnet Sue Goes to the Museum". The concept is basically - what would happen if
Sunbonnet Sue had the same zeal as Johnny Appleseed and spread
sunbonnets every where that she went? What if she went to the museum
and put hats on all of the people in the paintings? Several of the fabrics
for this quilt were purchased at Mary Jo's.

I also make traditional patterned quilts but really enjoy modifying
and manipulating fabric and then embellished as a quilt.
I am also a member of a art quilt group called Fiber Art Fusion in
Ben Hollingsworth
Alpharetta, GA

Such an inspiring fellow. He leads an artful quilting life! Thanks so much for sharing, Ben.
Do you have a story to share? Send it in today, we always love to see what you all are up to and how you are turning Mary Jo's Cloth into your own personal creations!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

When Quilting Becomes Art…

Quilting is an age old “necessary” craft. The practical job of keeping warm was the original inspiration.
Today we are blessed with the opportunity to quilt not because we have to but because it has become a passionate and artful expression. Quilt Guilds all over America continue to thrive and the members meet each month to inspire each other and to try more intricate and clever patterns and styles of quilting. Books, Friends, Magazines, Museums, Craft Shows and Antique stores are the primary spots to find some of the finest American Art featuring the medium of quilting.

Today the first “Recycled Artful Tie Quilt” we are featuring is an “Art Quilt” made by Caryl Bryer Fallert. She calls it “Unwinding MBA” It is a true piece of Art and hangs in a private collection in Massachusetts. She simply used her husbands many discarded silk ties, fabric and old watch pieces along with fabric for backing. The energy and motion in this piece is like a spiral with the feeling of movement.
“This quilt was inspired by my husbands decision to sort through and discard a twenty-five year accumulation of old clothes. I wanted to use his old clothing to represent the high-pressure business man coming home and "unwinding" after a hectic day at the office.
Many design and construction details of the original clothing were retained in the piecing. Forty-two dress shirt cuffs, forty-seven collars, and fifty-seven ties form a spiral at the center of the quilt. Pieces of shirts and suits fly out of the spiral as it unwinds. Behind the spiral, at the top are six inch squares of "serious suit" fabrics. Progressing toward the bottom of the quilt, the fabrics become more casual. The squares mutate into 45° and 60° diamonds as corduroys and denims are added. At the center of the bottom is an area of "crazy pieced" distorted rectangles made of old jeans, flannel work shirts, and "T" shirts. Thirteen watch faces are sewn across the "serious suit" fabrics to represent time pressure. One hundred seventy-six designer labels spill out of the spiral into the 60° diamonds and continue around the entire border of the quilt. Buttons were sewn back on all the collars and cuffs. They also serve to tie the layers of the quilt together. The binding is made from ties, and the backing is striped "shirting" fabric.”

Another fun quilt was made with many ties from an retired English teacher. It is sweet and really very bright! This quilt is currently featured on a blog called

“The "Ties that Bind"quilt represents just a portion of a tie collection. It was put together by my husband's sister Joyce and her friend Cindy. It measures 59x80 inches, and is made up of over 50 ties. About four or five of the ties were handmade by Joyce. Some of the tie labels are sewn on the front of the quilt, and we had fun talking about the stores, long out of business, represented by those labels and the beautiful (and not so beautiful!) ties. This photo actually tones down a few of the hot pink ones...”

From Mary Jo’s Cloth Store Family, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.
We will be closing at 4 PM on Christmas Eve and are closed on Christmas Day. As always the Website is open 24-7, log on and noodle around, you will find all sorts of amazing fabrics at terrific prices. Enjoy the holiday.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Go Green, Fabric as Gift Wrap...

We all have a closet, room or at least a box of fabric hanging around that "someday" we will get around to using. What if you considered "Recycling" this fabric? Check out this idea, it will serve you well in many ways. The pluses, first you will have more closet or shelf space and second you will have an opportunity to give and share some of your favorite "scraps" of fabric with friends and family.
Imagine what someone else who has been gifted with your

treasure will do with it. It could hopefully become part of a future project or well, who knows.

Here are a few "Let's Be Green" ideas.
1. Wrap your package with the extra fabric. You can easily fold the edges in upon themselves and tie together with a big piece of extra Satin Ribbon or just pull the corners up and tie it together. You could even pop a faux Flower/Birdie or piece of Holly/Pine cone to create an impressive gift.
2. Marcus Fabrics (one of our favorite fabric manufactuers) came up with an idea from Japan called "Furoshiki". Wow. Lovely, artistic and you can create it from just a bit of extra, recyled fabric.
With all of the emphasis on minimizing use of plastic bags and other environmentally friendly practices we wanted to introduce you to one of the prettiest & most creative ways to wrap gifts - furoshiki. This versatile ancient Japanese practice of using tied cloths to wrap and transport items allows you to wrap almost anything, regardless of its shape or size.
We thought quilters around the world could easily adapt to the concept of furoshiki on many levels: (1) you can show off your favorite fabrics even before you've committed them to that perfect quilt design (2) the cloths are reusable, reducing the impact on our environment; (3) they're perfect for gift wrapping, grocery shopping (and fabric shopping!), even basic home d├ęcor.Try these ideas as a starting point:
  • Select several prints and cut squares of varying sizes. Hem the edges. Fold them up and wrap them up in one of the cloths, tying it at the top. Insert a gift card with an explanation of the cloths.
  • Wrap a bundle of fat quarters with a coordinating furoshiki cloth for your favorite quilter, or as a door prize at guild functions.
  • Wrap a basket of basic quilting essentials in furoshiki to encourage a beginner.

For a double-sided furoshiki that's perfect for carrying heavier items, sew two coordinating fabric squares with right sides together, and turn right side out, sew the opening closed and press.

With only 11 Days until the big Holiday, we wish you well. Stop in the store or log onto The website is open 24 hours a day. Easy to fit into your schedule and you never have to find a parking space!
Happy Holidays...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Madness, Quilting and your Holiday Table...

The Christmas and Holiday countdown are in full swing and it is a little more than 2 weeks until the "Holiday Madness" is over. Then it is safe to hunker down, relax and find your quiet self. With the New Year, you can keep that promise to quilt more, teach a young person to sew, create some new outfits, re-cover a sofa or chair, clean and organize your sewing studio or even create the studio of your dreams. Now is the time to be planning your "Winter Sewing Adventure". If you are a quilter there are many spring shows that are coming up that are truly spectacular. We will be featuring an article on these quilt shows during the next few weeks. It is not to late to plan and finish a quilt to enter into one of the many upcoming shows. Mary Jo's has all of the historic patterns and colors you would ever want at an average price of 6.99 per yard. We also have some incredible spring themed patterns and colors including Sunflowers, Tulips, Leaves, Poppies, Iris and Daffodils to name a few. These are fun choices for the "Whack and Stack" style quilts and any pattern that requires lots of color and pattern. It is fun to work with these colors on those dreary dark winter days.

Mary Jo's Cloth Store still has some great choices for your holiday table decorating. It is simple to whip up a few table cloths, some napkins and maybe even some placemats. A holiday table is not only fun to create/decorate it is also a special family/friend event. Our prices for Holiday fabric is very affordable and our selection is still good. Take a moment, browse around online or pop into the store. You will be happy that you did and so will your guests.

Stay calm, have fun and enjoy the next few weeks. They only happen once a year!