Fiber Arts

Unstructured 1

Over a year ago, I blogged about the ARTQUILTSvoices exhibition and conference with Katie Pasquini Masopust taking us from random paintings to quilt top designs. Well, finally, I have completed the quilt top that was begun back in the spring of 2016. If you scroll down to the bottom of the post, you will see the beginnings of Unstructured 1, pictured here. It was fun to work on, if not prolonged!

UNSTRUCTURED 1 – designed and created by Mary A Ritter 2017.                                                           All rights reserved. ©Mary A Ritter 2017


Fiber Arts

Le Chêne Chapelle

Step 1:

It starts with a sketch from a photo of an interesting site, and a new project is underway…. Le Chêne Chapelle – the Oak Chapel. We visited this area in Allouville-Bellefosse, France on our trip from Paris to Normandy in 2013. We’ll see what develops.


Step 2: After enlarging the sketch by 400% and printing it (20 pages), the outline and background fabric are pinned to the design wall and the fun begins. While at the site in France, I was fascinated with the door that leads to the two chapels inside the large old tree. You must read the story about this tree: click here Le Chêne Chapelle. I worked the photo of the tree door through the Moku Hanga app on my iPad, then sent the modified photo to Spoonflower to have it printed on fabric. If you click on the “Design” tab on their web page you can learn how to create your own photo designs and have them printed. Somehow the enlarged door will emerge as a part of the overall design. Too early to tell. There will also be leaves so it doesn’t look so barren.


Chêne Chapelle1

Once traced onto the denim background, I used Dye n Flow to paint it all, using a sponge and opaque Jacquard fabric paint to complete the sky. The painting serves as a guide as I add treatments – appliqué, embroidery, quilting, text etc.

Then I created the bark using wool. The door and tree surface around it is a photograph I took at the site which was altered in the app Moku Hanga on my iPad.

Chêne Chapelle4

Far from finished, I am outlining the shingles with machine stitching. They cover areas of the tree where the bark has worn or weathered away. Not shown are all the structural poles, cables and supports applied by man to keep the tree very much alive and upright. I have completed covering the bark areas with either wool scraps or cheesecloth dyed black. Next, I will add the stairway around the right side, clusters of leaves, and decking at the bottom. Then on to the quilting.


After quilting, which includes quilting some smaller leaves to surround the clumps of leaves which were created using Texture Magic, the text was stitched, clusters of silk ribbon embroidery were added, and the whole thing was ringed with two layers of wool yarn.

Copyright© 2009 All images and text in all categories are copyright of Mary A. Ritter (aka M'Unique) and may not be reproduced without express permission. · Fiber Arts

a la Van Gogh

August 2, 2017

Debbie Herbst and Ana Sumner had their submissions selected to participate in the Cherrywood Fabric Van Gogh display and show. Congratulations! Selected August 10, 2017.

Yesterday (August 1) marked the deadline for submission of our quilts to the Cherrywood Fabric Van Gogh Challenge so now I can blog about it.  Cherrywood Fabrics is located in Baxter, MN, my home state, but I order online and have never been to their MN facility. Their fabrics are solid color, 100% cotton that looks and feels like suede. The Thread Whisperers, three friends and I who formed our own art quilter’s group, all agreed to enter this challenge. We love the works of Van Gogh and were energized to see if we could recreate his work or his vision in cloth and surface design. If you remember Van Gogh’s artwork, you will realize the challenge of turning this solid fabric into the energized work he did. Here’s a sample of his work: Van Gogh Museum. We could choose a theme from orchards, paths, flowers, trees and portraits, among others. We have a nice variety among the four of us, all of which were required to be 20″ square. If we do not receive entry into the Cherrywood display, we have a show of our own coming up in August 2018 at the Page-Walker Art Gallery and History Center in Cary, NC in which you will be able to get up close and personal.


Debbie Herbst chose to illustrate the flowers on an almond tree with quilted lines adding the energy and movement so present in Van Gogh’s works.

All rights reserved. ©Debbie Herbst  2017

Van Gogh Challenge: Almond Joy
Debbie Herbst created her vision of the blossoms on an almond tree. She appropriately named it “Almond Joy”.  (All rights reserved @ Debbie Herbst)


Ana Sumner (click the link to see her webpage) created her vision of Van Gogh’s orchard. It is called “Oliveriae”.

All rights reserved. ©Ana Sumner  2017                                                                                                          Ask permission at Ana’s web page.

Oliveriae by Ana Sumner
Ana Sumner created “Oliveriae” with her own vision of an orchard done a la Van Gogh. The movement in the sky is created with strips of fabric and quilting lines. Again, the ground adds a solid element with strips of fabric and quilting lines. I love the color variation in the leaves on the trees. Check out Ana’s web page to see her excellent ribbon embroidery! All rights reserved @ Ana Sumner

Shirley Perryman used her considerable piecing and quilting skills to create her vision of a starry night. The movement created by the half-square triangles and the curved quilting lines speaks to Van Gogh’s style.

All rights reserved. ©Shirley Perryman  2017

Shirley Perryman created her vision in the abstract traditional style of quilting arts, using half-square triangles and curved quilting lines to create the same spinning we view in “A Starry Night” by Van Gogh. All rights reserved @ Shirley Perryman

I chose to create portraits in the Van Gogh style. In order to add movement to this solid fabric, I created two layers. The shadow layer is directly beneath the top layer, which is appliquéd. After sandwiching those two layers with batting and a backing, I quilted the movement lines and then cut away snippets to allow the shadow layer to show through. That was followed by a layer of tulle and an outline with couched yard or pearl cotton.

Les Fleurs Pour Grandmére
This portrait shows my mother who, at the time of this photo in May of 2017, is 98 years old. She is holding the roses I sent to her for Mother’s Day. My sister, Janice Holien, snapped the photo with her iPhone and sent it to me. Immediately, I knew it would be perfect for my Van Gogh portrait project. All Rights Reserved – Mary A Ritter

All rights reserved. ©Mary A Ritter 2017                                                                                  Ask permission at

My second entry in the Van Gogh challenge depicts my husband enjoying a relaxing respite on the Paseo in Alicante, Spain in 2015.

En Vacance by Mary A Ritter
I knew when I took this picture that it would become a quilt someday. “En Vacance” means “on vacation” literally, but is also means tourist in Spanish. All Rights Reserved – Mary A Ritter

All rights reserved. ©Mary A Ritter 2017                                                                                      Do not use these images for any purpose without permission of the artists listed.     Your punishment will be worse than having your tongue stuck to a frozen pipe!       Ask politely and “most likely” permission will be granted.