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


the colored leaves; the cooler temperatures; the delicious stews, soups and desserts associated with Fall. Apples, pumpkins and nuts of all kind are with us again. There is no reason to wonder why Fall remains my favorite time of year. 

Fall colors near Hillsborough Town Hall

So much has happened since I last posted a blog – hardly anything worth repeating here. 2020 has not been the most positive of years. At least we are closer to the election -4 more sleeps – enough said about that. The hot temperatures have been blown away by the numerous hurricanes winding down as they have passed over and around us here in central North Carolina. We send concern to those more directly impacted. I have about 2 dozen green tomatoes still clinging to the vines. My fault, as I didn’t buy the plants until mid-June. Yesterday, I moved them closer to my window so I could watch them, thinking they might ripen if they knew I was watching. Hmmm… as with boiling water, I don’t think this will do the trick. They also needed protection from the swirling tail winds of Hurricane Zeta and possible frosty nights that might creep in unaware to me.

AND, most importantly, our tiny family bubble of 4 has managed to stay healthy and isolated from the hideous virus that is threatening the world.

To take my mind off of the world around me, hesitating to wander into it, I challenged myself to make some hangings for my sheltered entrance and the narrow space under the light by the garage where I usually hang a seasonal wreath. My September piece features coneflowers which I have used in previous works. I credit Jan Soules, a well-known quilt artist, for the composition layout. I usually work from original ideas, but fell in love with her use of piecing for the background. Starting from that, I worked my own end of summer design. My piece is made from mostly patio grade fabrics – canvas and jute cord, with regular weight quilting threads so that I could hang it in the sheltered weather elements by my front door. There are some fabrics in the sky that are prints from my sky paintings.

Summer’s End 2020

For October, I created a small hanging featuring a front yard scene of appropriate items. Again, I used patio canvas, but used a rusting process to add textures to the pumpkins.

October Blessings 2020

For October Bounty, I wanted muted values to reflect the general colors of the season with pops of color to feature the bounty of the month. The sky is strips of duck fabric interwoven to create a textured sky, but still remaining in the muted tones. The strips were raw edge, but secured with lots of stitching in due process. A few of the woven strips were previously printed and some have sequins attached to the purchased fabric. The fields are duck fabric which has been rusted to various degrees. Texture was added with colored jute cord to separate the fields. The binding  is jute as well. Most fabrics are either canvas, burlap, or duck. 

There was no pattern. I drew the tree in a simple line drawing while looking at a sample and then widened and enhanced the branches with paint. The tree was then enlarged in my printer and the sections were taped together to serve as a pattern. The hanging was completed in sections and then assembled with fleece as batting, just because I had fleece on hand (covid variations). The backing is a nylon/polyester fabric that was in my stash.  Some of the fabrics melt when heat is applied – a lesson learned. Luckily, I am finding that the rusted fabric does not seem to fade, even after being displayed for a month through wind and rain. It has been in a north-facing location, so no direct sunlight. The piece was submitted for SAQA’s challenge, Land Art-from the Forest to your Balcony, but did not make the cut this time. I have created two additional pieces for outdoor display, and am working on Maple Leaves and Gobble for display in November – SOON.

October Bounty 2020

Stay well. Be safe. Wear a mask. Self-distance. Wash your hands, and most of all… VOTE! We’ll get through this world-wide challenge as best we can.

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


The STUDIO ART QUILT ASSOCIATES (SAQA) is currently auctioning off donated quilts to raise the funds to support their promulgation of the quilting/fiber arts. I am honored to participate by donating my 12×12″ piece to this effort. It is up for bidding this week. Check it out, along with the other quilts available for bidding/purchase this week. Week Two Auction Quilts

“A BETTER WORLD” is currently on display online. This originated as an invitational exhibit, and again, I was honored to be invited to participate. Forty of the pieces will travel to the International Quilt Show in Houston. If you want to be inspired, read all of the entries into this show of heroes. They are listed in alphabetical order by artists’ last name – mine is in the R category, of course.

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 · Tutorials


This December finds us with 10″ of snow. Might as well spend some time snow dyeing some fabric!!

Pre dye fabrics
Fabrics and snow- ready to begin.

Dye colors
Procion Dyes-yellow, turquoise, red, orange, turquoise, red, black, fuchsia

Snow added
Snow packed on top of fabrics which are bleeding a bit.

Layers of dye-blue,yellow
Layer of yellow then blue or turquoise dye sprinkled. I’m looking to create shades of greens and browns.

Layers of dye-black, orange
More layers, black and a splash of orange.

Snow Melted first time.
Snow melted – new colors

First Snow Dye results
Kept these and put the others back in for another snow-dye bath. I like the muted soft colors. Dark one is purple. First one started out solid yellow.

Spools to settle
I used spools in bottoms of the containers to allow the melted snow to stay below the fabric so the fabric doesn’t soak in the mixed dyes. Marbles, ping pong balls, a grid -anything that would hold the fabric up away from the liquid would do the trick. This time I soaked the fabric in a bath of soda ash and water first. The soda ash will help the dye adhere to the fabric for more intense colors.

9Dye added-reduced
Snow and dye added again – dyes should soak through the fabric and meld as they soak into neighboring areas, but retain some of their own color in other areas.. Melt, melt, melt! That’s always the plea throughout the winter, right? Notice, I remembered to put down a protective plastic cover this time. I always work inside of a large plastic crate so that my spills and overflows are contained there – except for the sleeves of my shirt which seem to drag through the dye and then drip down my arms. I wear a mask when working with the soda ash and dyes so that I don’t breathe in the fine powders.

These are the results of the overdyeing. I love the cloudy sky, but it may work for something else too. The other subdued colors are just what I was hoping for. Now…. let’s get to work!

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 · Thread Whisperers

Coming in August 2018!


Le Chêne Chapelle
Le Chêne Chapelle: Alive since Louis XIV, the large oak was hollowed out by a lightning strike. Parish priests built two chapels inside the hollow which are still used for worship and are visited daily by tourists. Located in Allouville-Bellefosse, Normandy region, France.


Save the Date!

The Thread Whisperers (Ana Sumner, Debbie Herbst, Shirley Perryman, Mary Ritter)
will be exhibiting at the Page Walker Arts and History Center, Cary, NC

Exhibit Dates: August 7, 2018 to Sept 2, 2018

Show Title: FABRICATED STRUCTURESorganic and inorganic

Art Reception scheduled for August 17, 2018 from 6 to 8 PM. Open to the Public – please come! 

Gallery Statement: The Thread Whisperers have challenged themselves to depict organic and inorganic structures in their fabric art. From the dramatic to the subtle, this exhibit will reflect the spirits of Debbie Herbst, Shirley Perryman, Mary Ritter and Ana Sumner through their anthologies of fabric, thread, embellishment and machine and/or hand quilting. View the beauty of all that surrounds us – skylines, buildings, landscapes and nature – focusing your vision through their unique perspectives.

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. · Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 – Saturday 11/25

I had an early Call so I was up at 7:30 and walked to Park Central Hotel for a coffee and muffin at the deli in their lobby. Call Time was at 8:45 with rehearsal from 9AM until 2PM – no breaks. The two choir pictures show just Choir one which is about 200+ voices and sings Part I of the Messiah (the Christmas Portion). Choir 2 rehearses separately and is also 200+ voices. They sing Part 2 and 3 of the Messiah – the Easter portion of the Gospel. We will sing together on the Hallelujah Chorus, Worthy is the Lamb and the Amen – 400+ voices. I sit right under the directors podium…. he hears all my mistakes and doesn’t hesitate to say something! When I take too deep a breath, he says….. “I hear you!” But he is funny and friendly.

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I met up with my family back at Hotel Edison, but took time for pea soup at Juniors Restaurant (from the 1950) before we headed out once again. They supposedly have the best cheesecake in NYC, but I didn’t try any this time. I think I missed my chance.

Tonight’s destination was the northeastern corner of Central Park by Jackie Kennedy Reservoir. We walked the path in that area and enjoyed the colorful trees that still survived this late into the fall season. One picture shows the Metropolitan Museum through the trees.

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We walked past the Guggenheim to see its architecture, but again it was a free night, so we avoided the crowds this time. The line was around the corner and back as far as we could see. My rehearsals took away from the better times for the museums, but we knew that would happen.

The dim outlines of the Guggenheim Museum designed by Frank Lloyd Wright can be seen through the trees. The only way to get a clear view was to stand in the street…. which was pretty busy!

We ate dinner at New Amity Restaurant, a classic old-school, NY diner with friendly service and neighborhood clients on the Upper East Side. It is a short walk from both the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museums. Since I had eaten a late lunch, I enjoyed a waffle with ice cream – a reward for a heavy day of singing. The cold felt good on my throat, but probably wasn’t the best choice for it. We took the bus back to Times Square and watched the neighborhoods float by along the way. On our walk from the bus to the hotel, we stopped to watch the light show on the wall of Sak’s Fifth Avenue.

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After a short walk to Hotel Edison…. Sleep.

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. · Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 – Friday 11/24

Norm, Eric and Andrea took off to tour Wall street and Lower Manhattan first thing in the morning. They took the subway to Brooklyn and then walked back to NYC over the Brooklyn Bridge. They were challenged to try the subway system for the first time, having negotiated BART in San Francisco and The Metro in Washington D.C. previously.

BrooklynBridge Brooklyn Bridge with Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center (with the spire) in center view. (Photo by Norm Ritter)

They also saw the Wall Street Bull and the Empowered Girl.

2017-11 Andrea -StrongGirl2017-11 Norm:Pig NYC

Norm found another friend, and they both say hello!

I had a leisurely breakfast at Friedman’s in the lobby, and then walked to rehearsal at Park Central Hotel, from 47th to 56th. In the early morning, my feet held up. Our Call was for 11:45 with rehearsal from noon til 5PM. I will always be seated, by request, so I shouldn’t have problems with my feet, but no one will be able to see me on the stage as I will be placed, along with a dozen others who are seated, directly behind the orchestra.

Norm, Eric, and Andrea met me in Park Central lobby and we walked to MOMA (Museum of Modern Art). It was crowded with art students, but we joined the crowds to see three panels of Monet’s lilies, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, Kirchner’s Street from Dresden, a Hopper, an Andrew Wyeth, and two Seurats. After a couple of hours, we crossed the street to Connelly’s Irish Pub for dinner. The walk back to Hotel Edison was not far and we were ready to call it a day.

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. · Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 – Thursday 11/23

We were awake and up fairly early as we needed to switch to larger rooms before heading out and about. We walked around Times Square and Rockefeller Center, eventually settling at 51st and 6th (near Broadway) to watch the Macy’s Day Parade. The angels outside Rock Center welcomed us and the camels were awaiting their stage time in the spectacular at Radio City Music hall. The windows included the Anthropologie store, The American Doll store and the Lego Store. We had visited this area in a summer in the 1980s as a family so it was a good starting point.

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We chose a street corner where the parade would not perform as those spots would be overly crowded. We just wanted to see the balloons and wave to the participants.

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We grabbed brunch at Heartland Brewery and Bakery on 5th Avenue, and we then continued down 5th Ave to view window decor, starting with Sak’s 5th Avenue where “Snow White” is the theme this year. St. Patrick’s Cathedral came up in the middle of our walk.

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We also walked to Bryant Park – Winter Village and watched skaters.  After walking about 16,000 steps in all, we returned to our hotel by 4:30 and rested a bit. Then we walked around the block to enjoy our traditional turkey dinner at Bond 45 on 46th across from the theater where “Hamilton” is being performed. Followed by … Hotel Edison…  Sleep…. We didn’t plan a destination day, but just wanted to experience New York City for a day. I think we accomplished that, but there is much more to see and do!

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. · Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017 – Wednesday 11/22

We boarded Amtrak in Cary at 9:30AM (about an hour late due to heavy ridership). Comfortable, roomy seats with lots of leg room were a plus. We arrived at Penn Station @ 7:30PM, and grabbed a cab to Hotel Edison at W47th Street and 7th Avenue. A conversation in the lobby with a visitor told us security and long lines made viewing the balloon inflation impossible. After settling in, we began exploring Times Square. We soon were at Rockefeller Plaza and enjoyed some memories from long ago. (The first picture below is from Tuesday’s rehearsal). We found iL Fiorno in Hell’s Kitchen for dinner. Good meal. We walked back to the hotel and settled in for the night.

0Cary Community Choir assembling for first 2017 Messiah rehearsal - 47th Annual Concert
Assembling for our first rehearsal before heading to to NYC Messiah Concert in Carnegie Hall with a 400+ voice mass choir from around the USA and world.

image   Our Amtrak Route from Cary to Penn Station.

There is not much to photograph along the route. Here we are crossing the Potomac River going into Washington DC.

Blurry – but GRIDLOCK says it all, outside Baltimore, Maryland.

We are here and checked into the Edison Hotel – right in the heart of Times Square. We ventured out for a walk and ate our dinner at Il Fiorno Restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen.



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.



A Place in Time series · 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

Quality Time

Walking in Central Park, NYC, in the fall of 2016, made me realize what a great respite this place can be for the families and folks that live in this busy place, as well as for the tourists flocking here to experience “the big city”. Only looking up at the sky makes one realize that there is a metropolitan city just over a few blocks on the other side of the trees. This piece reflects my more common folksy style, but I did incorporate mono printing in creating the windows and fabric painting on the buildings and trees. All of the fabrics are my own hand dyed pieces.  I also used texture magic to give dimension to the trees. If you enjoy the view or if it brings a memory forward, please share below in the comments.

All rights reserved. ©Mary A Ritter 2017

QUALITY TIME ~ 2017                                                                                                                                   Mary A Ritter                                                                                                                                                        35″ wide by 38″ high                                                                                                                                           A boy can never get enough time with his dad. After a busy time in the big city, the two companions sit beside the lake in NYC Central Park, watch the model sailboats, and just enjoy some time together. The noise of the traffic, beeping horns, calling voices, and the shadows from the tall buildings are kept at a distance. This is quality time – father and son.

All rights reserved. ©Mary A Ritter 2017

Quality Time ~ 2017                                                                                                                                        Detail of buildings and trees

All rights reserved. ©Mary A Ritter 2017