1.When did you start quilting and how did it come to happen?
I started quilting in the Spring of 2004. I live across the street from Celeste and she had invited me to join Birds of a Feather. I had been interested in learning to quilt but had never had time or knew anyone who could teach me.
2. Do you still have your first quilt?
Yes, I do! My first quilt was raw-edge appliqué that the group had already begun when I joined. The pattern was funky chickens, eggs, nests, and barns. I was the last to start but the first to finish, including the quilting! It is on the back of a sofa in my living room area and I call it my happy quilt because it makes me smile when I look at it.
3. When did you arrive in St. Tammany Parish, and what brought you here?
In 2002, my husband and I were looking for property to retire to on the Northshore. We bought in a spot and started building in 2003 as we were selling our house in Harvey and getting ready to retire. We retired in January 2004 and moved into our new home on Valentine’s Day 2004.
4. How long have you worked for Bright Hopes Quilting and what do you do there?
I started working for Pearl in May 2007. I have really enjoyed working with Pearl, the customers and co-workers and learning as much as possible. I like to encourage customers to try different techniques, tools, and the various classes that are offered.
5. You keep the lowest profile in the shop. We know that hides a swift mind and tremendous sense of humor. What did you do before you “retired” and went to work here? Did that prepare you in any way for working in this environment?
My background is in adult/pediatric/neonatal critical care nursing. I received my AD in nursing in 1975 and worked in the critical care arena all but 2 yrs of my entire career, most of which has been at Ochsner Hospital main campus. I guess that’s why I double check almost everything and can get really focused on a task or project.
6. I can’t believe how quickly you knock out a quilt, and it’s usually complicated. Do you sew every waking moment? Do you gravitate towards any specific technique?
I usually have several irons in the fire at one time in order to take a mental break in a different direction. That is why I do some of the shop samples as well as to learn a different technique. I pretty much enjoy all the steps of the quilting process from the fabric selection to the binding.
7. Is there a technique in piecing that you won’t do? Do you have on your bed right now a quilt YOU made?
I sometimes have to talk myself into trying a technique, but there is probably no piecing technique I won’t do at least once. I did my first block-of-the-month last year with the Washington Star Medallion and have that on my bed right now. It was quilted by a longarm quilter and is gorgeous! Most of the 50+ quilts I’ve done have been quilted on my Bernina 440. The attached picture is a recently finished project done entirely on my Bernina, which is being donated, to the local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for a fundraiser in October.
8. If your fairy quiltmother could grant you one wish, what would it be?
I would love a bigger quilting room in order to have a long- or mid-arm machine. I still have several grandchildren awaiting quilts. There is a plan for later down the road and I can hardly wait!
Okay, Chris here.... Mary really does knock out samples. She'll come in to the shop for fabric and 3 days later, there's another quilt-top hanging!
I am having an issue with images at the moment but hope to include some shots of Mary's work shortly. In the meantime, if you pop in, we can show you around and say, "That's Mary's, that's Mary's, Oh that's Mary's, and that one....". While you're there, look at the footballs she quilted on the Saint's quilt. Freehand.