If you’re looking for some Halloween inspiration for your October projects, Mary Mahoney’s Halloween tumbler quilt should do the trick. Mary used a medley of Halloween fabrics and the GO! Tumbler die to create this eye-catching project.
While sharing her inspiration behind her quilt, Mary admits she has a bit of a problem and calls her husband the “enabler” since he lets her take over their living room with her ever-growing collection of sewing and quilting products. She also discusses her newfound passion of playing the ukulele.
The lovely Halloween quilt that you uploaded to Quilter’s Spotlight is not short on Halloween fabrics. What inspired you to make this creation?
One of my sisters loves Halloween, so I made it for her. Two years ago we picked out decorations for a mantel, and we went overboard when it came to fabric. I had stacks and stacks of fabric. Well, I love AccuQuilt, and I was sitting around looking at the tumbler, so I used that and the strip die for this quilt.
I put 1-inch strips of black fabric between each two rows and that’s how I came up with it. It’s a very large lap quilt. Probably about 45-48 inches wide and 6-7 feet long.
What was the most difficult part about creating it, if anything?
Sitting there and figuring out which tumbler went next to which tumbler. I came up with a color scheme after a while.
What was the easiest?
The easiest is cutting it out because the AccuQuilt cutter makes it so fast and easy.
What are your favorite dies?
Actually, the strip cutters. Not very sexy, but boy do they get the job done! I use that a lot when I’m making Seminole-style quilts. I like all the Studio strip cutters and the Hexagon dies. I also used the Studio Rag Quilt dies and really like them.
Which AccuQuilt product would you recommend to someone who hasn’t used any of our products?
The GO! Fabric Cutter is real nice because it folds up and has a little heft to it. The GO! Baby if you’re doing appliqué. The Studio Fabric Cutter is wonderful, but it takes up a lot of space. All of them are good. And since they came out with the GO! die adapter [for the Studio] it’s even better.
Our quilt guild, Quilter’s Workshop of Tampa Bay, bought a Studio when it first came out. We saw it on one of Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson’s road shows that they do. We house it at a sewing machine store here in Tampa who’s very supportive of our guild.
What is your dream-quilting project?
The silk one that I’ve been working on since February. It’s 23x23, 140 blocks; each block has 45 pieces. It’s an all paper pineapple piece that I’m getting ready for a show in Jacksonville, FL. Also, I’m doing a face binding, not a traditional binding.
What would you like to see in the quilting industry that hasn’t been invented yet?
I know there are tons of markers, and I think I own every single one of them. But I’m looking for one that actually delivers. It’s never quite what I thought it would be. But I’m just astounded by the developments in the industry and what has come out. The invention of the rotary cutters, the ruler, and the AccuQuilt cutters help because you do some of the details much faster. People with Parkinson’s disease can actually cut things out.
Do you have any favorite quilters?
I had a class with Libby Lehman in Paducah in 2008. Not only was she a great quilter, but a very funny lady. I also had classes with Carol Doak and loved her organizational skills and upbeat personality. Another great is Kimberly Einmo. We had her teach for our guild, and she was another excellent instructor. Mary Storis, the beaded embellishment lady, is very inspiring and lots of fun. Last but not least, Ricky Tims. I like how he looks beyond conventional wisdom and his musical talents. What a showman!
How many quilts have you made in your life?
Oh goodness, I don’t know. Say 40-50, including charity quilts. I’ve won blue ribbons at the state fair here and the strawberry festival. But I don’t make bed quilts because our dog sleeps with us and would destroy them. I made a flannel rag quilt for one of our dogs. But he got cancer, and we had to put him to sleep. He was cremated with the quilt. The quilt had all kinds of holes in it, but he loved it.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve incorporated into one of your quilts?
I put Mardi Gras beads on a quilt commemorating Hurricane Katrina. I like to put beads on my quilts. I just won first place in the Jacksonville Quilt Fest for a miniature quilt I made with silk dupioni. I had to restrain myself from loading it up with beads! And I put a clock face on a Halloween quilt and used glow in the dark thread to quilt it.
Who is Mary Mahoney? Describe yourself.
Eclectic. I like to do all kinds of different things. I play the ukulele. Badly, but I play it. I like to go sailing, play around in the yard.
How often do you play the ukulele?
I try to practice every day! I take lessons and participate in a jam session every two weeks. We also belong to the Tampa Bay Ukulele Society. We are going to a weekend ukulele festival in nearby Tarpon Springs in November.
I have to ask, what does a ukulele jam session look like? Are they well attended, and do people take turns jamming, or do they jam at the same time?
Good questions! A uke jam (at least the way it's done here) is where ukers come together and play the same songs together. We get a song list with chords prior to the jam so we can be familiar with the words and chords. Usually a jam has a theme, like country music, Elvis songs, Motown songs, and rock ‘n’ roll. The woman who coordinates ours—singer/songwriter Norine Mungo—gets very creative with the song lists. The last few monthly jams have had 10-15 players. Attendance will increase soon when our winter visitors (known as "snowbirds") return to Florida. All ukes are played—sopranos, tenors, baritones, and even a banjolele.
What happens at a ukulele festival, or will this be your first one?
This year's uke festival will be our first. Tickets were limited to 150, and they sold out in 15 minutes! We'll go to the free event on Friday evening where we can jam with the big group and visit all the vendors. The festival has technique workshops, concerts by uke performers from around the U.S., and lots of opportunities to play. There are festivals like this all over the world. As a beginner, I am a little intimidated, but these are such friendly, encouraging folk that I am sure I will fit in soon.
How enlightening! It really does sound like a fun time. What are your bucket list items?
I’d like to go to Sicily, spend a few months there and visit my ancestral homeland. Everyone says it’s beautiful. Along with that, go to Rome, sail the Caribbean on a nice big boat, maybe spend time in the Grand Canyon and do like a photographic expedition.
Italy is my dream country, so I can’t wait to travel there. What’s the first thing you’d do in Sicily?
Find a sidewalk cafe in Palermo and sip a glass of Sicilian wine while people watching, and ultimately go to Capo d'Orlando and look for my distant relatives—Alberti's and Clementi's.
Lynette A. Griffin is a new member of the AccuQuilt team, and she’s looking forward to sharing your projects and stories in a regular feature called ‘Quilter’s Spotlight’. Quilters will be selected from the Quilter’s Spotlight section of our site. Upload your projects today, and you could be the next featured quilter!