Now the quilt is really finished.

I’ve been sleeping under the Checkered Dresden quilt for more than a month now. Yes, it is a wonderful quilt. The only thing missing was a label. We are told to label everything, so in the future people will know who made the quilt.I have mentioned before that I don’t feel the need to name every quilt. I’m ok with my name and the year it was made.  I love hand embroidery and probably don’t do enough of it. So for many of my quilt labels, I pull out the embroidery. This is a handkerchief and designs from Sublime Stitching, their patterns are fun, although I think I’m going to branch out and use others as well. Sure I ‘could’ design my own, but so many good designers out there, why not use their products?Why the squirrel? No reason other than I have the pattern, I like the squirrel. It has nothing to do with the quilt top.If I have a squirrel, might as well add an acorn.Squirrel finished.Here is the label. Either the quilt will stay in the family and they will know who I am, or it won’t. Then the only thing the person will know is my name, the year this was made and that I must have liked squirrels.

I recently read a blog post of someone who found a very interesting 1970’s quilt in a vintage store. Later he found the name of the maker and even a citation in a book about that specific quilt. He got in touch with her, she is still quilting and often wondered what happened to that quilt. Clearly, she sent many quilts out into the world. So it was nice that they reconnected.Label attached.  Most of my embroidery ends up on the back of quilts where it really doesn’t get seen. I should consider doing some more visible embroidery, but right now, I’m just happy embroidering and sending it out into the world on my quilts.

Spring

Spring is very short but colorful here in So Cal. Our dull iceplant becomes a carpet of bright magenta.Trees burst into glorious blooms.

Our state flower, the California poppy makes an appearance. This year, in certain locations, hillsides are carpeted with orange.  It is time to go out and enjoy nature.We drove 30 miles from home up into the Angeles National forest. A lot more green this year. The haze is hanging over the basin. You have to strain to see the tall buildings of downtown Los Angeles with the Palo Verdes peninsula beyond. Wildflowers are beginning to bloom. The yellow out in the mountains is very different from the city trees. The redno California poppies here. I may yet have to drive up to Lancaster to see the reserve. My friend went to Lake Elsinore and took incredible pictures.The red is visible, yet small.Remnants of the Station Fire from a few years ago. It started right near here.And yet, some trees appear to be completely burnt and they have found a way to produce green leaves again. Fire is fickle. Many trees didn’t fair this well, and they are gone.Enter Tree People, an organization that is right up the road from me. They supply baby pines to volunteers to plant. In conjunction with other conservation groups they go out in the spring to plant new trees in the burn areas.Here is one such fellow. It is supposed to rain later this week and they may come back with a water truck once or twice this summer in order to give these saplings a fighting chance to survive until next winter.

Although we were out in nature, the Motorcyclists love the Angeles Crest highway, we heard and saw a lot of them. As well as plenty of planes leaving contrails in the sky.Man and nature, side by side. It is wonderful to get out and enjoy both.Our tradition after a hike is to find a local Taco joint and eat without any guilt. This is at Epic Taco Shop in Montrose. And yes, they were epic.

Making lemonade

You know the saying, When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  That is what I had to when my plans went awry. I had heard that there was a program called Bach in the Subways, at Union Station downtown.

So I planned, got to the subway early and was ready to go. Only to find, once I was on the train that work was being done on three stations in Hollywood. There would be a bus to connect to the ‘missing’ stations. Except they skipped the first station and took half an hour to go 2 miles to the next. So I got off, gave up on my idea of getting downtown with public transportation and walked the two miles back to Hollywood and Highland.Walking on Hollywood Blvd offers the opportunity for pictures. There are still some interesting Art Deco buildings. Film industry related, on the balcony you can see the camera and the director.Sages looking down on the passers-by.A simpler design, fewer figures, but oh the roof line!And then, onto streamline. Speaking of motels, the 50’s did it so much better.I glanced through the gate, there were plenty of people enjoying the pool.This is what is happening all over the city, building like crazy. I wonder what happened here. Someone wasn’t willing to sell the old building, so they are constucting new apartments around it. It is empty, for lease signs all over. Maybe once the new building is complete someone will want to relocate their business here.This is a snapshot of the Blvd. Filming, cars, billboards, cranes everywhere and even the old fashioned Street lights.Soon it will be very hard to see the iconic Capitol Records building. This was one of the last to be built under the height limitation of 150′, but it is up on a hill, so it used to dominate the skyline. Not for much longer.Even now, it’s glimpses through iron fences.This wonderful sign and clock look Art Deco, but it can’t be. As I mentioned, the Capitol Record Building is only from 1959. Sign of the times, a CCTV camera looking out on the street.Old and new have always existed side by side, I hope they continue to do so. I think the roof eaves on this Beaux Arts building is newly painted, the 1960 building next door just highlights the beauty of the old.Details on the Beaux Arts are wonderful. An old bank building with eagles.The knight.The putti.Gargoyle. I only noticed the mirror image with the palm tree when I looked at my photo. Then it was back to Noho. I didn’t hear any Bach, but at the local famer’s market a band was playing. So there was that conselation.

As my friend said- next time take Uber, he is probably right.

Table runner

A while ago I started a table runner. Yes, the house will soon be covered in Quilted items in every room. The Gals at Sewkindofwonderful offered a free pattern they called Mod Ornament. It must have been very successful because it’s not on the website right now, which leads me to believe they will be offering it for sale soon – as they should.
I’m becoming a ruler junkie, I had to combine their pattern with a Diamond Rect that I made using Deb Tuckers ruler.           And then I came up with the idea of edging this with tiny pompoms, just to give it some more oomph!
On the left, the smallest pompom ribbon I could find at JoAnn’s. On the right, something I found on Amazon that came all the way from China and probably cost less.For over a month this sat unfinished on the table. I went to Israel, I got involved in another project.Finally it was time to quilt. I had a bear of a time with this. On my large quilt I had used Superior Threads So Fine. While it worked like a dream on the longarm, it was awful on my Juki. The thread kept snapping and breaking no matter what I did. So it was back to Aurifil for me.  Sewing machines are so finicky, I may yet try some other thread, but my machine doesn’t like the So Fine.

I also used up the rest of the Poly batting from Quilters Dream, not too happy with it, so I’m glad it’s all used up.

A project this size quilts up quickly.As you can see, I didn’t use that pompom ribbon. The yellow was just too bright and it felt like overkill. I found this quilting pattern on Pinterest, but can anyone actually see it?Or the details in the ornaments? Who knows, I got good practice and quilted looks better than not.Artistic shot.On the table.And with a birthday gift I just received. Perfect match isn’t it?

Now, on to sewing clothes.

 

Mosaics!

I have shared images of mosaics out in the wild, what I haven’t done is make them myself for quite a while. Well, that drought has ended.   While I was in Israel I got an email that the local Stained Glass and Fusing supplies was going to offer a mosaic class.

Now I’m good at mosaics, I need to write a post with images of my work, but I have taught myself from books. Time for a real teacher.

Turns out that when it comes to mosaic design, I probably know more than the teacher, but there is something to be learned in every class. Case in point,innovative materials. Instead of working directly onto the final object (like a wall, I have done that, worked directly on the wall – ugh!)We each traced our hand, put this wonderful mesh over it and started cutting the glass. Yes, there were very good tips on how to use the tools. Although, I did get a blister on my thumb.Using this kind of glass gives much more depth than the little squares one can buy. Yes, I have quite a collection of those squares as well.Work in progress.Hand on hand.Next lesson, we grout.  The teacher was blown away, he was working alongside us, and he was just laying out rows of glass. I want the glass to flow, I’ve worked hard on creating that effect. I’ve read many books and watched You-Tube videos. With my art background, I understand shading as well.

And yet, this class has put me back into the mosaic making mode. I’m sure I will learn a lot about the grouting process.  No matter how much one knows, going into a class with an open mind is the way to do it. Every teacher has something new for me to learn.

Next week I start on a project that is almost 3 years overdue, making a mosaic out of the broken glass from my son’s wedding. This is what I made for my oldest son eleven years ago. The inside of the letters is the broken glass.

It’s that time of year again, the movie costume show at FIDM

Once again I went with some fabric and costume loving friends to FIDM. One of them was a professor of costume design – can’t get better company than that! I’m not mentioning which films, because in most cases I don’t know. The only one I saw was La La Land, and the costumes were nothing to write home about.I am sharing only a few images of the full garments, I’m finding that it’s the details I love. Sure on a big screen this is what pops out at you.But this is what pops out at me, the details. The materials used, the subtlety, the effect that light has.The amazingness of silk. Just using different silks, slight changes in the shades of color. A little fabric manipultion, and we are ready to go!The fantasy films are where the mens’ costumes thrive. Really what can you do with a business suit? But create a fantasy warrior and go to town on the textures! Yes, that is a red cape, which highlights all of the wonderful braid, fabric and leather.Leather, coarsely woven fabric, andmetallicc embroidery! As well as some fur. Who says men can’t have fun?A closer look, metal work and some bright purple silk. I’m sorry the focus isn’t great. I can’t use my flash. But I think you get the idea.The robe is made of those ball chains. For some reason I adore those chains. So to see a full length garment made out of them! Swoon! Really I need to see the movie to see how it moves, but I forgot which on it is.

OK, this is from Alice Through the looking Glass.  We immediately decided that the nettle that the Red Queen is wearing (maybe it’s not the Red Queen, I’m just making a guess here), was made on a three D printer. I don’t know if this is Alice, what I do know is the colors and the Chinese influences are wonderful.I love when a designer references the source but does her own thing. In this case it is Colleen Atwood, she costumed at least three of the movies in the show. In a you-tube video she discusses this outfit with it’s handwork and Chinese influence.Love the shoes!!! The eel is too high for me, but oh my, these are gorgeous.Alongside the movie costumes there is always a smaller exhibit. In this case costumes and clothes from the 1920s. This dress was used in the Orient Express. I would wear it today! A knit dress with embroidery and insets. The detail! The color! I want this dress!

So if you have a chance, get over to FIDM, this year the exhibit is excellent. Probably because of Colleen Atwood, but not only her. Last year was very meh. This being the 25th year they really went after the best costumes the movies had to offer.

Quilts and socks

I am home from Israel and eager to get back to my quilt.There were a lot of rip-backs, putting this puzzle together isn’t simple. Once I committed, that was it, even if the design isn’t that apparent because of the scrappiness of my fabrics.Either way, I am liking the result, this is very very different from most Storm at Sea quilts. I’m already thinking how the quilting will reinforce the tumbler shapes.

I ordered another ruler from Deb Tucker, it’s really two rulers. I had figured out a way to get the center economy block done with my regular ruler but figured that her precision would be better.This is a basic economy block. I don’t know why it has this name. The first one I made for the quilt – problem is, it’s too small. So I fooled around with my regular ruler and got the right size.When the measurements are accurate, everything fits in perfectly, notice how the points of the larger square meet up with the points on the diamonds. That is the desired result. Please don’t point out how it’s a millimeter off on the bottom, I’m a human, not a machine. This is as perfect as it gets in quilting.

So the rulers arrived and I read the instructions and got to work. I’m going to blame jet lag for the fact that I didn’t read the instructions well enough.Do you see how there is almost a quarter of an inch between the points! Not good! So after a good night sleep, I reread the instructions and now all is well. My economy blocks are fitting beautifully and yes, they are easier to make with Deb’s ruler. Am I tearing out this block and remaking it? Heck no!Can you see the problem now? If you can, good for you, but that really takes eagle eyes. I’m not replacing that block, I’m just going on and making sure the rest of the quilt is accurate.

Speaking of jet lag, it’s not a good idea to make things while jet lagged.

My good friend Vivian asked me to test knit some sock yarn for her. So I did.I knit one of the socks on the flight to Israel and finished it while there. Then I started the second sock on the way home and finished it while jetlagged here.Lovely right? Except I’m noticing that the right foot is a tighter knit than the left foot. You know those eagle eyes I was complaining about, here it is very obvious to me. Not to mention that the left sock is much looser.

Anyway, now I need to wear, wash and rewear the socks so I can give Vivian a report

Israel, miscellaneous

Out and about in Jerusalem, Miskanot Sha’ananim. The first neighbourhood  built outside the wall of Jerusalem in 1860 by Sir Moses Montifiore. Although these were larger and roomier than the warren of hovels inside the walls, it was hard to get people to move out here. Behind it is the famous windmill, built also by Sir Montifiore to provide work.  Today this is a guest house for visiting artists, authors and other creatives.By the 1890’s a newer neighborhood, Yemin Moshe was built next door. Also funded by Sir Moses (Moshe) Montifiore, it was named for him.

After the War of Independence, these two neighborhoods were right on the border facing the old city. Newly arrived immigrants from Turkey were housed there. After the Six Day war, they were moved out and the neighborhood was renovated. I spoke to some of the former Turkish residents, although they enjoyed their modern apartments – they did feel that they had been used.Today this is quaint and lovely, but I can understand the Turkish Jews, their plot in WWII wasn’t that bad and yet the did move to Israel only to be put in broken down buildings right on a very hot border.  Ahh, history.The area is known for its’ doors, blue has always been used in the middle east to ward off the evil spirits. I just noticed how this star of David is inside a cross, no I don’t think a Jew for Jesus lives there, I think it’s just a design choice.More blue.Brown. Fitting the doorway into the arch. I’m sure that today the office of Antiquities would be horrified that they included an old capitol in the building. In 1890 no one cared, you used what was available.An interesting arch with a door to match.Interesting, are these the homeowners?The cats are everywhere.On the road through the Jordan Valley, a camel. I remember as a child ‘riding’ a camel. It’s weird, they stand up hind legs first.Clearly there are still children around who want the experience.A new building in the Bauhaus style. I don’t mind when architects refrence back to older styles.I do mind when they make a very bad replica of Gaudi’s Casa Mila in Barcelona.  This is in Tel Aviv, yuck.I need to find who it is that makes these large buttons. So far I have seen this kind of sign in LA, (the button store), in Victoria BC and now in Tel Aviv.

Thanks for joining me on my trip.

Tel Aviv

Jerusalem and Tel Aviv aren’t just two cities 40 miles apart, they are worlds apart.Tel Aviv doesn’t have the restriction that Jerusalem does, to only build out of the local stone. So big glass sky scrapers are popping up like mushrooms after the rain. Like all modern cities, these bright towers overlook the decaying old squat buildings.

I need to spend more time in Tel Aviv, it has a lot to offer. I went with two girlfriends to Sarona.Sarona is a recreation of a German settlement in the area in the mid 19th century. In Jerusalem, we have the German colony. This was built by similar people near the coast. At the time, it was pretty far from Jaffa and Tel Aviv wasn’t even a concept.Many of these buildings were in The Kiriyah – the headquarters of the Israeli army and were used as office buildings. A few years ago, the city, moved most of them across the street and created a large open space mall and park.I didn’t see many old plaques, probably because major restoration was done on the buildings. What can I say, I love Israel, they preserve the old plaque from 1874. And yet, they still haven’t installed the light or whatever it is that those electrical wires are meant to support.Unlike Jerusalem, the buildings were stuccoed. The choice of color is probably new, I don’t think the Germans had time to think of bright colors in a desolate desert country. They came for religious reasons, they were good Christians who called themselves Templers. Interesting story, in WWI the Germans sided with the Turks, so when the British took over – they expelled these Germans. They went to New Zealand of all places.I wonder if originally they looked more like this?  Maybe the stucco is completely new. This is the Olive press, they even recreated the press itself.This being Tel Aviv, the new is surrounding the old.Each building is now a store or restaurant, but that isn’t enough, so the Sarona market was built as well.More retail and of course new apartments.

We then walked to the old port. The streets are full of people, busy going places or sitting around it coffee shops.Tel Aviv is known for it’s Bauhaus style buildings, what we call Art Deco. Luckily many are being restored. The heat and the humidity have really taken a toll on Tel Aviv, there is a constant need for updating.

One area, right by the beach that should be demolished is Kikar Atarim, built in the 1970’s in the Brutalist style – all fortress like and bare concrete. No wonder it has failed miserably. I had to capture some of the arrested decay, even though I hope it will be destroyed soon. This awful complex overlooks a fabulous Tel Aviv landmark.The ever popular Gordon swimming pools with the marina beyond.There is something very special about old friends, at my age I can use the word old without any irony. I’ve known Penny and Naomi for close to 40 years. It’s a pleasure spending time with them.This is the best image I captured of the sunset over the sea. Israel, Lebanon and Turkey are the only Mediteranean countries that face west.  It was a great way to close out the day.

Getting out of the city

For my mothers 85th birthday the whole family went up to a hotel in the Galilee.  Springtime is in full bloom.I brought my little camera, my phone camera would probably sufficed, since I didn’t do too well with the focus. Maybe it’s better this way. Fields of red. The anenome, or Calanit as it’s known in Hebrew is one of the floral symbols of Israel. Also one of the big success stories. By the 1960’s they were almost gone because people picked them. A massive education campaign took place. Now the countryside is full of thes poppy-like flowers again.They really are this red.Sometimes pale purple or white. What better place to take family pictures?or romantic ones?or my nephew taking a picture of my sister I law and my niece. Another famous flower is the Rakefet. Small and delicate, unlike the bombastic hybrids I buy at my local nursery.This is the way I remember them from my youth. Tiny pops of color showing up at the base of rocks. More purple, I don’t know the name of this flower, the beautiful carpet under the olive trees is a sight to see.

The almond trees are in full bloom right now. First come thepaper thin flowers, then the leaves and finally the fruit will ripen.

Spring is very short in Israel, ina few weeks these will all be gone, which is why people come out in droves to enjoy the flowers.