Update

Last week was frustrating. I’d wake up every morning to my blog being hacked. Then there were emails back and forth with my hosting company. New passwords, new settings, all would be well until the next morning…  Wash and repeat.

So some of you saw some posts that are gone, others noticed the silence. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that this time it works. I lost all of last weeks posts and rather than repost, here is a recap. I made a jeans skirt. Maybe because I grew up Orthodox in Jerusalem, owning a jeans skirt is a must-have in a wardrobe. I hacked a shorts pattern I had, because I liked the pockets and the front placket. I guess that means I really know what I’m doing after all these years. On t the next skirt, made from Kaffe Fassett solid, or yarn dye cotton. Very lightweight, perfect for a gathered skirt. I need more of these two colors, sure blue-greens look great on me, but so does this.

Another hack, no pattern here, just gather at the waistline and put in a zipper and a waistband. Maybe because the fabric is so flimsy, it felt like the waist grew. So another hack. I simply sewed and serged the side seam all the way up into the waistband. Is it elegant? No, will anyone ever see it? No.Here I am in my me-made wardrobe with the best  accessory of all, an adorable grandson!!!  His first ride on the train at Travel Town. Btw, he actually does smile, just not so much for the camera. These days he always smiles when he sees me- what more can a grandma ask for!

I wore this outfit all day, I was downtown in the evening and stopped into a little local coffee shop. The very hipster barista admired this outfit (without the grandson). She was even more impressed when I told her I made it. I heard a podcast discussion recently about do women put on makeup for men or other women. As a woman approaching 60 I can say, I dress nicely and put on makeup to look good! I love it when someone compliments me. To me outer beauty is important – I’m not hiding my age, but I’m trying to look my best for my age.I started a hand applique project. I am in love with the Appliquick method. So when I saw an image of this owl, I rushed out and bought the book. It is an embroidery book, something else I enjoy doing, but my plan is to applique this owl.I went to Kinkos and had the image enlarged on the blueprint printer. No taping paper together. Well worth the $8 a sheet.The green background has more green than khaki in it, oh well, cameras.A lot of progress has been made. There is repetition in fabrics, it unifies the image.

Hopefully, all is well now and I will be posting regularly, rather than dealing with hackers. I love sharing with you and hate the idea that someone is stealing my little online journal.

Leah

Another finished quilt, well, it still needs a label.

You may remember those scrappy blocks I was making a few months ago, well, I kept plugging away at that project.I did my usual spray basting as well as using mono-filament to anchor down the blocks. This gives me the freedom to jump around and quilt at will.Working on my trusted Juki, I wanted a unified background. So I quilted these round shapes. They cross the lines I had quilted before, making that completely disappear. The blocks are very hard edge, so a soft background is very complimentary. I did some ruler work on the grey blades, that was it for the ruler. I simply outlined all the chains of blocks and left them unquilted, in order to give some dimension.

I completely understand people who send their quilts to the longarmer and ask for an all over design.  A finished quilt is always better than just a top. Since I do my own quilting, I really want the quilting to work solely with my piecing and to highlight things that all over quilting can’t.A basic theme in design is repetition. Most of these squares are pretty much the same pattern, simply changing the placement of the colors.  Once again, I left many triangles unquilted. In this case I mirrored the red shape. This is the only block where I did this, I came up with a different quilting pattern, but do not feel the need to take out this quilting, simply because it is different from the rest.Another thing, every scrappy block has a solid fabric somewhere. So here the border isn’t solid, so it may be a little harder to see the quilting. I did dot-to-dot. this became the theme. The center block is always different.But, the 1.5″ squares are often filled with the same pattern, so that one repeats all over.So dot-to-dot was used often. Btw, I understand that Angela Walters is selling rulers, I bought a few and really like them. But two years ago when I took her Craftsy class on dot-to-dot, it was all about free-hand quilting. Now she is teaching it with the rulers. I totally respect her need to sell rulers, I feel that some ruler work is nice, but not everything. The old free-hand works just fine for me.I am very very happy with this whole quilt.One design element from modern quilting that I love, is  lack of borders, it really speaks to me. So in order to achieve that I faced the quilt instead of putting on binding. Here I’m hand sewing the back side. How cute is my needle holder? Yup, from Etsy.  There are many tutorials on You Tube about how to achieve this easy binding. I did use the background fabric.Because, it has a way of peaking over the edge, by using the same fabric, it’s invisible.OK, here we go! The finished quilt! I’m very pleased with this, although I won’t be keeping it. I hope to put it in a quilt auction my guild is having and if it doesn’t sell than a lucky friend will get a gift.The backing is a fabric that a friend gave me, I didn’t have to buy any fabric. Actually, the only fabric I bought for this quilt is the yellow background.And now to finish off with an artistic shot. I love the way this quilt came out.

Leah

Triangle Transparency workshop

I had the pleasure of taking a workshop with Yvonne. I don’t take every workshop that is offered, but something like this is so worth my while.

So what is transparency? It’s the effect of light, how more layers will make something darker. I’m not going into all the details, that is what the class is about.This project results in a 60″ x 60″ quilt. For the workshop I decided to pull fabric from my stash and see how I like this before investing in new fabric. Here is one find. When working with transparency, it’s not the the light to dark that matters, it’s also keeping it all in the same colorway. Not an easy thing to do with purple. These are all old fabrics I found at a garage sale, the quality is poor, but the colors do work.I chose to go from dark to light, because I like the dark print best and really wanted to showcase it.Scott did the opposite, he had cut everything before hand and I think had even done a lot of the sewing at home. Btw, I have no doubt this came from his stash, my stash is tiny compared to his.Anna pulled from her stash, it just happens to be Cherrywood fabric. She too went from dark to light. She has had this fabric for a long time, well worth waiting for this project.My block, finished, I am very, very pleased with the result! It’s hard to tell sometimes when looking a pile of fabric.Yvonne did the math and shrunk the block down from 30″ to 15″. Yes, this is considered a transparency because the floral print contains both the blue and the green. My two blocks side by side.With Gregs’ block.Scott finished his top quickly, I really like this layout.Anna’s finished top is stunning, Cherrywood fabrics are very expensive but so worth it, especially for such a graphic design.

Any quilter who has the chance, take Yvonne’s class. She is a good teacher and really helped people out along the way.

 

Leah

All kind of creativity, nothing finished yet

Still exploring the city and being creative.Block by block, this quilt is growing.Top is now done. Most of the blocks are very similar, with differences in placement of color. There are some other shape differences as well, but not much. I love scrappy, I don’t like rainbow.

Now I have to figure out how to quilt this.I started a new knitting project, this is the swatch.It will be another cardigan. I know yarn stores are having a very hard time surviving, the big knitting craze of 10-15  years ago is over. So most stores carry specialty yarn, not the basics. Sure,  I will be ordering basics online, but that does make it hard for me to support my LYS when I can’t find what I want. Because this is a very simple shape, the kettle dye look works, but I do miss just finding Cascade yarn at my LYS.

Clothes sewing continues. I have a wedding this summer which gives me an excuse to make a cute party dress. Yes, this is very simple, and yet it is lovely. I went to Mood LA and saw my friend Kay who now works there. We both agreed that the option on the right isn’t very accurate, it would take so much fabric to get those very large elements to look like that, in reality, they’d be chopped up.

So I started looking at silks, no luck, I don’t want solid color, what can I say, I’m a print girl! The prints were either too busy, or like this too big.So I ended up with the blue cotton print, a pretty lace for the inset and rayon lining. By fully lining the dress, I will give it more structure and that will help elevate it from a simple cotton dress.This time, I made a muslin, I want the dress to really fit right. I have a long torso, so I did add to the length of the bodice before making the muslin.It fits the dress form.More important, it fits me, no on to actually sewing the dress.  Although it is a simple pattern, I’m not rushing anything. I want to get this right.

Ok, back to work.

Leah

It feels like a slow year for creativity

I’m still busy creating, but it just feels a little slower this year. That is ok, as long as my hands aren’t idle.

I have been very slowly knitting a pair of socks.I bought the yarn during the LA Yarn crawl. That was back in early April.

I’m beginning to feel twinges in my elbow, so I’ve slowed down, I don’t knit every night. I have signed up to test bag patterns by Sew Sweetness. I can’t share the final product until the pattern goes public. But I will be using this clasp. A first for me, luckily other testers are sharing good advice.

Then there are the quilts in the wild. It makes perfect sense that working with tiles is similar to working with basic squares and triangles. These decorate an outdoor shopping mall. I wonder how many people pay attention to them.  I will probably used them as quilt designs at some point.

Look what I found for donkey saddle bag. A Camel! How perfect is this?? I know, he doesn’t have any hump, so how do I know he is a camel and not a donkey? Look at the feet, a donkey has hooves, similar to a horse. A camel has big flat feet with large seperated toes, makes it easier to walk along the hot shifting sand.

Love both the camel and his saddle bag, and yes, people are welcome to sit on this.

Leah

Quilting as craft, not art.

I know, everyone feels that being an artist is so much better than a simple crafter. That may have been true in the past, but these days, when everyone is an artist – no one is.

I’ve been thinking a lot about quilting. As a craft form it was all about copying and adapting patterns. From Ecclesiastes comes the famous phrase, there is nothing new under the sun. It’s true, which is one of my problems with modern art- if it isn’t ‘new’ it isn’t art.I saw an image of a quilt, I liked it and I set out to both copy and create some new blocks as I go along. Creating new blocks simply means using a very similar pattern and just changing the color placement.  Problem is, I’m not sure I have enough of the khaki background, so I bought some pale yellow and am remaking the blocks. What intrigued me is the chain of blocks that created an interesting sashing. My first attempt with the dark triangles just made everything too busy.Wait! I have that khaki fabric that will be perfect, a very subtle contrast. I’m using all kinds of rulers here, my collection is growing.Now I’m happy. I’m following existing patterns, I’m adapting as I go. It’s not art, it is a beautiful craft and someone will love staying warm under this.My son in law has made this baby blanket. The block is called the January Block. It was designed by Liz Harvatine a few years ago as a block of the month for The LAMQG. This one really caught on and many people have made it. I love how graphic and bold this is. In comparison, look at mine from a few years ago.This just proves my point. Take a pattern, let two people make it and see what happens. Two very very different quilts.  And this is why I love quilting.

Leah

Start-itis

I can’t settle on one quilting project, which is unusual for me.  As you know, I’ve really been enjoying applique and want to start a larger project.Look at this owl! Yes it is embroidery, from the book Crewel Creatures. I bought the book specifically for this pattern, I will applique it, although you never know, there may be some embroidery involved as well.I must have gotten this kit in some giveaway. Perfect! Let me work on this with my appliquick tools.There is a reason why we have so many different marking pencils. The white ceramic pencil is perfect on the black. My  Daylight lightbox is also a God send. I bought mine a few years ago, the price has really dropped! Go grab one.I can see why someone gave away this kit, it’s a lot of fiddly little pieces. I’m fine with that, but most people aren’t.For the stems I am using the smallest of these applique rulers, 1/8″, it really works!I’m also working on a pieced quilt. Having fun using my rulers to get accuracy.  These blocks are 9″, I’m working off a quilt pattern, but I’m reverse engineering. Which is what quilters have always done, see patterns they like and figure it out. This won’t be a wall hanging, well, actually, maybe it will. I’m thinking of making a full-size lap quilt and I”m not sure I have enough of the background fabric, so these blocks are practice and may end up in a smaller project.Remember my trip to Michael Levines? I gave a private tour downtown on Saturday, it started at noon, so I dashed into the store before my tour. So the lightest fabric in my pile is the only one I payed full price for. All the others are from the remnant table. This is the first time I’ve seen solids on their remnant site.  They also had each costumer pull out a card at the register, I got an additional 15% off. My whole haul was $80….I labeled my Double Wedding Ring quilt.And shared it at Valley Modern Quilt guild.

 

Leah

Blue and white, done!

In honor of Israel’s 70th birthday, I finished my blue and white quilt.This is the quilt with all the white areas quilted.I switched to a blue thread and quilted the rings, in the checkerboard, you can see the details, otherwise I just stitched in the ditch to emphasize the segments. Then I carefully cut out the scallop. A friend gave me the formula to measure and cut bias tape from a square of fabric. It involves using the square root function on a calculator. My phone doesn’t have that function but I do have an old-fashioned calculator that does. Needless to say, I don’t remember how to do this with pencil and paper.I sewed on the bias tape, then I clipped into each corner, I learned this from watching videos on Youtube.Sitting outside in our glorious weather hand sewing the binding down.When I come to a stopping point, I use my lovely needle minder so it is easy to find where to pick up next.Finished and up for photography, I may have to do this again later in the day so I don’t get so much light and shadow.I flipped the quilt, this is better, but I may yet try for different light.I found this fabric deeply discounted at Quilt Emporium. Perfect match. Just a few closeup shots. Then some artistic shots. I still need to make a label, since this is a special quilt for me, I will probably hand embroider one and I think it will reference Israel’s 70th birthday. Then I might even take this out for some artistic shots in the wild.

Leah

On to quilting the Double Wedding Ring

Quilting is an adventure, I sort of decide on the fly how I’m going to quilt, but first,  let’s baste.Thank Goodness I have a lot of outdoor space. Spray basting with pool noodles. The method isn’t perfect, I tend to get some foldover and creases on the back. I don’t care, I’m not a machine.Next step is securing the quilt. I learned this method from a Craftsy class. Using my walking foot and monofilament I sew a grid. This way I know everything is secure and I can start quilting where ever I want. I can also jump around without concern.You can see the outline of the arcs, as a quilter, some of you will see how I will end up with some folded over fabric on the back. As I said before, Oh well, so I won’t be winning any ribbons.Then I switched to a regular quilting foot, and with the monofilament, I outlined all the applique.  I’m not a big fan of monofilament, but it does serve a purpose of really being invisible. Next, I switched to white Aurifil and quilted shadows around the birds. For the white segments, I chose a simple quarter inch border with pearls.

Then the trouble started.Next, with free-motion I quilted the centers. I did at least 15 of them and yet I wasn’t happy.  At one of my guild meetings, someone came up to me and said how much they liked my quilting. It relates to the quilt, it highlights the piecing. So many people send their quilts to a longarmer and have an overall pattern applied. I understand this, money is an issue. But that tends to flatten the quilt, not flatter it.

I’m sharing a close-up, where this all looks fine. But as I stepped away, I realized that I don’t like the center quilting. It did nothing for the quilt, it was very meh.So I tried another design, You probably can’t tell but I did some ruler work here.  I wanted something denser than what I had before. I have discovered, that as much as I like the Frixon pens, they don’t iron out as well as I’d like. So a minimal mark with a water-soluble pen works much better.Yup, I went back and pulled out all of that quilting. It was a lot of work, I can hear some of you saying, but why, it didn’t look all that bad!  I have worked very hard on this quilt, I want to love it, not just like it. In this case, time isn’t money. Time is my creativity and it is worth it to me to have an end product that I love.Even in the bright light, the effect of the new pattern is so much better.In low light, you can really see the quilting.  You can also see the imprint of the quilting I removed.  After removing it, I sprayed those blocks with water and that will help remove some of the imprints. Then, the new design gets quilted over it and you can’t tell. I will wash this quilt and a lot of imperfections will disappear.

Quilting for me is a journey, not a race. I’m not looking for perfection, but I do want to love the final product, for me, it’s worth my time to unpick, stitch by stitch and quilt again to get something I love.

Leah

Getting serious about appliqué

I’m starting to think about a full applique quilt, maybe something along the lines of a Baltimore Album quilt, but not using the old fashioned templates, something new, but I’m not sure exactly what yet.

So, first off I need to try out more tools.Karen Kay Buckley has come out with a simple tool called perfect seams.  These little plastic templates help make a perfect tubes, from 1/2″ to 1/8″.

It’s simple, cut the fabric on the bias, sew wrong sides together into a tube, using a zipper foot, as I sew, I keep moving these templates down and finally out.Trim the sewn edge, iron down and start appliqueing.I have here the 1/2″, 2/8″ and 1/8″. The narrower the tube, the easier it is to get tight curves. I sewing with silk thread, strong and almost invisible. I sew by hand, for me, applique is hand work.I twisted these freely as I sewed.  Knowing me, I probably won’t use the 1/2″ much.

Then I decided to embellish with more Appliquick shapes. Don’t look at these for color schemes, I’m using us scraps I have on hand.

I could just keep going, but I think I’ll stop here. I had a $10 gift certificate from Candy’s Quiltworks. So I bought some more boy fabric and made another pillowcase.  This is for foster kids, they always need pillowcases to give the kids and girls themes are more plentiful than boys. So whenever possible, I’m making pillowcases for boys.

Leah