Another visit to Forrest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale.

Glendale has an historical society. I have gone on a number of their house tours. I always enjoy the variety of houses this region has to offer.

The Jewel in Glendale is Forrest Lawn Park, yes it is a cemetery, but there is so much more there. A few months ago it was just a walk in the park, this time with the Historical society it was a chance to see some of the mosaics as well as the glass workshop.

We met in the Church of the Flowers, the first structure that Dr. Eaton built here. It is based on an old Church in England.Inside is this beautiful stain glass based on one that is in another church in England. It’s called Tree of Life and is about as traditional as one can get.I don’t know what the elephant represents, but I do like him.

Erin and Sandy from Atlas Obscura were there, which was fun to see fellow explorers I hadn’t seen in a while.Fergus came in especially on Saturday to explain to us how stained glass is restored after 100 years.Here is the restored panel in progress. These nails are horse-shoe nails, because they are flat they hold the glass in place without cracking it.Scoring and cutting the glass.Love this sign.Then it was on to the Great Mausoleum. One thing I have to commend Dr. Eaton for, he wanted to bring art to LA back in the early 20th century. His idea of art was often replicas of the great art of Europe, so there are copies of Michaelangelo’s statues such as Moses and the Pieta. Not the same scale, not the same, but at a time when few people could travel and images weren’t prolific like they are today, it was a nice endeavor.I just got a book about Gladding McBean and their decorative pottery. I don’t know if they made these or the local firm Tropico – that was latter acquired by them. I love the little details, which tells me this is ceramic and not carved into stone or concrete.Like all museums, a lot of objects are in storage. This was brought out to share with the group.  This is The Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven.  Made by a German Company, it part of a church in Buffalo NY which no longer stands.The gold robes are beautiful, really look like gold, although I think it was just yellow glass and paint.

There is an actual museum up at the top of the hill. Next month they are hosting an exhibit of FIFA, yes soccer-related items. Go figure, or better yet, just go visit, it’s free.

LA Yarn Crawl 2018

I’m not knitting as much as I used to, I spend more time and effort on quilting and sewing these days.  LA Yarn crawl was this weekend, and since The Altered Stitch is half a mile from my house, I walked there on Friday.

It is a lovely shop with all kinds of hand dyed yarns.With samples of items made from the yarn, mostly shawls. My one complaint and it’s a big one is there is no standard basic yarn, certainly no acrylic yarn to make baby items. So yes, I did buy a skeinI might just knit socks with this, no sock lasts forever and I’ve had to retire a few pairs this year.Out in the back is a converted garage and little yard, space is being rented to a local dyer, here the wool is being prepped.Dyes are at the ready.Skeins are drying outside, some have more than one color, I forgot to ask if this is it, or are some of these skein getting more dye? This was it for me. My only stop on the yarn crawl, I am happy to say that another store has opened in Burbank. I have to go check it out, I’m hoping that they will carry sweater quantities of basic solid colored yarns.

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.


After my downtown tour, I had lunch here, yes the falafel was good. I’m sharing the image because in the 1980’s all the food stalls in Grand Central Market were made out of neon. Most of the newer stalls are following that tradition, I’m not sure if it is a requirement or not.

After that it was time to visit the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale.  I had gone on the Neon bus tour a few years ago, wonderful thing to do if you are in the LA area in the summer. During the day, the diving beauty shines, but no as much as she would at night.I don’t know if this installation lights up at night. Neon is a technology that became quite popular in the early 20th century in advertising.  All of the signs in the exhibit have come from buildings that are no longer around. I’m glad there are people out there who are saving these artifacts.

This is the sign from the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. There were two of these marquees, put up in 1957, they came down in 2001.  Thank God one was saved and was repaired back to good working condition.The orange-red is the color you get with neon gas. The blue comes from Argon gas. Using phosphates is how you manipulate these two into other colors.I had to take a selfie! I don’t quite understand these pop up museums that are just Instagram opportunities. The Neon Museum has a purpose, to educate and to share an art form that almost died. It wasn’t easy getting this sequence on my camera! This is one of the fun things about neon, the stop action motion. This is a very funny advertisement for a bar.Neon really is art, I do enjoy the creativity of the designers. Bars, peep shows, and motels, don’t forget the motels! Eric (a fellow conservancy docent who leads some of the Neon Bus tours) was there and was telling me that he could tell back in 2017 that the economy was roaring back, because so many old motels are being torn down for modern development. The museum tries to get the signage, but that is not always possible.There is a poster with images of motels around the country. This one caught my eye! The motel is no longer there, but look what I found a block away!The Carlton Motor Lodge, another Art Deco motel. Btw, the word motel is the combination of the word motor and hotel, the first of these was in San Luis Obispo. Clearly, this one is using the words motor Lodge instead. I don’t know if the neon sign still works.The blade sign is newer. I do like the Atomic Age star on the top. I hope this survives a while longer!



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.

Columbia Memorial Space center

For a number of years now I have been enjoying event set up by Atlas Obscura. There is so much to explore in the LA area, I’m just scratching the surface.

Years ago I had been on another tour in south LA and it was mentioned that the whole space program, as in building the Capsules, rockets and shuttles happened here. So I signed up for this tour in Downey.In an area, the size of Disneyland was the birthplace of American Space exploration. Today, there is a hospital, large sports facility and a huge outdoor shopping mall. Oh and this little museum.All of the Apollos and the shuttles were built here. This one, sitting outside was the first to leave the atmosphere and come back intact.Here is Bill, the head of this museum. He is showing us a very important artifact, this is the coupling mechanism for the Apollo. I can’t explain it all, but somehow, this small device is what allowed the space program to jettison the boosters while leaving earths atmosphere, while being able to come back again. As I said, I can’t explain it, it’s a small thing thing that made a very big difference.

The LA area is the birthplace of a lot of the aerospace industry, during WWII this facility was busy cranking out airplanes. Afterwards, the push was to explore rockets and then space travel.

By the 1980s’ the space exploration industry was in major decline. It’s hard to describe how the death of this industry had such a massive effect on the region, hundreds of thousands of jobs gone over night. So by the year 2000 this museum was in the planning stages. Once the Columbia was lost in 2003, the Federal government designated this site as the official Federal memorial to the Columbia. The Columbia first flew in in 1981, had 28 missions and in 2003 the tragic end over Texas, killing all seven astronauts.

This image is of one of the successful liftoffs. It is made out of thousands of images of that last crew of seven who didn’t make it back. An image of the crew, which included an Indian woman and the famed Israeli pilot, Ilan Ramon.Of course, I have a special place in my heart for a fellow Israeli who flew this mission. He was part of the mission in the 1980s who bombed the nuclear reactor in Iraq. The world condemned Israel no end for that, although in private, I’m sure the world sighed a sigh of relief.  Condemning Israel for anything is what the world does.  Then, years later, one of his sons’ was killed while training with the Israeli air force. Life has not been kind to his wife, Rona.This museum is a hands-on location that is great for children, they have a robotics lab, they have all kinds of things to do. There is a real gap, these days kids don’t care much about space exploration, it’s just not in the conscientiousness of this generation. That is what happens when the world turns it’s attention to other pursuits. These days, it’s SpaceX and Space Virgin, private companies that are exploring opportunities.  The government is too busy wasting money on anything else it can. Not that space exploration is a waste, but most government spending these days is.Joel by the suit.Me in the suit, well, I’m not suited up, there is a ladder in the back. It’s just a photo op.Snoopy the Astrobeagle became a mascot for NASA. Oh and that table? I just got the corner of it, but this is a very large conference table that was used here at the facility. In the movie Apollo 11, the table is in Houston, but in reality, it was in Downey. When the trouble started on the capsule, all the info about the Apollo 11 was poured out on this table and the engineers who had worked on actual capsule put their heads together and came up with the solutions that Houston passed on the guys up in space.

Oh, and manned missions to Mars aren’t happening anytime soon. It’s not the money (well, that is part of it), it’s the radiation. The manned missions to the moon were exposed to radation for almost two weeks – and came back still healthy. The mission to Mars would be months – that amount of radiation is a death sentence to any human. Which is why JPL is doing all those unmanned missions. Who knows if at some point someone solves the radiation problem in space.

Brewery Artwalk revisited

I wasn’t sure I was going to go this spring, but I’m glad I did.I explored parts of the compound I hadn’t seen before. Always a fun thing to do.The ghost sign from Edison, this building was built in 1902 as the first Edison power plant west of the Mississippi.Tucked off in the corner is a workshop of innovators and builders of amazing things. I have to confess that I didn’t go see their installation, next time.This is the backside of the building, so maybe the building was built in 1894, or maybe most of the powerplant was added on later.

And now what is really cool, what is inside this large structure today. The Stronghold Climbing Gym, it is enormous, I am just sharing two images, it is probably the biggest indoor climbing facility around.You know me, I will take any chance I can get of taking pictures of the downtown skyline. From this angle the new Broad tower is invisible.

And then it was on to visiting friends and seeing their work.Teresa and Hawke in front of their Ascension quilt. Me too! I got into the fun. As did many of the visitors to this studio.  They are planning a series of quilts with the theme of wings.  I’ve watched this one being created on Instagram, was so much fun to see it in person.

And finally, the neighborhood, The southern tip of Lincoln Heights.Among the industrial and the freeway, old homes survive. Some like this one are well cared for.Or how about dressing up a small cottage with some Victorian flair?Then there is the old rundown Victorian, broken up into apartments. So this is how one uses the vestibule to create two private entrances. It is a large building, so it could be there more entrances were created on the sides or the back.

All in all, a good time, and yes, come fall, I’ll probably go back again.9

All blue and white

My double wedding ring quilt is growing.Have I mentioned I’m appliqueing flowers in some of the rings? Take a closer look at the upper right-hand bird, The outer ring is done in the light blues only. Except, once you step back from the quilt, it doesn’t really show up. So I decided to add some birds.I only have three of these light blue rings and wanted more birds. Here is the quilt top finished, with eight birds. Hopefully, they are scattered in a pleasing manner over the quilt top. This is an opportunity to use my appliquick tools. Here is the first bird. I think it looks just fine.Here is the final bird, maybe you can’t tell, but I feel like I’m getting better with these tools. My tiny circles are rounder. I know, it won’t matter, the quilt as a whole is lovely. I do enjoy mastering a new skill and with all these birds and circles, I feel very very comfortable with the appliquick tools now.I can’t say I love all the birds equally, I’m luke-warm on this one.The flower here is probably too big.The bird is fine, the vine, too big. But I was practicing making vines, and I’m pleased with how it came out, even if it’s a bit big in comparison to the bird.Just right! As I said, I’ve had fun with this and am really in the mood for a major applique project, something like a Baltimore album, but not with all the old-fashioned blocks. We shall see. This needs to be quilted and I do have other projects to work on, not full-size quilts. Also, now that the weather is warming up, I want to get back to sewing some more garments.

Busy week

First of all, I want to share the quilts of Valor that Ruth, Irene and I made.We worked off the same pattern Storm at Sea. You can see how color placement changes everything. This is one of those things I love so much about quilting. Our fabric choices and placement make all the difference.My quilt.Irene’s’ quilt, she is hiding behind the quilt, that is Ruth peaking out.Ruth’s quilt. She worked with a design program (not EQ) and came up with this stunning version.  So now, we are mailing them off and since there is always a waiting list for quilts for veterans, I’m sure they will find good homes very soon.It’s springtime, which means spring break. So the cousins went to Griffith Park to ride the ponies.Then there was the train ride, no pictures.Shira does love being a big cousin.

Passover started this week, I was very busy cooking. Thursday night we went out to have our last meal with bread for the week.Beer is liquid bread.Any healthy eating habits go out the window on Passover. This is a must, Maztah with peanut butter and Israeli chocolate spread. When my kids were little, they took sandwhiches with this spread to school. These days it’s a once a year treat.Eyal had a good time as well, he tried the matzah, what he really liked was the chopped liver.

Two kinds of knits

I love knit fabric, especially one that is mostly rayon. And look at that print, those roses! This took two hours to make, I love my serger. The only thing I did on my sewing machine was sew the hems.The sun is in her eyes, otherwise, I can assure you, very happy granddaughter. Look how her shoes match perfectly.Who doesn’t love a dress that twirls?

And then there is the knitting that takes a long long time.Another shawl, although, sadly, despite all the work, it’s more like a scarf than a shawl, it does cover my shoulders, but not enough.Knitting with two yarns takes longer than just one. The narrow bands are one skein that gradually changes color.Interesting shaping, which is what attracted me in the first place. I’ve already wound up another ball of yarn, even if my knitting has slowed down a lot, I have to have a project on hand.