Teasdale shawl KAL (knitalong)

Along with my real life knitters, I belong to a group on Facebook.  Although I’ve yet to meet most of these people IRL, we have become good online friends. Recently Marne mentioned this lovely shawl she found on Ravelry,  The Teasdale.

I immediately suggested a KAL, turns out it was just the two of us, we did what you do in KALs, share pictures advice and recommendations.Freckle Face FibersThis is called deep stash diving, I had bought this skein 3 years ago at the CogKnitive knitting retreat in Tehachapi, CA. I seem to recall that I bought the yarn on sale and yes, this is a color I use often.border of TeasdaleFor this shawl you knit an intricate lace border and add the body of the shawl latter. A new way of shawl knitting for me. Most patterns start you either at the top, and knit down – so you begin with a few stitches and gradually the rows get longer.

Or the opposite, you cast on the largest number of stitches and decrease as you go. Then there is the option of knitting the body and picking up stitches to create an interesting border.

adding body to teasdaleA wonderful thing about Ravelry is that you can see how others have knit a project. There were complaints here about a bump, one intrepid knitter figured out a different way to knit the body portion. I am following her instructions.

This is what lace knitting looks like, all scrunched up and very unlace like. Until you block it.Blocking TeasdaleBlocking means wetting the knit shawl, and stretching it to it’s limits. This is made from 100% wool, which means it is very resilient and will hold the blocked shape for a long time. Of course when washed it needs to be blocked again.

I am using foam blocks, easy to stick pins into as well as blocking wires – a wonderful invention that makes the job so much easier, otherwise it would be many more pins, like one on each point.Teasdale and owlsDone! You can see how lovely open and lacy it is, and oh – hi there owls and bird!wearing teasdaleHere is one way to wear it, yes, a lot of the lace is hidden, but it looks very pretty around the neck.Teasdale with shawl pinA shawl pin is a wonderful option, allows you to see more of the lace.close up TeasdaleCorrina Ferguson is a very creative designer. She came up with some new ways (to me at least) to manipulate knitting. Knitting is basically the knit and purl stitch as well as leaving spaces or knitting stitches together. What is fascinating is the many ways one can do this and come up with new designs. I love the center vine with leaves on either side.Back of TeasdaleFinally, view from the back. Lovely.

Here’s the deal, as much as I love this shawl, I have a number of shawls in this colorway. So this one is going into my gift pile. You never know, you may be the lucky recipient of this one of these days.

My version of Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress.

All done, this was a fun project.Diane Von Furstenberg style wrap dressI had a lot of fun making this dress. I did make a few changes.  I modified the top so it wouldn’t have any pleats. I did make a ‘muslim’ out of leftover knit fabric, it worked out fine. My pictures – no so much which is why I didn’t include one here.

Have I mentioned how much I love my serger?  I have a Juki MO-655, it is a 5 thread, which means when I am sewing woven fabrics, and I know exactly what I’m doing (like a simple skirt) I can sew the seam and finished edge at one time on the serger.Juki serger, 5 thread MO-655P1010900Here I am using the 4 thread option, which simply reinforces the served edge with another row of stitches. It is stronger than the 3 thread version. It’s the light blue thread, I was too lazy to change the color. One draw back of this machine is that I have to thread the needle on my own. Not easy! Juki now has the air threading mechanism as well – my next serger.

This fabric was interesting to work with, it is a knit, but because of the vinyl polka dots – it doesn’t have a lot of give. It also has a lot more body – and can hold it’s own nicely. Word of advice! Because of the polka dots, I ironed this on the wool setting and always used a press cloth. In my case, it’s a piece of silk organza. Those dots would melt otherwise. Also, when pinning the pieces together, those dots got in the way, pins didn’t want to go through them.  So the serger was perfect, I did some top stitching on the sewing machine. One again, because of the dots the inner facing didn’t want to lie flat. Not sure DVF has top stitching on her dresses, but hey, this is a knock-off, it has to work for me. back view dressLooking cute from the back.P1010948I did put a snap where the V meets, I like the extra assurance that it won’t gape open as I go about my day.

The necklace is a perfect match, I made it a few years ago, out of a mixture of beads I had around. Couldn’t find a more perfect fit.

So now I have my own DVF wrap dress, one like no other, unless she decides to use this fabric as well.

Wilshire Blvd. Temple

To anyone in LA, get thee to The Los Angeles Conservancy and sign up for the tour of the Wilshire Blvd Temple on Sunday April 27.  This is going to be an amazing tour and yes, there still are tickets available.

I went for my volunteer training and got a peek, not enough time to really absorb the beauty of this building, but here are highlights – just so you’ll come.Wilshire Blvd TempleThis is a side view of the building (built in 1929), I never even got the front view, we were hustled around the building. There is a wonderful dome, I do have a picture of the interior of the dome.exterior Wilshire Blvd. TempleThe whole structure was retrofitted and improved. The original look of the building is the same. although there is new landscaping around it.Piness Auditorium, Wilshire Blvd TempleThis is the Piness Auditorium, I only snapped a few images, if you think this is impressive, wait till you see the sanctuary.Wall of Piness, Wilshire Blvd. TempleDetail of decoration on the wall, sorry the images are fuzzy, this is all the more reason to come and see for yourself.Sanctuary, Wilshire Blvd TempleAre you getting the sense that something spectacular awaits in the main sanctuary?  An incredible round room that seats 1700 people.

Torah scrolls and organ, Wilshire Blvd TempleThe dais, the Torahs are in the lighted room, and the organ is behind.

Ceiling, Wilshire Blvd TempleLooking straight up at the top of the dome.  All this was disintegrating and falling down, they actually had tarps so that nothing would fall on the congregants heads.  I had to translate the Shema, being the only Hebrew speaker in the bunch. Listen Israel, God is our Lord, God is one.

Stained glass, Wilshire Blvd TempleThat is the high priest Aaron atop some wonderful stained glass. Hugo Balin Mural Wilshire Blvd TempleThe mural that encircles the whole room was painted by Hugo Balin, he was a set designer for Warner Bros. who then moved on to painting many wonderful murals in important buildings in Los Angeles. Warner Bros – as in the actual brothers paid for this mural when the Temple was being built. This was the Temple of the stars. Here we see the sad moment where the Romans are looting the Menorah after destroying the Temple.Memorial Wall, Lita AlbequerqueThe memorial wall is new, designed by artist Lita Albequerque.Inner courtyard wall, Wilshire Blvd TempleThere are many more plans for more improvement, at the moment they already have a lot of interesting art.Floor, Since I am always looking for the unusual and the mundane, I looked down at the floor in the hallways (probably high grade linoleum). A simple tessellating design, now look up at the air grates:P1010943Yup, same design. I have no idea if this is old or new. Maybe a combination. I just find it extremely thoughtful when designs repeat in different materials and when they have a dialog with one another.

So there is a small taste, I hope to get more pictures on the day of the tour and I’ll have more information both of the building of the Temple and the wonderful restoration job. I hope to see some of you there.

Diane Von Furstenberg Knockoff

The moment I saw the DVF dress show, I knew I had to knock off this dress. Actually I already have.

wrap dress 1I had bought this cotton jersey print at Joann’s on a whim. I have quite a large library of patterns and I made this cute little wrap dress.

This time around I’d like to use a few more elements from DVF.Fabric and patternI bought this fabric last year at Michael Levine’s Loft. One thing that Michael Levine does is work closely with jobbers. These are the guys that buy out mill ends and such from the many local manufactures. Which means you will see fabric here you won’t see anywhere else, unless it’s already on a garment. It also means you have to wade through piles of junk to find the gems.

They are brilliant at charging $2 a pound, rather than charging by the yard. I can attest that fabric weighs more than you think. I have come out of there having spent a lot more than I intended to. fabric close upAside from being a very detailed tropical print on a black background, the fabric has another element. It is overprinted with  vinyl polka dots, which shimmer and glimmer as you move. This is a cheep way of accenting fabric rather than covering it with sequins. I don’t know what the fabric is, my guess is some kind of polyester with a little bit of lycra.

I’ve been sitting on it for a while, once I saw the DVF show, that was it, it must become a fabulous DVF style wrap dress.Vogue 8379Perfect pattern, it has the collar and the short sleeves. One modification I would like to make, is the  pleats at the waistline which give fullness in the breast area. I would like to modify that. DVF dresses don’t have that element. So I will be playing with some cheaper knit to get the front bodice  to fit nicely without those pleats.

The Chuppah part 2

It is finished!!!  All sewn and ready to be attached to the poles. Finished ChuppahThe quilting and binding is finished. If this were just a quilt then all that would remain would be the label.Back of ChuppahThe backing used up all the leftover fabric and then some. I had to go buy more fabric for the binding.

I have some very clear ideas about how to affix the ties, but first, it was show off time!Yoch explaining chuppahYoch and I are both member of the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild and our monthly meeting is held the first Monday of the month. This month was special, a photographer from the LA Times was there to document our quilts. Since we are the first modern quilt guild – we will are part of an article on the whole movement.  We were asked to bring our most modern quilt.  What better than this joint project.  Yoch is describing his color choices and design.chuppah back at guildEven the back is impressive and the guy blocking me? That is the photographer. He later asked for my name, so I am really hoping that this quilt will be in the article. One can hope right?

Next stage, putting ties in the corners so it can be attached to the poles.  I knew it had to be strong, this is one heavy chuppah. Most are not  this large or quilted.reinforcing the tiesI cut eight strips, 45″ x 2″,  found the middle and ironed in a strong piece of interfacing, then folded  it in half and ironed.  Next I positioned the reinforced portion on both front and back of quilt in the corner, sewed in place with an x through the middle for extra strength.The tiesAs you can see here, I sewed the strips across the corner, at this point it looks like there are 4 strips.back view of tiesView from the back, at this point I sewed the two strips of fabric together, so it is stronger and easier to tie.

Now for the test, will they hold the weight of the chuppah?Chuppah hangingYes!! It works beautifully. I hung it from my pergola and it’s holding strong. Which means for the duration of the ceremony, it should be fine. Yes, I have some pity on the brothers (my two other sons and Yoch’s two brothers) who will be holding this up.  They are strong young men, they should be fine.

Next time I show images will most probably be after the wedding, when I can share this as part of a wonderful celebration.


Twohey’s, best burgers in the San Gabriel Valley

I mentioned Twohey’s as our lunch stop during the yarn crawl.  Time to give this 70 year old institution it’s due.  The ladies at A stitch in Time directed us here for lunch, Ellen got very excited, she of course had been here and was looking forward to showing us the  Googie style architecture. That modern space age, forward looking optimism of the post war years.Twohey'sThis is what greeted us on the corner of Atlantic Blvd and Huntington Dr. in Alhambra.  An even better surprise awaited us within.Twohey's interiorThis past December, without ever closing for a day, Twohey’s was renovated back to it’s past.  After years of sad ‘Marie Calendar’ kind of look, the Googie style is back in force inside as well. Love the orange and Turquoise as well as the wonderful fixtures.Bar at Twohey'sSure modern conveniences  like a flat screen TV are there, but it’s all done with a nod to the past.Twohey's doormatWe were greeted at the door with this wonderful floor mat.  An easy explanation of how to pronounce the name of the eatery. As well as letting us know, they have been here for 70 years. I’ll get to the Stinko later.boomarang formica The tabletop was redone with new formica, in the wonderful 50 style boomerang pattern.Bernadette sitting down to lunchBernadette, our traveling mascot sits down to lunch. She was good, me on the other hand…stinko burgerI enjoyed the Stinko Burger. It’s funny how 70 years ago a burger with onions and pickles would be considered stinky. Think of all the hot spicy ethnic condiments we load our burgers with today.Twohey's onion ringsAll of us shared a SMALL plate of onion rings. I’m wondering where they get those massive onions. Either way, that was a great meal. Fuel for the road as we marched on to other yarn stores.


This weekend was the third annual Yarn Crawl LA county.  3 years ago the yarn store owners came up with the idea of having a whole weekend of yarny fun. This is the first year I joined the fun.yarnmobileFive of us did the eastern route on Friday. Laurie-Ann knows how to decorate a car, notice the crochet granny squares on the headrests. She only made a granny square cover for the steering wheel.

Our first stop was in Atwater village at The Little KnitteryEllen at the little knitteryNotice her granny square bag as well as her headband. Granny Squares are the foundation of fashion.  Ellen was smart, rather than buy yarn she was documenting our day via instagram. I bought stitch markers here.yarn crawl signOur second stop was in lovely Montrose, on Honolulu Ave. a little throw back to the 50s. The store is Needle in a Haystack. Along with yarn they also sell embroidery and needlepoint kits. They are really prepared for us with their wonderful sign above the counter. They had wonderful soft acrylic for babies, so I bought some.Abuelita'sAbuelita’s recently moved from South Pasadena to a more central location in the Playhouse Alley on Colorado Blvd. Small shop, with great hand dyed yarn. Picked up buttons to go with the yarn from the previous shop.wool ramThis wonderful wool and button ram adorns their wall. Too cute.A stitch in TimeEast and south to A Stitch in Time in San Marino.  A very different shop, first of all it is very large, airy and has the biggest selection of embroidery yarn/thread that I have seen anywhere. They also had Hiya-Hiya needles, so I bought a few.

By now we were getting hungry, so down the street we went for lunch.TwoeysWonderful midcentury modern building, this deserves a post on it’s own.stinko burgerThe stinko burger, with pickles and onions and great sweet potato fries.IMG_2220The Purlside in Glendora, this was a good 20 miles away, but hey, it’s all about the traveling between stores.buying a patternDiane and I pose with a pattern I bought.1899 quilt1899 quilt that has been in the owners family since it was made. No they don’t sell quilting supplies but they do appreciate quilts.

By then we were in need of dessert, across the street we go to The Donut Man to try their famous fresh strawberry donuts. Brenda and I split one – good thing, it was diabetes in a box.strawberry donutTwo more stores to go, Colors in Claremontcolors ClaremontIMG_2227And Phebies’s Needle Art, this is in an old packing shed by the railroad. Many other cool shops and restaurants. By now I was exhausted. The rest of the gang went on to Hobby Lobby, me I went home.IMG_3453Here are the spoils of the day, I didn’t buy all that much. Each store gave us a button and some gave out goodies like the needle holder or the tape measure.

All in all a very fun day. Some of the gals went north and south on Saturday and Sunday. This was quite enough for me, until next year.

The Chuppah, Part 1

The wedding fast approaches, less than two months away.   A very important element in a Jewish wedding is the Chuppah – the wedding canopy. It symbolizes the home the couple will build together. It is supposed to be a temporary structure under the open sky.Elk and Mandy ChuppahThis is from my son and daughter in laws’ wedding last year. When you get married on the beach in the Dominican Republic, it is light and airy with an unbelievable backdrop of blue ocean and paraglider thrown in for free.

Yoch knew he was going to quilt his own chuppah long before Yish popped the question. There was going to be green, green, green! His favorite color balanced with black white and grey.  So a year ago, when the candy ring was offered (that is a different story, a real ring was produced eventually, but the proposal happened with a candy ring), Yoch set to work on piecing the chuppah.

This design is completely his own, although it is one that should be copied.Finished pieced chuppahI am so impressed with this design, simple use of the triangle, the offsetting of the center motif and how it grows. The use of light and dark – perfection.

Yoch welcomed my contribution to the corners. I’ve been paper piecing lately and yes, these corner pieces are a little busier than the overall quilt. But hey,  let’s spice things up a bit.

I was also given the task of quilting this. Yay for new sewing machine! This is the first large project I have quilted on the Juki and I am so pleased with the results.basting the chuppahLuckily I have a large living room and have the space to lay this all out. Talk about large!  78″ x 85″.  Yoch pieced the back out of all the leftover fabric. This one is pin basted.  I’m thinking I should have used more pins.

directional quiltingThe quilting has to be simple. First of all the design speaks for itself, second, fancy quilting would get lost. So The green got Horizontal lines and the black got vertical. Yes, I did this free hand, no walking foot here, since I was changing directions – going back and forth within the long strips of color. I used Aurifil thread, grey for the black/grey areas and green for the green.practicing the sprialThe one area where a quilting design would shine was the border. I took my time and followed the good advice of FMQ, practice first on paper, get the hand used to the motion.Marking the quiltI marked the circles, I’m not looking for perfection, but some guildlines are a good help. At the recent quilt show I bought a wonderful new tool, the Bohin Chalk Pencil.  What a difference it makes! quilting the spiralsAnd here they are, on the quilt.  Not perfect but a good start. I would like to get better and that will happen with time and practice.

That’s it for part one, more work to do and I will share more of this Chuppah.