Bragging rights

The LA Times finally published the article about The Modern Quilt Movementla-hm-0531-modern-quilts-pictures-004I’m not quite in the picture I am right behind Craig’s head waiting to show my quilt, the Chuppah Yochanan and I made.  

We did get a mention, if not by name: “Quilters of all ages filled seats and stood around the store’s cutting table to admire group members’ efforts, which included a minimalist design inspired by rush-hour traffic on the 405 and a Jewish wedding chuppah created for two future grooms — a collaboration between one-half of the couple and his future mother-in-law, who often attend guild meetings together.

So there is my two seconds of fame in the media.

Sewing with knits and indie patterns

Having a serger makes sewing with knits a breeze. Wearing a knit dress in the summer is also a breeze.Collette Patterns 1028 MonetaFabric, a simple cotton jersey from Michael Levine. The pattern is Moneta by Collette. In the last 5 years a whole crop of pattern designers have emerged.  The sewing world tends to be all excited about these designers and many sewists will praise them to the moon.  This is a very basic knit dress pattern, I like the collar  treatment so I plunked down $18 for the printed version. That is a lot of money for a pattern, when one can find the Big Four (McCalls, Simplicity, Vogue and Butterick)for sale at about $5.

It states very clearly that this is a beginner pattern, which means tips of the trade about working with knits and very detailed instructions.P1020442I liked the instructions about how to line the bodice with knit lining. I like the result of the clean armhole. There is a link to a how to video on how this is done. Another good tip is using clear elastic to gather knit fabric for the skirt. These tutorials are available for free, so why pay the $18? Because Collette is one of the better indie pattern designers out there, and I’m happy to support their effort. No, I won’t be buying another beginners pattern, but they do have some nice intermediate ones.  My paying full price allows them to offer their videos and tips for free. Collette, MonetaHere it is, an adorable little summer dress.P1020446I like the fit, it is snug, since I have the figure to show off, why not!back of MonetaI’m a little disappointed in the collar. I didn’t pay attention very closely when looking at images online, I thought the points met in center back – didn’t overlap. I have to remind myself, this is a beginners pattern, and overlap is much easier. It is cute but I originally wanted more sophistication.P1020452I do like the way the collar looks from the front. Also, this dress has pockets, something very nice to have in a little casual dress.

All in all, I’m very pleased with the result. Since I have the pattern, I will probably use it again for a version with sleeves.  I highly recommend this for beginner sewists. If you are a moderate to experienced seamstress – it probably isn’t worth the money. Next post I’ll talk about another knit dress I made last year from a McCall’s pattern. I’ll compare the indie to the Big Four patterns.


Have I mentioned how much I love my Juki TL2010Q? The quilting was just so much fun.close up of quiltingHere is the section of the background.  Doing swirls and circles. It just went so smoothly. I used Aurifil thread. Yes, it’s the go to thread for quilters these days and I’m on the band wagon.fmq on my JukiWhen I quilt, things are much more bunched up, but hey, here you can see quilted vs. the unquilted section yet to come.P1020396I used a special quilting  ruler and a special quilting foot to get the straight lines.P1020426I did not switch to the walking foot, two many turns.  I love all the other quilters and crafters with blogs, I learn so much about the different tools out there. This ruler and 1/4″ thick quilting foot really make  a difference. Using quilting gloves helps as well.quilting feet for Juki TL2010qI needed a special quilting foot as well. The one on the right came with the machine, you can see it has a thin narrow  foot that sits on the quilt.  It would just slip under the ruler and that defeats the whole purpose. I paid a lot of money for the foot on the left, simply because it stated that this is for the Juki,  I am being very careful not to use something that might damage the machine.  As you can see, the foot part is 1/4″ thick itself and glides smoothly next to the ruler.P1020415Quilting done! My SIL mentioned that the straight lines reinforce the box-car while the swirls look like smoke.Box-cars on the RailsI bound the quilt with the solids, a nice colorful touch.P1020417Spiderman has place of honor on the back. I put a line of box cars there as well, I actually like how they blend into the background fabric. And of course, the remainder of the train tracks.P1020420Just a close-up of the quilting from the back.

The spray-basting worked! I don’t have creases on either the front or back. I have since learned a few new tricks that I will use on the next quilt I need to baste. Always learning, there is never a point where I can say I know it all.

So it appears the project is done, not quite. I need to make a label as well as do a final wash. I really want to see how pre washing the batting affects the quilt. That will happen very soon.

Linked at Freshly Pieced

More pre-wedding

All the preparation and the wedding is over.  I will be sharing many pictures, this next set is the hours right before the guests arrive and the festivities start. The center piecesHere is how all those flowers ended up. The Dads have a wonderful succulent garden. Three months ago they planted 22 pots, which gave them time to get established. Yoch found these jars at Michaels’ and as you can see, what a great way of marking the table number. Candles wrapped in burlap and rocks, each with a saying or image on them.Place setting cards, rocksEveryone got their own rock with their name and table no.  At the end of the evening most were left behind. They will end up recycled into the landscape  at camp.Proud parentsHere we are in all our finery. No I did not make the dress!  I bought it at a vintage store, Playclothes in Burbank. That stretch of Magnolia Blvd has some excellent stores. I have never seen anything this green! It’s from the 1960s’ and is some kind of polyester. IMG_3645 - Version 2I love the shawl collar and the pin!  Such a simple vintage piece.IMG_3656Last year’s wedding couple already have a baby bump! 20140526-071533Nice thing about having a wedding at camp, who doesn’t love a swing?IMG_3658Grandkids put on their fancy clothes. Aytan didn’t take the bow tie off all evening, Shira lost the flower quickly.image_7Signing the Ketubah, Jewish marriage contract.imageWalking the groom down the aisle. Yes, grandson with Spiderman were part of the procession.image_2Under the ChuppahimageThey are married!image_5

With some of the girlfriends.

We will get professional pictures soon, but I so excited. Had to share what we have right away!

Wedding weekend, the rehearsal dinner

Wedding festivities have begun.  Went out to the venue on Friday to help set up the centerpieces.  I’ll only be able to show those after the wedding, we want this to be a surprise after all. I can say that everything looks wonderful.

Last night was rehearsal/out of town dinner and boy did we have a good time.proud parents Here are most of the parents, Joel and myself, the Dads. (yes they officially adopted Yochanan a few years ago). We are missing his mom, one day of festivities is enough.IMG_3622Yoch didn’t want to wear the groom button (or should I say, massive badge). Joel was able to reuse his Father of the groom hat from last years wedding

IMG_3625 The dads and the grooms.IMG_3623 I am extremely pleased with the dress, love how well it came out. Love wearing it at such a wonderful occasion.IMG_3628 Here we have last years couple, Elk and Mandy with a five month baby bump! Yay!  It’s another boy.IMG_3633You can just see the joy on their faces.

IMG_3635Guests look happy too, even Mickey mouse. Also, you notice that I have my handiwork around the house, it’s not just for show.

And now, onto the wedding itself!

Basting the quilt

It didn’t take long to finish the top.IMG_2375I don’t have a design wall to pin up my quilt. I use the floor, yes a messy floor with the fabrics lying all around.  This way I can see if the distribution of colors is working. As the quilt grows I do have to move out to the living room for more - box cars on the railsBox Cars on the Rails, I think that will be the name of this one. I went outside to photograph in natural light. Hence the shadow of the camera. I have no interest in learning photoshop – I’d rather be sewing, so the shadow stays.Pre-washing cotton battingOver at Mama Loves Quilts Nicole gives a very good tutorial on pre-washing and drying cotton batting. Since I like the idea of a smooth quilt with well defined stitches I gave it a try. Of course I also pre-washed the fabrics. I’m hoping that this will take care of the shrinkage so when I wash the whole quilt – there won’t be too many changes.P1020375Assembling the items for basting. One thing that is missing is the masking tape. It’s there, just not in the picture.taping the battingThere are quite a few quilters out there who have posted about this kind of basting. I’m not sure I like doing this for a large quilt. One of my big problems was that the batting got heavy and pulled away from the wall. So I moved to the grass.P1020380I think I should have tried to smooth the batting out more, I was able to smooth out the top and the backing, but there are some creases in the batting which hopefully won’t be noticeable  once the quilting is done.

I try and use as many of the fabrics from the top in the backing, I’m sure you noticed a new fabric that has nothing to do with trains or Mickey Mouse. Yes, that is Spiderman. Aytan is loving everything Spiderman right now. I didn’t want Spiderman on the front, I’m hoping this quilt  will last a long time, so I figured, the back is the place for him. That way in five years Aytan can look back and remember what his favorite thing was from when he was four. At the moment he seems more excited about the back, he wanted to take it home, luckily I managed to get it away from him without tears.P1020379Looking good, now onto the quilting itself.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday


Sock yarn Bunny

sock bunny6 weeks ago I bought this pattern and yarn on the LA Yarn Crawl. I’m proud to say that it didn’t take long to dive in and make this fun bunny.bunny in progressI love knitting animals, there is something so satisfying about making a soft squishy three- dimentional animal.  This one is also a reminder of a fun day.Sock yarn bunnyWhat a good use for stripping sock yarn. I prefer making my socks out of solid or variegated these days.  This fellow will probably join the pile of things I’m making for the new grandson, or if I need a baby gift for someone else – he is perfect.pompom made on a forkLove his little pom-pom tale.  One of my WeHo Stitch and Bitch friends is getting married in August and has asked us to make pom-pons, they will be thrown after the ceremony instead of rice.  She linked to a tutorial on how to make pompoms with a fork, so I’m getting my practice.

Finally, a sad noteLaurie Ann Miller and BernadetteThis is my friend Lauri Ann with her beaver Bernadette. I am still in shock that  she died last week.  We will all miss her terribly.  She directed me to a number of wonderful patterns for these adorable little knitted animals.  Last time I saw her was on the LA Yarn Crawl. Bernadette was our group mascot and was photographed in every store.  Bernadette has gone to live with Jenna and will be henceforth  known as St. Bernadette The Beaver, Mascot of the West Hollywood Stitch and Bitch group.

Spur of the moment Theater

It’s a week before the wedding,  so this weekend is low key and relaxing, or so we thought.  Not wanting to go see Godzilla, I looked up the local plays in the area. Living 5 minutes from the NoHo Theater district means that for  the price of a movie ticket we often get to see wonderful small live theater instead.

So when I saw A Big Gay North Hollywood Wedding I immediately snagged two tickets.  The Theater is in a Church, for this production at any rate.  Five minutes after arriving I of course bump into friends, the gay crowd is out to have a fun night at the theater.IMG_2396As you can see the quality of  pictures isn’t great, but it was so fun. Here the brother and mother arrive.IMG_2380Aunt Rosie arrives from New Jersey. IMG_2386Kyle Lewis – the long ago boyfriend who can’t let go.IMG_2399It was so much fun actually having this part of the play in the Church. Throughout the performance the cast was interacting with the guests – as if we were guests at the wedding. I was having so much fun playing the part, at one point we got up and danced. Hey, got to prepare for next weeks real event.IMG_2417Where else are you going to see a Chuppah in a Church, with a rainbow no less.IMG_2424We then moved to the social hall.  What was brilliant was that the theater group sold refreshments at this point. And here we have  the grand entrance of the grooms.IMG_2427Sharing Challah, which is part of a Jewish wedding.IMG_2429Cutting the cake, and to top it off, they brought out cake for all of us to share!

We laughed the whole time, thoroughly enjoying being part of the spectacle. Of course there was a lot of drama and all the familiar tropes of what can go wrong with a wedding, especially one like this.  Next week I am looking forward to our own Big Gay wedding, which should be as my DIL says ‘Classic, refined and full of joy.’

Why I love the Fabric district in DTLA

Recently a friend came to visit. We met on Facebook but only met in person on this trip. It felt like we had known each other forever – which in a way, we had. Having only a few hours we rushed downtown. This was our first stop.Michael Levine FabricFor over 30 years this store has been offering everything for the Sewist in downtown LA. They have a separate Home Decorating store. A garment fabric store – which includes yarn, findings and a lot of notions. The loft – where they get remnants from local jobbers and sell everything for $2 a pound. Which btw, adds up very quickly.Inside Michael LevineHere we are, of course we made some purchases. this just gives you an idea of how large the place is.

Then we just hit the streets and walked around looking at all the other wonderful stores in the area. According to Karen, this is a much larger fabric district that New York, could be, our garment industry is quite large. P1020254These are the fake animal prints out on the side walk.  From cow, to leopard to pink tiger.P1020255More fur, I think these might go indoors soon. Interesting how they are chained. Is that so they don’t fall down or so no one walks off with a bolt?P1020253Party fabrics!P1020256Beads and sparkle.

The really good quality fabrics are all inside and yes, one can find some very expensive quality fabrics here.

This is the first post of many. I love this part of town, started coming here 22 years ago when I first moved to LA. It is amazing to me how the district has grown and changed.  I will have to share some of the bead stores as well. Oh and don’t get me started on the party stores, or actually do, that is a subject for a different post.

A quilt for Aytan

Before Aytan was born, 5 years ago, I set out to make a quilt for my first grandchild. I was too impatient to wait to find out the gender of the baby. So I made a baby quilt with pink, green, light blue and brown stars.Aytan's baby quiltI had recently gotten back into quilting and had found a wonderful book that showed how to make these different 8 point stars with strip piecing.

It is time for a new quilt and I’m working on it right now. Aytan loves trains, a passion I am trying to cultivate. He likes riding them, he loves model trains – so what better theme than trains.

I set out to find fabrics, some in local stores, some from online sources.Train fabricA jumble of fabrics after being washed. Notice the train tracks along with train related fabric. If you are seeing some Spiderman mixed in there, that is because right now Aytan loves Spiderman and that is also a passion I keep feeding. I will be putting that fabric on the back of the quilt.

Now for a patternOff TrackI love it when someone else designs a well thought out pattern. I don’t  need to do everything myself.  Allison from Cluck Cluck Sew  designed this one. The name says it all. train track patchI found the perfect fabric, train tracks to connect the boxcars.P1020319Here is a complete quilt block. I chose a grey for the background and decided that the center of the boxcar would always be a solid color. boxcars from On Track

Here is the first row of blocks complete. I showed it to Aytan and he thought it was very pretty, I think I have a happy customer.

P1020325You noticed the non-train fabric boxcar?  Yes indeed that is Mickey Mouse, thanks to his Mom, Aytan loves Mickey and everything Disney, so into the quilt he goes.

I’m in no rush to finish this, I am enjoying the process of seeing the quilt top grow gradually. I’ll probably be posting this for  a few weeks at WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced.