Baby blanket

As soon as we heard about becoming grandparents again – I had to start making baby items. Although I don’t like knitting blankets,  it’s different when it’s my own grandchild. We found out the same day they did – they told us immediately. So of course not knowing the sex of the baby it just had to be bright and colorful

Princess Squares blanketI have subscribed or bought many knitting  magazines over the years. Not being a hoarder, every so often I will go through and tear out the patterns I like and throw the rest away. This is one of those tear outs,  it didn’t have the instructions, I must have neglected to tear those out. lucky for  me, everything can be found on Ravelry these days.  Princess Square Blanket.  No instructions there either, but  this is a  modular square, a quick search on you-tube and I was reminded how to make these. Seeing other people’s finished projects on Ravelry gave me the confidence to just go ahead and make this.Knit Picks BravaKnitters know that Knit Picks is a great source of inexpensive yarn. Sometimes you get what you pay for. In this case, I want acrylic – a blanket that can be thrown in the washer/dryer and will be fine. So Knit Picks Brava it is. Also, they have a big selection of colors.Knitting the blanketI could have chosen different colors, but I figured these would work well for either a boy or a girl. icord bindingThe original pattern called for picking up all the stitches and making a 1″ border in garter stitch. That is way too much work.  Back to You Tube for reminders on making the  I cord edging. Finished Princess Square BlanketThe original blanket  was 8×8 squares, as you can see, I made a rectangle. Not sure why I made the rows 9 blocks long, but I did. and after a while, I was getting tired of the repetitive knitting. Have I mentioned I don’t like knitting blankets?Princess Squares blanket finished.Time to get creative with photography, it sure makes the blanket prettier.With Vera BearVera Bear is mine, I made her for me, she lives at my house. Grandson will get a different bear, but she sure does look cute on the blanket.

Of course I have many other baby projects to get to now.



Urban Nine Patch – finished

I sat down, quilted, binded and put on the label. Oh and of course took pictures.Here it is in all it’s glory. This picture was taken before I washed the quilt. Yes nice crisp lines. P1020057P1020060Here is a close up, you can’t really see the quilting on the prints, except for the straight  lines in the large grey areas.  Yay for a walking foot and a machine that cuts the thread itself. I’m talking about my Juki.Back of UNPThe back is made up of the leftover fabrics from the piecing. So once again, quilting is not obvious.P1020052You get the idea of what the quilting looks like.  Initially this quilt was meant for me. I had made the blue/grey quilt for Joel so this was going to be my, cuddle up quilt.  I was posting pictures along the way on FB and before I knew it, a good friend claimed it. It is her colors! She wants this quilt and is willing to exchange a piece of art for it.

I don’t sell my quilts. I have given baby quilts as gifts but this is a full size quilt and the time and effort put in are much more than a baby quilt. An exchange, now there is an idea, I said yes.

If this were a wall hanging, there would be no need to wash it. Since it will be used as a quilt should be – I washed it.  I don’t want the new owner to have any surprises if down the road she decides to wash it herself.UNP cornerHere it is washed.  What’s the difference you ask?Before and after washing a quiltThe top is unwashed, the bottom, after washing. Now you can really see the difference.  I didn’t prewash the fabric, I used 100% cotton batting. Then threw it in the washing machine and dryer and this is the result.  The quilt shrunk a little but it is also much softer and cozier. You can see the quilting in action, how it makes everything much more three dimensional.UNP labelA quilt isn’t really finished until there is a label. It’s the artist signature, name and date.Close up of labelThis is why I still need the Babylock machine. It does basic embroidery, which is a nice easy way to make a label.

Next week I will show this off to my Quilt Guild and then it’s going across the country to Connecticut to my friend Lynne.  When I get the artwork from her, I’m sure I’ll post about that as well.

More Downtown treasures, Allied Crafts Building

I always tell people, when walking downtown – look up! There are amazing things to see. While dress shopping on Saturday, I had to stop and take a closer look at this building. With so much cacophony on the street, it’s easy to miss even a building of this size. ACB buidling todayAs you can see, most of the area is much lower buildings. So this Beaux Arts and it’s neighbor the Bendix building do stand out.

ACB Photo (3)This is a photo from the 1930s. You can see there was retail on the ground floor even then and across Pico Blvd, no high construction.  This was really the outer limits of downtown, from here on there would be other tall buildings, but many more low warehouse and small industry.

As the fashion industry rapidly expended here, the owners are doing just fine renting out large loft style space. They also set about spicing up the lobby.Lobby Allied Crafts buildingYou can see the wonderful old elements that haven’t changed, the marble wainscoting, the wonderful mail box. In  2010, they brought in the artist Andre Miripolsky to add some vibrant color. Boy did he ever.Mural by MiripolskyI love how he worked around the old elements, the clock,  The grill.Elevator, Allied Crafts buildingWonderful old elevator doors. I was able to see into the elevator but not snap a picture. It looked like the original paneling – no fancy materials but nicely decorated wood. And there is an elevator operator – which leads me to think – they haven’t updated this elevator to standard push button yet. Now there is a job you don’t see often, although I’ve seen other buildings downtown with one.Entrance to lobby, ACBIt was hard to isolate out an image like this, so much stuff on all sides.  This  is the balcony over the Lobby entrance, also, the end of the fire escape.ACB, from across streetOn  a busy shopping trip, I’m sure this restaurant does good business. I love the cocktail sign, I think it was from a previous business. I’m pretty sure there are manufactories  upstairs, they have wide open loft space, although this business looks more like a design studio.

Next door is another very interesting building. The Bendix building.  I shot this image from the rooftop garage across the street where we parked.Bendix neon tower This building was build in 1930.  The tower was built by Bendix Aviation Corporation  manufactured to aid in nighttime aviation. The entire sign stands 150 feet tall; the letter “B” alone is 25 feet tall and 16 feet wide.  This helped light the way to an airfield in Glendale, 9 miles away.  Three years ago the tower was restored and the neon is now lit again at night.

In the 1930’s this building was used to manufacture  automotive parts, navigation instruments and car parts. The fashion industry moved in much later.  

Shopping for flower girl dress and ring bearer Tuxedo.

With all my creative efforts you’d think I’d be sewing a most adorable dress for my granddaughter who will of course be the flower girl. You would be wrong, very wrong.  Here in LA we have, downtown LA fashion district. That is where I have bought some very unique fabric, trim and other items for my creative endeavors.

There is a specific area – Santee Alley – which is well known for it’s inexpensive clothes, knock-off watches and handbags. 20 years ago the alley was one small block long. Now, it stretches from Olympic Blvd all the way to Pico, 0.3 miles long.

They have some little children’s clothes but it’s at the Pico end, on Maple street that they sell all the wonderful party dresses. So Becky and I  went off dresses downtown LAYes, that price is accurate, they sell these dress from $10 – $40.  I can’t compete and btw, they are adorable little dresses.Party dressesOk, those bows look tacky, but they are just pinned on, easy to remove. First good option, flower girl dressAt our very first stop we find this, it’s green which is perfect, It’s got bling, but not over the top.  We sent a picture off to the boys, sure fine they say. But what’s the fun in buying the first thing you see. On we and white dressVelvet green top? No, the green is too dark and it almost looked to Christmas to us.grey party dressLovely gray, everything is perfect about this one. (Gray, green, black are the colors) except one thing – they don’t have it in a small enough size. downtown LA party dressThen we find this one, perfect! (we will probably lose the flower).  A little more elegant, a little greener. We send off this picture and the response is – perfect get this one. Just to be sure we go back to check dress one – it had already sold. Yes, it is the day before Easter, I’m sure many a mom were out looking for an Easter dress.  For $25, I couldn’t make this, the materials along would cost more, not to mention my time

Oh and a suit for the ring bearer?boy suitYeah, went into one store, it was black or gray. Last year he wore black at Elk and Mandy’s wedding. So this year, it’s gray. We will lose the tie and pocket patch, wrong colors. But the whole suit comes as one unit. If I can’t find something green, it will simply be a the suit and shirt – no extra color.  No question, shopping for little girls is much more fun.

Also, these are staying at my house, I know Aytan doesn’t care about the suit (no spiderman on it), but Shira would never take off that dress. We want it new and lovely for the wedding.

It works! Chuppah trial run

Yesterday the boys went to visit the Dads in the OC and put the Chuppah together.                             First they ordered 8′ birch poles.Chuppah polesHere are the poles leaning up against the side of the house. Sturdy and tall enough for a lot of people to stand under.Sturdy eye hooks on birch polesThese are what I call massive eye hooks. No problem of the chuppah falling off of these, even if it was twice as heavy. Lucky for us Paul has some massive tools, so this was not a problem for him to drill and glue the hooks in place.The Chuppah, trial runAnd here it is, luckily Paul has long arms so he is holding two poles while Yoch is taking the picture, I have no idea if there was a decision to coordinate the orange shirts. Yup, that’s my boy Yishai with a big grin on his face.

This really was a group effort. Yoch came up with the design idea and pieced the top and bottom. I pieced the corners, quilted and bound it. As well as came up with the sturdy ties.

Paul and Darryl bought the poles and affixed the eye hooks and are the first to give it it’s first trial run. 35 days from now, the four brothers will be proudly holding up the chuppah while Yish and Yoch stand under it to get married. I’m getting all verkelmpt, so I’ll stop here.


FMQ (free motion quilting) a large quilt on a home sewing machine

I’m new to making videos and putting them up on youtube. But hey, the only way to learn how to do it – is to do it. I’m sure I will get better at zooming in on my actual work, but for now, you can see me in action on a large quilt.

I follow other blogs and am very impressed with FMQ that people are doing, but rarely do you see them working on a large quilt. It’s fun to practice on something small, but here you have a chance to see how I deal with the big bulky quilt, stopping, moving, readjusting.

While taking Angela Waters Quilting feathers  she showed a wonderful new tool to me. The Grip & stitch. These replace those quilting gloves that I find hard to use. What a difference these make.  I really feel like I have control now, with a lot more experience, my FMQ will shine.



Urban nine patch Quilt

When I start a large project, like a quilt, I like to work through and finish it. I’ll have knitting on the side and maybe some easy dresses for the granddaughter.  Not so with this project.  There have been serious interruptions.Basic urban nine patch blockThis is the urban nine patch block, designed by Jenny Pedigo, using her wonderful quick curve ruler. The sewing and quilting worlds are full of gadgets, gizmos and tools of the trade. Sure, I’ve bought some that really weren’t worth it, but others like this ruler are wonderful.Quick curve rulerJenny is so busy designing patterns to go with this ruler, I haven’t even tried to create my own yet.blocks on pointMy colors tend to be brighter, more jewel tone. I had bought a few of these fabrics with my friend Becky in Orange County. I was looking for something different. This is what we in the quilting world call low volume.  With a punch of color in the reds and green.

On Flicker there was a quilt along group. Although they finished their quilts long ago, it gave me some good ideas about the layout. I love the blocks on point rather than on edge. I love how when put together this way, bright bold green circles emerge.Center of urban nine patchI had a few fabrics at home to add to the mix but that was it. I didn’t  want to run out and buy a lot more. Sometimes being forced to use fewer fabrics makes the quilt much more interesting and less scrappy looking. Actually I did have to buy more of the background fabric, luckily I got the end of the bolt at Sew Modern and yes I bought one more of the peach colored fabrics as well.

Now for the border, I guess you can’t take the scrappy out of the quilter after all. three fabrics that didn’t go into the border are the background, the inner squares and the dark green.  There was some creative engineering to get the corners to fit. But hey, it’s fabric and it’s a quilt, so I made it work.

I finished the top a few months ago, other projects and a not very helpful sewing machine got in the way. I’ve finished a baby quilt and the Chuppah as well as sewing clothes and other items.  So it is high time that I start working again on this quilt.


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.