Quilt for Westley part 1

My son and dil are expecting their first in October.  He has already been given the name Westley. Upon hearing the name I asked my son: Does he grow up to become the Dread pirate Roberts? (Princess Bride reference).  Yes, the reason my son likes that name is because of all the years of watching and rewatching Princess Bride. Ahhh, it’s so nice when the fond memories of their childhood become important to them as adults.

The theme of the baby room is the sea.  I have started making a very appropriate quilt. A mariners compass of course.IMG_2555I met Judy Mathieson years ago when she still belonged to the San Fernando Valley Quilt guild and I saw some of the quilts in person. So I knew that this book would be a very good primer on the subject.P1020645Paper piecing of course. I enlarged the star by 50%. Which meant cutting and taping. I think I need to buy a ream of legal size paper. P1020647The compass is made up of 8 segments, each broken down even further to accommodate the smaller triangles. My first few were built one at a time, to make sure I was sewing correctly.

Notice the fabric? Not only is this a sea themed design, the fabrics were chosen with the same theme in mind – including pirates of course!P1020652Here is the compass half done. Which brings up a sore subject for me.  Fabric design.  I studied and worked as a textile artist.  One thing we never did was design one way fabric. Here is an example of what we never did.P1020651The anchors are only going in one direction. If you look back at my compass, I wanted this effect in the background, which means that I wasted a lot of fabric. From half a yard, this is all I had left as well as a lot of wasted triangles.   I know, today every quilting fabric company is hiring 10 new designers by the hour to come up with new lines.  There is a lot of creativity there  but most of these women have no clue about repeats, or overall design. The companies don’t seem to be interested in this either – since fabric buyers are snatching everything up.  Sure in many cases, when cutting up fabrics for quilts, the patches are small enough that direction doesn’t matter.  I often find that this forces me into buying larger quantities simply so I will have enough fabric for my projects.  If you look closely at the pirates and the blue anchors – the elements are tossed – which means less waste when cutting. Even having the anchors go in two directions would have been less wasteful.

Why the rant? Because I’m sick of being lectured by the greenies about how wasteful my life is and how I am no longer entitled to a plastic bag at the grocery store.  I love the plethora of fabrics available now that weren’t there 5 years ago. I’m sure the companies are thrilled that I have to buy more yardage. Just wondering when someone will remark that the old way of laying out fabric was actually better for all of us.  Rant over.P1020654Once I established that my segments work fine I chain pieced the rest before putting each segment together. Much faster.  One issue with this technique, I had to match up the longer seams, so yes there was a lot of ripping out before I got them perfectly matched. A very important process, I want this large circle to lay flat.P1020657Here is it!  It worked out perfectly.  The center circle was appliquéd on.  You will be seeing more of this fabric from Alexander Henry.  When Elk and Mandy returned from their wedding they stopped off in Panama for a few days. So this is beyond perfect.P1020659I won’t remove the paper until the compass is inserted into the background.  I need every bit of stability I can get.P1020660Looks even better from this angle.

I am loving this project. More posts to come as the quilt grows. I have no definite plans yet, the ideas will come as I approach each new stage.

Linked at WIP Wednesday

Two ways to see Hollywood

Most people who come the Hollywood Blvd. at Highland come to see this.Recently UpdatedI’ve done this myself, I’ve been here with the grandkids taking pictures with this exact Minnie Mouse.

Last weekend I came here for a friend’s wedding shower. Of course my interest was different, it was to get a closer look at the buildings.IMG_3795The famous El Capitan theater.  Thank you Disney for refurbishing this wonderful theater, most people go for the movies and live shows. Me, I’m interested right now in the exterior.  Built for live theater by  Stiles O. Clements  in 1926. At the time, the main theater district was still downtown on Broadway. This was the largest legitimate theater in Hollywood – everything else was most probably burlesque.  In 1941 it was converted to a movie theater.  The interior is incredible as well, but I didn’t go inside.   One thing to notice is that the fire escape is built into the building, except for the final balcony with a drop down ladder to the street.El Capitan TheaterThe exterior is covered in wonderful spanish inspired cast concrete.  This is the same period when glazed terra-cotta tiles and decorations become a popular way of cladding a building. You can get a better view of the wonderful balcony at the end of the fire escape.IMG_3801Next door and predating the theater by 5 years in the Masonic Temple. The heading reads FREEMASONRY BUILDS IT’S TEMPLES AMONG THE NATIONS AND IN THE HEARTS OF MEN

Many Hollywood stars and moguls were Freemasons. Aside from their meeting hall they also had clubs and a ballroom. Apparently there was a tunnel connecting this building to Grauman’s Chinese Theater across the street. It was used to smuggle alcohol during prohibition. these days the subway runs under the street and the tunnel is no longer accessible. It is now owned by Disney and as you can see, Jimmy Kimmel broadcasts his show from him. Hollywood and HighlandIt was up into the large open Mall, Hollywood and Highland. Here you can see people viewing the Hollywood sign from the center of this great arch.    The interesting design is a recreation of the set for DW Griffith’s movie – Intolerance.  This set remained in the Hollywood hills for 4 years after filming – only to be dismantled in 1919.

This is the Babylonian section. Clearly Griffith didn’t know much about Babylon, these winged figures are Assyrian, an even older culture. To see some original Assyrian Panels, with this exact figure – go over to LACMA.IMG_3844Elephants were also a big part of the set, not sure if they are any more accurate than the winged deities. IMG_3846Yes, I went up to that balcony and took the same picture that millions of others do. Sorry it’s somewhat blurry. I didn’t bring my good camera.  Of course as someone who loves walking the old neighborhoods of LA I can tell you there are much better vista points for this iconic sign.

I always tell people, no matter where they are walking, no matter what city. Look up, stop for a moment and really take at the buildings around you, you will be surprised by what you see.

Stash Busting

As any sewer, knitter, crocheter knows – we all accumulate a stash. Think of it as your basic material supply. What painter goes out and buys new paint for every project?  Same with us, we need a certain amount of fabric or yarn on hand when inspiration or simply the need to make something hits.

To be fair, my stash isn’t enormous and in the last few weeks I have been very busy sewing only from my stash.  First these are the patterns I used.P1020629The McCalls is being used for the second time – how is that for being thrifty?  The Simplicity  and the Vogue I have had for about a year.    P1020617I got this fabric at our LA Sewist meet up a few weeks ago. It is from Aleah, I can see from her blog that she loves knits, but also loves them in stripes or solids. So I guess this just wasn’t her thing. The fabric is from Jay McCarroll’s fabric line, The winner of the very first Project runway. Glad to see that he is doing well.P1020621Back view, simple sheath with darts for shaping.IMG_2549These two fabrics I bought a few months ago at Sew Modern, I’m sure the blue one was on sale and I matched the small print to it. I bought it thinking I’d make a dress out of the fabrics this summer and I did! P1020636I really  like how this dress came out.P1020637It’s a very simple dress, but the small details of the bodice and the skirt is really what makes this dress. It was very easy to make, I just love this detail.P1020638

P1020630Cute back, simple but well fitted.P1020614Always take time to smell the roses, or the lemon flowers.

The last dress. My friend  Lynne gave some Thai silk, as in silk she bought in Thailand years ago. This is the second dress being made from that gift.  As befitting the silk, the pattern is somewhat complicated.P1020603I probably should make more muslins, I don’t. I find that I fit myself as I go along and I’m getting much better at doing that.P1020602Love the gathers in the back of the dress. It just adds a little oomph.P1020607Close up of the detail of the neckline, this is what sold me on this pattern. Some asymmetric interest in what is basically another sheath dress.

So that’s it, next big project, a baby quilt for new upcoming grandson.

Baby sweater

Having a new grandson on the way means baby sweater knitting. Fun fast and easy.               I bought this pattern 5 years ago and made a few versions for grandson #1.P1020596It is amazing how terminology and instructions have changed.  I still do love buying patterns from Patternfish.IMG_3453I’m being very good about using what I bought on the yarn-crawl. Bunny already made, and the yarn on the right is what I’ve used for the cardigan.P1020571Quick knit, I didn’t even take in process pictures.P1020572Another yarn-crawl purchase, the buttons.P1020573Some strategic placement, so the white button isn’t on the white stripe.

I don’t have a model yet, so this bear will have to do.P1020575Since this was so much fun, I have more sweaters planned.  As well as a quilt of course.

I love LA, Last Remaining Seats

In my daily life I don’t think much about LA as Hollywood. Most of us live  very ordinary lives, even those who work in the business.                                                                                                        Things are different in June. The Last Remaining Seats put on by the LA conservancy.  For 28 years their biggest fundraiser has been a chance to view classic movies in the classic theaters along Broadway.

This year the old United Artist Theater is back in the game.  Ace Hotels bought the theater and adjacent building a few years ago and created a wonderful boutique hotel. They continued the wonderful work of Dr. Gene Scott of the University Cathedral Church. They occupied the theater for 20 years. Churches don’t make changes to theaters when they own them, they have no problem with the raked floors and often are fine with the heavy ornamentation of these old movie palaces. Dr. Scott loved and cared for this theater. Ace hotels has done many necessary upgrades as well.

It was quite an honor that the debut of the Theater was the movie Back to the Future. We arrived early, to get in line, no reserved seats. This is what greeted us at the front door.DeLorean from Back to the Future.A local car buff recently purchased the original  DeLaorean from a prop house.  IMG_3864 - Version 2That is the overboard on the passenger seat.IMG_3862This one already has the Fushion tank that Dr. Brown brings back from the future.

The line to get in wound around the block, true to my name – no idle hands even in line.IMG_3868Me knitting a sock.

Then it was into the lobby where my mind was blown.  Sorry about the quality of the photos. I brought my small camera, not very good for dark shots. But how can I not share this incredible building??IMG_3878Gothic is probably the best way to describe the decor.IMG_3881I’m glad they retained some of the church decorations. Most people in LA are familiar with the ‘Jesus Saves’ sign that stood atop the building for years, it has been reinstalled behind the building. Unfortunately one aspect of all the construction going on downtown is that it isn’t as visible as it used to be. At least it is still there.Theater in the Ace HotelWe rushed in, grabbed seats as well as pictures, clearly I’m not the only one. Then out again to explore.United Artist muralSorry this is so grainy but I had to get some Studio Hubris in here. Murals, here are better images as well.  For some reason, being half a block south of 9th street put this theater  out of the district. The Orpheum is half a block away and was very successful. This one – not so much.IMG_3895This is shot from the upper balcony, love how the mirror reflects the mob down in the lobby.IMG_3874Details of the ceilingIMG_3897Unknown sculpture down by the women’s bathrooms.

Then it was on to the movie. One great thing about Last Remaining Seats is that before each movie there is a short live offering. This time it was Leonard Maltin interviewing, Lea Thompson – Lorraine, Claudia Wells – Jennifer and  Donald Fullilove – who will become mayor in the future. He was having so much fun taking photos of us.

An amazing Los Angeles experience, have I mentioned how much I love this city?

Contemporary Craft Show

For years this show would occur biannually at the convention center in Santa Monica.  Well  they are in a midst of renovation so last year the show moved to Pasadena.

I have no problem going either place, actually Pasadena is much easier for me.  So I grabbed some local friends who had never been to this show and off we went.                              Amongst the many shows, faires, events in the park – this one is the best quality.  I have purchased multiple items here throughout the years.  I forgot my camera so used my phone. Many vendors do not allow photos, I understand that, also, I was trying to capture the feeling, not the details of their work.IMG_2524Woodwork- what can I say, smooth as buttah!IMG_2525Unique and interesting lamps.  Not too thrilled with the ones that look like hand-granades.  To be honest, none of these are my style but they are fascinating and well displayed.IMG_2527There were all kinds of handbags, many like these, as well as some very interesting leather ones.  I must confess, this booth is more of an inspiration for what I can make. In the past I have bought bags at this show.IMG_2528A lot of unique clothing, these coats really caught my eye.IMG_2530Wow to this glass work! Stained glass with other wonderful objects from nature. IMG_2534What I bought!  Dotty is a hand weaver who figured out that you can make money with small items, so along side her scarves she has polymer clay jewelry as well as fun necklaces, bracelets and earrings for the Sewers/quilters among us.  What a creative idea.

Here are some items I have bought in the past. Others, like a glass lamp, already broke. Or some lovely bags – I probably gave away. I am not a packrat, I don’t save everything, I don’t even save wonderful handmade items. My grandmother was a packrat, I learned that that is not a good thing to be.P1020584A few years ago, I bought this wonderful ceramic garden sculpture by Leslie Codina, she continues to make more of these in new fresh colors.P1020582I think this has been in my garden for 3 years, still bright, pretty and no chips.P1020592Unfortunately the woman who weaves these cotton chenille blankets no longer comes.P1020594Hint of blue, a good contrast to the gold/yellow.P1020586A silk dyer, also no longer there, but there are others, just as talented.P1020588


A few blocks in Pasadena

Pasadena is lovely, always has been.  Lucky for us many of the older buildings remain.  About 25 years ago the western end of Colorado Blvd regentrified and became a very popular destination. It is interesting to see how the process is moving east along the Blvd. This is true of the original development of the city.

Colorado Blvd is the main street in Pasadena, like Wilshire in LA or Ventura Blvd. in the valley.

Yesterday I met a friend for lunch. I walked three short blocks and captured these wonderful details on the buildings.LInden Optometry, PasadenaLinden Optometry, Yes, their marquee sort of gets in the way of the wonderful tile work, but not in a bad way. This is stunning tile work on an Art Deco building. Here is the info I found:

Warner Building

built 1927, by Jess Stanton


Pasadena art deco Warner Linden Optometry Building

The Warner Building was built by Gladding, McBean and Company. It is remarkable for the incredible Art Deco green-glazed terra cotta grille over the display windows. The grille was designed by Jess Stanton of the Marston and Maybury design firm; he also did design work on the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. The Warner Building was originally occupied by a row of exclusive shops that catered to wealthy visitors, especially from the nearby Maryland Hotel. The building has long been occupied by Linden Optometry and is sometimes referred to as the Linden Optometry Building.

I got this info from this website City of Pasadena, unfortunately there was no way to link just to this info, so that is why I copied and pasted.  Btw, Gladding, McBean didn’t build the building, they made the tiles. They are the oldest tile company still in existence in California. One of these days I need to write a post just on that company.close up of tilesThis looks like one big mold, I can easily find the repeat, but still, this isn’t a piece of fabric, it’s glazed terra cotta! I’d love more information about how was made.Star news building. PasadenaHere is the info about this building. Pasadena Star News building, today the Cordon Bleu Culinary institute is housed here. I love that I captured two of the students standing outside. That was pure coincidence.

The blade sign for 24 Fitness should probably come down, they aren’t there anymore. But then again, by now it might simply be part of the building. There isn’t purity in architectures, building change and evolve with time and that is ok.IMG_3789Across the street are more offices of the Cordon Bleu, in the window – decorative cakes. Really like the sugar sculpture of the swan and blue rose.IMG_3786Details, details. Patio World now occupies this building, I notice things like the cornice over the doorway.  The balcony is probably original, not sure about the scrolls that hold up the awning. If they are new – they work very well here.IMG_3787More design elements on the side of the building. My guess- more Gladding McBean Tile. I love how I captured the reflection of the palm tree. So SoCal.IMG_3788Along the side walk, decorative tile. This does not look like Gladding McBean at all. It could easily be Mexican tile.  Pasadena is full of decorative tile.mosaic behind VromansThe mosaic behind Vroman’s Bookstore. This mosaic is made of tile as well, not glass.IMG_3794Sorry the image is blurry. I shot this to show the tile risers, but yet again, I love the human and dog aspects of this picture much more.

Lunch was lovely, yes, I will be taking my camera with me where ever I go. There are interesting things to see – if you open your eyes, take a moment and look.

Tools of the Trade

Anyone who works with their hands will tell you that it’s the special tools of the trade that make the work both easier and fun. So from time to time I will be talking about tools unique to the fiber-arts.  This time it’s sewing and quilting.

So what is my favorite tool?Seam ripperThe Seam Ripper!!  I have never sewn anything where I didn’t need to use this little tool!. Always, without fail at least one seam needs to be ripped out.

Lesson no. 1 for new sewers – an expert seamstress is not someone who doesn’t make mistakes – WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES! It is someone who takes it in stride and knows how to correct the mistakes.

The most important use of the seam ripper is to rip out seams! Of course it also comes handy when opening button holes.

As you can see, I have a few examples here. Looking at the simple blue ripper – it’s a very basic tool, one long thin pointy blade – enables you to get in under the stitch and rip. the shorter end is tipped with a bead – to protect you and your fingers.Seam ripperThis is my favorite ripper today.  The handle is substantial and the cover has a wonderful rubber bauble that makes it easy to rub away at all those loose threads. The end of the ripper has a smaller rubber section – for the same purpose.P1020562My one complaint?  When open,  the cover does not fit onto the back of the ripper, so I never use that big lovely ‘eraser’.  It effectively becomes two tools. Since I have a way of misplacing my tools on my work table, it is hard enough for me to find the ripper, to then try and find the eraser is too frustrating.  So I find that I only use the seam ripper and the small eraser on it’s end.P1020566The blue one is fine, but a little small and uncomfortable to hold. This is a duel purpose seam ripper, came out a good 10 years before the Seamfix.  I guess the idea was that you could slide out either the ripper or the tweezers.  A very uncomfortable tool. So why do I still have this?  Because invariably I can’t find any of my seam rippers except this one, so it gets a lot of use – with a lot of swearing at the same time.eyebrow shaverThis is a new tool to me – the eyebrow shaver.  Yes it is intended for eyebrows but isn’t it wonderful when someone figures out how to adapt other tools to our sewing purposes!

P1020569As you can see, it is a wire wrapped razor-blade with a nice long handle.  I learned about this tool while taking a Craftsy class on Paper piecing. When sewing paper-pieced patches together one uses a very small stitch length. It isn’t easy to get in with the traditional sized seam-ripper.  So gently sawing with this tool shreds the seam. You are left with a lot of messy small thread, pull out the eraser from the Seamfix to take care of that.

I hope this gives you food for thought and any other seam ripping suggestions, please share!

LA Blogger-Sewing Meetup

First of all, thank you Erin, Laurie, Jill,  Kathy for doing such an amazing job putting this event together. Sewers, costumers, crafters from all over SoCal came to the event. From the central coast to San Diego and many of us in between.IMG_3772With,  Lorin, Kathy,  Amy and Jo. I only brought my little camera and shot a few pictures,  I got too busy talking with people and neglected the camera after a while.IMG_3766I don’t know any of the names, 40 people is a large group, I didn’t get a chance to meet everyone.IMG_3764Stephanie, Lorin and Laurie, one of the intrepid organizers who came up from San Diego.IMG_3774Then it was over to the Fabric store, I had intended to take pictures of us inside, but I got involved in the swap instead.IMG_3775Today was my winning day, my name was drawn for the Moneta Dress, already owning that pattern I threw my name back in the hat. I then won Mabel, a simple skirt pattern. Pam asked to trade for this, I was more than happy to make the trade. Have to look closely to see if I actually make this.
IMG_3776 As if I don’t have enough patterns, I picked these up from the swap.IMG_3777Also from the swap, lace and knit as well as this funky 50’s looking knit, both will make easy summer dresses or tops.

IMG_3778I have never had fabric from Australia – it really has a different vibe. Don’t know if it will become a garment or part of a quilt. The two other fabrics are destined for the quilting fabric stash for sure.

On a final note, it was Knit in public day, so before I met all the sewers, I spent an hour with my knitting buddies, we had a much larger group than a normal Saturday at the Farmers Market. Thank you Ellen for having the picture taken on your phone. Also, I love your photoshop skills.10371994_880244571992132_5253506688494318529_n